The Nikon D5200 Review
The Nikon D5100 is an excellent camera which offers high quality video and photo, but the sluggish performance tarnishes its attraction for me. Nikon has solved this problem in the D5200 by using the same new metering and autofocus systems which is found in the D600. It also includes the updated high-end viewfinder which results in a relatively better shooting experience that makes it a perfect option for all-around vacation and family photography.
As with the Nikon D5100, quality of both motion and still image remains excellent, but in spite of an updated image-processing engine and a new sensor, it is not remarkably better. The camera optimizes the JPEGs very well. Image look usable through ISO 6400, good through ISO 1600, and clean up through ISO 800 depending upon the output size and subject matter.
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Dynamic range and exposure look good, though it tends to offer darker exposures in certain circumstances. There are shadow detail and recoverable highlight in line. It reproduces accurate colors, and the default settings of color don’t push saturation or contrast overmuch. Sharpness seems to be the major difference between the neutral and standard settings. Video quality also looks extremely good. Many cameras tends to show lots of moiré on edges and sparkling as noise increases in low light conditions, but it displayed good solidity. As the environment becomes darker the tonal range does decline, with more crushed blacks and blown-out highlights, otherwise it seems outstanding.
Compared to the D5100, the performance of D5200 has improved significantly. The updated autofocus system is the major reason for the increase in performance. As our shot lag tests include a significant distance exposure and refocus adjustment, we start with the lens accustomed for the object near to the camera. We found that the lens drives to new location very quickly, and it affects the lag time substantially. There is no built-in AF motor in the D5200, so the performance of this camera is highly depended upon the motor in the 18-55mm kit lens, which drives comparatively slowly. However, the shots that don’t need any significant exposure adjustment or lens movement do show the boost in speed.
The camera is able to power on and take the shot in just 0.3 second. In good lighting conditions it takes 0.5 second to focus, expose and shoot, and 0.8 second in poor lighting. Two successive shots can be taken in just 0.2 second for either raw or JPEG.
The continuous-shooting capability of this camera is excellent for its category. For JPEG it maintains 5.1fps for unlimited frames and for raw it maintains 5.5fps for 8 frames. The autofocus system is pretty accurate and fast, and works very well. Most of the time the Live View autofocus speed is surprisingly responsive, both for video and stills. Sadly, I feel there is too much contrast in the display.
The Bottom Line
The Nikon D5200 offers good quality video and photo for its category. It delivers a lot for your money with a solid feature set and fluid shooting design. Lack of the autofocus motor is only the flaw of this camera. Overall, it is a great option for vacation and family photographers.