Afew years ago, the professional D-SLR camera market witnessed a full-fledged megapixel war, with m nufacturers trying to pack more ‘megapixels’ into their devices.
Just when we thought that megapixels are getting stagnated, some of the manufacturers have revived the megapixel madness, albeit in another category — entry-level D-SLRs. The latest in the offing is the Nikon D5200 advanced entry-level camera featuring 24.1 megapixels.
Design and Build Quality
The overall design of the Nikon D5200 is similar to that of its predecessor, the D5100, the major difference being a stereo microphone on top and a burst mode button near the mode dial. The camera’s exterior is made up of sturdy engineering plastic. The Tilt and Swivel LCD and the layout of buttons are similar to those of the D5100. Like in the case of the D5100, this camera does not feature a front command dial. The lens mount and tripod receptacle are metal.
The 24.1-megapixel Nikon D5200 uses a Nikon DX format (23.5 x 15.6mm) APS-C size CMOS sensor featuring Nikon’s advanced dust reduction system which shakes off dust from the sensor using ultrasonic vibrations. This sensor, along with the latest EXPEED 3 imaging processor, is believed to reproduce rich and faithful colours with smooth, natural tones and excellent detail in addition to producing low-noise images even in low light at high sensitivities. This combination also reduces the chances of noise, jaggies, and moire in videos. The camera’s Live View autofocus offers full-time servo AF (AF-F) and subject tracking AF to keep the subject sharp even if they are in motion. The D5200 can autofocus only with AF-S and AF-I lenses. Other CPU lenses such as G, D, and AI-P lenses will not autofocus, but can be used in Manual Focus mode. In the case of non-CPU lenses, only M mode can be used and the exposure meter will not work. The D5200 uses Nikon Multi CAM 4800DX autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection and 39 focus points including 9 with cross type sensors. The camera has a new 2016-pixel RGB sensor for metering, which also helps to accurately track subject movement by detecting and memorising its colour using all 39 focus points. Metering modes are Matrix (3D Colour Matrix Metering II available with type G and D lenses, Colour Matrix Metering II in other CPU lenses), Centre-weighted, and Spot. Self-timer can be set for 2, 5, 10, or 20 sec for up to 9 exposures.
A new dual mode shutter mechanism (mechanical in combination with electronic) allows you to shoot continuously at up to 5 frames per second and capture images silently when in Live View mode by locking up the mirror. Shutter speeds range from 30 to 1/4000sec and Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 6400, which can be boosted up to ISO 25,600. It has a flash sync speed of 1/200 sec or slower. Exposure compensation can be set for -5 to +5 EV in 1/3-EV steps. Exposure can be bracketed for up to 3 shots with 1/3 or 1/2 EV increments. Shooting modes available are Auto, P, S, A, M, Scene, and Special effects. The camera features 16 Scene modes and 7 special effect options. Still images can be recorded in either NEF (Raw) 14 bit or JPEG with an option to shoot Raw and JPEG simultaneously. The maximum still image size is 6000 x 4000 pixels. Movies are recorded in MOV format with the best quality of 1920 x 1080, 60 fps. The camera uses a 3-inch, approximately 921,000-dot vari-angle TFT with 170 degree viewing angle for display. The built-in flash has a Guide Number of approximately 12m at ISO 100. The 5200 has a standard ISO 518 accessory shoe with sync and data contacts and safety lock. The device supports advanced wireless lighting with Nikon Creative Lighting System when combined with compatible flashguns.
The D5200’s dynamic range is enhanced with HDR and Active D-Lighting features. By attaching a WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adaptor (available separately), you can transfer download images and share them using a ‘Smart Device’ (Apple iOS or Android based). You can also attach a GP-1 GPS unit for geotagging or a WR-R10 wireless transceiver (both available separately) to remotely control the camera. The camera is powered by a rechargeable Li-ion battery (En-EL14, supplied). It has dimensions of approximately 129 x 98 x 78mm (W x H x D) and weighs approximately 505g (body only).
Nikon has updated the interface in the D5200. As in other entry-level Nikons, you can switch between Graphic and Classic interfaces. The Graphic interface displays Shutter Speed, Aperture, and ISO sensitivity in a graphical form, whereas the Classic interface displays the information as numbers. Once you get a hang of things, both the interfaces are easy to use. The camera features Nikon’s original menu, which is easy to navigate. Buttons, dials and other controls are easy to operate. Images appeared crisp on the LCD. Overall, the camera is a pleasure to handle.
The Nikon D5200 performed well in our tests. Autofocus was fast enough with the 18-55 mm kit lens. If you use a lens with internal focussing, it will certainly be better. The AF system did not have any problem focussing in low light. All metering modes performed as expected. Slight flare was observed with the kit lens along with chromatic aberration. Images were sharp out of the box and the camera- lens combination produced slight barrel distortion up to 22mm (33mm equivalent). Please note however that flare, chromatic aberration, sharpness and distortion are essentially properties of the lens and hence a different combination will provide different results. The LCD appeared clear and images sharp. Viewfinder displays the battery information, which is very good.
Native print size was 13.33 x 20 inches at 300 ppi. At 25 percent of the screen size, Hi2 (ISO 25,600 equivalent) was very noisy. Slight noise was observed from ISO 6400 upwards. Observed at 50 percent of the screen size, images were noise-free up to ISO 1600. ISO 3200 showed slight noise while ISO 6400 was noisy. At 100 percent of the screen size, ISO 100 and 200 were spotless and ISO 400 to 1600 were ‘decent’. We would advice you to stick below ISO 6400 for best results. If you do not intend to enlarge the image, you could use up to Hi 0.7 (ISO 10,600 equivalent) in an emergency. In the White Balance front, we observed slight cast under most lighting conditions, but we do not see this as a major problem since any out-of-the-box digital image requires certain amount of ‘correction’ in software. We expect D-SLR users to do at least basic corrections in Photoshop or similar software.
Value for Money
The Nikon D5200 retails at an MRP of Rs.41,450 (Body only). It is available in two kits — the 18-55mm VR kit priced at Rs.46,950 and the AF-S 18-105mm VR kit carrying a price tag of Rs.57,950. This looks like a good bargain for a 24 megapixel D-SLR.
+ 24 megapixels
+ Tilt and swivel LCD screen
+ Excellent noise control
+ Good image quality
– Cast under most lighting conditions
|Design and Build Quality||16/20|
|Value for Money||8/10|
The Nikon D5200 is strategically placed between the entry-level D3200 and the mid-class D7000. With two cameras at the lower level sporting 24-megapixel sensors, we expect Nikon to drive some serious business in this segment. Going by the performance, we are sure this camera is going to be a good value addition for the buyers too.