Nikon D5200 review

31 May 2013

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

Price when reviewed 
550
Buy it now for 
5

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.

Details

Price ex VAT £458
Price inc VAT £550
Overall rating 5
Features & Design 5
Image quality 5
Value for Money 5

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating 24.1mp
Camera screen size 3.0in
Camera maximum resolution 6000 x 4000

Weight and dimensions

Weight 555g
Dimensions 129 x 78 x 98mm (WDH)

Battery

Battery type included Li-ion
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
Aperture range fUnknown - fUnknown
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed 1/4,000
Maximum (slowest) shutter speed 30s
RAW recording mode? yes
Exposure compensation range +/- 5EV
ISO range 100 - 6400
Selectable white balance settings? yes
Manual/user preset white balane? yes
Progam auto mode? yes
Shutter priority mode? yes
Aperture priority mode? yes
Fully auto mode? yes
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? yes
Memory-card type SD
Viewfinder coverage 95%
LCD resolution 921k
Secondary LCD display? no
Video/TV output? yes
Tripod mounting thread? yes
Data connector type USB

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