Body Elements

The D5300 is based around a 24 MP DX-format CMOS sensor. It has a 1.5x 'crop factor', which means that an 18mm lens offers a similar angle of view to a 27mm lens on the 35mm 'full frame' format. Like the D7100, the D5300's sensor lacks an OLPF, which should provide higher detail (but with an increased risk of moiré).
Note that because the D5300 lacks an in-body AF motor, you'll need to buy Nikon's AF-S lenses to get autofocus, or third-party options with built-in focus motors.

The range of lenses with built-in motors is now fairly extensive, but it means older designs will have to be manually focused.
On the front of the camera, to the left of the flash housing, you'll find the flash button. This not only serves to pop up the flash but also, when used in conjunction with the camera's dial, adjusts options including flash exposure compensation.

Below that is the camera's sole customizable 'Fn' button.
The D5300's top-plate looks more or less like most other recent low-end and mid-range Nikon DSLRs. The red button at upper left activates movie recording, and the 'LV' switch is a sprung lever that activates live view.
There's a bright LED autofocus illuminator, which the camera will automatically activate when the light is too low to focus. It can be disabled in the menus, if you prefer.

Switching the camera to its 'Quiet' shutter mode will also temporarily disable the AF illuminator, along with the focus confirmation beep.
The D5300 sports front and rear infrared receivers for the (optional) ML-L3 wireless remote control, on the handgrip and left shoulder, respectively. This means it's just as easy to trigger the shutter when shooting from in front of, or behind the camera.
The pop-up flash is the same as on previous cameras in the range. With a guide number of 12m at ISO 100 it's got a reasonable amount of power for social shooting or a bit of fill-flash. The housing lifts high above the mount to minimize shadowing with larger lenses.

Unfortunately the built-in flash doesn't offer wireless control of external flash units, as it does on higher-end Nikons.
As usual there's a hotshoe on top of the pentamirror that's compatible with Nikon's external Speedlight units.
The D5300's drive mode button resides on the camera's left-most flank, below the lens release button (rather than the top plate, as was the case with the D5200). As well as continuous framerate options you can also select remote control and self-timer modes.
The memory card slot is on the grip side of the camera, and takes SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. The D5300 supports high-speed UHS-I cards.
The D5300's connectors are behind a rubber flap on the left of the camera. The stereo mic jack is top left, above the port for the MC-DC2 cable release. The latter can be set to initiate either stills or video capture.

To the right are USB/AV out ports and an HDMI socket (CEC compatible).
Two small grills in front of the hot shoe conceal the stereo microphones.