Nikon D5200 In-Depth Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Excellent low ISO performance in both JPEG and Raw files
- Class-leading noise performance at high ISO sensitivities
- Very good default JPEG settings
- Articulated rear screen
- Effective auto white balance in a variety of lighting conditions
- Auto ISO selection can be linked to lens focal length
- Generous frame coverage of 39-point AF array
- Customizeable Fn button
- In-camera Raw processing
- Ability to output uncompressed HD video to an external recorder
- Manual audio recording levels
- 3.5mm Stereo mic input
Conclusion - Cons
- Slow AF in live view and video modes (compared to mirrorless APS-C cameras)
- No real-time aperture adjustment in live view
- Relatively small image buffer limits burst capacity in Raw-enabled modes
- Soft video output at default settings
- No aperture control in video mode
- Upsampled video at default 60i output
- When shooting in live view, rear screen is blacked out until data is written to the card
- File numbering default that resets after every card format
The Nikon D5200 is a solid performer that offers an impressive array of specifications for a camera of its class. Indeed, the number of features it shares with its higher-end Nikon stablemates is to be applauded. In addition to an excellent 24MP sensor that gives up precious little to that of the (non-AA filtered) D7100, the D5200 boasts a 39 point AF system, lens-dependent Auto ISO implementation and class-leading high ISO noise performance.
The D5200 stands out as the only recent-model Nikon DSLR to sport an articulated screen which comes in handy for both stills and video shooters, though we can't help but wish it was touch enabled as is the one on the Canon EOS T5i/700D. The D5200 offers a reasonable number of external controls, but as you'd expect on a camera of this class, more advanced users will have to satisfy their needs with visits to the main menu. You do have a customizeable Fn button though, and the camera's '[i]' button allows more direct access to 14 separate camera and shooting settings. If we nitpick, we'd like to see even faster access that omits a second confirmation click before you can actually change a setting in this manner. Overall though, we find that the D5200 strikes a nice balance between providing essential shooting controls without overwhelming novice DSLR users.
The plastic build of the D5200 feels reasonably solid in hand, certainly in line with its peers from Canon and Sony. And while those with larger hands may find the grip a bit on the shallow side, the camera balances well with the consumer-grade zoom lenses many will be likely to put in front of it.
Image quality is certainly one of the D5200's greatest strengths. And this goes beyond the fact that it delivers 24MP output, which is impressive in its own right. At base ISO, the camera's Raw files show impressive levels of detail, particularly if you're prepared to move beyond either of the kit lenses to higher quality optics. At high ISO sensitivities, the noise performance of the D5200 is the best that we've seen from a DSLR at this price point. Noise reduction is very effective - concentrating on chroma noise to avoid unnecessarily blurring image details.
The camera's auto white balance does a fine job of rendering accurate colors in all but the more extreme lighting conditions. We also find that the camera's default JPEG settings produce pleasing files that don't display prominent sharpening artifacts. As always, you have the option of tweaking these settings to taste, but we haven't found much to complain about in the D5200's out-of-the-box JPEG output. Users who demand the utmost in detail and dynamic range will of course be shooting in Raw mode and we've found the D5200's files offer plenty of latitude for sharpening adjustments, retention of highlight detail and - at low ISOs - the opening up of shadow areas with minimal noise penalty.
While the camera's video specs are impressive, there are a couple of disappointments. If you want to record at 1080 50i or 60i, you should know that this involves a crop of the sensor area which is then upsampled to 1920 x 1080, resulting in noticeably soft results with tell-tale upsampling artifacts. On a pixel level we found the default out-of-camera video files to be a bit soft but, to be fair, the D5200 delivers files that can withstand relatively aggressive sharpening in post-production, resulting in crisp-looking video.
The D5200 handles in a very similar fashion as its predecessor, the D5100. And this is a good thing, as we were quite pleased with the earlier model. The most essential shooting controls have direct access control points. And a dedicated '[i]' button allows access to a greater selection of options without entering the main menu.
The camera's main feature from an ergonomics/handling feature may well be its articulated screen. Whether shooting with the camera mounted on a tripod, grabbing a shot above your head or below waist level, or simply angling the screen away from glare in bright daylight, there are many instances in which an articulated screen can come in handy.
A respectable 5 fps maximum frame rate makes the D5200 suitable for casual action shots like recreational sports. And if you shoot in JPEG mode, you aren't likely to have to wait on the camera as it writes to the SD card. In our time spent shooting real world images, the D5200 proved itself a good, brisk performer overall and was generally ready to shoot when we needed it to be.
The Final Word
The D5200 is a solid performer that, while geared towards beginning DSLR users from an operational standpoint, shares many specifications with more expensive enthusiast offerings. It combines excellent image quality and impressive high ISO performance with an articulated screen and video capabilities that hold appeal for video shooters with a post-production workflow.
The D5200 doen't have the touchscreen capability of the Canon EOS T5i / 700D and is not as feature-laden as Sony's SLT-series cameras with sweep panorama and built-in GPS. But, if the D5200 is a bit conservative by comparison, for those looking for traditional photographic basics done well, Nikon has provided an option worthy of consideration.
We do find fault with limitations such as lack of aperture control with live view engaged and the combined stills/video live view implementation makes accurate framing for video output difficult in many situations. Users wanting to shoot in live view mode will have to settle for slower autofocus performance than they'd get from nearly any mirrorless camera. And we're also disappointed in the camera's 60i video output, which contains upsampling artifacts.
On the whole, however, Nikon has gotten a lot more right than wrong, with the D5200 offering significant upgrades over its predecessor, the D5100. It inherits genuinely useful features from higher-end models, including focal length-dependent Auto ISO behavior and a 39 point AF system. That this all comes in a package with a very reasonable body-only list price of $800, speaks to the impressive value available to DSLR shooters on a budget. As such, the Nikon D5200 easily earns our Silver award.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.
Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The Nikon D5200 is a solid performer that delivers excellent image quality and impressive high-ISO performance, along with an articulated screen and a control interface that's appropriate for users stepping up to a DSLR.
Phottix just released the Premio Parabolic Umbrellas series, replacing their Para-Pro line with a stronger, deeper and better made set of parabolic umbrellas.
The Moto Z2 is Motorola's first dual-camera smartphone and, compared to its predecessor, comes with a number of improvements and new camera features.
Researchers at Stanford have revealed a new '4D camera system' built for robots. The system is based on the same light field tech that allowed Lytro cameras to refocus images after they were taken.
If you want 'beautiful rendition' from your lenses, follow this simple rule: only buy classic low-element prime lenses with lead glass elements—everything else is junk.
In an interview with CNBC, Leica Chairman Andreas Kaufmann said he dreams of a 'true Leica phone,' and hinted at what's next for the Leica and Huawei partnership.
Wildlife and nature photographer Peter Mather tells the story behind this exceptional shot of a mama grizzly and her cub searching for salmon in Yukon, Canada.
Popular YouTube channel TastyTuts has put together this 33-video Beginner's Guide to Adobe Photoshop—a godsend for anybody who wants to learn Photoshop from scratch.
The long anticipated replacement for the popular Rode VideoMic Pro is almost ready for shipping. The price of the upgraded VideoMic Pro+ will be £290/$300 when it goes on sale in mid-August.
A new iOS app called Explorest wants to help you find new locations to shoot. It's limited to Singapore for now, but the app is packed full of useful location scouting features.
Nikon's D850 development announcement is extremely light on details, so we assembled a wish list of upgrades and features we'd love to see.
Nikon has announced the development of the long-awaited replacement to its full-frame D810: the D850. Nikon says that the D850 will build on the strengths of its predecessor and offer 'new technologies, features and performance enhancements.'
Lens manufacturer Voigtlander has introduced a 65mm F2 macro lens for Sony E-mount that it says "rates as one of the finest in the history of Voigtländer."
The UK released a preview of their upcoming drone safety regulations, and it looks like drone pilots will have to both register their device and pass safety awareness tests.
National Geographic photographer Bob Holmes talks about light, and why you need to learn how to 'see' and not just 'look' at your subject.
Photographer Alessandro Barteletti shares the story behind his National Geographic Italia cover, shot with a 10-year-old DSLR and an iPhone flashlight.
Fashion catalog photographers in China have some next-level models to work with. In this video, you see one model hitting 30 poses in 15 seconds as the photographer snaps away.
Photographer Paul Adshead breaks down 11 photography-related smartphone apps he couldn't live without—from a pocket light meter to a lighting diagram app.
Fast-growing Chinese flash brand Godox is teasing a brand new flash trigger... for smartphones. The Godox A1 is a 'phone flash system' that can act as both flash and 2.4GHz trigger.
On July 12, Canon opened its newest Technology and Support Center, designed to serve the motion picture industry, in Burbank, CA. DPReview got a sneak peak and takes you behind the scenes.
The Sigma 14mm F1.8 Art is truly one-of-a-kind. It offers the fastest aperture of any lens that shares its focal length, produces beautiful sunstars and is incredibly sharp to boot. If you're in the market for a fast ultrawide prime, this looks to be the one to get.
In this article, expert macro photographer Thomas Shahan shares advice for successful closeup photography of bugs, insects and small animals.
DJI's new firmware makes it difficult to fly in restricted airspace, even when you have proper clearance. Is DJI placing themselves between professionals and the FAA?
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.