Test Review: Nikon D5300

January 28, 2014 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in New Products, News & Events, Review by

Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300

The Nikon D5300 is the successor to the D5200. It uses a 24-MP image sensor without a low-pass filter, and offers integrated GPS and Wi-Fi systems, full HD video recording, and more.

Comments on Image Quality

The standard test box shot is a little under-exposed. The white-balance system worked very well; the colours are neutral and looking realistic.

Colour: The automatic white-balance system worked well. The test chart shows that nearly all gray patterns are located in the center of the result chart. They are a shifted into the blue area, but this adjustment is only marginal. The brightest gray pattern is shifted into the yellow and green area. This is also noticeable in the portrait shot, but is nearly invisible in the test box shot. The new D5300 showed blue nuances in a very intensified way—just like nearly all Nikon cameras. Both blue colours of the test chart are boosted, and therefore show a shift into the magenta area.

Sharpness: The elimination of the low-pass filter enables the Nikon D5300 to shoot excellent images full of detail. The ISO 12233 chart was reproduced with 3821 lines per picture height, which is nearly the nominal resolution of the sensor (4000 lines per picture height). In some scenes, like the technical test chart, we saw some overshot effects on extreme contrast lines, but most real photographic scenes are reproduced with very clean and even a littler softer structures. The standard test box was reproduced with a lot of details. The differentiation in the coloured spools is particularly excellent, and the reproduction of the figures on the ruler in the image center or the structure in the background is very good.

Noise: The camera performed well in our noise tests. Up to ISO 1.600, the luminance noise level keeps below 1.0 percent, which is a good result for a camera with APS-C-sized sensor. But more important is the very good filtering of luminance noise effects. The noise spectrum is very low and very smooth. Combined with the fact that the coloured noise artifacts in the RGB channels have nearly no aberrations and are perfectly located on the same graph, the camera created very clean-looking images. In ISO 12800 mode, the noise structure gets clearly visible, but because of missing RGB artifacts, it looks more like analog film grain than like coloured digital noise.

The dynamic range results are very good. The camera gained a maximum of 11.4 f-stops and keeps the dynamic level of more than 11 f-stops up to ISO 1600 mode.

Comments on Handling

There is no status display on the top. A large switch near the mode dial allows the user to toggle very fast and comfortably between the optical viewfinder and electronic viewfinder on the LCD screen.

There is no status display on the top. A large switch near the mode dial allows the user to toggle very fast and comfortably between the optical viewfinder and electronic viewfinder on the LCD screen.

The Nikon D5300 is the successor to the Nikon D5200. Compared to its predecessor, there is an important difference: the Nikon D5300 has a new image sensor without a low-pass filter. With this sensor, the D5300 performed excellently in our resolution tests.

The D5300 uses a display with a 3:2 aspect ratio, which can show the whole sensor image without black borders or frames. Compared to the Nikon D5200, the LCD screen is also larger. The new monitor size is 3.2 inches or 8.1 centimetres (the D5200 is 3 inches or 7.6 centimetres), and it has a very high resolution of 1.04 million RGB dots. The monitor is fully articulated and makes shooting very comfortable.

The swivel monitor is fully articulated and can be flipped up- and downward or be rotated to the back or front. Shooting video is very comfortable with this LCD.

The swivel monitor is fully articulated and can be flipped up- and downward or be rotated to the back or front. Shooting video is very comfortable with this LCD.

The camera has an optical viewfinder with a 95-percent field of view, which is typical for this SLR class, but nevertheless irritating when taking images that show a lot more “content” than the photographer saw in the viewfinder. The LCD screen shows a 100- percent field of view, which is very helpful. A switch beside the mode dial on the top of the camera toggles between the optical viewfinder and the live preview on the screen—that’s very handy.

The very large LCD screen (3.2 inches; 8.1 cm) has a high resolution of more than one million RGB dots. The 8-way control field allows for fast menu navigation, and the set-up dial lets the user change image parameters very efficiently.

The very large LCD screen (3.2 inches; 8.1 cm) has a high resolution of more than one million RGB dots. The 8-way control field allows for fast menu navigation, and the set-up dial lets the user change image parameters very efficiently.

The camera offers a lot of function buttons and set-up wheels for fast and efficient control of each parameter. The “i” button on the back will show most important image parameters on the LCD screen, which helps with changing the settings. It is very easy to control the focus mode, ISO-speed setting and more with this “short-cut” menu. The camera offers only a set-up dial on the back to change image parameters, which is only acceptable for entry-level systems. This is disappointing in a mid-range SLR camera.

There are some other handy features. The camera offers a digital “water level,” which is shown as an overlay on the LCD screen. It shows the bias or justification with a standard horizontal line and with an additional moving rectangular shape that indicates tilting to the front or back of the camera. The built-in flash system helps in shooting backlit portraits or darker situations. The little flash can be used as a master for Nikon’s Advanced Wireless Lighting with additional Nikon flash systems like the SB-900, for example.

The camera is Nikon’s first SLR with an integrated WLAN system. Until now Nikon offered expensive optional WLAN adapters for professional SLRs, whereas many Nikon compact cameras already had Wi-Fi functions. Nikon offers a free app to use smartphones and tablets as remote controls for the D5300 (for Android and Apple iOS devices).

The camera uses a built-in flash system and a standard accessory shoe for external flashes (Nikon i-TTL support). The interfaces are covered by a rubber cap. The camera offers USB and HDMI for data transfer and image presentation. In addition, it has a microphone jack and a special interface for Nikon's remote controllers.

The camera uses a built-in flash system and a standard accessory shoe for external flashes (Nikon i-TTL support). The interfaces are covered by a rubber cap. The camera offers USB and HDMI for data transfer and image presentation. In addition, it has a microphone jack and a special interface for Nikon's remote controllers.

Unfortunately this app isn’t as comfortable and powerful as apps for Canon and Panasonic cameras. For example, the Nikon app shows a live preview on the remote device and allows one to press the virtual shutter-release button—that’s it. Canon and Panasonic apps and WLAN cameras allow to change image parameters like shutter speed and aperture. Sometimes they are able to set up the active focus area and more. All these things are missing in the Nikon app. Hopefully Nikon will change this in upcoming app versions.

The AF system of the Nikon D5300 is very fast. It uses 39 AF sensors (9 cross-type sensors in the center of the AF area) and keeps even fast moving objects in focus while shooting images or video. With the Expeed 4 image processor, the camera worked fast and can be used for sports photography. The camera can take up to five images per second, which is a mid-range result for a mid-range SLR system.

Pros
+ Fast entry-level camera with a lot of features
+ WLAN for direct image copy to a smartphone or PC
+ Fully articulated swivel monitor
+ GPS integrated
+ Built-in flash system which can be used as master system for Nikon Advanced Wireless Lighting

Cons
– WLAN software (smartphone app) is less comfortable and powerful than other software
– Slightly bulky design/body

This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide. Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.

SPEC SHEET: Nikon D5300
BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:
Resolution 6000 x 4000
Resolution sensor 24.2
Colour depth (in bits) 42
Size of sensor (in Inches) 0/0.00
Size of Sensor (in mm) 23.5 x 15.6
LENSES:
Focal length (wide angle; 35-mm equivalent; in mm) 27
Focal length (tele; 35-mm equivalent; KB in mm) 158
Focal length (wide angle; real; in mm) 18.0
Focal length (tele; real; KB in mm) 105.0
Speed 3.5 – 5.6
Macro 45 – 100
Manual focus, controlled by function elements no
Manual focus, controlled with lens ring yes
TAKING PICTURES:
Startup time (in sec) 0.60
Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing 0.39
Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing 0.02
Continuous shooting speed (frames per second) 5.0
Max. burst during continuous shooting speed 999.0
Fastest shutter speed (in sec) 1/4000
Long time exposure/shutter speed (in sec) 30
Self timer yes
Exposure Settings:
Aperture pre-setting, shutter speed pre-setting, manual exposure settings,
automatic bracketing, time lapse photography
Exposure programs 16
White balance:
Auto yes
White balance settings 6
Individual white balance yes
ISO:
ISO min 100
ISO max 12800
ISO steps 22
Manual ISO control yes
FLASH:
Integrated flash yes
Flash mode:
On, off, automatic flash, slow sync, anti-red-eye, rear-curtain sync
External Flash:
X-Sync no
Accessory shoe yes
FILE FORMATS:
Standard file formats JPEG, RAW, DCF
JPEG-compression grades 3
LCD AND PREVIEW:
Size (in inches) 3.2
Resolution of LCD (in pixels) 1037
Zoom mode during preview yes
Index during preview yes
Slideshow during preview yes
VIDEO:
Video available yes
Max. width 1920
Max. height 1080
Picture frequency 60
POWER SOURCE:
Rechargeable battery yes
Battery type Li-Ion
Battery charger included yes
Power connector no
Power supply unit no
STORAGE SYSTEM:
Supported memory cards SD card, SDHC card, SDXC card
PC CONNECTION:
PC connection USB, HDMI, WLAN
TV out PAL/NTSC + HDMI
DIMENSIONS:
Dimensions (width x height x depth; in mm) 125 x 98 x 76
Weight (body without battery and memory card; in g) 530
ACCESSORIES:
Docking station no
Printed manual yes
Manual on CD yes
Bag no
Remote control no
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