The present work reports the co-precipitation synthesis and photocatalytic activity of MFe2O4 (M = Ni, Zn, Co, Cu, Mg) nanopowders. To compare their properties, all the powders were synthesized under similar synthesis conditions. Their structures and properties were determined by X-ray diffraction, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, UV–Vis diffuse reflectance spectra, nitrogen adsorption–desorption, and vibrating sample magnetometry. The results revealed the formation of single-phase spinel-structure magnetic nanoparticles with particle size\10 nm. All the samples exhibited strong light absorption in the visible range. Among the investigated nanopowders, nickel ferrite showed the highest photocatalytic activity and dye adsorption. The change in the light absorption intensity after 3 h of visible light irradiation of the dye over the NiFe2O4 photocatalyst reached *70 %.