Nikon D5200 - Extended Review focused on Movie Mode

Nikon D5200, released a good deal of 2 months ago, hasn't yet been reviewed properly in terms of Movie Mode features, which greatly differ him from the predecessors and some other VDSLRs like Canons (650D, 700D, etc.).

What made me create an account and inspired to write this review was my own brandnew D5200 and the lack of any details on its Movie Mode.

A little bit of stuff on my background, so that to explain why I'm so anxious about this video-thing of D5200.

I am a videographer and has been shooting with VDSLRs for about 2 years.

I have used Canon T2i/T3i, Canon 60D and Panasonic GH2. Before getting to shoot videos, I had Nikon D80, my first DSLR. The very latter became the reason for me to be back on Nikon after all those panacanons.

Now let's get down to those Nikon D5200 features I mentioned.

First before most: Nikon D5200 has on-screen audio meters. That's true and that's very useful. The audio meters are located vertically on the left of the screen and assist with watching the levels very well.

Second thing: D5200 has a decent audio chip. Yes, it has. It also boasts 20 audio levels in manual audio submenu:

These two things mean that having set the audio levels to 11-12 you get almost hissless audiotrack right from your cheap Rode Video Mic (NOT even pro), connected to Nikon's 3.5 mm mic input. You can also use field recorders like ZOOM H2n which will provide even better quality at zero levels (the mentioned ZOOM has its own audio gain controls, so no Nikon's gain is needed). The mics noted have been tested on this camera and do give the described quality.

Third thing: Nikon D5200 will outplay any of your old Canons, maybe except for Mark III, in terms of moirelessness, detail and compression quality. The mentioned mix provides an ambitious videographer with the kind of decent quality he expects to get from the $1K camera (18-105mm included, of course).

Fourth thing: If you have a vary-aperture lens connected (like the included 18-105) and you use manual Movie Mode, you will NOT get exposure blinking when you zoom in and out, like you get on Canons.

Fifth thing: Very good low light performance. ISO 2500 and even higher are more than usable.

Now, so that you quit feeling that NikonFanBoyLag, we will proceed to the downsides. Those have been described many times, but I shall repeat them and add some more.

Downside #1: You can't change the aperture in Live View mode.

Downside #2: Active D-Lightning does NOT work in Movie Mode.

Downside #3: Rolling shutter is a problem. Not as bad as it had been on Nikon D90, but still quite noticeable, once you go further than 24mm. And, by the way, don't even try 25 and 24 fps. They are awful.

Downside #4: If you have a mic connected, you'll have some problems swivelling the screen in low-angle position.

Downside #5: Battery drains very fast. Get some spare ones like third-party Digital Power. Those show the battery level and actually work with the camera.

Those seem to be all the things which are remarkable of Nikon D5200 Movie Mode, and some of which hasn't been mentioned in reviews yet.

If I recall anything else, I will update the review. That's all for now.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions held by or any affiliated companies.


Total comments: 6
Duncan Dimanche
By Duncan Dimanche (4 months ago)

Thanks for your review.
I can't really understand if you have full manual control in video mode…

And what do you mean by it's aweful at 24fps or 25 ? the rolling shutter or the quality in general ?

I'm torn apart between that one and the new 5300…. moire might be an issue with the new sensor of the 5300 with le AA filter gone…

I would love to hear back from you

By H4N (2 months ago)

You're welcome, Duncan.
You have control over everything, but aperture, unless you're using a lens which has an actual aperture ring on it.

Rolling shutter and sort of slowness, lack of motion smoothness. However, you can use 30p mode just fine.
The quality of the videos in 1080 is, by the way, miles ahead of Canon cameras (550d, 60d, etc.).

Well, you see, I would personally go for d5300 for several reasons:
1. According to some shots I've seen, it has no moire.
2. It has a bigger screen with proper 3:2 aspect ratio (as opposed to stupid 4:3 on d5200).
3. It has a bigger battery (on d5200, battery drains in about 40 minutes of continuous video recording).
Here's my suggestion for you - grab some SD card and go to some shop. If you have an external mic, bring this one with you too. Test manual audio and moire (bring a friend wearing a striped shirt). Then if it's fine, go for D5300 and don't forget to write a review for us all!)

Comment edited 3 minutes after posting
By bungfritz (7 months ago)

In regards to your comment with 'almost hissless audio when using a regular Rode Videomic at mic levels of 11-12', i have an identical camera and microphone setup and i have found that audio hiss at any manual mic levels of greater than 10 to be unacceptable.

I was just wondering if you have your mic and or camera setup in any other way which may lead to differing results? My Rode Videomic is currently on its standard settings without any low pass filtering or -dB activated.

By H4N (2 months ago)

Well, actually I have the same setup, so I guess it's more a matter of sound equipment and volume of the soundtrack. However, I can recommend an obvious way to reduce hissness - hook up your rode with anything like Zoom H1 or H2n (which I personally use sometimes).

Comment edited 9 minutes after posting
By Scottelly (8 months ago)

What is YOUR experience with focus in live view and video mode? Is focus performance (speed and accuracy) in both modes identical? Is focus in live-view mode of D5200 the same as focus in live-view mode of D5100? One reason I moved from Nikon D5000 to Sony A55 was slow and inaccurate focus performance in live-view mode of the Nikon. Has this finally been fixed?

By H4N (7 months ago)

From my exp, focus in live view is awful. In photo mode it's a little better than in movie mode, where it struggles to focus or does not even attempt to (while in continuous mode), yet still 'nothing to write home about'. As for comparison with 5100 - don't know, haven't used it.
As for mirrorless stuff and Sonys, from my exp, the fastest autofocus system both for photos and movies is found in Nikon 1 series. I've been using my J1 for quite a long while, and AF is always very fast and accurate.

Total comments: 6