Best DSLR: top cameras by price and brand
It's a bit disappointing that the Nikon D5200 doesn't introduce anything new since to the Nikon feature set apart from the sensor, and it is a fairly predictable upgrade to the Nikon D5100 that borrows features from the Nikon D7000.
It would have been nice if Nikon had added a few new special effects, perhaps a high-contrast black and white mode, and made these effects available when shooting raw and JPEG files, rather than just JPEGs.
We'd also have liked to have seen a touchscreen and Wi-Fi connectivity built in, since these could be hot features in 2013.
Provided you are happy not to have an array of buttons and dials giving you very quick access to key features, the Nikon D5200 looks like a great option for enthusiast photographers looking for a small, versatile camera, as well as those wanting to step up from an entry-level camera such as the Nikon D3100.
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The Nikon D5200's 24.1-million-pixel sensor is capable of recording lots of detail, especially in raw files at low sensitivity settings, and the articulating screen makes it easy to compose still life, landscape and macro images as well as to check critical focus by magnifying the on-screen image.
At the lower sensitivity settings the D5200 can resolve as much detail as the Nikon D7100 which has the same resolution, but no anti-aliasing filter. However, images look very slightly softer straight from the camera. At mid to high sensitivity settings the D7100 is able to resolve more detail, but the images are a little noisier.
Nikon's smaller DSLRs are in competition with compact system cameras (CSCs) for the attention of photographers looking for something better than a compact camera. Many CSCs now have touchscreen control - often backed up by a healthy collection of buttons on the camera body - and this makes them quick and easy to use, especially by the smartphone generation.
Wi-Fi connectivity is also often built-in to CSCs to enable sharing of images direct from the camera, as well as remote control of the camera. Including Wi-Fi connectivity rather than making it an optional extra, and adding a touchscreen, would have made the Nikon D5200 seem a little more forward-thinking.
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The Nikon D5200 is a solid performer that delivers images with well-controlled noise and plenty of detail, albeit with slight banding in some images taken at IS0 3200 and above.
It's also a nicely constructed camera, and the limited number of buttons and dials make it unintimidating to novice photographers, while enthusiasts will find that they have all the control that they want within easy reach.
However, given the better detail reproduction and lack of banding produced by the Nikon D5300, we recommend that potential D5200 buyers save a little longer and opt for the newer camera.