The Nikon D5200 is a mid-range DSLR, a streamlined step up from the Nikon D7000. It’s geared towards anyone keen for good quality images but without being able to afford a high-end DSLR. It comes as competition to cameras such as Canon's EOS 650D and the Pentax K5.
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We found the Nikon D5200 to have excellent picture quality. Our images were vibrant and had good colour-depth and there was a good level of detail in both shadows and highlights. Noise levels were virtually undetectable up to about ISO 6400; any higher and it begins to become slightly noticeable.
The only real problem we encountered was a little softness in our images which required some sharpening in photo editing software.
The video mode provides a good amount of creative control, allowing you to manually adjust aperture, shutter speed and ISO levels as well as the option to shoot at 30, 25 or 24fps at 1920x1080.
We experienced good quality when shooting video, which when used with a tripod created smooth, crisp footage. It should be noted that while it's possible to use autofocus in video mode, this does create a slightly jarring effect while the camera 'searches' . The built-in stereo mic will pick up this sound.
Build quality is good with a deep hand grip in the front and rubberised thumb grip on the rear for comfort. At 505g for just the body it's fairly light for a DSLR, and quite comfortable to hold.
The 18-55mm kit lens is a great starting point for anyone new to DSLRs and the K-mount allows you to re-use any other lenses from a Nikon DSLR.
A 3in articulated LCD screen is crisp and vibrant with accurate colours, which helps with white balance analysis in-camera. The screen also has an anti-glare coating – helpful in bright sunlight. It folds away neatly to avoid scratching, and then out to the side. In live view mode this enables photos from awkward angles to be captured much more easily – such as low to the ground or over the heads of a crowd.
If you're not shooting at difficult angles and need sharp, shake-free images without a tripod, it's best to turn the display off and use the viewfinder, then steady the camera against your face.
The Nikon D5200 is fairly easy to use, with a wheel to choose options from on the top and an easily navigable interface. While they don't have dedicated buttons, ISO and exposure can be easily found and adjusted in the menu.
As is standard with Nikons, the on/off switch is located handily as a wheel around the shutter-release button and the 'record' button for shooting video is situated just behind, allowing easy access with your forefinger.
A 39-point autofocus on the Nokai D5200 proved excellent and easy-to-use, providing a number of black points which turn red to show the points of focus. Although understandably a little slower, the autofocus still worked well in low-lighting.
The inclusion of an 'Effects' mode is interesting. While we find it unlikely that most photographers will use them frequently, they are a nice touch and include a tilt-shift effect and a selective colour effect, to name just two.