Nikon has an interesting mixture of high-end DSLR cameras and point and shoot cameras with cool features in its digital camera lineup. These cameras have been released in the past 18 months, and they represent the best new cameras from Nikon, both in its Coolpix point and shoot camera lineup and in its DSLR lineup.
One way for camera manufacturers to set their fixed lens cameras apart from the low-end point-and-shoot portion of the market -- and from cells phone cameras, for that matter -- is to include large image sensors in the advanced fixed lens models.
Nikon has done exactly that with its Coolpix A camera. The Coolpix A includes a APS-C DX-format image sensor, which is much larger than what most fixed lens cameras use. Consequently, the Coolpix A's image quality is easily its best feature. Very few cameras of a size similar to the A are able to match its image quality, let alone exceed it.
The Coolpix A has a high-quality 28mm equivalent prime Nikkor lens, meaning it offers no zoom capabilities.
You can shoot in full manual mode with this advanced camera. Certainly at this price point, the Coolpix A isn't going to appeal to everyone. However, if you don't want the bulk of a DSLR camera, the Coolpix A would work well for shooting great portrait photos.
Even though the Nikon Coolpix P520 looks a bit like a DSLR camera, it doesn't quite have that level of high-end photographic features.
Still, the Coolpix P520 has enough advanced features that it'll be well worth considering. The P520 has a 42X optical zoom lens, 18.1MP of resolution, a 3.2-inch articulated LCD, a built-in GPS unit, and full 1080p HD video recording. Those are all above-average features in a fixed-lens camera.
Nikon is offering this model in black, red, or dark gray camera bodies.
It has advanced Nikkor lens glass to go with a 7.1X optical zoom lens, a larger-than-usual CMOS image sensor with 12.2MP of resolution, a high-resolution 3.0-inch LCD that can swivel away from the camera, and full 1080p video recording. The P7700 has a built-in flash, and it also has a hot shoe, allowing you to add an external flash, if desired.
Best of all, the P7700's image quality is outstanding, which helped it make my list of the best 5-star cameras.
With so many interesting features available in the Nikon Coolpix S800c, it's tough to know what to focus on first.
For starters, the S800c has a 10X optical zoom lens in a camera body that measures only 1.06 inches in thickness. The 3.5-inch OLED touch screen is very bright and sharp. This camera has 16MP of resolution, and it can shoot full HD video.
The Coolpix S800c's on-screen interface is based on the Android operating system for mobile devices, which should make it very easy to use to visit the Web with the built-in Wi-Fi and GPS capabilities.
With 16 megapixels of resolution and a 10X optical zoom lens, the S6300 already has a leg up on most point and shoot cameras. This model can shoot full 1080p HD video at 30 frames per second, which is another impressive feature.
However, the S6300's 2.7-inch LCD screen is little smaller than I'd like to see. Still, there's plenty to like about the S6300, which is available in four different solid body colors: Blue, red, silver, and black.
Small ultra zoom cameras are growing in popularity, and Nikon's latest contribution to this market is the Coolpix S9500.
The S9500 offers a 22X optical zoom lens as well as an impressive 18.1MP CMOS image sensor. This thin Coolpix model includes an impressive 3.0-inch OLED display screen and full 1080p HD video recording options. You'll also find built-in GPS and WiFi features with this camera.
Nikon's latest full frame DSLR camera, the D610, provides a nice set of upgrades over the Nikon D600 from a few years ago.
As a full frame camera, the D610 includes a FX-sized CMOS image sensor with 24.3 megapixels of resolution. The D610 can shoot at up to 6 frames per second, faster than the D600, and Nikon added a silent burst mode with the upgraded model.
You can shoot full 1080p HD video with the D610 at speeds up to 30 fps. You'll find a large 3.2-inch high resolution LCD screen that can tilt away from the camera. The D610 includes dual SD memory card slots, too.
Nikon's latest entry into the low end of the DSLR market is the D3300, which Nikon calls an HD-SLR camera. (I'm not exactly sure what makes the D3300 an HD-SLR other than it shoots full HD movies, so I'll just refer to it as a DSLR to avoid confusion.)
Simply put, this is a strong still image camera offered at a reasonable price. Nikon has given the D3300 a large image sensor with 24-plus megapixels of resolution, and the image quality with this model is outstanding.
The Nikon D5100 will carry 16.2 megapixels of resolution and record in full HD video. The D5100 is a small and neat camera, which fits easily into the hand. It feels substantial, but weighs less than its predecessor (as it has a plastic body). The camera also benefits from the addition of an articulated LCD screen with a side hinge.
Replacing the D5000, the D5100 sits neatly in between the entry-level D3100 and the high-end D7000. The camera is clearly aimed at attracting enthusiasts who have outgrown their basic entry-level DSLRs, and it will be in close competition with Canon's T3i.
10. Nikon D7000 DSLR
The Nikon D7000 features a 16.2 megapixel CMOS image sensor. When coupled with Nikon's EXPEED 2 image processing system, which allows for fast autofocus, low noise in photos, and six frames per second in burst mode, the D7000 creates high-quality images with impressive speed.
Look for 1080p HD video capability, a 3.0-inch high-resolution LCD, and a built-in flash unit with the D7000.
11. Nikon Df DSLR
Nikon has borrowed both the design and feature set of its now available Df DSLR camera from other Nikon models, creating a powerful blended model that should have a lot of appeal for enthusiast photographers.
The Df borrows its look from classic Nikon film cameras, and it's available in either all black or black with silver trim. There are plenty of buttons and dials that contribute to the retro look.
But don't let the classic look fool you. This powerful full frame 16.2 megapixel DSLR camera has quite a few top-end shooting and oeprational features. It borrows the Nikon D4's 3.2-inch LCD, a 39-point autofocus system from the D610, and weather-resistant seals from the D800. Additionally you can use the viewfinder to frame photos, or you can shoot at full HD video, shoot in JPEG, RAW, or TIFF, and shoot at up to 5.5 frames per second with the Df.
12. Nikon 1 AW1 DIL
The world's first waterproof interchangeable lens camera is now available, and the Nikon 1 AW1 is one of the more impressive mirrorless DIL cameras heading into this holiday season.
Nikon's AW1 can be used in up to 49 feet of water depth and it can survive a fall of up to 6.6 feet. To use this camera's waterproof capabilities, you will need to purchase a 1 Nikkor lens that's also rated as being waterproof.
The Nikon 1 AW1's photographic capabilities are pretty impressive, too, as it has a 14.2MP CX-sized CMOS image sensor, full 1080p HD video recording, a 73-point autofocus array, full manual control, a built-in GPS unit, and a 3.0-inch LCD. The AW1's popup flash unit is waterproof, too.
Look for the AW1 to be available in three colors, black, white, or silver, and Nikon is also offering some skins to provide additional body colors, including khaki or orange.