A Historical summary of all Nikon Digital SLR (DSLR) Cameras

A Historical summary of all Nikon Digital SLR (DSLR) Cameras

Jul 05 , 2018

Nowadays, it is rare to walk down the street and not see at least one person clicking a selfie or a photographer hanging around from weird angles hoping to catch the best ‘candid' shot of the ‘model.' Gone are the days when a roll of film was considered so precious that even smeagle would be proud. Each shot was carefully timed, and you could never know the result until you got it developed. This wait was a long week filled with cocktail anxiety and excitement until you realised that you got the perfect shot. Phew!

Nowadays the photography has gone from being just a hobby to being the livelihood of several photographers. What more, they get to proudly tote their DSLR around and see the awe in their friends’ faces.

But, as the awestruck friend, have you ever wonder what is so unique about this DSLR? Here is all you need to know:

Digital Single Lens Reflex has been abbreviated to DSLR. Through an SLR, we can witness the view through the lens, exchange lenses to suit our requirements and forever be camera ready, more shutter ready than ever.

What does this mean? You may wonder... It says that if you ever get in a bad shot using a DSLR, it is most definitely not the camera’s fault.

Curious how such a small thing, captures such beautiful images at the hands of the right photographer? This is how:

Every object when incident to the sunlight or any white light, absorbs light of a particular wavelength. Each wavelength corresponds to a specific colour or shade. The remaining light wavelengths are reflected in the surroundings. This reflected light is incident on the camera lens and passes through to the mirror.

The mirror reflects this light into a box of glass known as a pentaprism, which reflects the image formed onto the viewfinder, where we can sneak a peek at what the lens sees. Once we are satisfied, we can click the button that flips the mirror in such a way that the light is now incident onto the digital sensor and the image is captured. It’s as simple as that!

Now that we know how it works, we can get our own and shoot some snazzy images. But, why does the shopkeeper spout terms like ISO, AF, etc.?

Here is a small guide to help you along with the terminology:


1. Megapixels:

It may sound like a creature from the fairy world, by I can assure that it's not the case. Every image is divided into small boxes on the screen, and each box is a pixel. Greater the megapixel range, more excellent the picture quality, or it can be phrased to be, lesser fuzziness when we zoom into an image.

2. ISO and Noise Ratio:

No, we are not talking about the shutter sound here. ISO is a number that when higher, enables us to take better pictures in the low light without flash. But, this does not ensure greater picture quality. That depends on the photographer.

3. Dust Control:

This is a feature to help better the picture quality. Dust specks can cause a dark spot on the image. This feature makes sure that it is not a nuisance.

4. Image Stabilisation:

The feature is present in the camera and the lens. It makes sure that pictures are not blurry due to movement of the camera.


Any DSLR which is capable of capturing HD videos is known as an HDSLR.

These are a few words whose meaning you need to know to de-jargonize the shopkeeper's words. Next time you hear them, you will not be so confused.

Another critical thing to keep in mind is your level of professionalism in photography and a DSLR handling capability. These cameras were built only to compete with their league. They are far more supreme when compared to an ordinary digital camera. The questions you must ask yourself when purchasing one is that if your DSLR handling capacity is a beginner, intermediate or advanced level.

1. Beginner Level:

This level is for the newbie, the babies who are just starting out in the world of photography. They are just graduating from the level of shooting beautiful pictures. DSLR has a wide range of cameras for this stage. What all one must do is pick the right one.

2. Intermediate Level:

This is for the ones who have gotten their taste at photography and one day yearn to be a professional. They firstly believe they have a fire in themselves to become a professional photographer with a fantastic camera.

3. Advanced Level:

This is for the ones who are already doing it. Getting calls upon calls to be a freelance photographer at photo shoots, weddings, birthdays and various shoots. The advanced series belong to them.

4. Professional Level:

There are the calm and composed professionals. They value their camera greater than any other precious gemstone. To them, this is their livelihood, their bread, and water. Despite it being too expensive to anyone else not from this field, they smile knowing that the price is for the quality and not just the elaborate casing that Nikon offers.

Now that we have figured out what level we are in and determined what each term stands for, here is a brief History on how Nikon DSLR changed over years, and after all, if one doesn’t know the history, one is bound to make the same mistakes.

Nikon DSLR History:


In the year of 1973, the world’s first digital camera was made at Rochester, New York. It looked nothing like the sleek handheld ones we flaunt. It was gigantic! We have today come a long way from that.

In the year 1995, Nikon Camera E2 and E2s decided to play the debutante at the ball after about 20 years since the invention of digital cameras. They had a resolution of 1.3MP and had a PCMCIA memory card. They were Fuji camera bodies stuffed with Nikon electronics!

The following year, Nikon introduced E3 and E3s. I wouldn’t suggest using them for personal shoots as they still only had resolutions of 1.3MP.

The world of newspaper industry changed forever as the Nikon D1 replaced the films in the year of 1999. It was considered to be a landmark in the world of photography and described as a “new class of professional, high-quality single lens reflective camera”. It was the world’s first DSLR!

It was made by Nikon from the body to electronics and had a resolution of 2.7 MP and could shoot 4.5 photos per second (FPS).

In the year 2001, Nikon introduced D1X (3 FPS, 5.3MP) and D1H (2.7MP WITH 5FPS) that were improvements based on the previous model of D1.

On the 21'st of February 2001, the world's then lightest amateur camera was launched and named to be D100. It is only for 6MP and a slow 3 FPS, but it was a significant advancement in the world of DSLR.

2003 saw the advent of D24, a 4.1MP, 8 FPS camera with a Lithium-ion battery! This was the first time that battery was introduced into a Nikon DSLR.

In 2004, a cheaper version of D100 was released named D70, but it had an improvement in the way that the dust problem was eliminated by separating the CCD (Charged Coupled Device) and the CCD filter. This had better features and was cheaper.

2005 saw the launch of D2HS (8 FPS, 4MP), D70, D50 (6MP, 2.5 FPS) D200 Into the market. The D2HS is excellent for sports.

In the year 2006, the smallest, lightest DSLR to be ever made, D450 and in the year 2007, D300, D3 and D200 that had evolved to 12MP and 6-8 FPS. They were the last of 1st Generation cameras.

The 2nd generation cameras were faster, sleeker and much more advanced. It included the D60 that replaced D40X with D700 and D90 all with a 12MP camera introduced in the year 2007.

July of 2009 saw the worst of DSLRs, where D300 had a low resolution at 10MP and was slow.  In the same way, September of 2010, saw the advent of D700, a 16 MP, 6FPS HDSLR with 2 SD card slots, 2 mode dial positions 39 Point Auto Focus (PAF) and 2 advanced white balance modes.

The following years saw better and better cameras with improved MP and PAF that photography went from being a profession to a hobby to art.  The D800 introduced at the February of 2012, played a significant role in ushering it in with a 36 MP camera and 4FPS.

Further advancements included flip screens, touch screens, LCDs and an inbuilt viewfinder with an LCD where the pictures could almost be edited then and there. D5300 introduced in the October of 2013 also saw the introduction of Wi-Fi and GPS into the camera frame. In the February of 2015, D810 A was explicitly introduced for astrophotography, and had a 36MP camera with 5 FPS, IR filter, ISO from 200 to an exposure of 15 minutes!

The latest camera introduced by Nikon was the D850 in the year 2017, with a 45 MP lens, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth enabled and a Hot Rod FF.

These cameras are now really expensive, and everyone has started to recognise its worth. Hopefully, the art of photography will continue to flourish.

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