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Best Nikon Mirrorless Cameras

Matic Broz profile picture By Matic Broz Updated September 2, 2022
Best Nikon Mirrorless Cameras thumbnail

Although Nikon owns only around 14% of the mirrorless camera market share, it’s a brilliant choice in 2022 for a mirrorless camera. Based on our tests and experience, the best Nikon mirrorless camera is the Z7 II, although it’s pretty expensive (priced at around $3,000).

A great full-frame budget camera with similar performance but a lower resolution is the Nikon Z6 II, priced at around $2,000. The Nikon Z9 is the way to go if you need state-of-the-art performance, although it is prohibitively expensive at $6,000.

For those on a low budget, we recommend Nikon Z5 for beginners and Nikon Z fc for the retro-lovers.

Best Nikon Mirrorless Cameras of 2022

  1. Nikon Z7 II
    Best Overall
    Nikon Z7 II
    Nikon
    $2,996 at Amazon Read more
  2. Nikon Z6 II
    Best Value
    Nikon Z6 II
    Nikon
    $1,996 at Amazon Read more
  3. Nikon Z9
    Best Performance
    Nikon Z9
    Nikon
    $5,989 at Amazon Read more
  4. Nikon Z5
    Best for beginners
    Nikon Z5
    Nikon
    $1,297 at Amazon Read more
  5. Nikon Z fc
    Best for retro lovers
    Nikon Z fc
    Nikon
    $1,097 at Amazon Read more

What To Consider

  • Price: Mirrorless cameras are slightly more expensive than their equally performing DSLR counterparts. When buying a camera, remember that price is directly related to the camera’s performance. We know that everyone wants the best possible camera, but if you’re not a pro, there’s simply no reason to pay $5,000 for features you’re never going to need. Therefore, settle for a camera with everything you require without paying for the extras.
  • Resolution: How many megapixels you need in a camera depends on how you will use the photos. For large prints (i.e., bigger than 50x50cm), you should pick at least a 40MP sensor. But if you’re a hobbyist who will only upload photos online, around 20MP is more than enough.
  • Dynamic range: When shooting in difficult light conditions, such as at sunset or in poorly lit rooms, having a high dynamic range will preserve details you would otherwise lose due to clipping. Therefore, a high dynamic range is essential for landscape, wedding, wildlife, and real estate photographers.
  • Additional features: Each year, mirrorless cameras are getting more and more features, so it’s easy to get lost in the numbers and fancy names. While most people benefit from excellent internal stabilization and better battery life, most never use 10 FPS burst shooting and 8K video capabilities.

The Best Nikon Mirrorless Cameras of 2022

Nikon Z7 II
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5.0
Best Overall

Nikon Z7 II

  • Price: $2,996
  • Resolution:  45.7MP
  • Image stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
  • ISO: 64–25,600

Why We Picked It

The Nikon Z7 II improves on everything great about the original Z7. The Z7 II can shoot continuous bursts at 10 frames per second thanks to updated processing. It can also record UHD 4K 60p and external 10-bit video in N-Log or HLG (HDR) modes. The BSI CMOS sensor with 45.7MP resolution provides high-resolution shooting, excellent low-light performance, and fast readout speeds. The USB Type-C port enables in-camera or continuous power for charging on the go or extended shooting.

With UHD 4K video recording and Full HD 1080p video recording, the Z7 II is also a powerful multimedia camera. Thanks to 493 phase-detection autofocus points that cover 90% of the image area, you’ll achieve sharp images and video effortlessly. The rugged magnesium alloy body is dust and weather-resistant, making it ideal for use in harsh environments. An electronic OLED viewfinder with 3.6 million pixels is integrated for comfortable viewing at eye level. Built-in SnapBridge connectivity lets you transfer low-resolution images to your smartphone or tablet.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Best native ISO 64 low-ISO quality
  • Great dynamic range
  • Autofocus rivals similarly priced alternatives
  • Robust, weather-sealed construction
  • Friendly ergonomics
  • Customizable buttons/controls
  • 4K 60 fps SD card slot is nice.
  • 5-axis control
  • Handling and durability
  • High-quality photos

Cons

  • Minor ergonomic flaws remain unchanged from the Z7
  • EVF resolution is lower than competitors
  • Tilt-angle display, not vari-angle
  • Shooting speeds are average
  • No internal 10-bit video recording
  • A minor update
  • Rivals have superior AF for action.

Who It’s For

The Nikon Z7 II is the best choice for professional photographers who need a high-resolution sensor with the best possible dynamic range and a weather-resistant camera. It’s a must for photographers who need all the latest features, including improved stabilization, excellent video recording capabilities, and others.

Nikon Z6 II
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4.5
Best Value

Nikon Z6 II

  • Price: $1,996
  • Resolution:  24.5MP
  • Image stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
  • ISO: 100–51,200

Why We Picked It

The Nikon Z6 II mirrorless camera is an updated version of the Nikon Z6 mirrorless camera. It features dual EXPEED 6 image processors for better buffering performance and a faster shooting rate of 14 frames per second. In addition, firmware version 1.10 enables UHD 4K shooting at frame rates of 60p and 50p. The camera also features two memory card slots for more versatile file storage. When shooting externally, the camera also supports HDR (HLG) mode, which creates instant HDR-compatible video files for instant playback.

In addition to the current 30p frame rate, a future firmware update will add a UHD 4K 60p recording. In addition, the Z6 II features 273 phase-detection autofocus points covering 90% of the image area. Full HD 1080p video recording up to 120p for slow-motion playback is also supported. The camera features a rugged magnesium alloy body that is dust and weather-resistant, making it ideal for use in harsh environments. It also features a 3.6 million pixel OLED electronic viewfinder for easy eye-level viewing. Finally, the camera has SnapBridge connectivity, allowing the seamless transfer of low-resolution images.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Excellent image quality at high ISO values
  • Well-designed menus and buttons
  • EVF with high magnification without delay or flickering
  • Continuous servo autofocus with eye control (AF -C) works well
  • Best-in-class AF -S autofocus in low-light conditions
  • Two slots for memory cards
  • Ultra-slow-motion 4K (60 FPS) and 1080p are now possible (120 FPS)
  • Travel-friendly, compact design
  • The competitive starting price of $2000

Cons

  • AF-C for tracking birds needs improvement.
  • LCD can only be tilted, not tilted or rotated.
  • No ultra-high resolution sensor shift mode.
  • A cluttered live view requires a dedicated button.
  • EVF sensor sensitivity is still too high, despite temporary correction.
  • Unilluminated buttons
  • Drive mode cannot be assigned to the U1/U2/U3 key or a user-defined key.
  • When you turn the camera off and on again, the self-timer

Who It’s For

The Nikon Z6 II is the Z7’s little brother, still capable of excellent performance, although it has a slightly smaller sensor. Therefore, the Nikon Z6 II is not suitable for large prints but excellent for any type of photography.

Nikon Z9
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4.4
Best Performance

Nikon Z9

  • Price: $5,989
  • Resolution:  45.7MP
  • Image stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
  • ISO: 64–25,600

Why We Picked It

Nikon has been a little late in launching its professional high-performance mirrorless camera, but the Nikon Z9 was worth the wait. It far surpasses the Canon EOS R3 in terms of video performance. It can shoot video in 8K 60p or 8K 30p and has a recording time of up to 2 hours. Nikon has done away with the mechanical shutter, so the Z9 can shoot at 120 frames per second with a maximum shutter speed of 1/32,000, making it ideal for sports and bird photography.

The Z9’s camera is equipped with Deep Learning AF, which allows it to recognize nine different types of objects: human eyes, faces, heads, and torsos; animal eyes, heads, and bodies; as well as cars, planes, trains, and motorcycles. It has 493 AF points, the same as the Nikon Z7 II. That’s impressive until you realize that the Canon EOS R3 has 4,779 AF points. The Sony A1 and the Canon EOS R3 cost significantly more than the Z9.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 120 fps
  • Can record for 2+ hours in video modes
  • USB is useful
  • Uncompromising 7k video
  • Durability
  • New 45.7 MP full-frame sensor

Cons

  • The body is large and heavy.
  • Additional cost for CFexpress or XQD card.
  • No quick way to set automatic ISO min shutter speed.
  • There is no fold-out display.

Who It’s For

The Nikon Z9 is the best pro hybrid (for photos and video) for professional photographers who do not care about the budget.

Nikon Z5
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4.3
Best for Beginners

Nikon Z5

  • Price: $1,297
  • Resolution:  24.3MP
  • Image stabilization: Sensor-Shift, 5-Axis
  • ISO: 100–51,200

Why We Picked It

Nikon has recently done an excellent job developing its Z family of full-frame mirrorless cameras with the flagship Z7 II and the bold APS-C variant Z50. However, there seemed to be no entry-level camera for the full-frame lineup. That’s what has now happened with the Nikon Z5, a fashionable compact camera with full-frame capabilities at an affordable price.

In other respects, the Z5 is inspired by professional bodies, with dual card slots and 4K UHD video. However, continuous filming at more than 4.5 frames per second is impossible. If this is your first time shooting with a full-frame camera, you’ll be spoiled for choice, as it’s fully waterproof, has five-stage image stabilization, and has a great electronic viewfinder. We like the affordable price of this camera—it’s much cheaper than the Nikon Z6 II—and its helpful retractable kit lens.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Very good handling
  • Even with the kit lens, the camera is small and compact.
  • Built-in VR
  • Has focus stacking
  • WiFi and Bluetooth are options for connectivity.
  • Two slots for memory cards
  • A very good AF system
  • Full frame sensor and small size

Cons

  • Slow frame rate
  • No lens hood included
  • Nikon Z6 is cheaper
  • Tilting display, no variable angle 4K videos are cropped 1.7x

Who It’s For

Available at a relatively low price for a full-frame mirrorless camera, Nikon Z5 is an excellent choice for beginners. Thanks to its great specs, it’s also a solid choice for intermediate-level photographers.

Nikon Z fc
Photutorial logo small
3.9
Best for Retro Lovers

Nikon Z fc

  • Price: $1,097
  • Resolution:  20.9MP
  • Image stabilization: /
  • ISO: 100–51,200

Why We Picked It

The Nikon Z 50 is a good camera with some weaknesses that keep it from being great. First and foremost, the build quality is a bit shaky and feels a bit cheap in places. The camera is also relatively small, which is a plus for portability, but to take full advantage of the size, you’ll need to use small lenses.

Focusing is quite fast but can be a bit slow at times, and the animal feature AF does not work for horses, which is unfortunate. Image quality is good, but the lack of image stabilization can make it challenging to get good shots. The EVF is also quite sensitive and can easily be misaligned. Overall, the Nikon Z 50 is a good camera, but it is not without its weaknesses.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Affordable Z-mount entry
  • Acceptable image quality
  • Elegant, ergonomic
  • Video quality
  • Affordable
  • Countless dials

Cons

  • Plastic construction
  • Slow kit lens does not show the camera’s potential.
  • Canon EOS R autofocus is superior.
  • Incredible night focus light 20.9 MP.
  • Lack of DX Z-mount lenses
  • Indestructible
  • Unsupported UHS-II

Who It’s For

Thanks to its retro and compact design, it’s a good choice for anyone who appreciates the retro look of cameras and travel photographers.

How Our Picks Compare

FeatureNikon Z7 IINikon Z6 IINikon Z9Nikon Z5Nikon Z fc
Price$2,996$1,996$5,989$1,297$1,097
Lens MountNikon ZNikon ZNikon ZNikon ZNikon Z
Resolution45.7 MP24.5 MP45.7 MP24.3 MP20.9 MP
Sensor type35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full-frame) CMOS35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS35.9 x 23.9 mm (Full-Frame) CMOS23.5 x 15.7 mm (APS-C) CMOS, 1.5x crop factor
Image stabilizationSensor-Shift, 5-AxisSensor-Shift, 5-AxisSensor-Shift, 5-AxisSensor-Shift, 5-Axis
ISO64–25,600 (Extended: 32–102,400)100–51,200 (Extended: 50–204,800)64–25,600 (Extended: 32–102,400)100–51,200 (Extended: 50–102,400)100–51,200 (Extended: 50–204,800)
Continuous shooting10 fps up to 50 frames14 fps up to 124 frames20 fps up to 1,000 frames4.5 fps11 fps
Bit Depth14-Bit14-Bit14-Bit14-Bit
14-Bit
Monitor3.2”, 2.1M dots, tilting touchscreen LCD3.2”, 2.1M dots, tilting touchscreen LCD3.2”, 2.1M dots, tilting touchscreen LCD3.2”, 1.04M dots, tilting touchscreen LCD3”, 1.04M dots, tilting touchscreen LCD
ViewfinderElectronic (OLED), 3.69M dotsElectronic (OLED), 3.69M dotsElectronic (OLED), 3.69M dotsElectronic (OLED), 3.69M dotsElectronic (OLED), 2.36M dots
Autofocus493 points273 points493 points273 points209 points
Weight1.4 lb / 615 g1.4 lb / 615 g2.6 lb / 1160 g1.3 lb / 590 g13.8 oz / 390 g
Dimensions (W x H x D)5.3 x 4 x 2.7″ / 134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm5.3 x 4 x 2.7″ / 134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm5.9 x 5.9 x 3.6″ / 149 x 149.5 x 90.5 mm5.28 x 3.96 x 2.74″ / 134 x 100.5 x 69.5 mm5.3 x 3.7 x 1.8″ / 13.5 x 9.4 x 4.6 cm

Lens Mount

All Nikon mirrorless lenses have a Z-mount, denoted by the “Z” in their names. This means that they are fully compatible with all Z-mount lenses. The Z-lineup currently supports wide-angle and medium-range lenses very well but lacks telephoto lenses. There are now only four actual telephoto lenses.

Compared to the standard DSLR Nikon lenses (denoted by “F” or simply missing the letter “Z” in the name), the Z-mount lenses are relatively new and quite expensive. In addition, there are far fewer Z lenses, so finding the best one for your needs is more complicated.

A good workaround for many photographers, especially long-time Nikon customers, is Nikon’s FTZ adapter, which allows you to use NIKKOR F lenses with your Z-mount mirrorless camera. Coincidentally, FTZ received an update that improved its performance, design, and a lower price—now called Nikon FTZ II.

Best Z-mount Lenses For Nikon Mirrorless Cameras

Best Wide Angle

  • NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S: This is the best super-wide angle lens for beginners and intermediates.
  • NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S: A pro-level upgrade to the 14-30mm f/4 S with excellent performance across the frame and a fixed aperture at all focal lengths.
  • NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S: A professional, weather-sealed prime lens built with sturdy materials. It’s also relatively lightweight compared to similar alternatives.

Best Standard

  • NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S: A fantastic kit lens with the Nikon Z6 II and a few other models. It covers a useful focal length range for landscape photography. You can get decent bokeh and macro shots thanks to the fixed aperture and good minimal focusing distance.
  • NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S: This lens is a pro-upgrade of the 24-70 f/4 S. It has an even wider fixed aperture and is slightly sharper towards the corners.
  • NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR: This is another kit lens with a broad focal length range, covering everything from wide-angle to telephoto. Because of the higher zoom range, it performs slightly worse than the 24-70mm f/4 and doesn’t have a fixed aperture.
  • NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3: This 24-50mm is a small lens with great performance. Its images are impeccably sharp. It feels good in the hand, folds up for transport, and focuses fast.
  • NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S: A very similar lens to the kit 24-70mm f/4 S but with a slightly broader focal length range and comparable performance.
  • NIKKOR Z 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR (Standard and Silver): It is very compact and foldable. It has an effective focal length of 24-75mm on APS-C format cameras, making it an appealing all-arounder suitable for a wide range of photography.

Best Telephoto

  • NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S: The only not-so-expensive telephoto lens for Nikon mirrorless cameras. However, at $2,200, it is still out of reach for most photographers.
  • NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S: A fantastic macro (and telephoto) lens. It has a perfect image stabilization system and a short minimum focusing distance, which allows you to get very close to subjects. It also produces decent bokeh.
  • NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S: This is the ultimate lens for professional sports and wildlife photographers.

Should You Get a Mirrorless or DSLR Camera?

Mirrorless cameras have no distinct advantage over DLSRs in terms of performance except that they are lighter. Despite both being able to deliver excellent photos, you should get a mirrorless camera in 2022. The main reason is that mirrorless cameras are steadily gaining popularity, while DSLRs are declining. Some brands have already stopped manufacturing their DSLRs.

For example, Nikon has already announced that it will discontinue its DSLRs. In late 2021, Canon indicated that the EOS-1D X Mark III would be its last pro DSLR. With that in mind, buying a DSLR and a bunch of lenses isn’t a good idea in 2022, as they will soon lose support and no one will buy them from you.

How We Picked and Tested

The writer of this article has a wealth of experience with cameras and photography. He has been a photographer for over ten years and has worked in a camera retail store for over two years. Recently, when he decided to upgrade to a mirrorless camera, he tested, reviewed, and researched all the best mirrorless cameras on the market. His final decision was between the Canon EOS R6, Sony a7 III, and Nikon Z6 II. After many testing rounds, he bought the Nikon Z6 II, which he has used for over a year.

The article was further fact-checked and verified by other professional photographers who are also experienced mirrorless shooters.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Nikon Mirrorless Cameras Worth It?

Nikon mirrorless cameras are a fantastic choice 2022. They are affordable compared to Canon, provide a much better user experience than Sony, and come with full-frame sensors even on cheaper models.

What Is The Best Nikon Mirrorless Camera?

The Nikon Z7 II is Nikon’s best mirrorless camera overall. The Nikon Z6 II has the best price-to-performance ratio. At the same time, the Nikon Z9 is best for professionals, the Nikon Z5 is best for beginners, and the Nikon Z fc adds retro style to an otherwise powerful camera.

Sources

  1. Amy Davies, Nikon Z7 II Review. Photography Blog. Updated: December 23, 2020. Accessed: August 21, 2022.
  2. Nasim Mansurov, Nikon Z6 II. Photography Life. Updated: January 8, 2022. Accessed: August 21, 2022.
  3. Richard Butler, Jordan Drake. Nikon Z9 review: a DSLR-like stills/video monster. DP Review. Updated: April 14, 2022. Accessed: August 21, 2022.

About your guide

Matic Broz profile image
Matic Broz

Matic Broz is a photographer, graphic designer, and stock photographer. For over ten years he's been helping photographers improve their photos and graphic designers find the best images for their designs. His work has been featured by Lifewire, Skylum, and PetaPixel. In his free time, he enjoys photography, hiking, and petting random dogs. Read more

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