Design and features
Like many in its price class, the D5200 feels plasticky, but solid and relatively lightweight. On the top-right shoulder of the camera sits the cluttered-looking mode dial with the usual set of manual, semimanual, and automatic modes and a Live View toggle switch extending from it. The movie record button, info button, and exposure compensation buttons are behind the combo shutter button and power switch, with a drive mode button on the middle right. The back controls are arranged in a typical fashion. The information edit button -- not to be confused with the info button on the top -- brings up the interactive information display where you adjust most of your shooting settings. While there's still no way to lock the navigation switch to prevent accidental AF-point changes, I didn't have as much trouble with it this time around. I prefer a thumb-operated record button and find the drive-mode button a little small and hard to feel, but overall the camera delivers a streamlined shooting experience.
Though the viewfinder has similar specs to that of the D5100's, and it's still a little dim, it now has large, visible AF area markers and an optional grid overlay; as I really hate the tiny AF dots of its predecessor and Canon's Rebel series, to me this is a huge improvement.
|Canon EOS Rebel T4i||Nikon D5100||Nikon D5200||Pentax |
|Sony Alpha SLT-A65V|
|Sensor effective resolution||18MP hybrid CMOS||16.2MP CMOS||24.1MP CMOS||16.3MP CMOS||24.3MP Exmor HD CMOS|
|22.3mm x 14.9mm||23.6mm x 15.6mm||23.5mm x 15.6mm||23.7mm x 15.7mm||23.5mm x 15.6mm|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100 - ISO 12800/ 25600 (exp)||ISO 100 - ISO 6400/ 25600 (exp)||ISO 100 - ISO 6400/ 25600 (exp)||ISO 100 - ISO 12800/ 25600 (exp)||ISO 100 - ISO 16000|
|Burst shooting||5fps |
6 raw/22 JPEG
|4 fps |
n/a raw/100 JPEG
8 raw/30 JPEG
|8fps (10fps with fixed exposure) |
13 raw/17 JPEG
|Viewfinder (mag/ effective mag)||95% coverage |
|Electronic OLED |
0.5 inch/ 2.36 million dots
|Autofocus||9-pt AF all cross-type; center cross to f2.8||11-pt AF |
center cross-type to f5.6
|39-pt AF |
|11-pt AF |
|15-pt phase-detection |
|AF sensitivity||-0.5 to 18 EV||-1 to 19 EV||-1 to 19 EV||-1 to 18 EV||-1 to 18 EV|
|Shutter speed||1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 x-sync||1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync||1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/200 sec x-sync||1/6,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/180 sec x-sync||1/4,000 to 30 secs; bulb; 1/160 x-sync|
|Metering||63-zone iFCL||420-pixel 3D color matrix metering II||2016-pixel 3D color matrix metering II||77-segment||1,200-zone|
|Metering sensitivity||1 to 20 EV||0 to 20 EV||0 to 20 EV||0 to 22 EV||-2 to 17 EV|
|Video||H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/30p/ 25p/24p; 720/60p/ 50p||1080/30p/ 24p; 720/30p/ 25p/24p H.264 QuickTime MOV||1080/60i/50i/ 30p/25p/24p; 720/60p/50p/ H.264 QuickTime MOV||H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/24p/ 25p/30p; 720/ 50p/60p||AVCHD 1080/60p @ 28, 24Mbps, 1080/24p @ 24, 17Mbps, 1080/60i @ 17Mbps|
|Audio||Stereo; mic input||Mono; mic input||Stereo; mic input||Mono||Stereo; mic input|
|Manual aperture and shutter in video||Yes||Yes||Yes||n/a||Yes|
|Maximum best-quality recording time||4GB/12 min||20 min||20 min||4GB/25 min||2GB/29 min|
|IS||Optical||Optical||Optical||Sensor shift||Sensor shift|
|LCD size||3 inches articulated, touch screen |
|3 inches articulated |
|3 inches articulated |
|3 inches fixed |
|3 inches articulated |
|Memory slots||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC||1 x SDXC|
|Battery life (CIPA rating)||440 shots||660 shots||500 shots||480 shots (lithium ion); 1600 shots (lithium)||510 shots|
|Size (WHD, inches)||5.2 x 3.9 x 3.1||5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1||5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1||5.1 x 3.8 x 2.8||5.3 x 3.9 x 3.3|
|Body operating weight (ounces)||20.8||19.6||19.9||22.9 (est)||22 (est)|
|Mfr. price||$849 (body only)||$799.95 (body only)||$799.95 (body only)||$849.95 (body only)||$899.99 (body only)|
|$949 (with 18-55mm lens)||$899.95 (with 18-55mm VR lens)||$899.95 (with 18-55mm VR lens)||$899.95 (with 18-55mm lens)||$999.99 (with 18-55mm lens)|
|$1,149 (with 18-135mm STM lens)||n/a||$1,099.95 (with 18-105mm lens)||n/a||n/a|
|Release date||June 2012||April 2011||January 2013||July 2012||October 2011|
Like the body design, the feature set hasn't changed much, but it's reasonably well-rounded for its class -- as long as you don't yearn for on-board wireless file transfer or geotagging. The handful of decent effects options include the clever Night Vision mode, a very useful way to take advantage of the sensor's capability of increasing gain up to ISO 102,400. In color, the results would be useless. But by converting the results to black and white, you get the ability to shoot in near darkness and obtain usable -- though not optimal for high-resolution printing -- results. All operate in movie capture as well as still.
The two-shot HDR autocombine implementation remains annoying -- you have to go into the menus and re-enable it after every shot unless you assign it to Fn. But there are other things I want to assign to Fn. In either case, Nikon obviously views it as a one-shot override feature rather than a setting you'll need to use repeatedly for a short time. Furthermore, two shots don't really provide a "high" dynamic range, just a slightly extended one. It works OK for opening up some shadow detail, but does little to bring down the highlights. If you want to do HDR the old-fashioned way, you may not be thrilled with the D5200's options. It offers three-shot bracketing up to two stops.
On the other hand, Nikon's always been there for time-lapse shooters, and the built-in intervalometer remains a key advantage. There are also nine custom Picture Style settings slots, and you can define up to 99 in software and share them among multiple cameras. As with the T4i, though, there's no way to save and recall custom settings.
Like Nikon's other consumer dSLR bodies, the lack of an AF motor in the body means that the D5200 requires the company's AF-S lenses if you plan to use autofocus. That's not a significant drawback for the typical consumer who doesn't buy a lot of lenses, but it's disappointing if you want an inexpensive body to pair with more-expensive lenses.
For a complete accounting of the D5200's features and operation, download the PDF manual.
While on paper the D5200 doesn't really stand out from the specialized competition -- Canon has its video-optimized AF system, Pentax has its weather-resistant bodies, and Sony has its speedy models with built-in geotagging -- it more than succeeds as a general-purpose model for family and vacation photography.