Nikon D5300 Review

 
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Nikon D5300 Image Quality Comparison

The crops below compare the Nikon D5300 to the Nikon D5200, Canon T5i, Nikon D7100, Samsung NX300 and Sony A58.

Note that these images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction. Each camera was shot with one of our very sharp reference prime lenses.

Nikon D5300 versus Nikon D5200 at Base ISO

Nikon D5300 at ISO 100
Nikon D5200 at ISO 100

Although not strikingly different, the updated 24.2MP sensor on the D5300 helps produce more fine detail than the 24.1MP sensor of the D5200, thanks primarily to the removal of the optical low-pass filter. The D5300 does excellent in all three comparison areas, though it does show hints of moiré in the red-leaf fabric which the D5200 does not. Detail in the red-leaf fabric is also a bit softer than the D5200, likely due to stronger default chroma noise reduction.


Nikon D5300 versus Canon T5i at Base ISO

Nikon D5300 at ISO 100

Canon T5i at ISO 100

The T5i does well here with lots of fine, sharp detail. However, the D5300's noticeable advantage in resolution and crispness of fine detail makes it the clear winner in this comparison.


Nikon D5300 versus Nikon D7100 at Base ISO

Nikon D5300 at ISO 100
Nikon D7100 at ISO 100

Head-to-head with two of Nikon's 24MP OLPF-less APS-C cameras! Both cameras produce very similar images here at ISO 100, with the first two crop comparisons looking nearly identical. However, although both do great with the pink fabric, the D7100 pulls ahead with slightly better detail in the red fabric. Both cameras only show hints of moiré, with the D7100 showing perhaps a touch more.


Nikon D5300 versus Samsung NX300 at Base ISO

Nikon D5300 at ISO 100
Samsung NX300 at ISO 100

Both cameras show impressive detail with the mosaic crop at ISO 100. The most striking difference is with the red fabric, with which the NX300 really struggles compared to the D5300. Both do well with the pink fabric, however.


Nikon D5300 versus Sony A58 at Base ISO

Nikon D5300 at ISO 100
Sony A58 at ISO 100

As in the previous comparison, both cameras show impressive fine detail in the mosaic tiles. The bottle crops also show crisp, noise-free detail, and both cameras also do very well with the fabric crop. However, the new AA-filter-less sensor of the D5300 just edges out the A58 by starting to show individual threads of the red fabric.


 

Most digital SLRs and CSCs will produce an excellent ISO 100 shot, so we like to push them and see what they can do compared to other cameras at ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400. Recent advances in sensor technology have made ISO 1600 look a lot more like ISO 100, but there are still cameras whose quality starts to fall apart at this setting. We also choose 1600 because we like to be able to shoot at least at this level when indoors and at night.

Nikon D5300 versus Nikon D5200 at ISO 1600

Nikon D5300 at ISO 1600
Nikon D5200 at ISO 1600

Both the bottle and mosaic crops show fairly similar results here at ISO 1600, though the D5300 manages to out-resolve the D5200 with fine detail in the mosaic area. Interestingly, the D5200 manages to produce a better, more detailed image of the fabric swatches compared to the D5300.


Nikon D5300 versus Canon T5i at ISO 1600

Nikon D5300 at ISO 1600

Canon T5i at ISO 1600

At ISO 1600, noise is well-controlled from both the D5300 and T5i, as you can see in the bottle crop comparison. Also, apart from the difference in resolution, both cameras do very well with fine detail in the mosaic crop. The biggest difference is with the fabric, with which the D5300 excels as compared to the T5i.


Nikon D5300 versus Nikon D7100 at ISO 1600

Nikon D5300 at ISO 1600
Nikon D7100 at ISO 1600

Like we saw with the ISO 100 comparison, here at 1600 both cameras display similar results in the bottle and mosaic crops. The D7100, however, does noticeably better at handling the red fabric swatch.


Nikon D5300 versus Samsung NX300 at ISO 1600

Nikon D5300 at ISO 1600
Samsung NX300 at ISO 1600

The Samsung NX300's default noise reduction is more heavy-handed than the D5300's, but it does well removing grain from the shadows while still keeping good detail. Both cameras do well with fine detail in the mosaic, but the Nikon is the winner in the red fabric.


Nikon D5300 versus Sony A58 at ISO 1600

Nikon D5300 at ISO 1600
Sony A58 at ISO 1600

Both cameras do well with noise at ISO 1600, but the A58 is a bit cleaner in the shadows in comparison. Fine detail also looks sharper though more "processed" from the A58 in the mosaic crop, and the Sony handles noise in the red fabric better than the D5300, albeit with slightly less detail. However, the pink fabric in the A58 looks a bit distorted from noise reduction, whereas the D5300 handles that area better.



Today's ISO 3200 is yesterday's ISO 1600 (well, almost), so below are the same crops at ISO 3200.

Nikon D5300 versus Nikon D5200 at ISO 3200

Nikon D5300 at ISO 3200
Nikon D5200 at ISO 3200

Very similar noise in the shadows, but the D5300 has the clear advantage with fine detail in the mosaic crop. Yet the D5200 produces a more discernible leaf pattern in the red fabric.


Nikon D5300 versus Canon T5i at ISO 3200

Nikon D5300 at ISO 3200

Canon T5i at ISO 3200

Similarly low levels of noise, but the D5300 does better with fine detail in the mosaic as well as the red fabric (though the leaf pattern is difficult to discern in both images).


Nikon D5300 versus Nikon D7100 at ISO 3200

Nikon D5300 at ISO 3200
Nikon D7100 at ISO 3200

Tough comparison here at ISO 3200. There's ever-so-slightly more chroma noise in the D7100 bottle crop, but in the mosaic both cameras show a similarly high level of fine detail. The biggest difference is the noticeably better handling of the red fabric by the D7100.


Nikon D5300 versus Samsung NX300 at ISO 3200

Nikon D5300 at ISO 3200
Samsung NX300 at ISO 3200

It's clear here at ISO 3200 that the NX300 applies much stronger noise reduction by default, though it does a good job of maintaining high-contrast detail. The fine mosaic pattern detail looks more clearly defined in the D5300 image, however. The red fabric is most telling, though, with the D5300 retaining much more detail.


Nikon D5300 versus Sony A58 at ISO 3200

Nikon D5300 at ISO 3200
Sony A58 at ISO 3200

The D5300 shows a bit more shadow noise at ISO 3200 in the bottle crop comparison, but noise reduction distorts and mottles the fine mosaic pattern in the A58 image. The A58, on the other hand, arguably does better at handling the red fabric swatch.



Detail: Nikon D5300 vs. Nikon D5200, Canon T5i, Nikon D7100, Samsung NX300 and Sony A58

Nikon D5300
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon D5200
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Canon T5i
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Nikon D7100
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Samsung NX300
ISO 100
ISO 3,200
ISO 6,400
Sony A58
ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
Detail comparison. Apart from slight exposure differences, the cameras do very well with high-contrast fine detail at base ISO, with the D5300 taking the crown not only with the crisp black lettering, but also the clean, sharp red lettering as well. As the ISO rises, the D5300 handles higher ISOs very well -- similar to the D7100 -- and improves over the D5200's performance.

 

Nikon D5300 Print Quality Analysis

Very good 30 x 40 inch prints at ISO 100; a nice 11 x 14 at ISO 1600; a good 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100 prints are very nice at 30 x 40 inches, with terrific color reproduction and nice detail for such a large print. Wall display prints are possible up to 36 x 48 inches.

ISO 200 makes an excellent 24 x 36 inch print with very crisp detail and color.

ISO 400 images look very good at 20 x 30 inches, and 24 x 36 inch prints have only a minor trace of noise and are usable for all but the most critical of applications.

ISO 800 prints are good at 16 x 20 inches, and the D5300 does a nice job of controlling noise levels for such a large print at this ISO. In addition, subtle contrast detail is really good in our difficult red swatch, something enthusiast and professional grade Nikons tend to shine at.

ISO 1600 produces a very good 11 x 14 inch print. 13 x 19s have a bit too much noise in flatter areas to make our "good" grade, but are still usable for less critical applications or where a mild film-grain look is desired.

ISO 3200 prints begin to show a slight decline in detail in the red fabric area, but 8 x 10s still look quite good.

ISO 6400 is the first ISO where the D5300 outshines its predecessor, besting it by a print size and producing a good 8 x 10 inch print.

ISO 12,800 yields a good 5 x 7, once again besting the D5200 by a print size.

ISO 25,600 does not yield a good print and is best avoided except for less critical applications.

The Nikon D5300 follows in the excellent footsteps of the D5200, producing large prints for its price range and doing a great job with fine detail and color. As compared to many APS-C cameras we have seen recently, the D5300 does a nice job of controlling noise, and when it does appear it tends to look more like film grain than many other cameras' default processing in this class, which can often look more like splotches than grain in flatter areas. It bests the D5200 by a print size at ISO 6400 and 12,800, and almost passes the test at the extended setting of 25,600. Well done, Nikon, for an affordable DSLR that prints this nicely straight out of the camera.

 



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