Nikon is among the best known camera manufacturers for good reason. Its range of SLRs includes some cameras that deliver performance and imaging clout where it matters. There are also models suitable for every level of user.

Prospective Nikon SLR buyers need to consider their photographic understanding as well as their current and future requirements.

The D4s, for example, is a very highly specified camera, but it's also littered with controls that could intimidate some potential users. It's also bulky and heavy making it less attractive as a camera to carry everywhere.

However, the D610, which is also a full-frame camera is significantly smaller. It also has a similar control system to the D7100, which is aimed at enthusiast photographers.

Let's take a look at the best options for each level of user.

Beginners

Starting with entry-level cameras, the D3100 and D3200 are both wonderfully beginner-friendly, but the D3300 offers a significant upgrade in terms of features, specifications and image quality, making it a better value buy and well worth the extra money.

Moving up to mid-range models, those who want a little bit more from their camera will find the D5300 a great option.

We have a few question marks over the D5200's colour accuracy under tricky lighting conditions, as well as its over-exuberance in vibrancy for green hues in landscape images. There's also an issue with banding in the shadows of high sensitivity images.

The D5300 puts these issues to rights, while also delivering exemplary all-round image quality, especially in terms of sharpness. Extra bonuses include built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, making it better connected to the world at large.

Enthusiasts

It's a trickier call in this area, with the D300s, D7100 and D610 all having a lot to offer enthusiast photographers.

All have excellent handling and easy-access controls that put important, creative shooting adjustments under your thumb.

Despite being a good option for sport and wildlife photographers, the D300s loses out when it comes to retaining low image noise and strong dynamic range at high sensitivity settings. On balance, the D7100 takes the accolades for an enthusiast-level DX camera. Our only reservation is that the memory buffer is a tight squeeze for rapid-fire bursts of shots in raw quality mode.

The D610, is also a great option and a superb route into full-frame photography. While it is compatible with Nikon DX lenses, you'll need a collection of FX lenses to get the real benefit of the larger sensor.

Professionals

If, as we expect, the D4S follows the lead of the D4 then it will prove itself to be a professional workhorse that offers the best compromise for the widest range of shooting scenarios.

The D3x is almost as expensive and has a rather more dated design. Also, although it still produces excellent, high-resolution images at low sensitivity settings many photographers are likely to favour the D800 or D800E for their even higher pixel count.

The D800 and D800E offer the highest resolution of any Nikon camera to date, yet still manage very good high-ISO image quality. The 'E' version is worth buying if you want the greatest possible sharpness from the high-res sensor, and are willing to risk a very occasional moirÈ effect in your images.

The only real downside of both the D800 and D800E is that the maximum drive rate of 4fps can be a bit on the slow side for sports and wildlife photography.