The range of Nikon cameras can be very confusing to someone starting out in photography. Let’s take a short look at the range of current cameras.
With the advent of digital cameras and their current state of advancement, I am not sure that I would purchase a film camera at this point in time. Bear in mind that you would need a good quality scanner to convert the images to digital form. To my mind the use of film today is akin to travelling by steam train. Film cameras were great in past days and I have many great memories captured on them over many years.
The Coolpix range of cameras are great cameras if you are starting out in photography and you wish to capture basic photos in good light and do not wish to enlarge them greater than around 200mm. I do not cover Coolpix cameras on this site as I believe they are basic cameras and are not really for the keen photographer. The keen photographer requires higher level cameras which can be used i n a range of light levels ranging from bright sunlight to the darkest of shadows. Coolpix cameras will have some difficulty in capturing the wide dynamic range images that the digital SLR cameras will capture and will generally lack detail in the shadows for instance.
Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) DX Cameras
The Nikon DX range of cameras will offer the best performance at a reasonable cost. They have a smaller sensor of around 24×16 mm. This smaller sensor means that the cameras are not as good as FX cameras in low light levels, however they are still very good. The prices of these cameras generally start at under $1,000, so are quite affordable for most people. The cheaper cameras in this range do not have internal motors in the camera for focussing the lenses and where this is the case AF-S lenses with the motor in the lens must be used.
Digital SLR (Single Lens Reflex) FX Cameras
The Nikon FX range of cameras have a sensor of 24×36 mm, the same size as the old film format and offer exceptional performance, however these cameras are quite expensive and also the lenses are quite expensive as FX compatible lenses are required, but an FX outfit will offer the best possible performance. These cameras are true professional digital cameras. All of the FX cameras have an internal focussing motor in the camera and are thus compatible with most of the older Nikon lenses including non AF-S lenses.
We have more detailed summaries of the full range of Nikon SLR cameras here.