Searching for the best Nikon mirrorless cameras? Amy Davies and the AP team have got you covered, with every mirrorless model by Nikon reviewed and rated.

In this guide, we’re taking you through the best Nikon mirrorless cameras you can buy. Since the 2018 launch of the Z system with two full-frame cameras – the Z7 and Z6 – the series has expanded and gone from strength to strength, now boasting a line-up that includes full-frame and APS-C cameras. But if you’re new to the Nikon Z mirrorless system, it can be confusing to know where to start. Which camera is right for your skill level? Can you use old Nikon F lenses with new Nikon Z cameras? And aren’t we supposed to put a space in the name and call it the Nikon “Z 7”?

Well, we can answer two of those questions right off the bat. First: yes, you can use the best Nikon F-mount lenses with Z-mount cameras and often enjoy full functionality of autofocus and stabilisation – you just need the Nikon FTZ mirrorless adapter in order to do so. And second: yes, you’re technically supposed to put a space in the camera names, but most people who aren’t Nikon have quietly stopped bothering and just call them the “Z7” and similar.

The other question is a little more complicated, as the Z range now contains plenty of options. Beginner photographers may want to consider the smaller, cheaper, APS-C cameras like the Z50 and Z fc. However, if you’re focused on video rather than stills, the Z30 could be a better choice, or you may want to bite the bullet and jump straight into full-frame with the Z5. The story is similar for enthusiasts – do you want the high-resolution Z7 II, or the all-rounder Z6 II? Or you could save some cash and pick up the older, cheaper Z6 and Z7 models. And the flagship Nikon Z9, meanwhile, is one of the most capable cameras ever made – but comes for a price.

Before we get into the list, we’ve put together a quick guide to the key features to pay attention to when buying a Nikon mirrorless camera. Not sure mirrorless is right for you? We have a useful DSLR vs mirrorless rundown, as well as a guide to the best Nikon DSLRs.

How to choose a Nikon mirrorless camera

When considering buying a Nikon camera (or any camera), there’s some key specifications to think about. We’ve broken it down for you to make it easier to get your head around.

Sensor & Resolution

There is a choice of two sensor sizes for Nikon mirrorless cameras; either full-frame or APS-C. There are pros and cons of each type of sensor, so it’s important to think about what you really need – and not just automatically assume the bigger full-frame is better. That said, generally speaking full-frame does tend to give better image quality in a variety of different situations (such as low light). With APS-C however, what you lose image quality you gain in other areas, such as faster speeds for action shooting, and a smaller and lighter overall system for travel.

When it comes to resolution, again it’s not necessarily true that the higher the pixel count the better. The type of things you photograph might well influence your decision here – for example photographers who shoot macro images may crave super high detail, while those who shoot action at multiple frames per second may prefer lower resolution files which take up less memory.

Screen & Viewfinder

All of Nikon’s mirrorless cameras include both a screen and a viewfinder. All of the screens offer movement in some way – either tilting or fully articulating, both of which are good for composing from awkward angles. A fully articulating screen is more useful for video, especially if you want to record pieces to camera. When it comes to the viewfinder, take a look at both its size and resolution if you want the most natural experience possible.

Image Stabilisation

All of Nikon’s full-frame cameras include in-body image stabilisation (IBIS). Neither of Nikon’s APS-C models offer it, which is something to think about – particularly if you’re likely to be using either model with long lenses. That said, you can mitigate for the lack of IBIS by always using lenses with stabilisation, or by consistently using a tripod in certain conditions.

Frame Rate

If you want to photograph fast moving subjects, then you’ll be looking for a camera which offers a fast frame rate. On the whole, mirrorless cameras are better at this than their DSLR counterparts, with up to 30fps (frames per second) being available in some high-end models. This specification is likely to be less important for you if you generally shoot still subjects (such as landscapes, macro, portraits etc). As well as a fast frame rate, pay attention to the quality of continuous autofocusing too.


Pretty much every modern camera is equipped with 4K video recording at the very least. But there’s other specifications to consider, such as whether a crop is applied, the frame rates available and special video modes. You might even be looking for 8K video if you’re a high-end videographer. Alternatively, you might think video an irrelevance if you only ever shoot stills.

Build Quality

If you can actually hold a camera in your hands before you commit to buy it, you’ll get to know a little bit about how it handles. If that’s not possible, consider reviews, but also specifications such as weather-sealing, especially if you intend to be using the camera outside in tricky weather conditions.

Lens Choices

Now that the Z series is a few years old, there’s a decent range of directly compatible optics. As both the full-frame and APS-C models share the same mount, you can use lenses across both formats, but bear in mind that any lenses you use on an APS-C sensor should have a 1.5x crop factor applied (so a 35mm lens becomes around 52mm for example). It’s also worth noting that there are specific lenses which are designed for the crop format sensor, which Nikon calls DX. If you can’t find a lens that you like in the Z line-up, it’s possible to use DSLR lenses via an adapter.

Once you’ve chosen your Nikon mirrorless camera, don’t forget to pick up some of the best Z-mount lenses for Nikon to go with it. But for now, let’s get to the list of the best Nikon mirrorless cameras you can buy…

1. Best professional Nikon mirrorless: Nikon Z9 – £5,299 / $5,496 (body only)

Best professional camera: Nikon Z9 in hand, photo AW, original: PA220189-acr

The Nikon Z9 is one of the most sophisticated and capable cameras on the market. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • Professional-level flagship full-frame mirrorless
  • 30fps shooting (120fps at 11 megapixels)
  • 45.7 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 6-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • 8K video
  • AI subject-detect autofocus
  • 3.69-million-dot electronic viewfinder

What a camera this is. The Nikon Z9 is the firm’s mirrorless professional flagship, a spiritual successor to its single-digit DSLRs like the D5 and D6. For years these cameras were a mainstay of professional sports shooters, and the incredible speedster that is the Z9 continues in that grand tradition,

Let’s get the headline specs out of the way. The Nikon Z9 is capable of shooting 45.7MP full-resolution RAWs at 20 frames per second, and can do so for more than 1,000 frames. Switch to JPEGs and it’ll manage 30 fps – drop the resolution down to a still-useable 11MP, and it’ll shoot at a staggering 120fps. And this is all paired with an intelligent, class-leading subject-detection autofocus system that’s capable of recognising specific things like faces, animals, cars, birds and more. What’s more, unlike Canon and Sony’s system, you don’t have to pre-select what it’s hunting for beforehand. No matter whether the subject is moving, or if it’s in the corner of the frame, this system seems to hit it with almost unerring accuracy.

We speak with some authority here, having put the Nikon Z9 through an extensive testing procedure. In some situations the autofocus landed on the wrong subject, or saw a face where there wasn’t one, but these incidences were few and far between. The Nikon Z9 is an incredible camera that just works – it powers up in seconds, and keeps going for ages on a single battery charge. It can shoot completely silently, and also has a high-efficiency RAW format that keeps file sizes down with no noticeable impact on image quality. Incredibly useful for those fast burst speeds!

Of course, it all comes at a cost. The Nikon Z9 is a high-end pro camera and is priced as such. For many users it will simply be out of reach. If it’s within your budget, however, it is quite simply one of the best cameras we’ve ever tested.

What we like:

  • Best-in-class autofocus
  • Lightspeed burst
  • High-resolution sensor

What we don’t like:

  • Hugely expensive, obviously

Best for: action, wildlife and sport photography, professional photographers

Read our Nikon Z9 review

2. Best high-resolution Nikon mirrorless: Nikon Z7 II – £2,919 / $2,996 (body only)

Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (MT)

The Z7 II fixes a few issues with the original Z7 to deliver a spectacular high-resolution camera. Photo credit: Michael Topham

At a glance:

  • 45.7 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • Up to 10fps shooting
  • 4K video
  • 5-stop in-body image stabiliser
  • Eye-detection autofocus
  • 3.69-million-dot electronic viewfinder

A high-resolution full-frame model for serious enthusiasts and professionals, the Nikon Z7 II delivers a comprehensive shooting experience while fixing a few of the flaws of the first version. It’s got two card slots now, with a second UHS-II SD slot in addition to the CFExpress/XQD slot from the original Z7.

In testing, we found the Nikon Z7 II to deliver exactly the kind of sublime quality we’ve come to expect from the series, thanks to its 45.7MP back-illuminated full-frame sensor. The camera performs beautifully at all its standard ISO settings, and while noise starts to creep in at ISO 12,800 and 25,600, results are still perfectly acceptable. The electronic viewfinder is big and beautiful enough to give pause to even the most die-hard DSLR enthusiast (though its raw resolution lags behind that of rivals from the likes of Canon and Sony). Plus, the Z7 II can achieve a decent burst speed of 10fps, with a deep shot buffer.

It’s not the biggest upgrade over the original Z7, and isn’t supposed to be; the original camera is still on sale as a compelling, cheaper alternative. In either case, you get an exceptional mirrorless camera, with perfectly pitched handling, and the ability to produce superb images. It’s hard to ask for more than that.

What we like:

  • Dual fast card slots
  • Deep shooting buffer
  • Excellent handling

What we don’t like:

  • Nasty crop on 4K video
  • Viewfinder lower-res than rivals

Best for: landscape photographers, macro photographers, portrait photographers

Read our Nikon Z7 II review

3. Best all-round Nikon mirrorless: Nikon Z6 II – £2,009 / $1,996 (body only)

Nikon Z6 II with 50mm f1.8 lens

After a long time spent with the Nikon Z6 II, we’ve been left hugely impressed. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • 24.5 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 14fps shooting
  • 5-stop in-body image stabilisation
  • 4K video
  • 3.69-million-dot electronic viewfinder

If you’re after a solid and reliable all-rounder which is capable of shooting a number of different subjects – without breaking the bank – then the Z6 II is the one to go for.

Resolution is a more staid 24.5 megapixels, but this comes with the advantage of not only smaller file sizes, but the ability to shoot at up to 14fps (compared to the Z7 II), so it’s a better choice for sports and action too. With other useful features including 4K video, IBIS, eye-detection autofocus and great handling, it’s a lovely camera that works well for a variety of different photographers and skill levels.

As well as our initial review of the camera, we also recently completed a Nikon Z6 II long-term test. This was our chance to see how the camera would hold up over the rigours of regular use for travel and day-to-day photography. Our conclusion? As an all-rounder, this camera is pretty tough to argue with. It just gets the shot in the majority of situations, and while ‘sports/wildlife pros may need even more speed, and yes, hard-core landscapers might need more resolution‘, those who want to do a bit of everything will find the Z6 II to be a stalwart companion.

What we like:

  • Robust 14fps burst
  • Focuses well in low light
  • All-around good at everything, for decent price

What we don’t like:

  • Not a huge jump from cheaper Z6
  • Screen not fully articulated

Best for: All-rounder photographers without a huge budget

Read our Nikon Z6 II review

4. Best budget full-frame Nikon mirrorless: Nikon Z5 – £1,259 / $1,296 (body only)

Nikon Z5 with 24-50mm lens

The Nikon Z5 is a compelling entry-level full-frame option. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • 24.3 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 4.5fps shooting
  • 4K video
  • 3.69-million-dot electronic viewfinder

If you want a full-frame mirrorless but have a limited budget, you could try the Nikon Z 5.

With this, you get a well-performing full-frame sensor and similar great handling as the more expensive Z6 II, but with some key compromises.

Although the resolution of the sensor is similar, the Z5’s is not back-side illuminated, so it doesn’t perform quite so well in lower light conditions. It’s also not quite as quick, especially when it comes to frame rates – so if action, sports or wildlife is your thing, it’s probably not the right model for you.

What you do get is a good performer for static subjects, and access to the full-frame system without spending a fortune – which makes it ideal for beginners and those upgrading to full-frame for the first time.

What we like:

  • Excellent build quality
  • Dual card slots
  • Good entry point for full frame

What we don’t like:

  • 1.7x crop on 4K
  • Only 4.5fps burst

Best for: beginners, those new to full frame

Read our Nikon Z5 review

5. Best Nikon mirrorless for vlogging: Nikon Z30 – £699 / $706 (body only)

Nikon Z30

With a flip-around rear-screen and no viewfinder, the Nikon Z30 is pitched towards vloggers. Photo credit: Tim Coleman

At a glance:

  • 20.9 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • 11fps shooting
  • Single card slot
  • No viewfinder
  • Uncropped 4K video

Currently the newest member of the Nikon mirrorless range, the Nikon Z30 is a camera aimed squarely at vloggers. It shapes up as a natural rival to similarly priced vlogging cameras like the Sony ZV-E10, with the same APS-C sensor, though as the Z system is in relatively early days (still!) with its lens catalogue, you won’t have such a gargantuan selection of optics as you would with Sony’s E-mount.

Still, on its own terms, the Nikon Z30 is an impressive camera. As we found in our full test and review, its comfortable grip makes for solid handling. The camera is easy to use one-handed, with the flip-around screen handy for self-taping. There’s no viewfinder, but a vlogging camera does not really need one, and it help keeps the weight down to a slender 405g. Not bad!

Video footage looks excellent, with uncropped 4K available at up to 30p, and a Flat colour profile that is is ideal for grading (it’s not quite a Log profile, but it’s close). Full HD is also available at up to 120p, bringing slow-motion into play.

There are a couple of omissions. We found that the lack of a headphone jack compromises the Z30’s usefulness somewhat when it comes to video, as having no way to accurately monitor your audio mid-shoot could cause real problems. Also, while the lack of in-body stabilisation was presumably a sacrifice to keep the cost and weight down, it does make it harder to use the Z30 for run-and-gun shooting (and the cost-savings are somewhat negated anyway if you end up having to buy a gimbal).

What we like:

  • Very lightweight
  • Excellent, uncropped 4K
  • Well priced

What we don’t like:

  • No headphone jack
  • No in-body stabilisation

Best for: vloggers on a budget

Read our Nikon Z30 review

6. Best high-res budget full-frame Nikon mirrorless: Nikon Z7 -£2,399 / $2,449 (body only)

Nikon Z7

The Z7 has a tilting rear screen that’s great for low-angle or overhead shots. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • 45.7 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 9fps shooting
  • Single card slot
  • 5-stop in-body image stabilisation
  • 4K video
  • 3.69-million-dot electronic viewfinder

Although it has now been replaced by the Mark II version, you can still pick up the original Z7. You can get especially good bargains if you look for it second-hand too.

The differences between the Z7 and the Z7 II aren’t that huge – so it really depends on the types of things which are “must haves” for you. The Z7 is slightly worse for burst shooting – but neither are cameras we’d particularly recommend for action shooters, so that might not be too much of an issue.

Another difference is that the Z7 II has dual card slots, compared to just a single XQD slot for the Z7. That’s perhaps a bigger issue for professionals who absolutely must have a back-up, but arguably less important for amateurs.

There are some other small differences, but the two cameras share the same sensor and body design, so if you don’t need all those extras, it makes sense to get the older (and therefore cheaper) version.

What we like:

  • Excellent all-around image quality
  • Superb, silent autofocus
  • Effective 5-axis stabilisation

What we don’t like:

  • Single XQD card slot

Best for: Landscape photographers, macro photographers, those who want full-frame for a bargain

Read our Nikon Z7 review

7. Best all-round budget-friendly Nikon mirrorless: Nikon Z6 – £1, 349 / $1,596 (body only)

Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm f/4 lens (MT)

At a glance:

  • 24.5 megapixel full-frame sensor
  • 12 fps shooting
  • Single card slot
  • 4K video
  • 3.68-million-dot electronic viewfinder

Just as with the Z7 series, the Z6 is still available to buy despite there now being a Mark II version to buy.

And once again, if you like everything about the Z6 II, but don’t have quite the budget, it’s worth checking out the older model which shares a lot of similarities – most notably the same sensor and outward body design.

What you don’t get is an extra card slot or quite so fast performance and shooting (but you’re still left with a reasonable 12fps). Once again, there are a number of small incremental improvements, but you can pick up a great bargain by opting for the older version.

What we like:

  • Much cheaper than Z7
  • Effective 5-axis stabilisation
  • Well-integrated touchscreen

What we don’t like:

  • Again, single XQD card slot

Best for: all-round photographers, entry-level photographers

Read our Nikon Z6 review

8. Best Nikon mirrorless for beginners: Nikon Z50 – £875 / $856 (body only)

Nikon Z50 in hand with lens, Photo: Michael Topham

Nikon Z50 in hand with 16-50mm lens. Photo credit: Michael Topham

At a glance:

  • 20.9 megapixel APS-C sensor
  • Tilting touch screen
  • 11fps shooting
  • 4K video
  • 2.36-million-dot electronic viewfinder

If you want something small, light and not too complex, then the Nikon Z 50 arguably makes more sense than Nikon’s full-frame models.

It uses a smaller APS-C sized sensor, but uses the same Z mount as other cameras in the Z range, so you can use all the same lenses – or go for smaller ones which are more specifically designed for the smaller system for a great travel combo.

You get a well-performing 20.9 megapixel sensor, and 11fps which is decent for action / moving subjects. You also get 4K video and a screen which tilts forwards, which may appeal to vloggers.

Overall, this is a neat little all-rounder, and especially for the price is well worth considering if you don’t desperately crave full-frame.

What we like:

  • Excellent viewfinder and touchscreen
  • 11fps shooting and responsive AF
  • Deep handgrip

What we don’t like:

  • Limited DX-format Z lenses

Best for: travel, entry-level photographers

Read our Nikon Z50 review

9. Best Nikon mirrorless for style: Nikon Z fc – £859 / $956 (body only)

Nikon Zfc Z fc with 28mm SE lens, photo Andy Westlake

Nikon Z fc with 28mm SE lens. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

At a glance:

  • 20.9 megapixel APS-C format sensor
  • 11fps shooting
  • 4K video
  • Vari-angle screen
  • Retro-styled body
  • 2.36-million-dot electronic viewfinder

Using the same base specifications as the Z 50, the Z fc should appeal to all of those that want something that not only performs well, but also looks the part too.

With its attractive retro styling, it’s quite possibly the best looking Nikon Z camera, but another advantage is the use of a vari-angle screen, which is a bit more flexible and useful than the tilting version found on the Z50.

Which you opt for may also come down to price – sometimes the Z50 is cheaper, sometimes its the Z fc – so it’s worth shopping around to make sure you get the best deal.

What we like:

  • Stylish, well-designed body
  • Vari-angle screen
  • Good image quality at high ISOs

What we don’t like:

  • Somewhat bulky
  • Basically the same as Z50

Best for: vloggers, travel, entry-level photographers

Read our Nikon Z fc review

Once you’ve found the perfect camera for you, have a look at some of the best Nikon Z-mount lenses. Or have a look at more buying guides, and our latest reviews

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