|Sensor size:||Nikon DX|
|Kit Lens:||3.00x zoom
|Viewfinder:||Optical / LCD|
|Dimensions:||5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 in.
(129 x 98 x 78 mm)
|Weight:||29.2 oz (827 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Nikon D5200 Preview
by Mike Tomkins
In early 2009 Nikon launched the Nikon D5000, a camera that placed the image quality of the enthusiast-oriented D90 in a consumer-friendly body more like that of the D60. It was also the company's first SLR model to feature an articulated LCD monitor, making it better-suited to shooting from unusual angles. Two years later, Nikon followed up with the D5100, switching to a side-swiveling Vari-angle display. Again, trickle-down was at work, with the imaging pipeline of the D7000 enthusiast SLR making its way into a more affordable body.
Fast-forward to today, and the SLR market is even more competitive than ever, leading Nikon Europe to unveil a followup more quickly this time around: in Europe, the Nikon D5200 was announced in November 2012, just 19 months behind the D5100. For its part, Nikon USA announced the camera in January 2013.
With the Nikon D5200 comes a slightly different approach. For the imaging pipeline, it's a case of trickle-up, if you will. The D5200 inherits its EXPEED 3 image processor from the D3200, a slightly more affordable model that debuted in April 2012. Nikon says it has newly-developed the 24.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor in the Nikon D5200, and indeed, resolution does differ slightly from that in the D3200. Trickle-down from a more expensive camera is still present, but this time it's the 2,016 pixel metering and 39-point autofocus systems of the venerable D7000 that make their way into the new mid-range SLR.
As you'd expect, the D5200 retains its predecessor's Vari-angle three-inch LCD display. Indeed, while it's been restyled, much of the body will be familiar to anybody who's spent much time shooting with the D5100. So will much of the remaining specification. Although there are other updates, such as a stereo microphone, the new sensor, processor, metering and autofocus are the key points.
At first glance, the Nikon D5200's front panel seems little-changed from its predecessor. The basic layout is similar, retaining a reasonable handgrip that's inset with an infrared receiver for a wireless remote control, and still nestling an AF assist lamp inside the grip adjacent to the Shutter button.
Look closer, though, and there are quite a few changes. Perhaps most notably, the sharply-defined crease lining the left side of the camera's front panel (as seen from behind) has moved inwards, creating more of a bevel around to the camera's side. Near its top, the crease runs beneath a raised area that provides a home to the D5200 logo, while at the bottom end it is covered by a rubber trim piece echoing that which covers the handgrip.
The red trim piece at the top of the handgrip has moved down just slightly, so that it is now entirely inset within the rubber grip surface as in other recent Nikon DSLRs, rather than simply occupying the space between rubber and plastic at the top of the grip.
Above the D5200 logo, another detail is conspicuous by its absence: the three-hole microphone grille of the D5100 is gone. The Function button on the left side of the lens mount has also lost its split personality, and no longer doubles as a drive mode button.
A look at the top deck of the D5200 will answer how both of these changes were made. There's a new stereo microphone, sitting neatly in between the D5200's hot shoe and popup flash strobe. At the top of the hand grip, an extra button has joined the cluster from the D5200, and it serves as a dedicated drive mode button.
In other respects, the top deck layout is much the same as before. The Mode dial still sits atop a lever controlling the Nikon D5200's live view mode, and the top of the handgrip is crowned with a Shutter button surrounded by a Power dial, plus dedicated Movie, Info, and Exposure Compensation buttons. On the left of the viewfinder / flash hump is a five-hole speaker grille, and the D5200's shoulders are topped with recessed shoulder strap eyelets.
And so we come to the rear panel, dominated by that side-swiveling, Vari-angle LCD. There's still a pair of tabs at top and bottom of the screen, giving you a little purchase to pull it out from the camera body.
The changes from this angle are entirely cosmetic and ergonomic, with the control layout entirely unchanged. The protrusion adjacent to the rear grip is much taller, providing more leverage for your thumb, and so offering a more reassuring grip. (A rubber trim piece that rides most of the way up the protrusion also helps out in this regard.) The outer ring of the directional controller has also been restyled, removing the inner bevel and adding 45-degree markings between the arrows for Up, Down, Left, and Right.
Overall, the Nikon D5200 should feel welcoming to D5100 owners. The resettled Drive button is the most significant change, and once you've become accustomed to this, you'll have the advantage of an extra dedicated control to help stave off the menu system.
Nikon D5200 Technical Info
by Mike Tomkins
The Nikon D5200 digital SLR is based around a newly-developed APS-C sized CMOS image sensor. (That's DX-format in Nikon parlance.) Effective resolution is 24.1 megapixels, similar -- but not identical -- to that of the chip used in the D3200.
Output from the new image sensor is handled by Nikon's proprietary EXPEED 3 image processor, also seen previously in the D3200. In the Nikon D5200, this combination provides five frames-per-second burst shooting. That's one frame more each second than either the D5100 or D3200 can provide.
Despite the increased resolution, the D5200's sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 6,400 equivalents, and the upper end of the range is expandable to ISO 25,600 equivalent. That's exactly the same range offered by the earlier camera.
Like its predecessor, the Nikon D5200 accepts Nikon F-mount lenses, but its AF-S lens mount lacks the in-body screw-drive motor needed to provide autofocus on older Nikkor lenses that lack the AF-S or AF-I designation. (You can still use older lenses; you'll just have to focus manually. Some lens types will also have a few limitations with regard to availability of individual focus, metering, and exposure modes.)
You have two ways of framing images on the Nikon D5200. Of course, there's a pentamirror viewfinder with a built-in diopter adjustment; alternatively you can frame on the LCD panel in live view mode. The panel looks to be unchanged from that in the D5100, with the same three-inch diagonal and 921,000 dot resolution. (That equates to roughly a VGA array of 640 x 480 pixels, with each pixel comprised of separate red, green, and blue dots.)
The LCD's articulation mechanism -- branded by Nikon as Vari-angle -- is also unchanged. The side-mounted swivel allows viewing from most angles, and you can close it with the LCD facing inwards for a modicum of extra protection from bumps and knocks.
The Nikon D5200 inherits its 39-point, wide-area Multi-CAM 4800DX phase detection autofocus system from the enthusiast-friendly Nikon D7000 digital SLR. Nine autofocus points feature cross-type sensors, which are sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail. Seven of these points at the center of the frame work all the way down to f/8, allowing use with teleconverters and longer lenses. When using live view mode, full-time contrast detection autofocus is used for both still and video imaging. By way of contrast, the D5100 had just 11 autofocus points, of which there was only one cross-type point.
Exposure modes are unchanges since the Nikon D5100. You have a choice of Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, and Manual exposure modes in which experienced shooters will spend much of their time, plus consumer-friendly Auto and Scene modes. There's also a Flash Off Auto mode, an Effects mode, a Scene position, and five Scene modes that merit their own separate Mode dial positions. The Nikon D5200's Effects-mode options are the same as those offered by the D5100: Selective Color, Miniature, High and Low Key, Silhouette, Colour Sketch and Night Vision.
Beneath the Mode dial is the Live view lever, while to its right is the new Drive mode button, used to select between burst shooting, self timer, and remote control modes.
The Nikon D5200 also inherits the D7000's 3D color matrix metering II exposure metering system, which is based around a dedicated 2,016 pixel RGB sensor. The system has a working range of 0 to 20 EV, and it ties into Nikon's Scene Recognition System. This compares the metered scene to a built-in database of over 30,000 different images, and uses this information while determining suitable settings for exposure, autofocus, and white balance. The D5100 had the same system, but it had to make do with much coarser-grained information from a 420 pixel metering sensor. For every one metering pixel on the D5100, there are almost five pixels on the D5200's metering sensor.
Like its predecessor, the D5200 includes both a popup flash, and a hot shoe for external strobes. The D5200 also includes other features you'd expect in a modern Nikon DSLR, such as Active D-Lighting and two-shot in-camera HDR.
The Nikon D5200 also retains Full HD (1080p) high-def video capture, with full-time tracking autofocus, but with a couple of important changes. It's now possible to record interlaced video at up to 60i / 50i frame rates, as well as the progressive-scan 30p max. of the D5100. Importantly, this comes from a matching sensor data rate, unlike some cameras that merely span a single sensor data frame across two interlaced frames. That should translate to smoother videos with a better perception of motion. Also, where the D5100 had a monaural microphone on the front deck, the newer model has a stereo mic on its top deck, snuggled in between the popup flash strobe and hot shoe.
Other changes in the new camera include an updated graphical user interface, and compatibility with a couple of new accessories. These include the WR-R10 Wireless Remote transceiver / WR-T10 Wireless Remote transmitter, and the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter. The WR-R10 / T10 allow remote control of multiple cameras at one time on one of three different radio channels. The WU-1a, meanwhile, allows WiFi remote control of the camera (including a low-res live view stream) from Android and iOS devices. Compatibility with the GP-1 GPS receiver is also carried over from the earlier camera.
Nikon will be shipping the D5200 in three colors: black, red, or bronze. In the US market, the D5200 will go on sale in late January 2013, priced at around US$900 in a kit with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens.
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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.