Megapixel count: 24.1 MP
Zoom and Optics: 18-55mm
ISO Range: 100-6400 (25600 with boost)
Dimensions: WIDTH:129 mm, HEIGHT: 98mm, DEPTH: 78mm,
Weight: 505g (1.22 lb/19.58 oz) body only
• Ease of use
• HD image and video quality
• Absence of an in-body AF motor
The D5200 is a great camera for both amateurs and those going pro.
For me, DSLRs always come with a promise of catering to whatever creative needs one wants met. To make sure that we’re getting our money’s worth, we read the spec sheet over and over again to make sure the camera is worth every cent, and the camera offers key features that we, as shutterbugs, need: an enormous pixel count, processor speed, superb image quality, a wide ISO range, and everything short of the kitchen sink. The pros have a very extensive list of requirements for picking the perfect model, but for less tech-savvy or amateur users, choosing the right DSLR depends more on the experience and usability of the device. Being one of the latter, this was the mindset I was in while testing the Nikon D5200.
Launched last November 2012, the successor of the D5100 hits the market with a newly developed 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor in DX Format—the standard 24 mm x 16 mm image sensor size. The D5200 is a relatively lightweight DSLR with a plastic body that tips the scales at approximately 550 grams. It has the usual hand and thumb grip, although I am not too fond of the texture. The sides are smooth, which caused my hands to slip. The D5200 retains the fully articulated 3-inch 921,000-dot LCD screen from its predecessor, which allows for convenient live viewing angles and greater flexibility shooting video. The D5200 does give you a little more than its predecessor, in the form of a stereo microphone in front of the hot shoe.
The D5200’s set of external controls are easy to manipulate once you get used to them. The main controls sit on the camera’s top plate. The power switch stays at the edge of the hand grip around the shutter, right where you can access it quickly with your forefinger. Just behind the main switch is the mode dial that allows you to quickly change to one of the D5200’s many camera modes with just a twist of your forefinger and thumb. Beside this is the Live Mode switch that lets you compose your shot in the LCD screen. I found this very handy, as it allowed me to quickly switch to Live Mode and record video without much trouble. The rest of your dedicated buttons are found at the rear of the device: the LCD screen with the multi selector button at its right, the review button above it and the zoom and delete buttons below. Just at the edge of the top plate and the rear is the command dial. Once you hold the camera properly to prepare yourself for shooting, this dial is perfectly within reach. The placement of the external controls was practical enough for me to get used to working with the camera right away, even though I am a first time Nikon user.
I have no complaints regarding the camera’s processor, as the D5200 inherits the EXPEED 3 image processor that is more than capable of handling massive amounts of data. Its frame advance rate is up to 3 frames per second in continuous L and 5 frames per second in continuous H, and videos can be recorded in up to 1080i HD. It should also be noted that the microphone sensitivity of the D5200 is adjustable, which can be very useful in shooting movies.
As the D5200 inherited a lot from its predecessor, it does not have an in-body autofocus motor and still requires one of the current F-mount lenses of Nikon with an integrated AF motor. I don’t think this will be too much of a problem for beginners, though, and I do think that the 18-55mm kit lens will suffice for most applications.
As for the image and video quality, I can say that both are to my liking. This is speaking not only about the image quality, but the camera’s finely saturated colors and balanced tones. The colors were saturated enough and looked good even unaltered. Low-light conditions are not a problem, as the ISO sensitivity range of the D5200 is from 100-6400 and expandable to Hi1 (equivalent to ISO 12800) and Hi 2 (ISO 25600) depending on your internal exposure compensation—although images start to get noisy at ISO 6400.
When it comes to shooting movies, controlling the camera is relatively easy and comfortable for me. D5200 offers additional controls in movie mode where you can control parameters like aperture, shutter speed and ISO, which gives me more creative freedom in shooting film in high definition. The only downside I saw in shooting videos with the D5200 is the shakiness of the capture, which is unlike the smooth recording the have experienced with other models. Other than this minor gripe, though, I can say that the video mode in the D5200 produces great results.
User experience and image and video quality-wise, the Nikon D5200 is a pretty great camera that is well-suited for beginners and pros alike.
First Published in Gadgets Magazine, April 2013
Words by: Cla Gregorio