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Nikon D5200 Review and Best Price - Hit or Miss?

Updated on November 13, 2013
D5200 Nikon - Red
D5200 Nikon - Red | Source

Is the D5200 Nikon DSLR Right For You?

The D5200 Nikon is a step-up from the D3200 as an entry to mid-level DSLR camera and is a good beginner's camera. However, is the Nikon D5200 price tag of almost $900 worth your money? If you own a D5100, should you really make an upgrade? Who should buy this DSLR? Where can you get the best deal on the new D5200 Nikon? Read through this review to find answers to these questions and more!

Packed with 24.1 megapixels, this camera can not only take great pictures but also record full 1080p HD movies at 1920x1280 pixels/25fps. It also comes with stereo sound, letting you shoot great movies effortlessly. You can easily compose shots from tricky angles (such as a self-portrait) as it comes equipped with a high-resolution 3-inch vari-angle LCD display. Nikon has made a smart move by matching its 24.1 million effective pixel CMOS sensor with its EXPEED 3 processing engine. This gives this DSLR an ISO range of 100-25600, which will help you take shots in almost all lighting conditions, including at very low light levels.

There are various built-in special effects that lend a creative touch to your stills and movies. A highly-intuitive, new generation graphic user interface makes it really easy to handle for amateurs and professionals alike.

The new Nikon D5200 DSLR is available in three attractive colors - red, bronze, and black. The Nikon D5200 price range starts at around $800 for the body alone and goes up to $1,100 when paired with an 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 ED NIKKOR Zoom Lens.

Black D5200 Nikon
Black D5200 Nikon | Source

Key Features of the New Nikon D5200

  • An 24.1MP DX-format sensor for highly detailed photos and movies
  • The D-Movie feature that shoots finely detailed Full HD video clips of up to 60i. It also comes with a built-in stereo microphone
  • A 39-points AF system combined with superior 3D subject tracking maintains focus on the smallest of subjects, even if their movements are erratic
  • The EXPEED 3, a strong image processing engine, enables quick operation, exceptionally clear images with brilliant color reproduction, as well as better video recording
  • A vari-angle LCD display to shoot beautiful photos from difficult angles
  • Shoot great stills in very low-light settings with a high ISO (100 to 25600 equivalent) and clear shots of subjects that are in motion
  • A 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor for exact exposures
  • There are seven special effects in the Effects mode, including Selective Color and Miniature
  • A Wireless Mobile Adapter that lets you share images directly from your Nikon D5200 to your smart phone or tablet (supports both Android and iOS) and to direct the camera remotely through your device
  • It is also GPS-supported, which means you can save the exact location of the camera when you shoot a picture.

Sample Photos Taken With The D5200 Nikon

Sports Photography
Sports Photography | Source

Pros and Cons of the D5200 Nikon

New 24 megapixel sensor, made by Toshiba, is one of the best performing APS-C sensors in the market
Heavier than its predecessor
39-point AF with an impressive 5fps burst rate. Its 3D focus tracking capabilities are attractive for wildlife and action photographers
Have to exit the Live View mode to set the aperture and you cannot set it during recording
Easy to use and operate, as it is lightweight and has a great GUI
Battery drains rather quickly when recording video and using Live View
Stunning image quality
Lag when using the creative features, such as the different special effects, of the camera
Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) helps you capture subjects at a good distance
Lack of a headphone port to monitor audio

Nikon D5200 vs Canon T4i

Bronze D5200 - Vari-angle LCD monitor
Bronze D5200 - Vari-angle LCD monitor | Source

Design and Handling of the D5200 Nikon

The D5200 Nikon is not as compact as the D3200, but it is certainly lighter than the D7000. In fact, it weighs as much as its predecessor, the D5100, making it easy for users with long fingers or large hands. It even has a rubber thumb rest on the back to enable photographers to get an easy grip on the body. While it has the VR (Vibration Reduction) feature, the Nikon D5200 body does not have built-in image stabilization.Overall, Nikon's latest DSLR has an effective yet simple design that appeals to both amateur photographers as well as the more-experienced user who is looking for an upgrade from an older model.

Performance of Nikon's New DSLR

Several tests have proven that the D5200 Nikon is no slacker when it comes to shooting difficult pictures. In fact, when it was tested with several DX-format lenses, its AF system was outstanding, following fast-moving subjects with ease when put in 3D tracking mode.

With seven creative effects, including night vision, silhouette, selective color, and miniature, the Nikon D5200 is fun to work with. A sharp and clear screen helps you view pictures with great clarity and the screen can be tilted to shoot from any angle. The Nikon D5200 DSLR camera includes a built-in HDR that helps you shoot in very dark and very bright places.

Image Quality

Equipped with a 2,016 pixel RGB sensor, the Nikon D5200 produces well-exposed images on screen and has a precise metering system. The images are bright and vibrant, reproducing color the way you see it with your naked eyes. Several tests have shown that the most authentic image results are delivered in Standard or Neutral modes. At high ISO settings, the D5200 Nikon performs admirably, with a good handle over color noise. For example, when you shoot pictures beyond ISO 800 that's when you notice the smallest indication of noise when viewed at 100%.


Alternatives and Rival Comparisons

Nikon D5100 vs D5200

The Nikon D5100 is the predecessor of the new Nikon DSLR. However, it has a lower resolution (16.2 MP) sensor but has a similar ISO range as the D5200. In addition, its EXPEED 2 image processor shoots bursts at 1fps lower than the latter. It also has an older GUI that loses out to the D5200's next-generation user interface. The one thing in favor of the D5100 is that it costs lesser than the latter and can be picked up by those who are willing to compromise on certain features offered by Nikon's latest DSLR camera.

Nikon D5200 vs D7000

When you look at the Nikon D5200 vs D7000 it is obvious that the former is the new kid on the block and definitely trumps the latter on grounds of latest technology. However, the D5200 is more of an 'advanced beginner's camera', while the D7000 is an 'enthusiast's camera'. The D7000 is heavier than the new Nikon DSLR and boasts of advanced features, such as quicker manual control of settings, which are useful for serious and professional photographers. Nikon's D5200, on the other hand, will appeal to amateurs with its simple design and ease of use, as well as creative photography tools.

Nikon D5200 vs D3200

When you compare the Nikon D5200 vs D3200 you can't miss the fact that the former has a 39-points AF system while the latter has a mere 11 points. This shouldn't matter if you are going to shoot landscapes and family pictures. However, if you want to take pictures of fast-moving subjects, the D5200 Nikon is the clear winner. The light metering is also better, making it useful in difficult light situations. Nikon's new DSLR is not as compact as the latter but it boasts of newer technology, high speed and greater ISO push. But, the latter carries a $300-lesser price tag.

Nikon D5200 vs Canon T4i

The Canon T4i (also known as the EOS 650D) is a serious rival to this digital camera. A comparison of the Nikon D5200 vs Canon T4i shows that both cameras have movie capabilities and are geared towards beginners and advanced beginners, with the goal of luring video enthusiasts. They both are good upgrades from their forerunners - the Nikon D5100 and the Canon T3i, respectively. While the Canon T4i has a touch screen and shoots excellent videos, Nikon's D5200 has a faster AF system, excellent image processor, and useful built-in camera help. In addition, the D5200 has a higher resolution at 24 MP compared to the T4i's 18 MP.

Read Reviews on the T4i

55-200mm VR lens
55-200mm VR lens

Which Lens Goes Best With The Nikon D5200?

It depends on what you are shooting. For example, if you are starting out with a DSLR or even using a Nikon for the first time, I would recommend the 18-55mm kit lens. For the more advanced beginner, you can add the 55-200mm VR lens as you get a $100 discount on the Nikon D5200 price on Amazon. Another option is to buy the 18-105mm VR lens to begin with and later add on the 70-300mm VR, which is a lot sharper than the 55-200. If your pockets are deep and you can handle your camera really well, you can also buy the 18-200/300 mm Nikkor telephoto zoom lens. I would recommend choosing your lens based on your expertise and photography needs, and then buying it as a bundle as the D5200 Amazon price includes discounts upwards of $100.

The D5200 Nikon fully supports Nikon AF-I and AF-S type lenses, as well as other third party lenses (Tamron, Sigma, Tokina), which is a big plus.

Nikon D5200 Video Review

Taken with a D5200
Taken with a D5200 | Source

Would YOU Buy The Nikon D5200 DSLR?

See results

The Verdict

In the beginning of this article, I promised to answer a few important questions. So here they are:

Is the Nikon D5200 price tag justified? Well, it may not have as many advanced photographic features as the D7000, but it is a definite step-up from the D3200. With the key features listed above, it is certainly a worthy purchase, depending on your needs. For example, if you are going to use it as a tourist camera, it may not be worth burning a hole in your pocket. However, if you want to shoot wildlife, action, or sports photography, this is a sound investment. If you have several Nikon lenses and you either need a second camera or a budget-camera with video capabilities, the D5200 is an excellent choice.

Should you upgrade from a Nikon D5100? Not if you don't have the need for extra higher resolution. The ISO is almost identical and there is only a 1fps difference. In conclusion, the new Nikon DSLR is a good addition to the DX-format DSLRs in the market. It is a compact and affordable model that has many overlapping features with the D7000. The Nikon D5200 price range sits well within the amateur and advanced beginner's reach and is a great performer for its price tag.

What Are Your Thoughts on the Nikon D5200?

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      I'm going to buy a DSLR, my choice are D7000 and D5200, which is better for you guys?

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the review :)

    • ceejay1980 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Thank you and I hope you were able to decide which one to invest in!

    • ceejay1980 profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago

      Thanks epbooks :-)

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      That's a great review. It helps me to decide wich camera to buy.

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 

      4 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      This looks like a nice camera. Very well-written and informative review!

    • profile image

      Wedding Photographer Tyrone 

      5 years ago

      Superb ! Your blog is incredible. I am delighted with it. Thanks for sharing with me.

    • ceejay1980 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks HK! I try my best to provide credible info that will help my readers make an informed decision...thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Excellent review......lots of information provided for new user......


    • ceejay1980 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks Shravan! Appreciate it :-)

    • Shravan Picsonia profile image

      Shravan K Acharya 

      5 years ago from India

      Nice review! Very informative too..


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