Find out which DSLR is best for you
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Fast to start and shoot. Excellent picture quality. Fast auto-focus. Continuous shooting at 4fps. 39-point auto-focus system. Sharp vari angle LCD. 1080i video capture. GPS and Wi-Fi. Add-ons are available.Has a small pentamirror viewfinder. Does not auto-focus with screw drive lenses. Only one control wheel. Noisy focus while video recording.The D5200 is an extremely capable DSLR that gives impressive picture quality and 4fps of continuous shooting, making it our Editor's Choice.

The D5200 is Nikon’s mid-range consumer DSLR camera, providing a lot more control and features compared to the entry-model D3200 , however, not quite equal to the more pricey D7100. It’s a remarkable performer, shooting constantly at 4 fps (frames per second) and providing clean 24-mega-pixel images via ISO 3200. It isn’t without it’s drawbacks, the view-finder just isn’t as large or vivid as with a few other SLRs, plus it doesn’t provide complete compatibility with the older Nikon lens. But it’s definitely good enough to replace its predecessor, the Nikon D5100 as our Editor’s Choice for DSLRs priced under $1,000.


Features and Design

The D5200 is able to squeeze a good number of controls within its small frame, even though its quite compact for a standard DSLR. Its measurements are 3.9 by 5.1 by 3.1 inches it also weighs about 1.1 lbs without the lens. Pentax K-30 is more heavy at 1.4 lbs, although the it’s comparable in size, differing by a 10th of an inch at the most. The D5200 utilizes a pentamirror finder, which is not as big or bright, but lighter. Photography enthusiasts who are used to a 35mm SLRs will probably have to adapt to the smaller size, but if you’re upgrading from a point & shoot it will certainly be a revelation when comparing it to working with an LCD with regard to framing your shots. You can even set it to show a rule of thirds grid overlay that will help you better compose your images, adding this feature in the viewfinder has helped Nikon set the D5200 apart from other cameras.
Should you choose to not enable the grid, the view-finder shows a cross shaped overlay that exhibits the active auto-focus area. It is possible to tell the D-5200 to automatically choose the auto-focus points out of the 39 available. Alternatively, choose one manually utilizing the directional pad found on the back of the camera. The active point will show up as a black color square, but it changes to red when you move it to get visibility. Other back controls included are the “i” switch, which provides you fast access to modify shooting settings through the rear LCD, a typical control wheel, as well as an Auto Exposure Locking mechanism/Auto-focus Lock button. There is no control wheel on the front, as dual wheels are rare on entry level cameras. The Pentax K-30 has them, but most other recent models are restricted to one.
By default control locks both the current exposure and focus settings provided it held down. It can also be programmed to work in a number of other ways. You also have a option of setting it to work as only an auto-exposure Lock button, which can be ideal for those occasions when you are coping with troublesome lighting, yet still need the auto-focus to engage normally when capturing a shot. Other available functions include the AF-ON (auto-focus) Lock only. This final setting disables auto-focus when pressing on the shutter, activating it as long as AE-L/AF-L button is held down. Those who shoot using pro bodies with a dedicated back auto focus button will appreciate this functionality.
Included in the top controls is the standard mode dial, that features a switch that allows Live View incorporated in the design. There’s additionally a record button which only functions while Live View is enabled, a button to manage exposure compensation, an Information button which toggles what’s shown through the rear display, and one more to manage the drive mode. Similar to other Nikon DSLR cameras, the power button is built-in with the shutter release. This is a parting from the majority of Canon bodies, such as the Rebel T4i , which have it round the mode dial.
The 3″ rear LCD is connected to a hinge. The design allows it to rotate so it can be viewed frombelow and above, from the front, or from the rear, from any angle. Additionally, it can fold flat facing inward or outward against the body – the former is ideal for those occasions when you wish to make use of the view-finder exclusively without having to review images. The display screen is very sharp with 921k dots, that allows you to manually focus in Live-View with accuracy and review images for critical focus. When you are shooting, it shows an info screen which displays shutter aperture and speed, the present focus point, and ISO, in addition to the number of photos that can be recorded onto the memory card.
When you press the “i” button you can modify the format of the file recorded, enable HDR capture and bracketing, modify active lighting, JPG output settings, white balance, and change the ISO. You also get additional control over exposure settings, focus mode, flash output, as well as metering. The directional pad is utilized to navigate through the settings, using the center OK button to confirm and adjust settings. A contextual comes with each setting just in case you are not sure what’s suitable for the scene – example of this, a surfer is displayed in order to indicate the function of AF-C, that continuously focuses on a moving target until the shutter is pressed, an excellent solution to capturing sport and action scenes.
You’ll not find lots of whistles and bells with the D5200. There is no GPS like you can find on the Sony A65, neither will you get built in Wi-Fi. Nikon does however, sell accessories to add these functions. The small WU-1a Wi-fi Adapter for $60, that plugs into your camera to incorporate a Wi-Fi connection, as well as the GP-1A GPS Device for $300, that automatically adds location info to your pictures.


Performance and Conclusions

Up to 4 fps of Continuous shooting is possible. However, only 6 shots are possible at this pace if you shoot in Raw+JPG, with the shooting buffer needing approximately 4.1 seconds to totally clear. Shooting can be extended to 10 shots when switching to Raw only mode, with the buffer needing 3.8 seconds to clear. When shooting in JPG only mode you’re able to hold-down the shutter button and shoot photos at 4fps without almost no limit. The D5200 is fast, but it’s perhaps not as quick as the Sony a65, which can start and shoot in 0.8 second, with burst shooting as high as 7.7 fps and 0.1 second shutter lag , but it’s buffer has a limit of 14 shots.
Video recording is in QuickTime format at 1080i quality. The video footage is fantastic, with smooth motion and accurate colors. Performance at low-light is especially a strong point. When compared, the 24 mega-pixel camera is able to surpasses the 18 mega-pixel Canon Rebel T4i while ISO settings are high.
The noise associated with the zoom lens altering focus is audible, nevertheless, you can include a typical exterior mic if you want to improve quality of sound from videos. If you are seriously interested in D-SLR video and also attempting to work inside a tight budget, think about the Sony Alpha 65. It’s fixed-mirror design permits for full time Live-View focusing using fast phase detect auto-focus, in addition it records 1080p60 videos within the AVCHD format.
Besides the mic input, you’ll find two proprietary connections on the camera-one works together with the bundled USB cable and in addition enables you to connect the WU-1a Wireless Adapter; another is for the add-on GPS radio. Those who own old auto-focus Nikon lenses that need a screw-drive for auto-focus must keep in mind that there are none on the lens mount-if you do have a warehouse of these lenses, you will want to upgrade to a D7100 for auto-focus support. The D5200 is compatible with SDHC, SD, as well as SDXC memory cards.
The D5200 is definitely a well rounded camera, and its reasonable price and overall performance combine to make it our Editor’s Choice for entry-level DSLRs.



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