The evolution of Nikon cameras

Nikon has a lot of DSLR cameras. Sometimes you can go crazy choosing the right option for yourself. Also, it is very difficult to understand the range of cameras. There are many cameras that are professional on the one hand and amateur on the other.

I broke all the cameras on 4 class:

  1. Flagship (often these cameras are called true professional cameras). It is easy to distinguish by such features as the fact that they do not have a built-in flash, have an additional second handle for portrait photography, use very capacious batteries and fast memory cards CF. These cameras have two additional displays. They can do everything that professional cameras can do.
  2. Professional (often these cameras are called semi-professional cameras). These cameras do not have automatic modes, have a weatherproof body, use fast memory cards CF and special connectors for control. They can do everything that advanced amateur cameras can do.
  3. Advanced amateur (often these cameras are called mid-range cameras). Use cards SD, can control external flashes, support fast synchronization with flashes. Unlike amateur cameras, they have an additional display and an additional control wheel, as well as a depth-of-field preview button.
  4. Amateur (they are amateur in Africa). They are light in weight and have few controls. Use SD cards.
  • D3 (FX)
  • D3x (FX)
  • D3s (FX)
  • D4 (FX)
  • D4s (FX)
  • D5 (FX)
  • D6 (FX)
  • Z9 (FX)
  • Df (FX)
  • D800 (FX)
  • D800E (FX)
  • D810 (FX)
  • D810a (FX)
  • D850 (FX)

Here is my distribution of cameras by class:

The main distribution criteria:

Pro line of Nikon camera classes

About the line of Nikon camera classes. increase.

Useful plate with the dates of the announcements of cameras. Green indicates Nikon FX full-length cameras.

Camera Release date
d1 15.06.1999
d1h 05.01.2001
d1x 05.01.2001
d100 21.01.2002
d2h 22.07.2003
d70 28.01.2004
d2x 16.09.2004
d2hs 16.01.2005
d70s 01.04.2005
d50 20.04.2005
d200 01.10.2005
d2xs 01.06.2006
d80 09.08.2006
d40 16.11.2006
d40x 06.03.2007
d3 23.08.2007
d300 23.08.2007
d60 01.01.2008
d700 01.07.2008
d90 27.08.2008
d3x 01.12.2008
d5000 14.04.2009
d300s 30.06.2009
d3000 30.07.2009
d3s 14.10.2009
d3100 19.08.2010
d7000 15.09.2010
d5100 05.04.2011
d4 06.01.2012
d800 06.02.2012
d800e 06.02.2012
d3200 19.04.2012
d600 13.09.2012
d5200 07.11.2012
d7100 01.02.2013
d610 08.10.2013
d5300 17.10.2013
df 05.11.2013
D3300 07.01.2014
D4s 25.02.2014
D810 26.06.2014
D750 11.09.2014
D5500 06.01.2015
D810a 10.02.2015
D7200 02.03.2015
D5 06.01.2016
D500 06.01.2016
D3400 17.08.2016
D5600 10.11.2016
D7500 12.04.2017
D850 24.08.2017
Nikon z6 23.08.2018
Nikon z7 23.08.2018
D3500 30.08.2018
Nikon z50 10.10.2019
D780 07.01.2020
D6 11.02.2020
Nikon z5 21.07.2020
Nikon z6 ii 14.10.2020
Nikon z7 ii 14.10.2020
Nikon z9 10.03.2021
Nikon Z fc 29.06.2021
Nikon z30 29.06.2022
Nikon z8 10.05.2023
Nikon Zf 20.09.2023
  1. Nikon DX SLR cameras with APS-C sensor are marked in white
  2. Nikon DX mirrorless cameras with APS-C sensor are marked in pink
  3. Green indicates full-frame SLR cameras
  4. Full frame mirrorless cameras are marked in blue

Also, with the Nikon F mount, there are the following cameras: Fujifilm FinePix S1 Pro, S2 Pro, S3 Pro, S3 Pro UVIRS5 Pro, IS Pro, Kodak DCS PRO 14n (and its modifications) and Kodak DCS Pro SLR / n (and its modifications)

Which cameras use the same sensor can see here.

My calculations on the performance of the Nikon CZK can be viewed here.

Letters S, H, X, E in Nikon camera names

  • S - usually this letter is attributed to the camera, which is simply updated version previous model without major modifications. for example Nikon D70s, D300s, D3s, D4s. These cameras have the same body and a similar matrix as in Nikon D70, D300, D3, D4. Roughly speaking, this is a cosmetic update to the camera with the addition of new useful features.
  • H - usually this letter is added to updated camera models when they want to show that the updated camera has the possibility of a good fast continuous shooting. Roughly speaking, a camera for sports photographers, photojournalists. D1h, D2h, D2hs - have just amazing frame buffer.
  • X - usually this letter is added to the updated camera model in which increased number of megapixels, but the main characteristics remained similar to the previous version. For example, Nikon D40 \ D40x, D1 \ D1x, D2x, D2xs, D3 \ D3x.
  • E - for cameras with missing low-pass filter (Nikon D800e)
  • A - for cameras designed for astro photography (Nikon D810a)
  • F - Fusion "Fusion" for cameras with retro body design (Nikon Df)
  • II - second version of the camera (Z6 -> Z6 II)

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. Many different photographic equipment can be found on AliExpress.


Using my tablet, you can immediately determine which class the Nikon digital SLR camera belongs to. Considering that each new round of evolution (from left to right) only improves the performance of cameras, it becomes very simple to choose the best option.

When choosing a Nikon SLR camera, I advise you to look in the 'Which Nikon camera to choose?'.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval. Training/Consultations | Youtube | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Telegram

Add a comment: Alexey



Comments: 290, on the topic: The evolution of Nikon cameras

  • Morikvend

    Half a year ago, it was stupid to rush and take the D90, instead of waiting a bit and buying a brand new D7000.
    Now I really regret it - because I love Soviet optics, and the d7000 has exposure metering and many other delicious buns ... :(
    We'll have to buy a dandelion. Although before that I twisted myself in a cunning way - you take a friend with another DSLR, tell him iso and f, and he tells you the shutter speed :)

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I'm also eyeing the D7000 now.

  • Novel

    and what is the matrix chip on the D3100 ?? :)), it seems like a purely Nikonov rozobotka with a slightly different crop factor :) is there any charms in it?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Everything is OK with the D3100, there are simply no other cameras from Nikon with such a matrix. Her crop factor is the same, 1.5x (DX).

  • Igor

    Curious! Only the tablet I would call “Genealogy of cameras ...” :)

  • Alex

    "The genealogy of cameras ...")))

    as named, and named - this is the choice of the author.

  • R'RёS,R ° F "RёR№

    somehow according to the table it turns out that d3100 is lower in class than 3000 and 40

    • Arkady Shapoval

      not lower, just different.

  • Jeka

    And where are the soap dishes? otherwise everyone thinks that the weakest camera is D40 from amateur Nikon,

    • Arkady Shapoval

      If you think that D40 is the weakest, then imagine that the strongest can.

  • Catherine

    I shoot on D3100, think about replacing the camera. she no longer meets the requirements) I am interested in reportage and wedding photography, in this regard, I want to replace it with a professional camera. The choice is between D300, D700 and D3. Prices are different ... naturally, you want to buy it cheaper, but you don't want to lose in the quality of pictures and shutter speed. Advise what is better to choose.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      all 3 cameras are very different

  • Novel

    wow :))) what kind of Nikon d3200 ??

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Look at the official Nikon website. Nikon D3200 new this spring.

  • Anatoly

    Intrigued by the table. Tell me, Arkady, and which of the models (d3100, d5000, d5100, d7000?) Are the best to contact, if contacted at all, with 19 TTL lenses from Kiev (H mount).
    And further? How would I clarify what kind of appendix is ​​it (what does it look like?) On the lens, which interferes with the work of the union of the N mount with the Nikon F mount

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The named models are equally good in contact. But there are exceptions among Soviet lenses. The diaphragm skirt interferes with work and only on a small number of lenses.


    About d7000 I heard the matrix fills with oil. on the characteristics of course good! I have a very sensitive question: what is the difference between a full frame and crop (subjectively). about the focal length, flu (a moot point), the best ISO, the steepness of the camera itself I know. just if you take the same optics, conditions (not difficult), plot, distance to the object (so that the flu does not change), does the full frame have an advantage? or do all the benefits come from a steeper camera?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      If it's not difficult, tell me exactly how the D7000 is filled with oil and what? About depth of field is not a controversial issue, but real things. If everything is fixed, then there is still a diffraction threshold, vignetting control, etc.


    On the Yandex market in the reviews, the problem occurs. it seems like the first batch was jammed. so what about the full frame, how does it differ from crop in terms of result?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      the full frame differs from the crop by the size of the matrix. In more detail in the section about CROP FACTOR



    • Arkady Shapoval

      Any bag for the central lock is suitable.

  • Sergei

    Right now I'm crying over the last answer)))) Arkady +5

    • Arkady Shapoval

      The question is whether a person knows what the Central Control Commission is :)

  • Eugene White

    hmm ... so the canon will soon give out a "budget" fullframe? boom wait

  • Igor

    and why didn’t the d600 reach the pros? she bypasses the characteristics of d700

    • Arkady Shapoval

      1. She has only part magnesium shell
      2. She has less focus points for the D700
      3. She has a lower burst speed than the D700
      4. She has an amateur control interface and the presence of automatic modes
      5. Pay attention to the positioning by Nikon itself, I’m not lying, link proof

  • bob

    It is a pity there is no classic test, D50. I would give mine, but I live in Riga.)
    A question has arisen: How to shoot a black dog? I get a black shaggy blot. Maybe there is some trick?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Best with a few shots in manual mode. The exposition article and the histogram will help you with this.

  • Ayrat

    Someone already uses without links to you))

    • Arkady Shapoval

      This is just a drop in the ocean. It’s bad that such people do not just copy pictures, but paste the picture code, which loads the picture not from their site, but from my server, thereby slowing down the work of Radozhiva. In this case, they just reset the picture

  • Hussein

    Hello, I bought a Nikon D3100, tell me how to make the image appear on the display and take a picture instead of looking out the window?

    • Arkady Shapoval

      Find the Live Live (LV) button and use it.

  • Andrei

    Now we are waiting for the full frame and a screwdriver to be added to the betting line (I think in 2 years). Well, the price in bucks is 600 per carcass: -D

    • Arkady Shapoval

      I think they will make a full amateur frame without a screwdriver in the next evolutionary branch in order to reduce the weight of the camera.

  • Nicholas

    Good day, Arkady, May I feed on the selection of an object up to D3100, at once on hand 18-55 kit, and Helios 44-2, but at the same time I want to try manual optics like Sigma AF 35-70 f3.5-4.5, or Quantaray-NF AF 70 -210 f4-5.6, Nikkor AF 28-80 f3.5-5.6 D, Sigma 70-205 f3.5-4.5 Zoom III, power supply for robots with D3100, which is so nice to take for universal immobility , portrait - landscape, macro not tsіkavit ... Dyakuyu.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      They will work, they will work or so so For general-purpose shooting, I don't recommend manual optics. For a portrait - any fifty-kopeck piece is fast.

    • Nicholas

      Dyakuyu, ale, all the same, a ya z zih varіantіv bіlsh unіversalny? Have you taken the go?

      • Arkady Shapoval

        Versatility means the ability to use in any conditions, but due to the fact that there will be no automatic focusing, all these lenses turn into manual ones. Therefore, I would not waste time and energy in vain. You can find old 18-70 3.5-4.5 on the market, they work fine on D3100.

  • Nicholas

    In my opinion, all of them will be protected only in manual mode ... it will be as comfortable as possible to be victorious from them. I can give you a cardinally developmental revision, always more beautiful and optimal. Dyakuyu.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      In my opinion, too, otherwise why did I give links. Lenses will work not in manual camera control, but in manual focus mode. If you really need to choose only from these lenses, then I would take Nikkor AF 28-80 f3.5-5.6 D

      • Mikolka

        Dyakuyu ... I will try. Douzhe Douzhe will help your site rozibrat with unreasonable moments and words, everything with butts and laid out in half, have been given to you.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          It's my pleasure :)

      • Mikolka

        Nikkor 18-70mm f / 3.5-4.5G IF-ED AF-S DX Zoom-Nikko

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Yes, this one.

  • Vitaly

    Something surprised by the fact that the Nikon D5200 is in the rightmost column. IMHO his place is a column to the left. Well, no matter how he should appear there. The bloated megapuxels in a budget camera are somehow completely superfluous. Nobody will ever print images of 10x15 meters from it, it is filmed with completely different devices. And a beginner will never need such permission in his life, and shoving it into a column other than his is a strong bust (like a budget professional? Yes, the D7000 will do it in full.) Think about it. Again, this is IMHO, but I hope I convinced you, if not - your right.

    • Arkady Shapoval

      You misunderstood the sign. Reread the article again. Colors are responsible for the evolutionary stages of development, thus, the purple line is the very last, and D5200 refers to it. The bottom row of cameras from Nikon D50, D40 to D5100, D5200 are amateur cameras. Where would you place the D5200 then?

      • Vitaly

        In my opinion it is the place above the D5100. Although it is new and endowed with the resolution crazy for the amateur apparatus, the functionality is clearly not from the last column. Swollen D5100 and no more.

        • Arkady Shapoval

          Unfortunately, functionality has nothing to do with the tablet. The table shows the camera levels and their development steps. The D5200 is an amateur camera of the latest evolutionary branch.

  • Bogdan

    How to set the optimal “Picture Control” on the D5000!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      There is no optimal mode, for each case you need its own mode, because you can't shoot all portraits in saturated mode and all nature in black and white. You can read more details here -

  • Olga

    Hello))) Maybe not in the subject, but I dare to ask advice !!!! I'm new to the photo world, the camera is D7000 (my husband gave it for my birthday), there are two lenses 18-55 and tamron 70-300 ... But I'm interested in macro, So I'm looking after a gift for the new year, I looked after this Nikon 105mm f / 2.8G IF-ED AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor lens, tell me how correct my choice is)))) Yes, if you can advice what filters and what companies are better to buy !!!! thanks !!!

    • Arkady Shapoval

      105 is one of the best options. If you don’t know what filters are available, then it’s too early for you to use them, just buy a protective filter first.

  • Olga

    No, I decided that I really need an Ultra and a Polarik, but what kind of company is the question ... There are a lot of them, I would like not very expensive, but also that the quality is, say, the golden mean !!!! And here are some toys to buy for fun, can tell me))))

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