Nikon D5200 Review

 
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Nikon D5200 Video Recording

Nikon D5200 Review: D5200 with Nikon ME-1 External Microphone

Most DSLRs nowadays offer some form of HD video recording, and the Nikon D5200 is no exception. The Nikon D5200's video system is surprisingly capable for an entry-level camera; featuring full-time autofocus, manual exposure controls, built-in stereo microphone, manual audio recording levels as well as an external microphone jack.

Here's a quick rundown of its video capabilities, along with our usual selection of sample videos.

Nikon D5200 Basic Video Specs

  • 1,920 x 1,080 (Full HD / 1080p) at 60i, 50i, 30p (29.97 fps), 25p, 24p (23.976 fps)
  • 1,280 x 720 (720p) at 60p (59.94 fps), 50p
  • 640 x 424 at 30p, 25p
  • Choice of two compression levels; High or Normal quality
  • TTL (through the lens) matrix metering using the main image sensor
  • MOV file format, with H.264/MPEG-4 AVC encoding
  • Linear PCM stereo audio recording with adjustable recording levels and external 3.5mm microphone jack
  • Autofocus can be triggered during movie recording by pressing the shutter button, or continuous AF (AF-F) can be enabled
  • Manual focus also available in movie mode
  • Aperture can be controlled in Aperture-priority or Manual exposure modes, but only before recording begins*
  • Shutter speed and ISO can be controlled in Manual exposure mode
  • EV adjustment (exposure compensation) can be selected prior to or during recording
  • Built-in stereo microphone, sensitivity adjustable
  • Still image can be captured while in video recording mode, but doing so stops the recording
  • Flicker-reduction mode for both 60Hz and 50Hz light sources
  • Movies can be "trimmed" in-camera, selecting just the portion you want and either overwriting the current file or saving it as a new file
  • Single frames can be selected from movie files and saved as separate JPEG files
  • Can simultaneously display video feed on LCD monitor and output video feed via HDMI (unofficial, multiple reports suggest that the D5200 outputs uncompressed, "clean" HDMI video like the D7100)
  • Video duration limited to 20 minutes maximum in High quality HD modes; 29 minutes 59 seconds at normal quality HD modes or either high or normal quality at SD resolution
  • File size restricted to 4 GB maximum
  • Class 6 or faster SD memory cards recommended

*Note: Due to the design of the aperture mechanism in the D5200 and other non-pro Nikon DSLR bodies, when "Manual Movie Settings" are enabled in the D5200, the aperture can only be changed while Live View is disabled.

Nikon D5200 Video: Image size, frame rate, and file format

The Nikon D5200 offers three different video resolutions, five frame rates, and two quality settings in combinations as shown below:

Nikon D5200 Video Options
MOV files, H.264/MPEG-4 encoding
Resolution
Aspect Ratio
Frame Rate
Quality

1,920 x 1,080

16:9

60i / 50i
(60i = 59.94 fields per second, interlaced)

High/Normal
24/12 Mbps

1,920 x 1,080

16:9

30p
(29.97 frames per second, progressive)

1,920 x 1,080

16:9

24p / 25p
(24p = 23.976 frames per second, progressive)

1,280 x 720

16:9

60p / 50p
(60p = 59.94 frames per second, progressive)

640 x 424

3:2

30p / 25p
(30p = 29.97 frames per second, progressive)

High/Normal
8/5 Mbps

Most of the D5200's video modes are progressive scan, meaning that every video line is scanned, one after the other, for every frame. Compared to interlaced scanning, progressive scan video is much better for viewing videos on a computer screen. (Interlaced works fine for HD TVs, but some computer video players that de-interlace poorly will produce bad tearing of moving objects.) The D5200 does feature a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution with a 60i (or 50i for PAL) interlaced scan video format.

The D5200 expands on the video resolutions and frame rates of its predecessor, the D5100, now offering up to 60i at 1,920 x 1,080 and 60p in 1,280 x 720 mode. These formats are great for capturing smooth-looking action, but won't be as good in low-light situations, because the camera can't use a shutter speed longer than 1/60 second. The faster frame rate will help with those looking to fast action and then edit these videos for a slow-motion motion look.

Many advanced shooters welcome the inclusion of the 24p mode, which has pretty much become a standard feature for video-capable interchangeable lens cameras. This frame rate comes from the days of motion picture film cameras, as the de facto standard frame rate for cinema and as such, this is the frame rate movies have been shot in for many decades. Nowadays with video, the 24p frame rate gives videos the "film look and feel" that many filmmakers and video shooters want. It can be tricky to shoot in 24p however, as the lower frame rate can look choppy, particularly when shooting with fast shutter speeds or when panning quickly.

Note that the Nikon D5200 records video at 25p and 50i instead of 30p and 60i respectively when PAL video mode is selected.

The Nikon D5200 saves its video files in the MOV format, using MPEG-4 encoding, with two choices of bit rates. The HD formats can be recorded in a High quality level of 24 Mbps or a Normal quality level of 12 Mbps. The SD resolution video also has two bit rate options of 8 and 5 Mbps. Pretty much any computer or editing program made within the last 5 years should be able to play its files with little problem, although the full 1,920 x 1,080 resolution files may strain older systems.

Nikon D5200 Video: Image Quality

The Nikon D5200 produces high-quality HD video, with good detail, modest motion artifacts, and pleasing color. In our daytime videos, under bright sunlight, colors were accurate and the image was not overly contrasty. The shadow areas were not crushed and still maintained detail. Also moiré artifacts were very well-controlled in the 1080p resolutions videos, even in the usual problems areas of our test videos like roofing shingles, asphalt and window blinds. At 720p resolution, moiré was more noticeable in areas like roofing shingles (see our rolling shutter video below for an example).

In our night video, the D5200 also did really well, producing a nice image with a good dynamic range. Shadow detail was present and overall fine details were still visible even at ISO 6400. High ISO noise was not too pronounced, although still visible.

Below you can see our standard array of sample videos for the D5200:

Nikon D5200: Video Samples
1,920 x 1,080
MOV, Progressive, 30 frames per second
Download Original
1,920 x 1,080
MOV, Progressive, 24 frames per second
Download Original
1,280 x 720
MOV, Progressive, 60 frames per second
Download Original
1,920 x 1,080
Night, ISO 6400, MOV, Progressive, 30 frames per second
Download Original
1,920 x 1,080
Night, ISO 6400, MOV, Progressive, 24 frames per second
Download Original
1,280 x 720
Night, ISO 6400, MOV, Progressive, 60 frames per second
Download Original


Nikon D5200 Video: Focusing

Nikon D5200 Review: AF Settings Menu

AF Settings. The D5200 offers both full-time servo autofocus, but also subject tracking autofocus in video recording.

Unlike some earlier DSLRs with video recording features, the D5200 has the ability to autofocus during recording, which a lot of casual or beginner video shooters will like and expect. However, you can still manually focus, as well. Depending on the lens used, focus motor noise may get picked up by the internal stereo microphone. With the kit lens, it is very audible in the sound track, so it's probably best not to select continuous AF when using it. Other Nikon lenses with silent focus motors would likely be better.

  • Single-shot or full-time servo AF (AF-F) for continuous AF during recording.
  • By default, the D5200 doesn't AF during recording, but you can always trigger an AF cycle by half-pressing the shutter button.
  • AF area mode options:
    • Face-priority AF
    • Wide-area AF
    • Normal-area AF
    • Subject-tracking AF (Half-press shutter button to AF before recording or use servo AF with AF-F mode, then hit OK button with subject centered in little green square. Square will follow subject around the frame, maintaining focus on it.)
  • Manual focus is also available during movie recording.

Nikon D5200 Video: Exposure Control

Nikon D5200 Review: Movie Settings Menu

Movie Settings Menu. Be sure to enable Manual Movie Settings for manual exposure controls for video recording.

The D5200 offers users a full range of manual exposure settings depending on the shooting mode used, as well as allowing for simple auto-exposure settings for quick point-and-shoot video recording.

  • Defaults to fully automatic exposure, but exposure compensation adjustment is available.
  • Auto-ISO limit in still capture mode doesn't appear to affect video recording.
  • Aperture can be set in Aperture-priority or Manual exposure mode.
    • Aperture setting is very confusing: You have to exit live view mode entirely to set video recording aperture, even though the rear LCD display shows the aperture changing. (The displayed aperture applies only to still captures from Live View mode.)
  • Manual exposure can be enabled via Movie Settings menu, called "Manual Movie Settings."
    • In manual mode, shutter speed and ISO can be set in addition to aperture.
    • You can change shutter speed either before or during recording, but changing it during will produce very loud clicks in the audio track, as you rotate the control dial.
    • Available shutter speeds range from 1/4,000s down to 1/60s for 60p, and down to 1/30s for 30p and 24p.
    • Sensitivity can be set from ISO 100 to 25,600, however ISO can only be changed before recording starts.
  • Full range of Picture Control settings apply to movie recording. (Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, and Landscape, and adjustments for contrast, brightness, saturation, and hue for each of the main settings.)
  • Creative Effects are also available during video recording, but some severely reduce the frame rate of the video being recorded, though Miniature Effect works well.
  • AE (auto-exposure) lock is supported in video mode.
  • Matrix metering is always used for video recording, regardless of metering mode selected.

Nikon D5200 Video: Audio Recording

Nikon D5200 Review: Ports

The D5200 provides much more advanced audio recording capabilities than are typically included on a camera of this price point. Users are given the ability to use a standard external stereo microphone using the built-in 3.5mm mic jack, as well as have manual audio level controls and an audio meter displayed on screen both before and during recording. The use of an external mic is highly recommended, particularly for critical audio or when using autofocus as we noticed quite a significant amount of autofocus noise being picked up in videos when using the built-in stereo mic.

  • Internal stereo microphone
  • Defaults to automatic level control
  • Manual level control available via Movie Settings menu, with 20 levels available
  • VU (audio level) meter display also available via Movie Settings
  • External stereo mic input
  • Audio can be turned off entirely

Nikon D5200 Video: Rolling Shutter Artifacts ("Jello effect")

Pretty much every DSLR on the market distorts moving objects, or the entire scene, if the camera is being panned. The technical term for this is "rolling shutter artifacts," but many users simply call it the "Jello effect," because the image can jiggle and sway like Jello as the camera is moved. This occurs because the image is captured and read out line by line, so the bottom of an object may no longer be underneath the top of it by the time the camera gets around to capturing that part of the frame.

Rolling shutter artifacts can be very annoying if they're severe, but as noted, all digital SLRs show them to one extent or another. In the case of the D5200, they're clearly present, but nowhere near as bad as we've seen with some cameras. Nevertheless, the D5200 isn't going to win any awards for its ability to control rolling shutter artifacts. Like we've seen on other cameras, when shooting in 720p resolution at 60 frames per second, rolling shutter artifacts are greatly reduced.

There are plug-ins out there to fix rolling shutter when editing your footage on the computer, but it's not a surefire solution. It's simply something you need to keep in mind when moving the camera while recording video. If you just pan slowly while filming, you're not likely to notice them much at all.

Nikon D5200: Rolling Shutter Artifacts
1,920 x 1,080
MOV, Progressive, 30 frames per second
Download Original
1,920 x 1,080
MOV, Progressive, 24 frames per second
Download Original
1,280 x 720
MOV, Progressive, 60 frames per second
Download Original

 

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