Today’s comparison compares the Nikon D5300 vs Nikon D5200. How does the D5300 measure up against the D5200 and what are the key differences and similarities between the two entry level DSLRs?
As with most camera upgrades by Nikon they’ve focused on small adjustments and improvements rather than a full overhaul. Newer models can generally be regarded as better than their predecessors but there will always be some tradeoffs. Is the higher price tag for the D5300 worth it? Let’s take a look and see how they stack up against each other.
Nikon D5300: Advantages
- Built-in Wi-Fi
- Built-in GPS
- Lacks anti-aliasing filter
- Stronger Expeed processor
- Larger LCD screen and resolution quality
- Higher ISO tolerance and noise reduction
Released just a year after its predecessor, the D5300 is slightly smaller and lighter than the D5200. This makes it both lightweight and compact as a midrange camera. Photographers with large hands and/or longish fingers should find it very comfortable with its deep grip and rubberized thumb rest.
While it still uses the same 24.2MP sensor as the D5200 (just 0.1MP higher) the imaging processor has been upgraded from Expeed 3 to Expeed 4, giving it greater ISO sensitivity, noise reduction and image sharpness. The lack of an anti-aliasing filter also results in even sharper photos.
What really sets it apart from the D5200 is in the extra features. The D5300 is the first Nikon DSLR to feature built-in Wi-Fi and GPS connectivity. Previous models had to rely on optional add-ons. The Wi-Fi functions allow the D5300 to easily pair with any iOS or Android smartphone and easily edit and post your photos on social media.
The built-in GPS allows you to log location information such as longitude, latitude, and altitude in the images EXIF data. Something which can be used when uploading to image sharing sites such as 500px.com.
The rear LCD screen has been slightly improved from 3-inches to 3.2-inches and 921,000K dots resolution to 1,037K dots. Other than that, the screens are identical with the same side facing hinge and anti-glare coating.
When looking at ISO, the D5300 shows a good balance between noise levels and detail retention. Erring on the side of more chromatic noise rather than sacrificing detail. Noise levels are more than acceptable up to ISO 1600 and become progressively more noticeable from there, becoming effectively useless at ISO 3200.
Video record times and resolution are completely identical on both models at 1080p. Both also have the option of adding an external stereo microphone.
Nikon D5300: Disadvantages
- Few direct controls
- Lack of anti-aliasing filter means more susceptible aliasing effects
Both DSLR’s suffer from similar disadvantages such as no image stabilization, no panorama mode, no touchscreen and no top-down display. The most frustrating problem, for both cameras, is the lack of direct controls. There is no dedicated button for changing ISO or exposure, instead, they must be selected through the Fn button, something which can be problematic when timing is important.
No touch screen is provided for either camera which is something many photographers have come to expect in cameras these days, particularly for things such as exposure compensation and AF point placement.
Another downside, depending on how you look at it, is the lack of an anti-aliasing filter on the D5300. This makes each image sharper than its predecessor but also means it’s more prone to aliasing effects.
Burst mode tends to slow down when used on its highest quality 14-bit RAW images. Also, no jack is provided for headphones and the GPS has been reported as being less accurate than some of its competitors.
Nikon D5200: Advantages
- Bigger JPEG and RAW buffer
- Faster RAW shooting in burst mode
When the D5200 first came out in 2013 it was a step well above its predecessors in the midrange department. Despite having an almost identical build and feel as its predecessor the D5100, it featured an upgraded 24.1MP sensor, just 0.1MP behind the D5300. Its Expeed 3 processing engine also gave it a higher ISO range than the D5100, once which has now been superseded by the D5300’s Expeed 4 engine.
In most respects, it’s virtually identical to the D5300 but many differences are apparent on closer examination such as the slightly smaller LCD screen and lower resolution of 920K dots. Just like the D5300, the LCD screen is hinged at the side, allowing it to be folded out from the left side of the camera and folded inwards to protect it when not in use.
For ISO sensitivity, the D5200 handles noise reduction well until ISO 800. After that, it gets progressively worse until peeking out at ISO 3200. Although, all similar cameras such as the Sony SLT, Canon EOS T4i, and Nikon D5300 have the same problems.
The use of an anti-aliasing filter means you get less foreign objects appearing on screen, known as moire. This is somewhat a good thing but it means a loss in sharpness, something which can present a problem when printing large or cropping tight.
The D5200 has two burst modes. When set to Continues High (CH) the camera can shoot as fast as 5 fps. At Continues Low (CL) it shoots at 3 fpm. A rate which goes down in both modes when shooting in RAW. In testing, it tended to do better than the D5300 in holding out for longer before slowing, though the result was too inconsistent to be certain.
Nikon D5200: Disadvantages
- No built-in Wi-Fi
- No built-in GPS
- Anti-aliasing filter causes less detail in photos
- Slightly smaller LCD screen size and resolution
- Lower ISO tolerance and noise reduction
- Weaker processing engine
The differences between both cameras may not be apparent on the surface but a quick test and evaluation reveal the striking differences. Granted, these are differences that may not make a big difference to photographers that only capture in JPEG and post on social media. For higher level photographers, though, these differences stand out.
The weaker Expeed processing engine means it lags just a bit behind the D5300 in ISO sensitivity, lens distortion reduction, image sharpness and noise reduction.
The lack of any built-in Wi-Fi or GPS also puts it below its successor in usability. Although their video shooting capabilities were the same you have to deal with a slightly smaller LCD screen and resolution quality.
The anti-aliasing filter is becoming an outdated way of dealing with moire and now is only regarded as causing a loss of detail. Later version cameras now deal with it through a higher megapixel count.
Both cameras still have similar problems such as few direct controls or image stabilization. For midrange cameras, this is hardly surprising but even the Sony SLT A57, a camera in the same league, has neither of these problems.
It’s pretty clear that the better camera is the D5300. As a successor model, it took everything good about the D5200 and upgraded it. A faster processor engine, larger LCD screen, slightly increased megapixel count and other helpful features make the D5300 the smarter buy.
The D5200 is still an effective camera, and at the time represented a big jump from the previous D5100. But now, it’s been materially superseded by a newer Nikon model.Back to Top