Nikon D5300

The most well-rounded of all the cam­eras on test, the D5300 is also the top per­former in the group

NPhoto - - Test Team -

With its mono­coque de­sign, lat­est­gen­er­a­tion EXPEED 4 im­age pro­ces­sor, ar­tic­u­lated LCD screen and built-in Wi-Fi and GPS, the D5300 is bang up to date. It’s easy to use, yet packs plenty of ad­vanced con­trols to suit enthusiast pho­tog­ra­phers. Most im­por­tantly, it de­liv­ers the most con­sis­tently gor­geous im­age qual­ity of any cam­era in the group, even in the trick­i­est light­ing con­di­tions.

As a mid-range cam­era, one thing the D5300 lacks is a Guide shoot­ing mode for ab­so­lute be­gin­ners. The D3300 is more be­gin­ner-friendly and, with prac­ti­cally the same im­age qual­ity be­ing de­liv­ered from its 24.2-megapixel sen­sor and EXPEED 4 pro­ces­sor, it’s a force to be reck­oned with. It’s also stand­out value for money. How­ever, it lacks the range of cus­tom set­tings that ex­pe­ri­enced shoot­ers have come to ex­pect.

Com­pared with the D5300 and D3300, the older D5200 and D3200 sim­ply don’t de­liver such ex­cel­lence or con­sis­tency. The same is sadly true of the D7100, which is the most up­mar­ket DX-for­mat SLR in Nikon’s cur­rent line-up. It has a feast of high-end fea­tures and con­trols to suit ad­vanced, cre­ative pho­tog­ra­phers. How­ever, me­ter­ing and aut­o­fo­cus can both be a lit­tle in­con­sis­tent and im­age qual­ity lags be­hind that of EXPEED 4 cam­eras, most no­tice­ably in ap­par­ent sharp­ness and mid-tone def­i­ni­tion, mak­ing images less punchy.

Ul­ti­mately, it seems that Nikon has been con­cen­trat­ing its ef­forts on en­try-level and mid-range cam­eras in the DX line-up, while mak­ing strides in FX (full-frame) cam­eras for the enthusiast sec­tor. We think there’s a lot to be said for DX cam­eras, par­tic­u­larly for ac­tion, sports and wildlife pho­tog­ra­phers who en­joy long ‘ef­fec­tive’ tele­photo reach with sen­si­bly sized and priced lenses. We’d love to see a re­place­ment for the D7100 with the lat­est EXPEED 4 pro­ces­sor, or a re­vamp of the D300s (see page 112).

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