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Nikon D5200 In-Depth Review

May 2013 | By Amadou Diallo, Andy Westlake
Buy on GearShopFrom $596.95


Review based on a production Nikon D5200 with firmware 1.00

As Nikon's 'advanced beginner' DSLR, the D5200 sits between the entry-level D3200 and the enthusiast-targeted D7100 in the company's most recent APS-C lineup. The D5200 offers 24MP resolution (like its APS-C stablemates), an articulated rear LCD and more physical controls than the D3200, but without the twin-dial interface and professional grade AF system of the decidedly higher market (and much more customizeable) D7100.

On the outside, the D5200 is virtually identical to its predecessor, the D5100, with external changes limited to a dedicated drive mode button on the D5200's top plate, stereo microphone grills atop the pentamirror - like on the Canon EOS 650D - and a slightly redesigned rear multi selector. The D5200's more significant upgrades lie 'under the hood'. Impressively, many of these are inherited from higher-end Nikon DSLRs, including a 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type sensors and ample frame coverage, and a 2016 pixel RGB color-sensitive metering sensor, both taken from the D7000. The D5200 borrows from the D7100 a well-implemented Auto ISO feature that is tied to the lens' current focal length.

Although the D5200 shares the same 24MP resolution as both the D3200 and D7100, the D5200 offers a higher extended ISO range compared to the D3200 (25600 vs 12800) and faster continuous shooting (5 fps vs 4). And the D5200, unlike the D7100, continues to use an anti-aliasing (AA) filter, although as we demonstrated in a side by side comparison in our D7100 review, it gives up precious little in terms of detail to its more expensive big brother.

For video shooters, the D5200 can record Full HD 1920 x 1080 movies at up to 60i or 50i (when set to NTSC and PAL respectively), although this uses a central crop of the sensor area. More conventional 30p, 25p and 24p modes use the full width of the sensor. In manual mode you have the option to take limited control of both shutter speed and ISO, but not aperture. And a stereo sound meter lets you adjust the level of either the built-in or or external mic, such as the optional ME-1 stereo mics.

The D5200 gets a processing boost over its predecessor. Nikon touts its EXPEED 3-branded processor as offering higher speed, better color reproduction and improved noise reduction. The D5200 also has an updated, cleaner design to the on-screen user interface that presents more information in a more-logical layout. This is welcome on a small camera with relatively few external controls since much of the user interaction is, by necessity, via the rear screen (and lots of button pressing).

The D5200 also supports Nikon's WU-1a Wi-Fi unit, which plugs into the camera's accessory terminal and allows images to be transmitted wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet for uploading to social media. The device can also be used as a remote control for the camera, complete with Live View.

Nikon D5200 key features

  • 24.1MP DX format CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 3 processing
  • ISO 100-6400 standard, up to 25600 expanded
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 39 point AF system, 9 sensors cross type
  • 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor
  • 1080p30 video recording, built-in stereo mic
  • 921k dot 3" vari-angle LCD monitor, 170° viewing angle

Key specs compared to the Nikon D5100

In the table below you can see how the major specifications of the D5200 compare against the D5100.

  Nikon D5200 Nikon D5100
Sensor resolution (type) 24MP CMOS 16MP CMOS
Autofocus System 39 AF points (9 cross-type) 11 AF points (1 cross-type)
ISO sensitivity range
100-6400 (H1 and H2 expansion up to 25,600 equiv)
Display size / resolution
Articulated 3", 920k-dot LCD
Maximum framerate (DX mode) 5 fps 4 fps
Movie Mode 1080 60i/30p 1080/30p
Battery life (CIPA) 500 shots 660 shots
Dimensions 129 x 98 x 78 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in)
127 x 97 x 79 mm
(5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 in)
Weight (without battery) 505 g (1 lb, 2 oz) 560 g (1 lb, 4 oz)


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of the image, clicking on the image will display a larger (typically VGA) image in a new window.

To navigate the review simply use the next / previous page buttons, to jump to a particular section either pick the section from the drop down or select it from the navigation bar at the top.

DPReview calibrate their monitors using Color Vision OptiCal at the (fairly well accepted) PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the (computer generated) grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2013 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 16
Michael 59
By Michael 59 (4 days ago)

I recently upgraded from a D5100 to the D5200. Even though I've only taken snapshots here and there, I think the cameras image quality is great. I also have a D3200 which I bought for the higher MP. The 3200 takes beautiful pictures in my opinion, but lacks the bells & whistles I've got used to with the 5100. Even though the image quality in the 5100 was great, I liked the higher MP's, better auto-focus system, faster processor, and misc. other tweaks in the 5200. I still have the 3200 as a backup. The way I see it, The D5200 is like having all the great features "plus some others" of the 3200 and 5100 rolled into one camera. If you can afford the D5200, I recommend you purchase one. Something worth checking into is refurbs. Nikon as well as others sell those at a nice discount and they are inspected and practically like a new one. That how I got the one I have.

0 upvotes
Smartmil8
By Smartmil8 (1 month ago)

This is one of the best cameras in the world!

1 upvote
mumbai architect
By mumbai architect (3 months ago)

Hi I am an architect and need to shoot interiors and buildings. I have been seeing D800E as a choice for the camera on the net. I don't have the budget to buy D800...Will D5200 suffice if I go for additional wide angle.? Please advise.

0 upvotes
Rusdy
By Rusdy (3 months ago)

it will be suffice. just buy a wide-lens and there you go

0 upvotes
Christie123
By Christie123 (3 months ago)

Is this better than D5100? I have D3100 and am planning to upgrade... but I am confused between D5100, D3200 and D5200...

0 upvotes
sophi loren
By sophi loren (8 months ago)

I was confused in between nikon D5200 and Nikon D3200 and at last I go with Nikon D5200 for its ultimate power and obviously the ability of great videoing. DPreview really helps me a lot in this case. Recently I read a review aabout Nikon D5200 best buy and the writer really explain lots of intersting facts about D5200 ad alos offer a great price deal there. I think that will help you guys.

Review Link:

http://www.squidoo.com/nikon-d5200-best-buy-a-personal-review

Enjoy with your Nikon and I really proud for my D5200
Thanks

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
sophi loren
By sophi loren (8 months ago)

I hope you will get help from that review :)

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Zac boy
By Zac boy (3 months ago)

Sophi loren How are you....?? I wanna ask you something...?

0 upvotes
draleks
By draleks (8 months ago)

I don't get it, what is the actual dynamic range of this camera? Without the ADL it seems to be a pretty mediocre 10EV, with ADL extra high it's 13 EV. Is ADL actually extending the dynamic range of the captured information, or is it just some "clever" post-processing?

1 upvote
Swinterschorr
By Swinterschorr (6 months ago)

I have the same question!

0 upvotes
OceanFroggie
By OceanFroggie (9 months ago)

Was torn between the extra physical controls of the D7100 and the tilting screen of the D5200 along with its lighter more ergonomic feel in hand. Image quality between the two seems similar. I opted for the D5200 and so far happy I went for it rather than the slighlty larger D7100. Thought I'd spend the cost difference in better lens quality. The D7100 screw drive would have focused by old film Nikkor lenses, but I thought it better to move to newer DX lenses with the amazing VR which didn't exist when I used film.

Only grip is I would prefer a second dial, but the tilt screen was worth the compromise. I don't bother using the ridiculously high 24mp image size, instead opting for 'medium' which is about 16mp which is more than enough. A very happy camper so far. After defecting from Nikon film SLRs to Fuji compact bridges a decade ago, now very pleased with the compact feel of the D5200 and the images it produces with ergonomic ease.

0 upvotes
DidYouConsider
By DidYouConsider (9 months ago)

I am trying to decide between the Nikon D5200 and the Canon T5i (700D).
I am *totally* confused by the JPG/Noise/ISO data on this page.

DPReview gives higher ratings to the Nikon, both for image quality and for noise. But, when I see the data above, I see the exact opposite. I must be mis-reading the data. I am only interested in the JPEG data. I don't like to use RAW - just takes up way too much space on my harddisk....

From what I see above, the Canon image seems much crisper - much much less noise. Can someone explain why DPReview gives the nod to the Nikon??

When I downloaded the sample image for both cameras, I also think the Canon seems so much crisper and sharper. Why would someone think the Nikon picture is better? They must be seeing something I am missing.

Any insight would be appreciated....

0 upvotes
Duncan Dimanche
By Duncan Dimanche (9 months ago)

big cloister of dead pixels visible in that last visible video sample…. in the center…argh

0 upvotes
PeterDost
By PeterDost (11 months ago)

"particularly if you're prepared to move beyond either of the kit lenses to higher quality optics"

Which lens would provide better image quality providing a similar range like the 18-105?

Recommendations are welcome.

0 upvotes
AdamLeszko
By AdamLeszko (10 months ago)

considering that You have plenty of pixels to crop from 24M, and pretty average performance of mentioned lenses on long end, I would rather use tamron's or sigma's 17-50s with 2.8 light. Both in proce range of about $300-$400. They will actually allow You to take benefit of such big number of pixels.

cheers

0 upvotes
moeskoetie
By moeskoetie (3 months ago)

why is the D5200 better for sports than the D5300?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 16