Nikon D5200 Review

Nikon D5200 Review

Nikon lets the D5200 follow the D5100 with 24 megapixel resolution. The DSLR with an APS-C sensor creates five continuous shots per second. Its outstanding feature is the rotatable and swivelling screen, which has a resolution of 921,000 pixels at a screen diagonal of three inches. With its 2,016 RGB pixels, the exposure meter can even detect subjects and supports 39-point autofocus in subject tracking.


Short evaluation

  • Many connection options including stereo microphone for video recording
  • Apart from the set lens good image quality
  • Extensive equipment for beginners as well as for advanced users
  • Flexible screen allows shooting from unusual perspectives
  • Very slow autofocus and high shutter release delay, especially in live view
  • Set lens with very weak edge resolution at all focal lengths as well as strong color fringes in the wide angle
  • Small viewfinder with shading for spectacle wearers
  • Somewhat small handle

As already with the D3200, Nikon now also relies on a CMOS sensor in APS-C size (DX in Nikon’s nomenclature, which resolves 24 megapixels) for the new D5200. The standard sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 6,400, but can be extended to 12,800 and 25,600. Image processing is provided by the “Expeed 3” image processor, which can process up to five series images per second. Optionally, the photos can also be saved in 36-bit color depth in the raw data format instead of JPEG. The autofocus has 39 measuring fields, of which the central nine are designed as cross sensors. When tracking the subject, the autofocus is supported by the RGB metering sensor with its 2,016 metering points, which can capture the subject in great detail. This is even enough for subject and face recognition, so that the camera should react even better to the subject in the automatic mode.

A further important feature of the D5200 is the folding and rotating screen, so that the Live View function can also be conveniently used from unusual perspectives. The screen measures three inches (about 7.5 centimeters) diagonally and resolves fine 921,000 pixels. However, one should note that when using the Live View, one has to do without the powerful autofocus with its 39 measuring fields and use the much slower contrast measurement instead. The D5200 can also record videos and shines with a FullHD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and a refresh rate of either 30 full frames or 60 half frames per second (30p or 60i).

The sound is either recorded via the integrated stereo microphone or the videographer connects an external (stereo) microphone via the 3.5 mm jack. The D5200 can adjust the autofocus during filming if desired, Nikon calls this AF-F mode. After recording, the videos in the camera can be trimmed at the beginning and end, and it is also possible to extract individual images from a film as photos.

For example, the D5200 features an HDR shooting mode that automatically shoots two differently exposed photos and combines them into one image. Active-D-Lighting is also on board again, brightening the shadows to make more details visible. In addition to the 16 motif modes, the Nikon D5200 has seven effect modes: Selective Colour, Miniature Effect, High Key, Low Key, Silhouette, Colour Drawing and Night Vision. By the way, these are already available during the recording of photos and videos. The tiny WLAN module WU-1a is particularly interesting as an accessory. It allows the transmission of camera images and remote control from a smartphone. If you would like to add geotags to your photos, you can connect the GP-1 available as an accessory, classic wireless triggering is also possible with the optional wireless remote control WR-T10, with the receiver WR-R10 you can even control many camera functions remotely.

The Nikon D5200 should be available from the beginning of December 2012 at a price of almost 810 euros. The buyer can choose between black, red and bronze for the case colour. The D5200 is available in these colors both individually and as a set with the AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR at a price of almost 920 euros. In the black housing variant, numerous other sets with larger zoom lenses or double kits with two lenses are to be offered.

With the D5200, Nikon brings its DSLR middle class up to date. The D5100’s model upgrades feature a higher resolution image sensor that now offers 24 megapixels in APS-C format. Despite the larger amounts of image data, the more powerful image processor even increases the continuous shooting rate to five frames per second. Also new: The RGB exposure meter with a resolution of 2,016 pixels, which supports the camera’s scene recognition as well as the autofocus function, which now has 39 metering fields. Reason enough to extensively test the camera in the laboratory and in practice.

Ergonomics and workmanship

Nikon hasn’t changed anything in the D5200’s well-proven plastic case with the somewhat small handle for large hands. It still offers many control buttons that can sometimes cause confusion, such as the “info” and “i” buttons, which suggest the same function at first glance. It’s difficult to hold and operate the D5200 with one hand, so you should support it with your left hand, as is generally the case with DSLRs. The left hand is needed to operate the mechanical zoom. Rubbers on the handle as well as in the thumb cavity should provide a better grip, but they should be a bit more grippy and coarser grained. A slip off of the grip fingers is additionally prevented by a pronounced hollow. Very practical was the circuit breaker designed as a ring switch around the release, the latter also offers two well noticeable pressure points.

The metal tripod thread on the underside of the camera is located exemplarily in the optical axis. It also sits far enough away from the battery compartment so that it can be changed at any time. With a running time of around 500 images according to the CIPA standard, it offers a decent, if not outstanding, stamina. Alternatively, a dummy with power supply connection can be inserted here.

Nikon has separated the SD memory card compartment from the battery compartment. It can be opened comfortably on the handle side of the camera, the flap jumps open very wide after unlocking, driven by a spring, which makes it easy to remove the storage medium. The interface cover on the opposite side of the case is not quite as high-quality. A large rubber flap reveals all four connections. In addition to the usual AV and USB combination socket, these include a stereo microphone connection, an HDMI output and a combination interface for GPS and remote trigger. The D5200 thus offers plenty of expansion options, including the small, inexpensive WU-1a WLAN adapter, which is plugged into the USB interface. It offers options such as camera triggering with live image transmission and wireless image transmission.

As a reflex camera a corresponding viewfinder should not be missing. It offers a dioptric correction, which should also be used, because with glasses, the edges on the left and on the right are slightly shadowed. A status line shows the photographer the most important shooting parameters and the active autofocus points are displayed directly in the viewfinder image. Only if you use the viewfinder, you can use the new features like the 39-point autofocus and the 2,016-pixel RGB exposure meter. The latter recognizes not only the brightness, but also the color of the subject. This not only provides more accurate metering, but also supports white balance, scene recognition, and autofocus. In automatic mode, the camera can better decide where important details are to be focused, such as faces.

Above all, however, the new exposure meter and the many autofocus points are noticeable in the continuous autofocus. The D5200 can track a moving subject much more accurately. The pure autofocus speed hasn’t changed much compared to the D5100. With about 0.6 seconds, it’s now even a slower one, at least as long as you use the 18-55mm set lens.

The D5200 is the only DSLR in the line-up of the Japanese manufacturer to offer a foldable and swivelling screen that is sufficiently large with a three inch diagonal and has a fine enough resolution of 921,000 pixels. The free movement of the screen allows the photographer to take pictures from unusual perspectives using Live View. However, this is not suitable at all for moving motifs or at all for motifs where an exact release time is important. In the laboratory with a fixed camera and static motive, the D5200 takes about two seconds to focus from infinity to two meters. In practice, with a shaky camera and changing motifs, things sometimes look much worse. The shutter release delay of 0.3 seconds is also completely insufficient for a quick reaction to a scene situation. The tracking autofocus is also unusable for video recordings, it just seems overwhelmed. It’s also a shame that the screen is not a touchscreen. This would at least make focusing easier for still lifes and macro shots, where you have to move the focus point to the right place with the cursor.

Due to its numerous options distributed over several tabs with scroll lists and submenus, the menu appears to be overloaded, even the pleasant design doesn’t help too much. A look into the manual is sometimes unavoidable, even if the D5200 hardly has anything that can’t be adjusted or adapted. After all, Nikon makes an effort to bring some clarity into the operation. These include the menu that shows the most recently used settings, the quick menu for the most important recording settings, and of course the many buttons that allow quick access to parameters.


With the D5200, Nikon basically wants to build a bridge between absolute DSLR beginners, who get a detailed shooting aid with the D3200, and advanced photographers who know how to help themselves. The D5200’s lavish programme dial is still dominated by the automatic andmotif programmes. When set to Auto, the photographer doesn’t have to think about the shooting parameters, not even the subject, and can simply take a picture of what jumps in front of his lens. The Nikon recognizes motifs automatically and even the flash jumps up automatically and switches itself on if the camera’s automatic system deems it necessary.


Except for image quality (size and compression), autofocus field control (auto, 3D subject tracking, 1-, 9-, 21- or 39-field control) and flash mode (automatic with and without red-eye reduction and off), the photographer has no influence whatsoever. In the scene modes it hardly looks any different, but here the influence on the ISO sensitivity is added if the photographer wants to deviate from the automatic. However, the important exposure correction remains locked.

Only those who use the creative programs P, A, S and M get full control over the camera. The automatic program offers a shift function if you do not agree with the selected aperture/exposure time combination. The exposure measuring method, flash exposure correction, bracketing, HDR, Active D-Lighting and white balance are further parameters that can be adjusted directly via the info screen. ISO auto is available even with manual exposure, but must be enabled or disabled via the menu. This allows you to take photographs with the aperture and shutter speed preselected while maintaining the correct exposure.

The bracketing function captures three images and allows white balance bracketing and Active-D-Lighting bracketing in addition to bracketing with up to 2 EV exposure difference. Especially interesting is also the HDR function, which automatically takes two differently exposed photos and calculates them together. The strength of the effect can be adjusted in four steps or left to the automatic control. The results are shiny with better drawn depths and highlights, but are only suitable for static motifs. The D5200 shoots continuous shots at a fast five frames per second, in JPEG mode even a few seconds in a row before the continuous shooting rate drops. When shooting in raw format, on the other hand, the continuous shooting rate already breaks down after one second, the large files and the rather small buffer memory prevent longer series in this file format. After all, raw images can be developed directly in the camera to JPEG shots, where in addition to standard parameters also many filter effects and even a perspective correction are available. The latter also applies to the editing of JPEG files. Edited photos are saved as copies and the original is always retained. Also numerous effects are available already during the recording, for which Nikon has provided a special place on the program selector wheel. Use the thumbwheel to select the desired effect.

After activating the live view via the lever under the program selector wheel, videos can be recorded in all programs with the dedicated video recording button. It is also possible to use the photo filters, but depending on the filter with a significantly reduced refresh rate, which then appears more like stop motion. The maximum image resolution is 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, which corresponds to Full HD. The refresh rate can be selected between 50i, 25p and 24p. If the resolution is reduced to 1,280 x 720 pixels, the D5200 records with 50p. With 640 x 424 pixels it is again 25p. The integrated microphone records in stereo, the automatic level control can optionally be switched to manual. As already mentioned, an external stereo microphone can be connected via a 3.5 millimetre jack socket. If desired, the Nikon automatically adjusts the autofocus during recording. However, this does not happen very reliably, fluidly and quickly, but rather resembles a makeshift. In addition, the focus noise of at least the AF-S 18-55 VR can be heard on the audio track. You should also avoid zooming during recording, as the manual zoom cannot be operated smoothly enough and scraping noises are immortalized on the audio track.

Picture quality

The Nikon D5200 is equipped with a 24 megapixel CMOS sensor in APS-C size, a clear step ahead of its 16 megapixel predecessor, the D5100. However, the 24-megapixel sensor is an old acquaintance that is already used in some other DSLRs from Nikon and other manufacturers. Its sensitivity ranges from ISO 100 to 6,400 and can be extended to ISO 12,800 and 25,600. In addition to the standard zoom AF-S 18-55 VR, we also had the currently largest super zoom AF-S 18-300 mm 3.5-5.6G ED VR and the DX macro lens 85 mm 3.5 G ED available for laboratory testing.

At ISO 100 and 200, the sensor has a very good signal-to-noise ratio of over 40 dB, which, however, decreases continuously with increasing sensitivity. At ISO 1.600, the critical level of 35 dB is just undershot, so the image signal is increasingly superimposed by disturbing noise. This is particularly evident in the form of luminance noise, which becomes visible from ISO 3,200. From ISO 12.800 it becomes very strong. Here the more unpleasant color noise is slowly added, which becomes visible especially at the highest sensitivity of ISO 25.600. Luckily, it doesn’t matter at medium sensitivities. The noise pixels are easily grouped into an average size of about two pixels, a side effect of noise reduction. It also ensures that less fine detail can be resolved as sensitivity increases. This becomes visible from ISO 1.600 as softer detail reproduction. With further increasing sensitivity, the finest structures become softer and softer or are no longer resolved, but the D5200 remains in the visible blur range even at the highest sensitivity; the strongly blurred range is not reached.

The input dynamics shine above all up to ISO 800, where the Nikon achieves dynamic range over ten f-stops (EV), the maximum value is naturally at the lowest sensitivity of ISO 100 at 10.6 f-stops. At ISO 1.600, with 9.9 f-stops, the D5200 only just falls below 10 EV, but only becomes visibly worse when jumping from ISO 3.200 to ISO 6.400, where it almost loses one f-stop in dynamic range. The tone value curve is strongly divided, especially for darker tones. This provides a subjectively good image reproduction, but is less suitable for the demanding post-processing, so that one should fall back on the raw format here. In general, the differentiation of tonal values is a problem, at least at higher ISO sensitivities. The best working conditions here are ISO 100 and 200, if you want finely nuanced brightness gradations. At ISO 1.600, the D5200 only uses less than 160 of the 256 steps. Similarly, though slightly better, it looks at the actual color depth. Up to ISO 800, Nikon differentiates over four million colour nuances; at ISO 3,200 it is

still a good two million, but less so. While the manual white balance works perfectly, the color rendering is not as accurate depending on the hue. Here, the D5200 prefers and subjectively more pleasant reproduction with brighter colours, especially in red tones.

The set lens 18-55 VR reveals some weaknesses in the laboratory test. Although the sharpness is always sufficient for 20 x 30 centimetre prints, on closer inspection the edge resolution leaves much to be desired. While the resolution of 50 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) is loosely cracked in the center of the image, it has to be clearly dimmed to F11 for a high edge resolution. After all, the distortion only plays a role in the wide angle with its strong barrel shape, the vignetting remains low overall. Colour fringes, on the other hand, are particularly annoying towards the edge of the picture, but only in the wide angle.

Anyone who thinks that a superzoom like the 18-300 G would be the ideal lens for a changeable rot is mistaken – at least if one expects a decent image quality. After all, it is suitable for 20 x 30 centimetre prints from the sharpness performance as well as the 18-55 without any problems. In the wide angle, however, there are strong edge shadowing with open apertures, you should dim at F5.6 so that these disappear. Against this very strong distortion, in the wide-angle four percent barrel shape, at medium and long focal length no less conspicuous 1.7 to 2.5 percent cushion shape, the closing of the aperture does not help. Also the chromatic aberrations are strong and on average higher than with the 18-55, only that with the 18-300 above all the middle focal length is noticeable particularly unpleasantly. The 50 lp/mm are only cracked in the wide angle in the center of the image, the edge of the image varies between 33 and 36 lp/mm, apart from the diffraction-related bad apertures of F16 and higher. With a mediumfocal length, no 27 lp/mm are reached at the edge of the picture, with a telephoto focal length, the maximum at the edge of the picture is only around 23 lp/mm, and up to 42 lp/mm are reached at the centre of the picture.

Even the 85mm macro lens can’t really convince on the D7100. Although it has only a small edge darkening and almost no distortion, of all three measured lenses it has the strongest color fringes, which are not changed by a dipping. In terms of resolution, it is disappointing with a maximum of just 42 lp/mm that even the declining edge resolution with open aperture is not convincing for a lens of this focal length. On F11, however, you get a very even resolution of about 40 lp/mm in the center and at the edge of the image. But not only in the image quality the macro can’t really convince, also the processing with the plastic case doesn’t look as if the lens is of a very high quality. At a price of around 450 euros, you have to be a little surprised. All in all, the D5200 has a good image quality, but small of the three tested lenses can convince all along, whereby the 18-55 is still the best lens.


With the D5200, Nikon has succeeded in maintaining a good model. The Hobby DSLR shines with a good equipment and despite plastic housing of a high-quality workmanship. Although the handle might be a bit more pronounced, it can still be carried safely, especially with smaller hands. The D5200 offers a lot of buttons for operation, almost too many to stay clear. For example, the “info” and “i” keys are confusing because they suggest an identical function. The more powerful autofocus in subject tracking, but not in speed, coupled with the significantly finer exposure metering, are only noticeable when using the classic SLR viewfinder. The D5200 is Nikon’s only DSLR model with a folding and swivelling screen, which makes the Live View function even more interesting. Unfortunately, the autofocus reacts extremely slowly, and the shutter release delay is much too high with Live View. It’s also a shame that Nikon still doesn’t have a touch screen, especially when shooting macro shots, Live View and Touch Auto Focus are extremely useful. Apart from the set lens, which has some typical weaknesses such as distortion, weak edge resolution and strong color fringes at the image edge, the D5200 shows a subjectively and metrologically respectable image quality up to ISO 800. However, it performs best at ISO 100 and 200. Above ISO 3.200, however, one has to live with heavy losses.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Nikon
Model D5200
Price approx. 770 EUR*
Sensor Resolution 24.1 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 6.000 x 4.000
(aspect ratio) (3:2)
Lens AF-S 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 VR DX G ED
Filter threads 52 mm
Viewfinder Pentas mirrors
Field of vision 95%
Enlargement 0,78-fold
Diopter compensation -1.7 to +0.7 dpt.
LCD monitor 3″
Disbandment 921.000
rotatable yes
swivelling yes
as seeker yes
Video output PAL/NTSC
Program automation yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long-term exposure yes
Motive programmes
Portrait yes
Children/Babies yes
Countryside yes
Macro yes
Sports/Action yes
more 11
Exposure metering Multi-field, Centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection System flash shoe
Remote release yes
Interval shooting yes
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode yes
Size MOV
Codec H.264 AVC
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate 30p/60i
automatic 100-25.600
(upper limit adjustable)
manually ISO 100-25.600
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Light bulb yes
Other Shadow, Flash
Manual yes
Number of measuring fields 39
AF auxiliary light whitely
Speed approx. 0.57-0.69 s
Languages Yes
more 27
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
553 g (body only
)817 g (with lens**)
Zoom adjustment manual on lens
Triggering during

Save as possible.

Battery life approx. 500 pictures (acc. to CIPA)
– = “not available” or “not available
“* with lens AF-S 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 VR DX G ED

Short evaluation

  • Many connection options including stereo microphone for video recording
  • Apart from the set lens good image quality
  • Extensive equipment for beginners as well as for advanced users
  • Flexible screen allows shooting from unusual perspectives
  • Very slow autofocus and high shutter release delay, especially in live view
  • Set lens with very weak edge resolution at all focal lengths as well as strong color fringes in the wide angle
  • Small viewfinder with shading for spectacle wearers
  • Somewhat small handle

Nikon D5200 Datasheet


Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)24.1 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 3.9 µm
Photo resolution
4.496 x 3.000 pixels (3:2)
4.240 x 2.832 pixels (3:2)
2.992 x 2.000 pixels (3:2)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 36 bits (12 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (Version 2.3)
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 60 p
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)


Lens mount
Nikon F


Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 39 sensors
Autofocus Functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and Monitor

Reflex viewfinder Reflex viewfinder (95 % image coverage), 17 mm interpupillary distance, replaceable focusing screens
Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 921,000 pixels, inclinable 180° upwards, rotatable 180°


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 2,016 fields, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (automatic
) bulb function
Exposure control Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 3 shots, step size from 1/3 to 1/2 EV, HDR function
Exposure compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 25.600 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, cable release
Motives Twilight, various motif programs, indoor shooting, candlelight, children, landscape, food, night scene, night portrait, close-up, portrait, sunset, sports, beach/snow, animals, 0 more motif programs
Picture effects HDR Effects, Miniature Effect, Color Drawing, High Key, Low Key, Night Vision, Selective Color, Silhouette
White balance Clouds, sun, shadow, fluorescent lamp with 7 presets, incandescent light
Continuous shooting 3.0 fps at highest resolution, 5 frames per second with manual focus
Self-timer Self-timer at intervals of 2 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)


Flash built-in flash (hinged
)flash shoe: Nikon, standard center contact
Flash functions Auto, Fill Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction


Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
GPS function GPS external
Microphone Stereo
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL14 (lithium ions (Li-Ion), 7.4 V, 1,030 mAh)
Playback Functions Image index
Ports Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High Speed
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Mini (Type C
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm stereo microphone jack)
Tripod socket 1/4″
Features and Miscellaneous Sensor cleaning functionReference image
for dust removal (requires Capture NX2)
Picture Control (Standard, Neutral, Brilliant, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, Custom)
Self-timer 1-9 shots at 2, 5, 10, 20 seconds lead timeADL bracketing
(2 images)
active D-Lighting (5 levels)
AF working range -1 to 19 EV (ISO 100


AF area control 9, 21, or 39 pointsFocus
and exposure memory built-in
stereo micro


ISO 100


AF focus 9, 21, or 39 pointsFocus
and exposure memory built-in
stereo micro


stereo micro)

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 129 x 98 x 78 mm
Weight 555 g (ready for operation)


included accessories Nikon AN-DC3 Storage AccessoriesNikon
BF-1B (Case Cover)
Nikon BS-1 (Shoe Cover)
Nikon DK-20 (Eyecup)Nik


DK-5 (Eyepiece Cover)
Nikon EG-CP16 Audio / Video CableNikon
EG-CP16 (old) USB-


EN-EL14 Special batteryNikon
MH-24 Charger for special batteriesNikon
UC-E17 USB cableChargerUSB connection cableRigid strapImage editing software

View NX 2 for Windows and Macintosh

optional accessory Nikon EH-5B Power Supply UnitNikon
EN-EL14 Special Battery Power Supply Unit

Nikon optimizes battery usage with a firmware update: Longer battery life

Nikon is providing new firmware for digital cameras that use the EN-EL14a lithium-ion battery that improves the battery life of the models in question. These are the Nikon D3100, D3200, D5100 and D5200 digital SLR cameras and the Coolpix P7700 compact bridge camera. Previously, the battery capacity of the battery was determined too low, which led to an early shutdown of the cameras.

In the D5200, the firmware C 1.01 increases the capacity from 500 to 540 recordings.

According to Nikon, the update does not bring any further optimizations apart from the battery life. In the service area of the Nikon website you can find the new firmware at Nikon.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *