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Nikon D5200 review

Verdict

A cracking camera with superb image quality and a brilliant autofocus. A number of small faults prevent it from topping our A-List, however

Review Date: 31 May 2013

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £458 (£550 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £419
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
5 stars out of 6

Image Quality
5 stars out of 6

Advances from one version of a DSLR to the next tend to be minor, but the Nikon D5200 takes a bigger step than most. Not only has the autofocus system improved significantly over its predecessor, the D5100, but the sensor has been boosted too, from 16.2 megapixels to a massive 24.1 megapixels.

The autofocus upgrade is the D5200’s standout feature, and it beats anything any mid-range rival has to offer. It’s inherited from the enthusiast-grade Nikon D7000, and has a huge 39 autofocus points, of which nine are the more accurate cross-type points. Compared with the D5100’s nine standard and one cross-type points, it’s a significant upgrade, and it also outdoes its Canon counterpart, the EOS 700D, which has only nine, although all of that camera’s points are cross-type.

Nikon D5200

The Nikon autofocus proved slightly slower than the Canon’s in our tests, but its extra points delivered greater accuracy – we found we rarely needed to focus then recompose.

In terms of detail capture and noise control, the new 24.1-megapixel sensor is also a winner. Our test shots were bursting with detail, although when comparing side by side with images shot with the Canon, the difference you might expect from the six extra megapixels isn’t massive. You really have to pixel peep to notice any difference at all.

Nikon D5200

The Nikon D5200’s sensitivity range goes from ISO 100-6400, with up to ISO 25600 available by selecting one of the camera’s “Hi” options. Photos are usable all the way up to 6400, with luminance noise barely visible at ISO 3200 and not terribly intrusive at ISO 6400. Chroma noise is controlled even better: at 1:1, we struggled to spot any chroma noise at all, even at ISO 6400. It’s easily a match for the Canon on this front, with the Nikon producing images that looked sharper at higher ISO levels, but with a slightly stronger grain.

The improvements don’t stop at stills, though, as Nikon has significantly enhanced video capabilities too. The D5200 can now shoot 1080p footage at up to 25fps, or 720p footage at 50fps. It has an integrated stereo mic, compared to the D5100’s mono onboard audio, and there’s a 3.5mm jack for external audio recording. You also have control over audio levels, and full-time autofocus is available while recording. The latter works reasonably well, although focus tends to pulse in and out as your subject moves around in the frame. We found that, although slow, the Canon 700D focused more smoothly in continuous mode, and its new EF-S 18-55mm IS STM kit lens is quieter than the Nikon’s.

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User comments

"can now shoot 1080p footage at up to 2fps"

24fps?

By Mark_Thompson on 31 May 2013

Excellent Improvements

The improvements undertaken with this upgrade have really put this camera own the map. So much so that it is now a real viable option for any serious camera enthusiast. Steve - www.observingcameras.com

By 27happydays on 31 May 2013

It would be interesting to see ....

What the PCPro verdict will be on the D7100 given the standing ovation for this camera ...

By DaytR on 31 May 2013

The real competitor is the D3200?

Hard to justify pricing of ~50% more than the D3200 for a similar sensor, screen and EXPEED3, just more autofocus points, an extra fps and an extra ISO level.

I'm sure there will be people for whom that is worth the price, but I suspect that at this level a D3200 with an extra £160 in the budget for lenses will generally be a better bet in the real world.

The D5200 is more evidence that amateur SLRs are hitting that "good enough" plateau that desktop PCs reached 5-10 years ago. This would have been the obvious model to have introduced integrated GPS/Bluetooth/Wifi on, but since Nikon are determined to keep charging £200 for a GPS unit, I guess that turkey isn't going to vote for Christmas. So where else can they go - compete on price?

By Big_Hal on 6 Jun 2013

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By jadhavaksh121 on 17 Jun 2013

My Upgrade

Ive just purchased a D5200 I upgraded from a Canon 1000D Still new however I am extremely impressed on the quality of the images and the ease of use of the controls. Touch screen does not appeal to me I would end up cleaning it all the time. Si its still new but I am loving it

By Skiddy on 28 Jul 2013

D5200 vs D7100

DXo and pcpro have both not been very impressed by the 7100 in the context of the 5200. It seems unless you have older lenses, shoot in wet or dusty locations constantly, or need slightly faster autofocus, then the 5200 is a better choice, since it's picture quality is, according to DXo, marginally better.

Surprising, since the AA filter has been removed from the 7100 so you would think... but no, the tests do not put the 7100 ahead in image quality.

The flip out screen on the 5200 is also a great feature. From what you save in the price difference between the two, you can buy a really great zoom, or a couple of primes, because 24Mp needs good glass!

I love the images from my 5200, so glad I upgraded (from 5100) there is a difference, and in picture terms, you'll love both cameras - the elephant in the room is, however, the huge price difference gets you NO IMPROVEMENT IN PICTURE QUALITY so... think carefully about those very very expensive 'features'.

By autofocusross on 26 Sep 2013

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