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Nikon D5200 Review

Nikon D5200 front.jpg

No matter what your ambitions or skill level are, this camera could arguably be an ideal option for many when it comes down to plonking the plastic on the counter or tapping the computer key to order offline. For many a budding photographer with ambitions a DSLR is the best game in town.

None of those pesky MILCs or compact digicams can satisfy the hunger!
Nikon D5200 LCD Front.jpg

Besides, it’s a Nikon. And the specs are damn fine.

Nikon D5200 LCD back.jpg

Nikon D5200 Features

True, the sensor is close to half the area of a 35mm full frame but, unless you’re going to indulge in heavy cropping or demand an enormous print output, the 23.5×15.6mm CMOS will work fine for many.

Besides, the maximum image size of 6000×4000 pixels can lead to a print of 51x34cm at 300 dpi.

Video in MPEG4 can be recorded at Full HD and 1920×1080 resolution.

With the help of the vari-angle screen I made some nice, controlled camera movies in shooting video, with the AF system tracking accurately throughout the moves. However, shoot a still and the video shuts down!


  • AF system: 39-point AF system with nine cross-type sensors.
  • Metering: the 2016 pixel RGB metering sensor provides data to the camera’s Scene Recognition System, which optimises exposure, autofocus and white balance immediately before the shutter is released.
  • Optical viewfinder.
  • 7.5cm (3-in) vari-angle LCD monitor has 921,000 pixel resolution which can be swung 180 degrees laterally and through a 90 degree vertical arc.
  • Compatible with Wireless Mobile Adaptor WU-1a.
  • Compatible with WR-R10 Wireless Remote transceiver and WR-T10 Wireless Remote transmitter to control key camera functions from a distance.
  • ISO range from 100 to 6400 with expansion to ISO 25,600.
  • Continuous shooting up to 5fps.
  • High dynamic range (HDR) using two images.
  • GPS compatible: records exact location when using the optional GP-1 unit.
  • 16 scene modes: night portrait, beach/snow, food etc.
  • Seven effects modes: night vision, colour sketch, miniature effect, high and low key etc.


Church interior.JPG

Figures and beach 2.JPG

Nikon D5200 Handling

First, an anecdote: I like to grab a new camera, manual unread, and get shooting as soon as I pull it out of the box. OK all clear, nice, crisp display of the camera status on the rear LCD, here’s the ISO setting, current aperture, auto white balance in play etc etc.

Look through the optical viewfinder, all clear and sharp. And I’ll bet you that this is the reason you’re reading this review and considering a DSLR!

Now, where’s Live View?

In my office’s subdued light it was hard to see at first: a small black lever hanging off the mode dial. And it works, summoning up the view on the LCD. And what a brilliant place to put it! I also found that you must be in Live View to record video.

Back to the walk around: as befits its price level there’s not a jungle of external controls to bewilder the newbie or the timid.

Left and near the top: menu button.

Right and on top: power/shutter button; mode dial (PASM, scene modes, effects, macro etc); info button; exposure compensation; video record; single/continuous shooting and of course the Live View lever.

Back off the top edge: information edit button which pilots you through the rear screen menu options; exposure and AF lock button.

Rear: the multi selector wheel navigates around the rear screen options; replay; memory card access lamp; trash; screen zoom.

Overall, the camera is quite compact for a DSLR and even with the review f3.5/18-55mm lens attached was not a big bundle to carry and handle. The prominent speed grip helps handling and most controls are close to an operative right forefinger. Sorry, southpaws!
BTW in Live View the four way jog dial at the rear moves the AF outline around the screen. A big help.

The screen menu layout is typically Nikon: clear and unmistakable without being a forest of text.

Nikon D5200 ISO Tests

Nikon D5200 ISO 100.JPG

Nikon D5200 ISO 400.JPG

Nikon D5200 ISO 800.JPG

Nikon D5200 ISO 1600.JPG

Nikon D5200 ISO 3200.JPG

Nikon D5200 ISO 6400.JPG

In my view, the D5200 performed very well all the way up to ISO 3200 and I could quite happily use ISO 6400 for certain subjects that could ‘live’ with increased noise and a drop in sharpness, such as city lights etc.

Nikon D5200 Review Verdict

Quality: excellent.
Why you would buy it: it’s a Nikon; well-priced DSLR; excellent video capture.
Why you wouldn’t: you don’t want a DSLR!

For a camera that I figure is very affordable for many people this has to be one of the best buys around: 24.1 megapixel capture, vari-angle screen; Full HD capture. Very appealing!

Nikon D5200 Specifications

Image Sensor: 23.5×15.6mm CMOS. 24.1 million effective pixels.
Metering: Matrix, centre-weighted, averaging and spot.
A/D processing: 14-bit.
Lens Mount: Nikon F.
Exposure Modes: Auto, Program AE, shutter and aperture priority, manual.
35 SLR Lens Factor: 1.5x.
Shutter Speed: Bulb, 30 to 1/4000 second. Flash X-sync: up to 1/200 sec.
Continuous Speed: up to 5fps.
Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC cards.
Image Sizes (pixels): 6000×400 to 2992×2000. Movies: 1920×1080 to 640×424.
Viewfinders: Eye level pentaprism and 7.5cm LCD (921,000 pixels).
File Formats: NEF (RAW), JPEG, NEF (RAW)+JPEG, MPEG4.
Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB.
ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100 to 6400. With expansion up to ISO 25,600.
Interface: USB 2.0, AV, HDMI mini, DC input, external stereo mic, remote.
Power: Rechargeable lithium ion battery, AC adaptor.
Dimensions: 129x98x78 WHDmm.
Weight: Approx. 555 g (with battery).
Price: get a price on the Nikon D5200 (body only) or Nikon D5200 with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR NIKKOR Zoom Lens or Nikon D520018-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED NIKKOR Zoom Lens or Nikon D5200with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR and 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lenses + EN-EL14 Battery + 10pc Bundle 32GB Deluxe Accessory Kit.

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Barrie Smith
Barrie Smith

is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

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