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First Impressions: Nikon D5200

by Chris Gampat on 01/09/2013

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D5200 S1 and J3 first impressions CES 2013 (1 of 17)ISO 16001-180 sec at f - 4.0

At CES 2013, we had the chance to play with the slightly-late-to-the-American-shore Nikon D5200. The camera was announced everywhere else in the world but for some odd reason or another, Nikon decided to only now tell us more about it.

As a previous owner of the D5100, I know that the D5200 still targets the consumer who wants to grow with their camera. So what do I think of the upgrade?

 

Tech Specs

Specs pulled from the B&H Photo listing.

Imaging
Camera Type Digital SLR with Interchangeable lenses
Lens Mount Nikon F
Camera Format DX / (1.5x Crop Factor)
Pixels Actual: 24.71 Megapixel
Effective: 24.1 Megapixel
Max Resolution 6000 x 4000
Other Resolutions 4496 x 3000
2992 x 2000
Aspect Ratio 3:2
Sensor Type / Size CMOS, 23.5 x 15.6 mm
File Formats Still Images: JPEG, RAW
Movies: MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, MOV
Audio: Linear PCM
Bit Depth 14-bit
Noise Reduction Yes
Memory Card Type SD
SDHC
SDXC
Focus Control
Focus Type Auto & Manual
Focus Mode Single-servo AF (S), Continuous-servo AF (C), Manual Focus (M) , Focus Lock AF Area Mode
Autofocus Points 39
Viewfinder/Display
Viewfinder Type Pentamirror
Viewfinder Coverage 95%
Viewfinder Magnification Approx. 0.78x
Diopter Adjustment - 1.7 to +0.7 m
Display Screen 3″ Rear Screen Swivel  LCD (921000)
Screen Coverage 100%
Angle of View 170°
Live View Yes
Exposure Control
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 100-6400 (Extended Mode: 100-25600)
Shutter Type: Charge-coupled Electronic
Speed: 30 – 1/4000 sec
Remote Control ML-L3 (Optional)
Metering Method 3D Color Matrix Metering, Center-weighted average metering, Spot metering
Exposure Modes Modes: Aperture Priority, Auto, Flash Off, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority
Compensation: -5 EV to +5 EV (in 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps)
White Balance Modes Auto, Cloudy, Custom, Daylight, Flash, Fluorescent, Incandescent, Preset Manual, Shade
Flash
Flash Modes Auto, Auto/Red-eye Reduction, Fill-in, Off, Red-eye Reduction, Second-curtain Sync, Slow Sync, Slow Sync./Red-eye Reduction
Built-in Flash Yes
Guide No. 39′ (11.89 m) ISO100
Max Sync Speed Electronic Shutter: 1 / 200 sec
Flash Compensation -3 EV to +1 EV (in 0.3 or 0.5 EV steps)
Continuous Shooting Up to 5 fps
Dedicated Flash System iTTL
External Flash Connection Hot Shoe
AV Recording
Video Recording Yes, NTSC/PAL
File Size 1920 x 1080i (Full HD)
1920 x 1080p (Full HD)
1280 x 720p (HD)
640 x 424p (SD)
Frame Rate @ 1920 x 1080: 60 fps, 30 fps, 24 fps
@ 1920 x 1080: 50 fps, 25 fps
@ 1280 x 720: 60 fps, 50 fps
@ 640 x 424: 30 fps, 25 fps
Exposure Control Auto: Shutter Speed, Aperture, ISO
Manual: Shutter Speed, ISO
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 200 – 6400
Exposure Compensation -0 EV to +2 EV (in 0.3, 0.7 or 1 EV steps)
Focus Auto
Manual
Continuous Auto
Audio Recording With Video, Stereo, Via Optional External Mic
Performance
Self Timer 2 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 20 sec
Number of Shots: 1-9
Interval Recording Yes
Date & Time Stamp Yes
Connectivity 1/8″ Microphone, HDMI C (Mini), USB 2.0
Wi-Fi Capable (With Optional Transmitter) Yes
Power
Battery 1x EN-EL14  Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack, 7.4VDC, 1030mAh
Operating/Storage Temperature Operating
32 to 104 °F (0 to 40 °C)
Humidity: 0 – 85%
Physical
Dimensions (WxHxD) 5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1″ / 129 x 98 x 78 mm
Weight 1.22 lb / 555 g
Kit Lens
Focal Length 18 – 55 mm
Comparable DX Focal Length: 27 – 82.5 mm
Aperture Maximum: f/3.5
Minimum: f/22
Angle of View 76° – 25.5°
Minimum Focus Distance 11.02″ (28 cm)
Magnification 0.31x
Groups/Elements 5/7
Diaphragm Blades 7
Autofocus Yes
Image Stabilization No
Filter Thread Front: 52 mm
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 2.78 x 2.91″ (70.5 x 74 mm)
Weight 7.23 oz (205 g)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D5200 S1 and J3 first impressions CES 2013 (2 of 17)ISO 16001-240 sec at f - 4.0

The Nikon D5200 overall doesn’t have major design changes or variations from the D5100, but those that are present are noticeable for the most part. For example, the camera can come in Red, Brown or Black. The two former colors have a more glossy look vs the black matte finish; which I’m partial to.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D5200 S1 and J3 first impressions CES 2013 (3 of 17)ISO 16001-340 sec at f - 4.0

 

One of the biggest changes is the placement of the stereo microphone towards the hot shoe. But otherwise, the camera is still the same. The mode dial is still there but now includes a new scene mode. The Live view switch is still right around the mode dial. Additionally, there is still the video record button, shutter release, drive button, exposure compensation, and the on/off switch.

The back of the camera still also has controls which are once again the same: and if you’re a Nikon user then you’ll appreciate that everything is where where you believe it should be.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D5200 S1 and J3 first impressions CES 2013 (4 of 17)ISO 16001-340 sec at f - 4.0

 

The front left area of the camera is where other controls are. One can pop the flash from here, access their custom function (which I usually set to ISO), and release the lens here.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D5200 S1 and J3 first impressions CES 2013 (5 of 17)ISO 16001-180 sec at f - 4.0

 

Also, the flip out screen looks sharper this time perhaps because of the new interface. Though this isn’t a touch screen, it looks like it ought to be. Additionally, this new display is seriously slick and I have to hand it to Nikon in saying that this is the slickest I’ve ever seen.

Build Quality

The D5200 felt right about on par with a Canon Rebel; which mean that it felt plasticky. However, we all know that Rebels can actually tolerate a lot fo abuse and before I sold it, my D5100 tolerated lots of abuse. Sadly though, the lens couldn’t keep up (I had the kit lens.)

Autofocus

The Nikon D5200 has 32 autofocus points with some of them being cross-types that can focus down to f8. The focusing seemed about on par with the D5100 in terms of speed, but it felt smarter and more accurate. Part of this may have to do with the fact that there are significantly more focusing points.

To be clear, we tested this in low light on the tradeshow floor: but it was a pre-production model.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Nikon D5200 S1 and J3 first impressions CES 2013 (6 of 17)ISO 16001-220 sec at f - 4.0

 

The D5200 was just as simple to use as the D5100 was; but at this point in the game I believe that the camera should have two control dials for exposure and to also give the camera some extended life so as to shut down any buyer’s remorse. It surely is capable of capturing some excellent images; and an easier interface that appeals more to advanced users could be much better.

Image Quality

We couldn’t stick a card in the camera, but we saw prints from the D5200. The images are sharp and very detailed; but we will need a review unit to make our final evaluations.

First Impressions

The D5200 feels like Nikon didn’t want to touch their award winning formula too much; and it was overall a very smart decision. However, it makes me wonder why they decided to release some really butt ugly colors like Red and Brown. If you can get over the exterior, the camera is quite a performer and totally destroys any other APS-C camera that the company has as of this publishing of this story.

Which begs the question: where is the D7000 and D300s successor?

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