COMPARED TO D3300 AND D5200
I’ve created a simple comparison table between the new D5300, older D5200, current “entry level” D3300 and main competitor from Canon – the 700D. There are various differences between the three cameras, but few of them are of real advantage; they share almost identical sensors, processing engine and operational logic. You will have to decide for yourself if any of this is of major importance for you; otherwise I would recommend buying the cheapest one.
LCD has a 3 inch diagonal and 1,037,000 dots. It is articulated what makes video recording easier as well as taking photographs from difficult angles (above the head or from the ground). There is no touch control on Nikon D5300 (Canon 700D has it).
Viewfinder is as big as expected for an APS-C sensor and easy to use. As always, you get the basic shooting information at the bottom of it.
NIKON D3300 SENSOR AND IMAGE QUALITY
This camera uses the same 24 MP sensor without optical low pass filter like found on the cheaper D3300 which I reviewed already. Sensors without anti aliasing filters could allow you to get very sharp and detailed images with it. The thing is this will depend on the lens you use. Cheap kit lenses like 18-55mm, 18-140mm or similar are reasonably good for casual photography, but if you want to get the most out of the sensor in this camera, you will have to buy better lenses, like a 35mm f/1,8G prime on expensive zoom lenses which will be able to resolve enough details for this sensor.
Sensor performance is excellent and seems to be even slightly better compared to D5200, especially at high ISO. I used the camera regularly up to ISO 3200 without any problems, and when needed got perfectly usable results at ISO 6400, especially from RAW file. Colors are realistic and dynamic range is up to the task.
NIKON D5300 KIT LENS AND… OTHER LENSES
Nikon D5300 can be bough as a body only or with kit lenses: collapsible 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II or 18-140mm F/3.5-5.6 VR.
Both lenses are of decent quality for amateur use, optically good for the price and with an effective optical stabilization. But still, these are just an affordable kit lenses which becomes obvious on this camera. 24 megapixel sensor is very sharpness-hungry, and both 18-55 and 18-140 fall behind in this department. These are not bad lenses, but will not allow this sensor to show its maximum performance.
If you are serious about your photography, my recommendation is to take a look at some nice and affordable primes like 35/1,8G for general shooting and 50/1,8G for portraiture. Both are in the very affordable 200$ range and perform much better than the kit lenses, not to mention f/1.8 aperture for shallow DOF and low-light shooting.
Just keep one thing in mind: Nikon D5300 can use auto-focus only with modern lenses with built-in AF motor (those with the “G” designations in model name). This is a regular problem with affordable Nikon DSLR for a long time now but in real life might be that big of a deal: it seems most buyers of a camera such as this never even take the lens off.
MEMORY AND BATTERY
Memory compartment accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC cards. Camera is very fast at writing data which came as a surprise. I expected it to be sluggish with huge 24 megapixel files, but it’s not the case. Just be sure to get a fast card (class 10 or faster).
Li-Ion battery unit is strong enough for 500-600 shots and takes around 2.5 h to recharge. This is twice as any mirrorless camera can offer; they all last up to 350 shots at best.
Nikon D5300 will work with both memory card and battery doors open (broken) unlike Canon cameras.
Nikon D5300 uses the same AF system like its predecessor, the D5200. It has 39 AF points spread across the frame, 9 of which are cross-type. Auto focus is pretty snappy and accurate. White AF assist lamp is also built-in but you might consider turning it off for street or informal portraits shooting – it looks invasive.
Typical for Nikon DSLR’s, AF points are selected directly using multi-way controller unlike Canon cameras in this price category where you need to push AF button first.
Contrast focusing in live view is slow(ish) but gets the job done.
Nikon D5300 records video in full HD with real 50 progressive frames per second which is great for fluid look of the videos. Compared to Nikon D3300, this one has a stereo microphone. As expected, there is a 3.5mm input for external microphone.
Video quality seems to be fine, but generally still doesn’t looks sharp enough for my taste. Also, AF speed during live-view and video is slow what makes this camera inappropriate for those of you seeking an all-automatic camera for amateur family or holiday video recording.
NIKON D5300 REVIEW CONCLUSION
In the past few years it has become common to release new DSLR models each year, and the differences between them are minimal. Nikon D5300 is the typical product of such philosophy. Although several characteristics are clearly better than the cheaper D3300 (AF system, swivel LCD, GPS and WiFi) or direct predecessor D5200 (tweaked sensor and better video), they are all basically the same excellent cameras with almost same image quality. D5300 is still a simple camera which makes it suitable as an entry model into the DSLR world but certain advanced functions will still satisfy experienced and demanding users. They may find the lack of external controls objectionable, but the most important thing – image quality is at the top level. With a good lens it can deliver D7100 image quality in twice cheaper package. Nikon D5300 doesn’t offer any groundbreaking features, but all that’s built in works perfectly.
NIKON D5300 PRO
- Excellent image quality
- Fast and responsive operation
- Fast auto focus with wide frame coverage
- Tilt-LCD screen
- Low high ISO noise
- Good auto-ISO option implementation
- Battery life
- 50p video recording with stereo sound
NIKON D5300 CONS
- Requires higher quality lenses to make most out of the sensor
- Very few direct controls
- Slow live-view auto focus