Nikon D5200 In-Depth Review
The Nikon D5200 is a fairly responsive camera in daily use. Onscreen response to button and dial operation is brisk whether you're navigating through menu screens, zooming in and out of live view previews or changing shooting parameters. Although the camera has external controls and a shortcut '[i]' menu for commonly changed settings, users looking to take more refined control over operation such as enabling distortion control or adjusting Auto ISO parameters will have to delve into the main menu system. We'd love to see Nikon adopt touchscreen capability similar to that we reported in our Canon EOS T4i/650 review in order to make the process of changing settings even faster. At the very least we'd like to be able to use the rear thumb dial to scroll through menu options instead of relying solely on the 4-way multi selector.
Continuous Shooting and Buffering
The D5200 offers two burst modes. When set to its Continuous High (CH) mode, the camera can shoot as fast as 5 fps. A Continuous Low (CL) option lets you shoot at 3 fps. A relatively small buffer, however, limits your maximum burst rate significantly when shooting in a Raw-enabled mode. If you want to shoot more than 4-5 frames at the camera's fastest frame rate, you'll first need to put the D5200 in its JPEG-only capture mode. We wouldn't want to make too much of this particular limitation in a camera of this class. Those who shoot in live view, however, should be aware that once an exposure is made, the rear screen remains dark until the image data is written completely to the SD card, a process that takes a couple of seconds even for a single capture.
AF and metering systems
The D5200 has the same autofocus and metering system as the D7000 - a big step up from the D5100. The most obvious difference is that the D5200 has 39 autofocus points, rather than the 11 of its predecessor. Nine of the D5200's AF points are cross-type, i.e. sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail, rather than the D5100's solitary central cross-type point.In practice, the D5200 acquires focus fairly quickly, although users of a comparitively slow-focusing consumer optic like the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens should be aware that Nikon offers a range of lenses that can offer faster focusing performance. We've found focus on the D5200 to be reasonably accurate across its AF array regardless of which lenses we used. When light levels fall significantly, though, particularly with lenses having a relatively narrow maximum aperture we got more consistent results when using the camera's central AF points versus those on the outer edges.
In continuous autofocus mode (AF-C), the D5200's 2016 pixel metering sensor is also used to aid subject tracking - providing color information about the subject to the AF system to determine which AF point to use. The D5100's metering system had only 420 pixels, resulting in lower tracking precision. This means the D5200 can, for example, track faces when they're further away and smaller in the frame.
With the D5200 you also have the option to use just 11 AF points (Custom Settings a2). Do so, and the points you're left with are highlighted red in the above diagram. Reducing the number of available points makes it faster to select an off-center point if you don't need the level of precision that using all 39 provides. You can also overlay a composition grid into the viewfinder (Custom Settings, d2).
As you'd expect, contrast-detect AF performance in live view lags far behind that of the D5200's phase-detect viewfinder shooting. While the D5200 is an improvement over early-generation Nikon DSLRs in this regard, its live view AF performance still suffers in comparison to any recent mirrorless camera.
|At its default settings, the D5200 works hard to avoid clipped highlights in flash exposures, which can sometimes lead to slightly heavy results. Flash exposure compensation can easily be set, however, from -3 EV to +1 EV.|
The pop-up flash on the D5200 has the same specs as those on both the D3200 and D7100 with a guide number of 12m at ISO 100. This offers sufficient power for casual portraits and fill flash.
Nikon's DSLRs have a well-deserved reputation for outstanding noise performance. And the D5200 is one of few DSLRs in its class to offer a 24MP sensor. So we thought it would be interesting to see how the D5200's Raw files perform against its APS-C rivals. In the comparison below we've drastically opened up the shadows using Adobe Camera Raw 7.4 with sharpening and noise reduction turned off, to shine a light on the sensors' inherent capabilities. We've compared the D5200 against both the 24MP Sony SLT-A65 and the 18MP Canon EOS Rebel T4i/650D. All three cameras were shot at ISO 100.
|Nikon D5200 - ACR +3.0EV||100% crop|
|Sony SLT-A65 - ACR +3.0EV||100% crop|
|Canon EOS 650D - ACR +3.0EV||100% crop|
As you can see, the D5200 exhibits impressively little chroma noise. It easily surpasses the noise performance of the lower resolution Canon EOS T4i/650D. And while the older Sony SLT-A65 also bests the Canon, it can't quite match the D5200 in terms of noise performance or very fine detail retention.
Real world sample
While the results of our studio scene reveal interesting information about the sensor's maximum capabilities, it's important to place those results in the context of real-world photography. Below is an image shot outdoors at ISO 100 using the D5200's matrix metering. We've taken the image's .NEF Raw file and converted it in ACR 7.4 twice - once at ACR's default exposure settings, and again with the Basic Panel adjustments detailed below. Noise reduction was disabled in both examples.
|ACR default settings with NR off||ACR with Exposure +0.40, Shadows +80 with NR Off|
|100% crop||100% crop|
In the first example, you can see that, while the camera has metered quite reasonably in order to retain highlight details while providing pleasing contrast, the default conversion does block shadow information inside the parking garage. In the second conversion we were able to boost exposure and open the shadows substantially with only a minor noise penalty. This means that, when faced with high contrast scenes, exposing for the highlights can provide the option of later opening up shadow areas in your Raw converter. The amount of noise that this exposes is far from objectionable, and can of course be minimized via your software's noise reduction settings.
Overall image quality
The D5200's image quality is impressive, particularly in Raw mode. As we demonstrated in our Nikon D7100 review, the D5200 gives up little to its higher-end (and non-AA filtered) sibling with regard to image detail at base ISO sensitivity. At higher ISO values the D5200 does a very good job of retaining fine detail while keeping chroma and luminance noise at levels that place it among the top of its peers. The camera's Raw files can also tolerate a fair degree of low-radius sharpening for crisp-looking results without prominent edge halos.
As we've come to expect from Nikon DSLRs, the default JPEG settings of the D5200 produce files that lean more towards a more natural, 'unprocessed' look, avoiding sharpening-induced edge halos and overly aggressive smearing at high ISOs. This means that at high ISO settings, JPEGs tend to be gritty - compared to those from Canon and Sony, for example - but relatively detailed.
The D5200's Auto white balance setting is consistently accurate. Its matrix metering does a good job, in a range of lighting conditions, of protecting highlight details and providing pleasing overall contrast. In high contrast situations you may find yourself boosting exposure compensation by 0.3–0.7 EV for a more pleasing overall exposure, but this relatively conservative approach to metering is generally preferable to inadvertently clipping highlight data.
Google is holding a competition that could see your Pixel photos gracing millions of screens.
Nikon's 100th birthday party continues worldwide as a distributor in Italy organized a one-of-a-kind feat: assembling the world's largest 'human camera' from over a thousand volunteers.
Ricoh has dropped the price of its Theta SC 360 spherical camera by to $199, a reduction of roughly $50. The camera features two 12MP sensors and can record Full HD video in addition to stills.
Photojournalist Pete Souza served as the presidential photographer for both Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama. In an interview with fellow photographer Marcia Nighswander, he discusses several of his most noteworthy images.
Photographer Michael Wolf has been documenting the crowded conditions of Tokyo's subway trains since the 1990s. The photos have gone viral regularly in the years since he started the project, and he just published the final edition in the series.
The just-launched OnePlus 5 is getting a minor update that should improve camera function.
A Belgian camera shop is showing off an extremely rare, limited 'Rex Edition' Nikon D500. The cosmetic alterations were provided by a customer's German Shepherd Rex, who got ahold of the camera within a day of its purchase.
Adobe says that many of its users have been relying on SkyBox for VR editing and it therefore made sense to make the plug-ins available to all subscribers through Creative Cloud.
The Pictar grip provides a number of customizable physical controls for your iPhone camera, but at its price point we would like to see better materials and build quality.
Peak Design's 'consider every detail' approach shines in the Everyday Backpack. While expensive, it's one of the best options out there for a photographer who needs to pack a lot of stuff in addition to gear.
If you're thinking of using Canon's sports glass on the Sony a9, think again. The ultra-fast camera slows way down when you attach off-brand glass.
The Polish town of Katowice is not famed as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you look in the right places. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.