Nikon D5300 Image Quality Analysis: With a new sensor, is the D5300 a D7100 in a smaller body?


posted Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 10:37 AM EDT


Nikon's new advanced consumer DSLR, the D5300, may look like a minor upgrade to the well-received D5200 on the outside, but under the hood there's some stand-out features that put it in the range of the D7100 in terms of image quality and performance. But this is all just talk without an actual comparison, right? Well, fear not! We've just completed our full image quality comparison for the Nikon D5300, pitting it side-by-side against five top competitors -- the Nikon D5200 and the Nikon D7100, as well as the Canon T5i, Samsung NX300 and Sony A58 -- at a range of ISOs.

The new 24.2-megapixel sensor inside the Nikon D5300 does away with the optical low-pass filter just like it's bigger brother, the Nikon D7100. However, taking it one step further, the D5300 houses Nikon's new EXPEED 4 image processor, which even the company's full-frame prosumer D610 doesn't have -- nor the D7100. This next-generation imaging engine aims to improve the camera's speed over the D5200, as well as better optimize the detail-versus-noise output and enhance color accuracy. The ISO performance is also given a boost, now spanning a standard ISO range of 100 to 12,800, as well as reaching as high as ISO 25,600 in expanded sensitivity mode.

There's nothing like side-by-side full resolution comparisons to settle the score

But how do the new DSLR's photos fare? Is the D5300 a significant step up from the D5200? How does it compete with the D7100, Nikon's other OLPF-less APS-C camera? And does the camera handle high ISOs well?

Find out by reading our Nikon D5300 image quality comparisons here! And below that, you'll find our print quality analysis, where we discovered the D5300 produced a very nice 30 x 40-inch print with terrific color reproduction and nice detail at ISO 100.

Be sure to read our detailed first impressions Nikon D5300 review for a closer look at all the new features and specs. And you can also use our Comparometer™ to pit sample pictures taken with the Nikon D5300 against those from any other camera we've ever tested.