By Ann Young 3 days ago Camera & Lenses
Best Nikon video cameras for any budget.
From a number of Nikon cameras, which one can be called the best Nikon camera for videography? And what is the best camera under 500 dollars? Sounds strange but Nikon has made only one camcorder in its entire history, which was in 1982. It couldn’t compete with already existing video cameras so Nikon didn’t produce video cameras anymore.
However, the quality of pictures that Nikon cameras produce brought them back to the video recording glory and many videographers use Nikon cameras as well.
Best Nikon camera for video experts
Sensor: 20.8MP FX CMOS | Video: Full HD (60fps) / 4K (30fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 2.36m-dot Touchscreen | Ports: HDMI-C / 3.5mm / RJ-45 | Weight: 3 lbs
⊕ 4K-video shooting with the possibility to save a freeze-frame
⊕ Dust- and waterproof design
⊕ Autofocus area selection using the touch screen
⊕ Long battery life
⊕ 2 memory cards
⊖ Limited 4K video shooting
⊖ No built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
⊖ No focus picking and Log Gamma profiles
Nikon D5 is often called the best Nikon camera for video. Why? Its AF point, like in the photo mode, can be selected with the joystick or by touching the screen. Two modes are available for selection: AF-S and AF-F.
However, its speed is not as high as it could be. Movies with motion are best shot in manual focus mode. While recording, you can connect an external microphone and headphones. Also, there is an HDMI Type C output. The signal is provided in 8 bit 4:2:2 format.
There is a limitation on the crop. As soon as you enable 4K, the viewing angle of the lens narrows. The camera gets a signal not from the entire matrix but from its central part, which is only slightly larger in area than the DX frame format. 4K shooting time is limited to 3 minutes.
Nikon D5 does not support focus picking and doesn’t work with Gamma curve profiles.
However, for a more convenient video editing, there is a Flat image profile that allows you to save maximum details in shadows and highlights during a video shooting.
Flagman with lots of video recording features
Sensor: 45.7MP FX CMOS | Video: Full HD (60fps) / 4K (30fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 2.359m-dot touchscreen | Ports: HDMI-C / 3.5mm | Weight: 2 lb 3.5 oz
⊕ High-resolution tilting display
⊕ Touch control, tap screen focusing
⊕ Video recording in 4K resolution with a frequency of up to 30 frames per second without crop
⊕ Supports modern fast XQD and SD UHS-II memory cards
⊖ The slow focus of contrast type in the Live View mode
Nikon D850 allows you to shoot 4K videos (3840 × 2160). You can save your footage in MOV and MP4 formats, the used codec is H.264. A recording is performed without crop.
There is the possibility of slow-motion shooting in Full HD resolution at up to 120 frames per second. The slowdown of up to 5 times is also available. When recording a video, you can use Picture Control profiles. Instead of Log profiles, the camera has a Picture Control profile called Flat.
There is a headphone output, a microphone input and a Type-C mini-pin HDMI connector on the camera’s body. Through HDMI, you can transmit video in up to 4K resolution. HDMI flexibly adapts to the needs of the user.
This provides the convenience of working with an external recorder. Also, zebra and focus picking are implemented here. "Zebra" helps you see the overexposed areas in the frame and focus picking provides a more precise manual focus.
Best Nikon mirrorless camera for video
Sensor: 24.5MP FX CMOS | Video: Full HD (60fps) / 4K (30fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 2.1m-dot touchscreen | Ports: HDMI-C / 3.5mm | Weight: 2 lb 3.5 oz
⊕ Effective built-in stabilizer
⊕ Confident and fast phase autofocus on the matrix
⊕ Full touch control
⊕ 4K video without crop
⊕ Slow-motion Full HD video shooting
⊖ Tracking autofocus in difficult conditions may lose the subject
⊖ Video recording in 10-bit N-Log is possible only on external media
Nikon Z6 is another good Nikon camera for video. It can record videos in 4K at a speed of 30 frames per second. A recording is performed from the entire field of the frame without crop.
Nowadays, this functionality is unique – so far no other hybrid camera makes it possible to record 4K from a full-frame with such parameters. The battery lasts for about 80 minutes of video recording.
The maximum duration of one video is limited and is 29 minutes 59 seconds. While recording, I didn’t notice much heating of the body.
In addition to the matrix stabilizer, there is an electronic one that you can enable if you want. However, if it’s on, a small crop can occur. Stabilization while shooting a handheld video works great.
When it comes to Full HD, the camera can record up to 120 frames per second with two modes available – slow and normal.
The best Nikon for video with long battery life
Sensor: 24.3MP APS-C CMOS | Video: Full HD (60fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 1229 k-dot | Ports: HDMI-D / 3.5mm | Weight: 1 lb 13.7 oz
⊕ Awesome autofocus in any light conditions
⊕ Fast real-time video stream
⊕ Built-in Wi-Fi
⊕ Long battery life
⊖ You can hear the clicking sound of aperture blades in the video
For those who are in search of the best Nikon DSLR for video, Nikon D750 is a nice option to consider. Like all DSLRs that have the EXPEED 4 processor, D750 can record Full HD-video at up to 60p.
It is possible to shoot at a resolution of 1920x1080 and 1280x720. The camera doesn’t support a resolution of 640x480. Nikon D750 records videos in MOV file format (H.264 / MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding) with an average bitrate of 37.4 Mbps.
During the shooting, it is possible to change ISO sensitivity as well as adjust white balance settings. By the way, you can set ISO value in video mode up to 12,800.
Moreover, D750 offers three levers of High ISO Noise Reduction settings. The only downside of Nikon D750 is that when using the built-in microphone, you can hear the clicking sound of aperture blades.
Affordable Nikon for video with good features
Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS | Video: Full HD (60fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 1037k-dot Touchscreen | Ports: HDMI-C / 3.5mm | Weight: 1 lb 0.4 oz
⊕ Rotary touch screen
⊕ Quick change of the AF point using the touch screen
⊕ Quick setup of wireless connections through NFC and Bluetooth
⊕ Wireless shooting control and file transfer through Wi-Fi
⊖ Reduced video recording time in high quality
⊖ You can’t change settings when shooting remotely via Wi-Fi connection
Nikon D5600 produces excellent Full HD video. All options support high and medium image quality that influences maximum possible recording time.
Thus, for the 1920 × 1080 / 60p and 50p option, it will be 10 minutes. But if you use frequencies from 30p and below and the “Normal quality” setting, the recording time will reach the maximum one for cameras: 29 minutes 59 seconds.
The quality of the night video produced by this camera is also very good. There isn’t any ripple and the colors remain bright and saturated.
In general, the automation sets the exposure correctly if the videographer hasn’t made any corrections in advance. This is a really good Nikon camera for video as aside from the regular video shooting, it also allows you to perform time-lapse video recording, that is, shooting slow-moving objects (for example, clouds).
You can set the interval between frames, the starting time and duration of the shooting. The material you shot will be recorded in a video format.
The best Nikon video camera for beginners
Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS | Video: Full HD (60fps) | Screen: 3-inch 921k-dot | Ports: HDMI-C | Weight: 15.7 oz
⊕ Compact and lightweight
⊕ Fast and accurate focusing
⊕ The Guide mode will help you master all the basic techniques for working with the camera
⊖ No ultrasonic matrix cleaning system
⊖ Video recording in the crop mode has a mono sound
The next model on the list of the best Nikon cameras for video is Nikon D3400. This device allows you to record video in Full HD resolution at a frequency of 60 frames per second but only with the crop.
The maximum length of a video in high quality is 20 minutes, in lower quality – 30 minutes. Sound is recorded in mono through the built-in microphone. There is no external microphone jack.
Unfortunately, only aperture settings are available before recording a video. The ISO and shutter speed are always controlled by automation. You can manage the brightness using exposure correction, which works even while recording a video.
You can apply Picture Control profiles and special effects from the Effects mode to your videos. There is a flicker suppression function that is created by fluorescent lamps.
For experienced videographers
Sensor: 20.9MP APS-C CMOS | Video: Full HD (60fps) / 4K (30fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 2.359m-dot touchscreen | Ports: HDMI-C / 3.5mm | Weight: 1 lb 14.4 oz
⊕ Tilting touchscreen
⊕ Fast and convenient autofocus in the Live View mode
⊕ Almost professional quality of video and audio recording
⊕ Low level of digital noise
⊖ Features pixel crop for 4K videos
⊖ Sometimes wireless connectivity works improperly
Nikon D500 has everything to fulfill all the requirements of professional videographers. The device has the necessary inputs and outputs: mic and earphones jack as well as HDMI output.
There is also a Picture Control mode called Flat, which is so sought-after among videographers as it allows performing color correction easily. It is possible to record 4K with a 1.3 crop factor. Besides, Full HD resolution can be shot with no additional crop.
What makes this device one of the best Nikon cameras for video is a low level of digital noise and excellent autofocus when recording videos. By the way, it is very convenient to adjust the focus point with a touch screen: just tap on the proper area of the screen, and the camera will focus on it.
Professional video shooting implies recording high-quality sound. D500 has a built-in stereo microphone. However, the experienced videographers will probably use external microphones, which can be hooked up via a separate port. It is possible to adjust microphone sensitivity in the camera menu.
Nikon video camera for any task
Sensor: 20.3MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS | Lens: 4.3-258 mm f/3.3-6.5 60x Zoom | Video: Ultra HD (30fps) | Screen: 3-inch 921k-dot | Ports: HDMI-D | Weight: 1 lb 4.2 oz
⊕ 60x zoom for high flexibility in operation
⊕ Rotary display
⊕ WLAN, NFC, and Bluetooth
⊕ Ultra-HD video recording
⊖ Image quality is good only in the daylight
This also might be the best Nikon camera for videography for you. Its huge zoom in combination with a high-resolution matrix and the possibility of UHD-shooting at smooth 30 frames per second can lure numerous beginning videographers.
The lens with a focal length from 24 to 1440 mm in a small format is suitable both for landscape videography and shooting objects located far away. The optical stabilizer also works well and makes the image pleasantly calm even at long focal lengths.
The best all-in-one camera
Sensor: 16MP CMOS 1/2.3-inch | Lens: 24–3000 mm f/2.8-8 125x Zoom | Video: 4K (30fps) | Screen: 3.2-inch 921k dots | Ports: HDMI-D / 3.5mm | Weight: 3.12 lbs
⊕ Powerful 125x (24-3,000mm) optical zoom range
⊕ Fully articulated screen
⊕ Supports 4K video
⊕ Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity
⊖ Produces soft corners at wide angle
⊖ Too warm image while using Auto white balance indoors
⊖ Poor AF performance in low-light situations and while shooting at longer focal lengths
⊖ The camera body is mostly plastic
If you are looking for the best Nikon camera for video, Nikon Coolpix P1000 is worth paying attention to. The 4K video recorded on P1000 looks awesome. Even if you shoot at the widest angle, you will get vibrant colors and crisp details. However, it doesn’t have enough maximum zoom optical capabilities to shoot a sharp video, even if you are using a tripod.
4K video is not stabilized, so in case you shoot in motion, the footage will be a little shaky. Image stabilization works well at 1080p resolution and 30 fps. But the footage recorded in motion has a soft flicker, which is a side effect of digital image stabilization.
If you are shooting in low-light conditions, you will get pretty good video quality. However, recording videos at high zoom levels results in worse video quality. The camera has a manual video mode, but you can’t change the focus point (as you can do for taking pictures), which is a little disappointing. It means that you have to move your subject or camera to focus on a particular detail.
360 Action Nikon camera
Sensor: 23.9MP 1/2.3-inch CMOS | Video: 4K (24fps) | Ports: HDMI-D | Weight: 7.0 oz
⊕ Instant start
⊕ Long recording time on a single battery charge
⊕ The format of the finished video is suitable for uploading to social networks
⊕ Large selection of original accessories
⊖ It is possible to accidentally start a video recording
⊖ No Live View mode in the Nikon Snapbridge app
Nikon has released not just another “spherical” camera but a well-protected action camera that shoots 360x360 video. The camera is very easy to use. It has just two buttons: for shooting video and photos.
There is no special button for turning on the camera. Just press one of the buttons, and after turning on, the device will immediately take a picture or start recording a video. The 1050 mAh battery capacity is enough for filming a 60-minutes video in maximum resolution.
KeyMission is a good Nikon camera for a video that will be useful for any thrill-seeker or diver who wants to get a qualitative 360° video. It is worth mentioning that there are no other 360° cameras for underwater shooting currently available on the market.
To pick the best Nikon camera for video, you need a better understanding of the features to pay attention to before making a purchase. Below, I considered the main criteria for choosing a camera for videography.
If you need to record video, sound, have a huge selection of lenses and take photos, it is better to choose a DSLR camera. They are often cheaper than mirrorless cameras and have a wide range of additional features.
If you want to keep up with the times and have a compact but professional device, the mirrorless camera will be a perfect choice. They are more expensive than DSLRs, but they produce better video quality.
For beginners, I recommend paying attention to all-in-one bridge cameras. Having such a device at hand, you don’t need to think about lenses and settings as all the necessary parameters are set automatically. A strong disadvantage of using these cameras is that it is impossible to connect a microphone to the camera. You will have to record sound on another device.
Of course, it is rather convenient to use automatic functions on a camera. However, if you are looking for the best Nikon camera for videography, it is better to choose the one with manual controls. By manually adjusting the settings, you can control the shooting process and, consequently, get better and more creative results.
Manual Focus. If you use autofocus, you will not be able to focus on a specific subject or detail. That is why it is recommended to choose a camera with manual focus. Once you manually focus your camera, you can highlight any subject you want.
Adjusting the camera shutter speed. Shutter speed controls how long the light is entering the lens. The higher the shutter speed, the sharper moving objects will appear in the video. This allows you to eliminate motion blurs.
Manual Aperture Settings. Aperture determines how much light will travel through the lens. Depending on the amount of light, you will choose aperture settings. In case the ambient lighting is poor, the aperture settings should be manually adjusted so that more light gets into the camera.
If you want to shoot videos in high resolution, it is better to pick Nikon digital camera with a large image sensor. Apart from producing high-resolution videos, you will get more detail and a sharp image. This is one of those cases when bigger means better.
You will not always shoot completely motionless subjects. That is why it is necessary to pay attention to the camera with good image stabilization. The majority of professional cameras have decent image stabilization features and allow you to shoot clear videos even in motion or without a tripod.
The best Nikon camera for video and photography should have good connections to help you record first-class clips. Those who do videography professionally often use outboard monitors and additional microphones. That is why their cameras must have reliable SDI or HDMI video connections.
Although it may not seem a very significant feature, it is still very convenient to have an in-camera headphone jack. This allows you to control the sound and make some adjustments if necessary.
Moreover, with the help of headphones, you may not need to remove unnecessary noise and refine sound during the video post-production. However, it is necessary to pick the headphones of premium quality to achieve better results.
Although you will probably use several microphones when recording your clips, it’s essential to have a camera with first-class audio capabilities. Sometimes there are situations when you need to rely only on the in-camera microphone when shooting, so the best Nikon camera for video is a device with excellent audio quality.
Some professional cameras feature XLR, a connector that allows you to use any kind of external microphones. Even if you are not using an external microphone, for example, when shooting a wedding, the sound recorded by your camera should be clear and loud enough.