“A Great DSLR for Everyday Use”
Catered towards advanced beginners, the new Nikon D5300 slots in between the company’s entry-level D3300 and the more advanced D7200, and replaces the older D5200. Like its other APS-C brethren, this camera also has a 24MP sensor and enough new features to make it a compelling device.
Visually – even though it is a bit smaller and lighter, from a first look, the D5300 resembles its predecessor. However, from a second look, we can see that the chassis houses a much stronger set of components. Nikon has decided to get rid of the anti-aliasing filter – like in the D3300 – which makes images sharper. It also offers a few improvements that were not available in the earlier model; a Wi-Fi, GPS, a better articulated LCD and a stereo microphone.
It is easy to classify the D5300 as an iterative update which is not so different than the original version. But, considering how great the camera D5200 was, it isn’t a big surprise. In fact, the addition of some brand new features and better battery life makes sure that, on paper at least, the D5300 is one of the best in its class. I will have to go into it a bit more to see if the device truly lives up to the hype.
The camera retails at $799, a very competitive price. Lets check if it really worth the money:
The D5300 is a well laid-out camera and is very comfortable to carry. It is slightly lighter and smaller than the earlier version and provides better grip. The back buttons are arranged as you would excpect as well as the top-right area of the camera houses the mode dial, the info button, the EV settings, video record button, Live View switch, etc. Personally, I prefer the record button to the thumb operated. But other than that, there is not much to complain about. It has a slightly angular design which makes it feel more compact.
Like other devices in its class, the D5300 is made using polycarbonate plastic. The material is light and tough, and the camera feels solid when you hold it. The monocoque construction has allowed Nikon to make it sturdier than its predecessor too.
As you would expect from a successor to the D5200, performance is impressive. The 39-point AF system offers good coverage at an impressive speed. The 3D tracking feature helps maintain quality during continuous shots. However, focusing does suffer a bit in low-light conditions. AF performance is also a bit disappointing in Live View since the D5300 switches to contrast detect AF which makes things sluggish. Burst speed of 5fps is restricted to just six frames when shooting in RAW, but is unlimited in JPEG. In general, the camera is responsive and fast.
Thankfully, Nikon has added Wi-Fi to the D5300 which makes it easy to transfer and store images. But, the accompanying app, which provides wireless control, is a bit of a letdown. The Wireless Mobile Utility app only allows you to change shutter speed and AF settings. The rest have to be changed from the camera.
Image Quality and Video
Even though the D5300 has a similar-sized sensor as its predecessor, several performance enhancements and the removal of the anti-aliasing filter has led to an improvement in image quality. ISO performance is excellent and there is no major sign of color noise till ISO 6400. The two higher settings do have a lot of noise and are best avoided.
Due to the anti-aliasing filter removal, the camera is able to capture much more details than the D5200. The auto white balance also performs admirably. Color reproduction is precise and there is little to no-need for any editing. Metering also performs well. In high contrast settings however, exposure was a touch inaccurate. The camera has an active D-lighting system which helps get more detail into the darker portions of a frame, should you need it.
- 1MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- No anti-aliasing filter
- ISO 100 – 12,800 (expanded to 25,600)
- 5fps burst mode
- 2016-point metering sensor
- 39-point autofocus system with 9 cross-type sensors
- 1080p video @ 60 fps
- Maximum shutter speed – 1/4000
- USB 2.0 and mini-HDMI ports
- 2 inch 1.04MP TFT LCD display
- Wi-Fi and GPS
- Decent burst speed
- Built well
- Live View performance could be better
- App lacks functionality
- Average kit lens
The Nikon D5300 is not perfect by any means. It is priced on the higher side and does not have a touchscreen. However, it is definitely one of the best DSLRs in its class and it’s a great buy if you are looking to upgrade to a competent model from your first mirror-less camera, DSLR or point-and-shoot.