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Movie mode

Nikon has outfitted the D5200 with many specs that will appeal to videographers looking for a small, inexpensive camera. In fact, it shares most of the video-oriented features found on the enthusiast D7100, including 1080 60i (from 60 fps sensor output) recording and uncompressed output over HDMI. And while it lacks the headphone socket found in Nikon's larger-bodied DSLRs, the D5200 includes built-in stereo microphones and is the only recent-model Nikon DSLR to offer an articulated screen.

The D5200 features an articulated screen that can provide video shooters with a much more comfortable viewing position than DSLRs that use a fixed screen.

Video quality options

The D5200 can shoot 1080 movies at 60i, 50i, 30p, 25p or 24p frames rates, at bit rates of up to 24Mbps. An option in the Setup menu allows you to choose either NTSC or PAL-compatible frame rates. The D5200 has built-in stereo microphones in addition to a socket for plugging in an external stereo mic of your choice. Microphone sensitivity controls allow you to manually adjust the recording level. Video footage is compressed using B-frame data compression of the H.264/MPEG-4 video codec, which tries to optimize the capture of motion with an eye towards maintaining manageable file sizes.

Sizes • Frame size/frame rate
1920 × 1080 60i
1920 × 1080 50i
1920 × 1080 30p
1920 × 1080 25p
1920 × 1080 24p
1280 x 720 60p
1280 x 720 50p
640 x 424 30p
640 x 424 25p
Audio Stereo internal mic, Linear PCM
Format MOV
File compression H.264/MPEG-4 (Advanced Video Coding)
Recordable time 29 min. 59 sec.

Video over HDMI

Like all of Nikon's recently released higher-end DSLRs, the D5200 offers the ability to record uncompressed video over its HDMI port. For video professionals, the benefits of shooting uncompressed video lie in avoiding compression artifacts that can hinder grading options in post-production. Whether using HDMI-enabled output to record the highest possible quality footage or to simply use an external monitor as viewfinder, this is a feature that is becoming more common, though in the case of Canon and Sony, it is reserved for decidedly higher-end models like the EOS 5D Mark III and SLT-A99.

Uncompressed video can only be sent to an external recorder that's connected to the D5200's HDMI port. This footage is enormous, so it makes sense that you're prevented from recording it straight to your SD card. Unfortunately though, you cannot record 1080p video to the SD card as a 'safety' backup while recording to the external HDMI device simultaneously. Whenever video is recorded to the card, the HDMI output drops to 720p. We'd like to see the option to record full HD alongside the uncompressed footage.

Handling in Video mode

Recording video on the D5200 first requires you to engage live view via a lever that sits alongside the camera's mode dial. You can then initiate a recording by pressing the red movie record button sitting just behind the shutter release. To prevent accidental operation, the record button is disabled when live view is turned off.

The 'LV' lever next to the mode dial is used to turn live view on and off. Once live view is enabled you press the shutter release to capture a still image or press the red movie record button to both start and end video capture. This button is inactive until live view is enabled.

Unlike the higher priced D7100, the D5200 lacks a separate live view toggle for stills and video shooting. With live view active, the sole determinant of a still image versus video capture is which button you press (shutter release or movie record). As we noted on the operations and controls page of this review, the biggest obstacle this presents is that the rear screen always displays the stills-shooting 3:2 aspect ratio (albeit with the option of vague grey framing overlays).

As with Nikon's other current APS-C DSLRs, it's not possible to manually adjust the aperture during video recording. And even with the camera dial set to manual mode, you only have direct control over shutter speed and ISO for video recording (and even then, only before you press REC). Yet to get even that functionality first requires a trip to the main menu where you must enable the manual movie settings option. The D5200 will always record video at the last aperture selected before live view was initiated.

Setting 'Manual movie settings' to 'On' allows the shutter speed and ISO sensitivity for movies to be selected manually. Rotate the mode dial to M, and you can choose the shutter speed and sensitivity before movie recording.

Set this to 'Off' and shutter speed and aperture will be set automatically even in manual mode.

Contrast-detect AF is the only option available when shooting videos. It is not only slower than the camera's 'normal' phase-detection mode but lags significantly behind the contrast-detect AF performance of most mirrorless models we've seen. While you'd expect a performance dip as a result of having to use a contrast-detect AF system in movie mode, be aware that the lens' AF hunting is prominent both visually and audibly in movie mode. As such, we recommend that when filming static subjects, you focus the camera before you begin recording.

The D5200 offers control over the microphone recording level. You can set the gain manually in 20 steps, with a stereo decibel meter as a visual aid.

Video quality

The image quality of the D5200's video is practically identical to the output we saw in our review of the D7100. As such, at its default sharpness setting the D5200 displays a bit more softness than we'd like. And at base ISO it lags noticeably behind the results we saw in our review of the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3.

There are two points we'd like to stress, however. First, the D5200's output is by no means objectionable for the needs of most stills-oriented owners who want to capture the occasional video. Colors are rendered in a natural-looking manner with auto exposure and white balance settings producing pleasing output in a variety of lighting scenarios.

The second point is that experienced videographers will not typically be presenting footage straight from the camera. And while the D5200's files are a bit soft, they stand up very well to sharpening in post-production, giving the appearance of crisp output without the introduction of prominent edge halos or other artifacts.

As you'll see in the samples below, the D5200's low-light capabilities are impressive, allowing you to shoot at very high ISO sensitivities and still come away with appropriate detail. Also in its favor, is that we have found instances of color moiré to be few and far between in our real world shooting with the D5200.

The built-in stereo mics are prone to picking up sounds emanating from behind the camera, so users looking for more pristine audio will be better served by an external unidirectional microphone. Wind noise can become distracting in breezy conditions, but in general was kept reasonably well in check.

60i video output

Something to be aware of though, even for casual video shooters, is that selecting the 1080 60i (or 50i) option degrades image quality. At the 60i setting, the field of view is automatically cropped and then upsampled to fill the 1920 x 1080 frame, with tell-tale sampling artifacts as well as a noticeably softer image, as you can see in the samples below.

We reported very similar behavior on the video page of our D7100 review. The differences in the higher-end camera are twofold. First, on the D7100, shooting at 60i requires you to manually set the camera to a discrete crop mode. On the D5200, there is no such option, as the crop and upsampling are done automatically behind the scenes. Second, the recorded area on the D7100 works out to a 1.3x crop, presumably chosen to match the (rather helpful) crop factor used in stills mode. The D5200, by contrast, lacks a crop mode for stills shooting and we've measured the 60i output to be roughly a 1.23x crop over the 30p output.

1080 30p 1080 60i
100% crop 100% crop

The 1920 x 1080 still images above have been extracted from D5200 video files. You can see both the change in field of view and resulting loss of image quality when shooting video at 60i versus 30p. As such, although the D5200 is capable of sensor readout at 50-60 fps, and this crop could be thought of as a 'built-in' focal length multiplier, we wouldn't recommend the 60i option to videographers. Complicating matters unnecessarily for even casual video shooters is that Nikon has chosen to make 60i capture the default video setting. This could easily give new users the mistaken impression that the D5200's video quality is unacceptably poor.

Video Samples

The video samples below, hosted on YouTube were all shot using the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens with the camera mounted on a tripod. The 'Standard' Picture Control was used at its default settings. Because the video quality of the D5200 is essentially identical to that of the D7100, we encourage you to review the several samples we included in the video section of our D7100 review. Below we'll demonstrate the camera's output at both 30p and 24p settings as well as its low light performance.

Video 1

This video sample demonstrates the low ISO image quality of video shot at 1080p30. The lens was pre-focused before recording began and the camera was panned while mounted on a tripod. Viewed at full size, you can see that the video is somewhat soft at the camera's default sharpness setting.

Towards the very end of the clip you can see the effects of the D5200's matrix metering as it adjusts brightness. The stereo mics do pick up a fair amount of ambient noise emanating from behind the camera and you can also here some wind noise.

1920x1080 30p, MOV, 37 sec, 106 MB Click here to download original file

Video 2

This night scene shows the high ISO performance of the D5200 shot at 1080p30. While noise patterns are certainly visible in areas of solid tone, the results are nonetheless quite impressive with very pleasing color saturation and a good amount of detail in pedestrians' backpacks and lettering on the food cart. The D5200's metering system delivers a well-judged exposure and although the scene has a decidedly warm cast, mixed outdoor lighting at night would present a challenge for any auto white balance system.

1920x1080 30p, MOV, 24 sec, 66 MB Click here to download original file

Video 3

This clip was shot under the same conditions as the previous video. This time the camera was set to record at 24p. Again, the D5200's high ISO performance is impressive, with good shadow detail and image noise that, while visible, is not overly distracting. Again, the D5200's auto white balance setting was used.

1920x1080 24p, MOV, 31 sec, 87 MB Click here to download original file
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Comments

Total comments: 15
Smartmil8
By Smartmil8 (1 week ago)

This is one of the best cameras in the world!

1 upvote
mumbai architect
By mumbai architect (2 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 (2 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
Christie123
By Christie123 (2 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 (7 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 (7 months ago)

I hope you will get help from that review :)

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Zac boy
By Zac boy (2 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
draleks
By draleks (7 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 (5 months ago)

I have the same question!

0 upvotes
OceanFroggie
By OceanFroggie (8 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 (8 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 (8 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
PeterDost
By PeterDost (10 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 (9 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 (2 months ago)

why is the D5200 better for sports than the D5300?

0 upvotes
Total comments: 15