Nikon D5300 Review

Nikon D5300 Review

With the Nikon D5300, Nikon offers balanced model maintenance. The highlights of the D5200, such as the 39-point autofocus and the swiveling and folding screen, are joined by new contemporary functions such as GPS, WLAN, and an improvement in the video function. But Nikon also worked on the heart of the camera, the sensor.

The nominal resolution of the CMOS sensor remains at 24 megapixels, but the saving of the low-pass filter raises hopes for an improved image quality. Whether this, together with the new Expeed 4 image processor, actually makes the Nikon D5300 a better camera has been thoroughly tested by the editors with the testing software and in practice, as we usually do.


Pros And Cons Of The Nikon D5300


  • WiFi and GPS integrated in-camera housing
  • 39 autofocus measuring fields, with which the sharpness can be very well individually determined
  • Advanced features with automatic modes for beginners and manual modes for advanced users
  • Rotatable and foldable 3.2-inch monitor with very fine resolution


  • The operation is often somewhat nested and one must consult the manual
  • Strong distortion with set lens
  • The new sensor without a low-pass filter has not fulfilled hopes for improved image quality
  • Very slow autofocus in LiveView mode, which is also overstrained by video recordings.


Nikon wants to prove how good things can be made even better with the new Hobby DSLR Nikon D5300. It retains old virtues such as the 39-point autofocus system or the swiveling and folding screen but improves the image quality of the 24-megapixel sensor by eliminating the sharpness-reducing low-pass filter.

In addition, the screen grows to 3.2 inches, and the 3:2 aspect ratio allows the area to be used more effectively. Nikon now also installs WLAN and a GPS directly, which saves the purchase of accessories. Even with the video function, there is an improvement.

Healthy evolution instead of revolution is the recipe for development at Nikon. So the Nikon D5300 remains true to the 5000 line in principle, but there are further developments and improvements at the decisive points. The CMOS sensor with 24-megapixel resolution in APS-C size is a good example. Although the “old” nominal resolution remains the same, since Nikon omits the low-pass filter, the end result is likely to be about ten percent more visible resolution.

The only thing one has to live with is the slightly higher inclination towards moirés. But the new Expeed 4 image processor is designed to combat them efficiently. With higher performance than its predecessor, it also provides more effective noise reduction. The normally selectable maximum ISO sensitivity thus increases to 12,800 instead of 6,400. A maximum value of ISO 25,600 is still possible via the ISO extension. For continuous shooting, the Nikon D5300 reaches a frequency of five frames per second.

Nikon has also improved the user interface. The swiveling and folding screen now measures 8.1 centimeters diagonally and is thus about half a centimeter larger. The effectively usable image section for live viewing and image reproduction grows even stronger due to the 3:2 aspect ratio, as the monitor aspect ratio now corresponds to the sensor aspect ratio. With over a million pixels, the monitor also has a very fine resolution.

The magnification of the reflex viewfinder also increases slightly from 0.78 to 0.81 times. It’s not a big jump, but it is. The viewfinder field cover remains at 95 percent. The phase autofocus also works with 39 measuring fields, nine of which are designed as high-quality cross sensors that respond to both horizontal and vertical structures. Contrast autofocus is available in Live View mode. A 2,016-pixel RGB sensor provides precise exposure metering.

In addition to the classic exposure programs with semi-automatic as well as manual exposure and subject programs, there are now nine effect filters, two more than with the D5200.

In addition, the photos can also be extensively edited afterwards in the camera. Nikon has also drilled the video function in full HD from 30p to 60p, a much-cherished wish of users. But you can also record videos in full HD at 50p, 30p, 25p, or 24p. The stereo sound can be recorded either via the integrated or an external microphone, the sensitivity is adjustable in each case.

Also new are the integrated modules for GPS reception and WLAN. This means that you no longer have to connect both externally. The Nikon D5300 provides the photos with the current position on request, images can be sent via WLAN or the camera can be remotely controlled via an app from a smartphone or tablet.

Nikon even packs the whole new technology in a somewhat more compact and 25 gram lighter case. The width and depth have each shrunk by a few millimeters. Since the end of 2013 the Nikon D5300 with an 18-55mm, VR set lens became available for much less than a thousand euros. The case alone was available too. In addition to the classic matt black, like the one I received to do the review, Nikon also offers two versions in glossy anthracite metallic and red metallic.

Ergonomics and Workmanship

Nikon also stuck to the well-made plastic case and the operating concept of the D5200 during the generational leap to the Nikon D5300. The camera is pleasant to the touch and lies well in the rather small hand. Rubbers on the handle and in the thumb recess on the back provide a secure hold.

Despite some criticisms, Nikon left the control buttons as they were on the D5200. The button for continuous shooting, self-timer, and remote control had to give way to the WiFi and GPS unit and slipped onto the front of the camera body under the lens lock. That makes them very difficult to reach.

As with the D5200, many buttons, a fully occupied mode dial, no touchscreen, and an often overloaded menu make it necessary to reach for the manual again and again. After all, the camera gives tips when you press the question mark and shows which keys do what. If you are familiar with the camera after some time, there are many possibilities open to you.

A small but very effective adaptation to the needs of the photographer is the slight enlargement of the rotating and swiveling monitor. It now measures 8.1 centimeters in the diagonal and corresponds to the aspect ratio of the sensor of 3:2. This helps in the LiveView mode and in the image reproduction.

The SLR viewfinder has also been enlarged from 0.78x to up to 0.82x, although the image field coverage of 95 percent has not changed. The fact that the monitor is movable expands the creative scope when photographing in LiveView. The monitor, which also has a very fine resolution of 1,036,000 pixels, is definitely a highlight of the Nikon D5300. It is also easy to read in bright sunlight.



There is nothing to criticize about the workmanship of the Nikon D5300. The case is solid and also the memory card cover is very high quality with its spring hinge. The lid of the battery looks a bit cheaper and the connectors for HDMI, USB, microphone, etc. are behind a rubber flap, which can resist when closing.

The metal tripod thread lies on the optical axis. If the camera is mounted on a tripod, the battery can still be replaced.


Equipment And Features

If the exterior of the camera has changed little, Nikon has redesigned the interior a bit. This means that WiFi and GPS are now directly on board and no longer have to be purchased separately.

Unfortunately, Nikon has limited the WiFi function to the connection to a smart device (smartphone or tablet). A direct backup to PC, social networks, cloud services, or printers is not provided or only works via this smart device.

The connection to this can be made quite easily. To control the camera remotely or to move pictures back and forth you need the Nikon Wireless Mobility Utility, which in the AppStore often only gets one of five rating points from users. One of the criticisms is that only a few parameters can be set. And the app is actually not much more than a mere remote trigger. But it is quite simple and self-explanatory to use. Nevertheless, it must be said that Nikon drives a very low variant with connectivity, and competitors often offer more.

The Nikon D5300 has a lot to offer in terms of adjustment options. Neither the entry-level model nor professional DSLR builds a bridge between these two groups and offers everything ambitious photographers need with intelligent automatic, semi-automatic, and manual modes. This framework is supplemented by motif programs, of which only five can be found on the lavishly occupied mode dial.


There are also eleven more via the scene mode. Also, nine effects like miniature effect, selective color, or HDR paintings have got their own place on the bike. Pressing the “i” key takes you to the quick menu.

In addition to image size, image quality, ISO, white balance, you have access to HDR, Active D-Lighting, Picture Control, and Bracketing. If the latter is selected, one of three automatic exposure series is available. You have to define beforehand which one appears in the short menu: Exposure, white balance, or Active D-Lighting.

One could work more efficiently as a photographer if one could select directly in the short menu and would not have to press around cumbersomely in the menu when changing from exposure bracket to white balance bracket. Similarly annoying is the setting of HDR. This can be done very quickly via the short menu but switches off automatically after each recording. If you want to make a second HDR recording, you have to activate the function again.

This is particularly annoying because the HDR function on the Nikon D5300 is a lot of fun and provides great picture results, such as when the low winter sun falls through the trees. The effect strength can be determined from four variants. If you choose Active D-Lighting, the camera also offers four gradations. Active D-Lighting remains active once it has been switched on. Picture Control, which determines the color style, also remains.


Another highlight of the Nikon D5300 is its autofocus. 39 measuring fields are a regular number. Either one leaves everything to the camera with the automatic measuring field control or one determines the number of measuring fields: 39, 21, nine or only one. 3D tracking is also available.

The focusing method can also be determined by the camera or single or continuous AF can be selected. The manual control can of course always be taken over and also the measuring fields can be moved by cursor keys except in automatic mode. The autofocus and the exposure metering can both be saved.

The exposure can be adjusted in selectable steps (1/3 or 1/2) and also the flash exposure can be adjusted directly via the short menu. If this cornucopia of settings is not yet sufficient, image processing in the camera already offers numerous options for adjusting image results or applying effects. The recorded original is always retained.

The full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels with 50 frames per second (PAL) is available for film recording.


The resolution can also be set to HD (1,080 x 720) and VGA (640 x 424). The Nikon D5300 has an external microphone connector for extra good sound recording. The camera’s internal microphone records in stereo, and filmers who know their way around can manually level the sound.

Filming only works in live mode and here the autofocus has problems with speed. Tracking moving motifs is virtually impossible. The camera is therefore not suitable for action films or only suitable for manual focusing.

For action photos over the viewfinder, the thing already looks better. High-speed series shots can be taken at five frames per second for around seven seconds, after which the camera needs short reflection times and after around 22 seconds the buffer memory is full. With slower series, the camera lasts a bit longer, in raw format, it stops fast after only one second, after 12 seconds nothing works anymore.


Picture Quality Of The Nikon D5300

The new features of the Nikon D5300, with a new sensor without a low-pass filter and a new processor, mainly affect the life inside the camera. Using the test software, we checked whether hopes such as higher resolution and more effective noise reduction were fulfilled. In order to satisfy your curiosity, it is best to take a look at the resolution behavior of the camera right away.

But those who expect miracle values here will be disappointed. Only at aperture eight and eleven with the kit lens AF-S 18-105 mm 3.5-5.6 DX G ED the 50 line pairs per millimeter are cracked and F16 still delivers respectable values. The open apertures bump around at all measured focal lengths even below 40 lp/mm. After all, the resolution decreases only insignificantly towards the edge, so that the resolution result from the center to the edge is reasonably balanced, even if not particularly high.

There are no problems with the sharpness artifacts. The Nikon AF-S 18-140 mm, which has also been tested, offers a significantly higher resolution, which even comes close to 60 lp/mm when stopped down, but this lens fights with a high distortion and visible chromatic aberrations especially at the edge of the picture in the respective focal length extremes.

With noise suppression, on the other hand, there is a problem and already from ISO 400 the Nikon D5300 falls below 35 dB for the signal-to-noise ratio, i.e. interference signals superimpose the image signals. A bigger problem than the color noise is the luminance noise, which penetrates from ISO 1.600 into the visible range.



From then on you can clearly see the loss of detail, which is reflected in the curve of the texture sharpness. The grain size, on the other hand, never interferes and always remains in the rather fine-grained range.

The Nikon D5300 is also quite decent when it comes to input dynamics. Up to and including ISO 1,600, it remains over ten f-stops and still manages nine f-stops up to ISO 6,400. The curve of the tonal value transfer is visibly divided, which subjectively conveys a good image result, but objectively the raw format is much better suited for image processing.

The camera is also less accurate when it comes to color rendering and likes to shift towards warmer tones. Those who want to differentiate fine brightness nuances should move in the range up to ISO 400, where 160 of 256 grey tones can still be differentiated. From ISO 1.600 it is less than half. The white balance is usually quite accurate. At this speed, the only convincing feature is photography with a viewfinder, where the camera convinces with an autofocus speed of 0.5 to 0.7 seconds. But if you use LiveView, you better bring a lot of time with you, as here, two and a half seconds in the wide-angle range are sometimes necessary for focusing. Absolutely unsuitable for moving motifs.



We examined the Nikon D5300 with the AF-S 18-105 mm 3.5-5.6 DX G ED, and here we see weaknesses. A drop in sharpness towards the edge of the image is not a problem, with F29, F32 and F36 the result is generally not as sharp due to diffraction.

The vignetting is only noticeable with the open apertures F3.5 and F4, but can still be painful with a printout in the format 20 x 30 centimeters. But what the lens really has to struggle with is the distortion – in both directions. The internal distortion correction can only help moderately. After all, Nikon has got the problem with the color fringes under control. Fortunately, chromatic aberrations are limited in all measured ranges.


Conclusions: Is The Nikon D5300 Worth It?

In practice, the innovations of the Nikon D5300, such as the new sensor and processor, which were perceived as very positive in the announcement, were not entirely convincing in practice. The resolution has not improved and also the signal-to-noise ratio shows that the Nikon D5300 actually only delivers really good picture results up to ISO 400. In addition, there is a strong distortion of the kit lens.

The connectivity of the camera can also be drilled even further, even if the connection to the smartphone and tablet already works very well and easily. The highlights of the Nikon D5300 are the folding screen with its detailed resolution, good features, and autofocus. The latter, however, could still increase speed significantly in LiveView and the AF tracking is also not yet convincing in filming.


Specifications Of The Nikon D5300

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Nikon
Model Nikon D5300
Price approx. 870 dollars at market launch. Now much cheaper
Sensor Resolution 24.2 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 6.000 x 4.000
(aspect ratio) (3:2)
Lens AF-S 18-105 mm 3.5-5.6 DX G ED VR
Filter threads 67 mm
Viewfinder Pentas mirrors
Diopter compensation -1.7 to +1.0 DPT
Enlargement approx. 0,82
Field coverage 95 %
LCD monitor 3,2″
Disbandment 1.037.000
rotatable yes
swiveling yes
as viewfinder yes
Video output AV and HDMI (each PAL/NTSC)
Program automation yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long-term exposure yes
Scene mode programs
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/MPEG 4 (AVC)
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
at frame rate 60 images/s
automatic ISO 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 Flash, Shadow
Manual yes
Number of measuring fields 39
AF auxiliary light whitely
Speed approx. 0.5-0.7 s
Languages Yes
more 27 additional languages are available.
Weight (ready) 530 g (housing only) 972 g (with lens*)
Zoom adjustment manual on lens
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Triggering during storage possible. yes
Battery life approx. 500 (according to CIPA)
– = “not applicable” or “not available”* = with lens AF-S 18-105 mm F3.5-5.6 DX G ED VR

Short evaluation


  • WiFi and GPS integrated in-camera housing
  • 39 autofocus measuring fields, with which the sharpness can be very well individually determined
  • Advanced features with automatic modes for beginners and manual modes for advanced users
  • Rotatable and foldable 3.2-inch monitor with very fine resolution


  • The operation is often somewhat nested and one must consult the manual
  • Strong distortion with set lens
  • The new sensor without a low-pass filter has not fulfilled hopes for improved image quality
  • Autofocus working very slowly in LiveView mode, which is also overstrained by video recordings

Nikon D5300 Datasheet


Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5) 24.8 megapixels (physical) and 24.2 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
Color depth 36 bits (12 bits per color channel), 42 bits (14 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (Version 2.3)
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 60 p
640 x 424 (3:2) 60 p
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)


Lens mount
Nikon F


Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with 9 cross sensors, autofocus working range from -1 EV to 19 EV
Autofocus Functions Single autofocus, continuous autofocus, manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and Monitor

Reflex viewfinder Reflex viewfinder (95 % image coverage), 17 mm interpupillary distance, replaceable focusing screens
Monitor 3.2″ TFT LCD monitor with 1,037,000 pixels, viewing angle 170°, brightness adjustable, tiltable 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
Scene mode programs Twilight, various motif programs, indoor shooting, candlelight, children, landscape, food, night scene, night portrait, close-up, portrait, sunset, sports, beach/snow, and animals.
Picture effects brilliant, HDR effects, landscape, miniature effect, monochrome, neutral, portrait, color scheme, high key, low key, night vision, selective color, silhouette, 2 additional image effects
White balance Clouds, sun, shadow, fluorescent lamp with 7 presets, incandescent light
Continuous shooting 3.0 fps at the highest resolution, 5 frames per second with manual focus
Self-timer Self-timer at intervals of 2 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function

Flashgun Of The Nikon D5300

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

Equipment And Features

Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
GPS function Internal GPS
Microphone Stereo
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL14a (Lithium-ion (Li-Ion), 7,3 V, 1.230 mAh) Nikon EH-5B Power supply unit
Playback Functions Crop Images, Rotate Images, Protect Images, Highlight / Shadow Warning, Playback Histogram, Playback Magnifier, Image Index, Zoom Out
Ports Data interfaces: USB USB type: USB 2.0 High-Speed WLAN: available
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Mini (Type C) Audio input: yes (3.5 mm jack (stereo, 3-pin)) Audio output: no
Tripod socket 1/4″
Features and Miscellaneous Expeed 4 Image ProcessorSensor 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 Bracket
(2 shots)


active D-Lighting (5 steps)
AF Area Control 9, 21, or 39 pointsFocus
and Metering Memory

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 125 x 98 x 76 mm
Weight 530 g (ready for operation)


included accessories Nikon AN-DC3 Storage AccessoriesNikon
BF-1B (Case Cover) Nikon BS-1 (Shoe Cover)
Nikon DK-5 (Eyepiece Cover)NikonEG-CP16 Audio- / Video CableNikon
EG-CP16 (old) USB CableNikon
EN-EL14 Special BatteryNikon
MH-24 Charger for Special BatteriesNikon
UC-E17 USB CableChargerUSB Connector CableHigh StrapPicture Editing SoftwareView NX 2 for Windows and Macintosh
optional accessory Nikon EH-5B Power SupplyNikon
EN-EL14 Special Battery Power SupplyRemote Cable ReleaseMC-DC2, Remote Control Release WR-R10, GPS Receiver GP-1, Nikon Speedlite Flash Units


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