Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Nikon D5200 review summary

Are you looking at buying a new DSLR camera and are the Nikon D5200 one of the cameras that you are wondering if you should buy. Then look here for a overview and a summary about the Nikon D5200.

Overall

There are already many detail reviews of this camera on the net and you can follow the list of articles about the camera here, but let me highlight some of the important reviews to read before buying this camera:
  • DPReview  writes "Overall though the D5200 is perfectly pleasant and capable little SLR, which is nice to use, delivers great results and offers a specification that wouldn't have looked out of place on a top-end SLR only a few years ago."
  • Photography Blog writes "The new Nikon D5200 may not reinvent the wheel in any way, but it is undoubtedly a great all-round DSLR that's well-suited to a lot of different users and experience levels, exactly what a mass-market camera should be, and judged on that criteria, the Nikon D5200 is once again a very worthy winner of our Highly Recommended award."
  • ePhotozine writes "The D5200 has taken all that we liked about the D5100 and tweaked slightly, meaning we are happy to highly recommend it."
  • Dxomarks writes "In performance terms, the D5200’s Toshiba CMOS sensor does well to make advances on the already excellent chips to be found the firm’s existing DX camera range and shows a marked improvement over the earlier 24Mpix sensors found in the Sony Alphas. As for the features and creative possibilities the D5200, adopting the major modules from the highly regarded D7000 is a shrewd step while other tweaks such as the addition of Auto ISO selection, manual movie control, 20-step audio levels and an intervalometer all add up to an enticing and reasonably accessible package."
  • Amateur photographer writes "The Nikon D5200 is an interesting camera, placed in the crossover between beginner and enthusiast level. Some people would say that its plastic body and simple handling are likely to frustrate the enthusiast, while its memory-hungry resolution (and therefore large files to process) is too much for the beginner. However, the D5200 is likely to satisfy a beginner for longer, and act as a compact and able-performing back-up model for an enthusiast."

Compare vs ...

When you are going to buy a new DSLR camera you often have more than one camera to choose from, so lets take a look on how the Nikon D5200 compares to some of the other cameras from Nikon or you are considering to upgrade from another model and wants to know if it makes a difference to upgrade to this model:
  • vs Nikon D90: You get a lot of great features if you are considering to upgrade from the Nikon D90 such as better autofocus, better metering and more, but if you are an owner of non AF-S lenses then you should consider the Nikon D7100 instead if you are using these lenses a lot. Read more here.
  • vs Nikon D300s: If you are a Nikon D300s user you most likely will look elsewhere for a new camera, but you still might consider this camera if you interest in being a photographer has dropped a bit or you now are more on a budget. You will get a camera in the Nikon D5200 that makes better pictures, but you will loose a lot of the advance features of the Nikon D300s, so you should think hard about this choice if you want to replace it with the Nikon D5200. Read more here.
  • vs Nikon D3000: The Nikon D5200 is a great upgrade from the Nikon D3000. If you are moving on from this camera and want more features then this camera could be perfect for you. Read more here
  • vs Nikon D3100: Also from the Nikon D3100 this Nikon D5200 is a great upgrade. You get a lot of great new and better features compared to those in the Nikon D3100. Read more here.
  • vs Nikon D3200: You get a lot of great features in the Nikon D3200, so it is really an important camera to consider when wondering if you should go for the Nikon D5200. It all comes down to if you need the more advance features of the camera like better autofocus, better metering or other more advance features of a DSLR. Read more here.
  • vs Nikon D5100: The Nikon D5200 is clearly a major upgrade from the Nikon D5200 and you get a great number of features. If you are considering between the two you should go for Nikon D5200 if money isn't an issue otherwise the Nikon D5100 is still a great camera. Read more here.
  • vs Nikon D7000: The Nikon D5200 gets many of its improve features from the Nikon D7000, so this is also an important camera to consider. Many features are the same, but the Nikon D5200 is target more on the photographer that wants guide when taking pictures and where the Nikon D7000 is more for the advance photographer. Another important factor is that the Nikon D7000 can use older non AF-S lenses. Read more here.
  • vs Nikon D7100: You should know that Nikon targets different users with these two cameras. The image that these two produces wouldn't be that far apart with the Nikon D7100 having a little bit of an edge. In the Nikon D7100 you get a camera that has better autofocus and is easier to use for the advance amateur or professional that needs a DX format camera. Read more here.

Sensor performance

The performance of the sensor is one of the best available today in the Nikon DX market, where it is only the more expensive FX models that gives better performance or the new Nikon D7100. You will get a sensor (which is a very important part of the camera) that is on the top level today (2013) and will be on top for a good deal of years before you will see a sensor for Nikon DX format that is better in a large scale.

The level of colour depth (important when you are taking portrait pictures) measured by Dxomark is among the best. It is only full frame cameras like Nikon D800, Nikon D600 and the professional line of Nikon cameras that are better. It is the best so far in the DX family (the Nikon D7100 hasn't been measured yet).

The level of dynamic range (important when you are taking landscape pictures) measured by Dxomark is on level with the older bigger brother Nikon D7000 and this makes it among the best cameras in the DX family. If you want something better you have to go for the full frame cameras like the Nikon D800, Nikon D600 or similar.

Autofocus

The Nikon D5200 has gotten its autofocus module from it older bigger brother the Nikon D7000. It doesn't have exactly the same customisation functions (a bit fewer) as the Nikon D7000, but it is still the same engine. This is a major upgrade from Nikon D5100, which is the module that the Nikon D5200 is expected to replace over time.

Unless you are in the more manual shooting modes like manual, aperture priority, shutter priority or programmed mode you don't have to worry about, which autofocus mode to choose as the camera decides for you based on the scene mode that you have selected. So this also means that you have to be in one of the above modes to have more control over the autofocus, which makes perfect sense.

Metering and exposure

Just as the autofocus system. The metering system has also gotten an upgrade in the Nikon D5200. Again here it has gotten its metering system from its older bigger brother the Nikon D5200. This means that you will get a camera that uses more information to get the right exposure, which should translate into more pictures with the right exposure.

The camera includes a bracketing options which lets you take more than one picture automatically with different exposure, white balancing or Active D-Lightning. This is an important option to be able to use in situations where you are not sure of what to do. An example here is a sunset. Using exposure bracketing you will have a better chance of getting a picture with the right exposure.

Handling

The mode drive is on the right side of the camera, which some users might find weird as it for some cameras is on the left side of the camera and others might find it just the right place. The mode drive lets you select from different classic mode like manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, programmed mode, but also predefined scene modes like portrait, landscape, child, sports, close up, night portrait, night landscape, party/indoor, beach/snow, sunset, dusk/dawn, pet portrait, candlelight, blossom, autumn colours, food. And if this wasn't enough you can also set  special effect modes like night vision, colour sketch, miniature effect, selective colour, silhouette, high key, low key. All in all you have both the power of setting the camera just as you want it in the classic modes and a lot of predefined modes that helps you take pictures in different situations and even to be creative with the special effect modes.

The camera just have one command dial button at the your right thumb and the two as it is known from other cameras. This can both be an advantage and disadvantage. If you just want to take pictures, this is perfect as it is easier to handle, but if you are a more advance users it will make it harder to get the settings that you need just for this picture.

A lot of the fine tuning control of the camera like autofocus mode, release modes, image quality and more is only controllable via the multi selector button and by viewing on the LCD screen. Again this is great for the novice user, but can be a disappointment for the more advance user.

The LCD monitor can angled and rotated as you like, so that if you use the live view option that you can see the picture from just about any direction. This is a great feature and should be standard on all DSLR cameras as it just gives you more options and if you don't want to use it, then you still just can have it sit like it normally does.

The shutter release isn't that high in volume, so you don't get the big clank as you often get in a DSLR camera when the mirror comes down. The camera has a silent mode, but don't use it as it just makes the mirror move slower and giving you a slower release cycle.

Conclusion 

The Nikon D5200 is a great camera. As a photographer you most likely spend you time shooting one or more types of pictures and when you choose your next camera it is important that it fits will with the kind of shooting you are doing. Take a look here to see how the Nikon D5200 fits with your category of shooting.
  • Landscape: The Nikon D5200 is a good camera for taking pictures of landscape, but not among the best when you take these kind of pictures. There are two main issues with having it as a landscape camera. One is that it is DX format (crop factor) and with landscape you often want to go wide a good deal of the time. The other issue is that the battery which doesn't last as long as other cameras, so you might need to stock up on batteries.
  • Travel: The Nikon D5200 is a great camera for taking pictures while you travel. It is light with a lot of quick option to make the camera perform well in a lot of different situations. One issue as in the landscape type of pictures is the battery. Remember your charger or stock up on batteries for leaving your home.
  • Portrait and people: The Nikon D5200 is a great camera for taking portraits. You can buy one of the cheap 50mm lenses to act like a portrait lens for not that much money and get great portraits of your family.
  • Wildlife, sports and action: The Nikon D5200 is a okay camera for taking pictures of wildlife, but there are three main issues. One is the battery as with the other situations, where you can expect to be out a lot without being able to charge the battery. The second issue is that the frames per second isn't that high, so you just might miss the perfect picture frame of the wildlife. The third issue is that the buffer capacity isn't big, so the frame rates per second will quickly drop, when shooting a lot of pictures. A good thing for the Nikon D5200 is the crop factor which lets you get closer to the wildlife with cheaper lenses.
  • Macro: The Nikon D5200 is a good camera for taking macro pictures as it as the second best type of auto focus system, so you will be able to focus quickly and sharp on the pictures you want to take macro pictures of.
The Nikon D5200 fits well into many situations without being a top performer in any category, so it is a good overall camera. If you but an extra battery then you should even make it better as you wouldn't have to worry about running out of battery life.

That was the different types of photographer style. What about how the camera fit for different kind of photographers with different skill levels?
  • First SLR/novice amateur: The camera is a perfect camera for your first SLR camera or you just don't know that much about taking pictures. It helps you taking pictures in different situations, where you don't have to worry about setting the camera just right for that situation. 
  • Advance amateur: The camera is a great fit for the advance amateur on a budget. If you have more money then you would most likely go for the Nikon D7100, Nikon D600 or Nikon D800. You will have some of the great features from the Nikon D7000, but at the same time you will also have to live with a camera that is harder to work with the more you go towards the manual mode of shooting pictures.
  •  Professional: The camera is a okay fit for the professional photographer, but it will most likely see its use as a backup camera as it really isn't fit for the professional photographer, but it will still take great pictures, so if for some reason the main camera is down then it will still make you the money. If you don't own older non AF-S lenses then if could be a great backup to a full frame camera depending on your type of shooting.
The Nikon D5200 is a great camera for the amateur photographer that love to travel and when you don't travel it is still a great camera for many situations. For the more experienced photographer there is just to many short comings, so you might want to look elsewhere for your camera.


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