Big Test

Ready for your first Nikon? Matthew Richards re­veals the top en­try-level kits, from wellestab­lished clas­sics to the lat­est mod­els

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Nikons for novices: five be­gin­ner­friendly op­tions are tested and com­pared to see which one will give a new pho­tog­ra­pher the best start in their pho­to­graphic life

All-in-one compact cam­eras are all well and good, but for real cre­ativ­ity and con­trol, you can’t beat a sys­tem cam­era. There’s no sub­sti­tute for be­ing able to fit the ideal lens for the shoot­ing op­por­tu­nity at hand, whether it’s por­traits, land­scapes, sports or some­thing spe­cialised like macro pho­tog­ra­phy.

D-SLRs don’t have to be big and bulky, as demon­strated by Nikon’s lat­est D3300 and D5500 kits – th­ese come com­plete with 18-55mm VR II lenses, which have a re­tractable de­sign to save stowage space. Their fore­bears are still on sale, too, so there’s also the op­tion of saving cash by go­ing for the slightly older D3200 or D5300. You could even make fur­ther sav­ings by buy­ing sec­ond­hand, from a re­tailer like Cam­era Jun­gle (www.cam­er­a­jun­gle.co.uk), which kindly sup­plied a D3200 and a D5300 for our tests.

D-SLRs aren’t the only way to go, of course. There’s also the CSC route, typ­i­fied by Nikon 1 se­ries. We’ve in­cluded the lat­est Nikon 1 J5 and 10-30mm power-zoom kit lens here, to see how it stacks up against the big boys...

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