NIKON D5600

L ATEST 24.2- MEGAPIXEL EN­TRY- LE VEL DSLR TESTED & R ATED

Digital SLR Photography - - Front Page - Test: DANIEL LEZANO

SPEC­I­FI­CA­TIONS

Guide Price: £ 649 ( body- only)/£ 729 ( with 18- 55mm) Im­age sen­sor: APS- C CMOS ( 23.5x15.6mm) Res­o­lu­tion: 24.2- megapix­els Max­i­mum im­age res­o­lu­tion: 6000x4000 pix­els AF sys­tem: Multi- CAM 4800DX AF sen­sor mod­ule. Uses 39 AF points ( in­clud­ing nine cross- type sen­sors) Me­ter­ing sys­tem: TTL us­ing 2016- pixel RGB sen­sor Me­ter­ing pat­terns: Ma­trix, spot & cen­tre- weighted ISO range: ISO 100- 25600 plus Auto Shut­ter speeds: 1/ 4000sec- 30 sec­onds & Bulb/ Time In­te­gral flash: Guide Num­ber: 12 ( ISO 100, m) Frame rate: Five frames- per- sec­ond Stor­age: SD ( SDHC/ XC) Size: 124x97x70mm Weight: 465g ( in­clud­ing bat­tery & card) Web­site: www. nikon. co. uk

THE EN­TRY- LEVEL sec­tor of the mar­ket is an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive one. Ev­ery cam­era brand is des­per­ate to ac­quire new users as once they've in­vested in a sys­tem, chances are they're less likely to switch to an­other in the fu­ture. With the ad­vent of mir­ror­less mod­els, dig­i­tal SLR man­u­fac­tur­ers have even more ri­vals to con­tend with. This has meant that, when a new model ar­rives, it's ei­ther a re­fine­ment of an ex­ist­ing model or a to­tally new cam­era. In the case of the new Nikon D5600, the for­mer de­scrip­tion is true.

The Nikon D5000- se­ries has been around since 2009, pro­vid­ing novice pho­tog­ra­phers with a more ro­bust and bet­ter- spec­i­fied op­tion to the bud­get D3000- se­ries. The last model in the se­ries was the D5500, re­leased in 2015 and scor­ing a 90% Best Buy award when re­viewed in our May 2015 is­sue.

As we'll re­veal as we run through the test, there isn't a huge dif­fer­ence be­tween the han­dling, range of fea­tures and per­for­mance of the Nikon D5600 com­pared to its pre­de­ces­sor, which isn't such a neg­a­tive con­sid­er­ing how good the older model is. The big­gest change is the ad­di­tion of Snap­bridge con­nec­tiv­ity, al­low­ing the cam­era to stay con­nected to your smart­phone/ tablet via the Nikon Snap­bridge app ( see panel). The D5500 lacked this fa­cil­ity, although it did of­fer Wi- Fi and NFC. So has this and the other changes brought the D5600 up to speed? Let's find out.

The first thing that strikes you about the D5600 is its size and weight – it's a very com­pact unit and at 465 grams ( with bat­tery and card), is ex­tremely light­weight. While these char­ac­ter­is­tics usu­ally re­sult in the cam­era feel­ing a lit­tle cheap and plas­tic, that's not the case with the D5600, which feels nicely put to­gether. The pro­nounced hand­grip and rub­berised pan­els al­lows it to be se­curely held and it's pos­si­ble to use it one- handed with­out any ma­jor is­sues.

Due to the cam­era's shape, with its off- cen­tre lens mount, the ma­jor­ity of func­tion but­tons and di­als are lo­cated on the right- side of the body. With the D5600 aimed at rel­a­tive new­com­ers, there aren't too many but­tons to get used to and ev­ery­thing is clearly marked, so if you're look­ing for a user- friendly model this one fits the brief nicely. It's also aided by a va­ri­ety of ac­cess points to key func­tions – along with the Menu but­ton, there is an i ( info) but­ton that brings up a num­ber of vari­ables on the screen. These can be high­lighted via the four- way con­troller or can be se­lected us­ing the touch­screen fa­cil­ity. This lat­ter op­tion is made all the more eas­ier by the qual­ity of the 1,037,000- dot screen and the size of the LCD mon­i­tor ( 3.2in), along with the ex­cel­lent de­sign of the on- screen read­out. An­other bonus of the mon­i­tor is that it sits on a swivel hinge, which al­lows it to be po­si­tioned at a va­ri­ety of an­gles – use­ful for chang­ing vari­ables as well as for com­pos­ing images.

Not so hot on the D5600 is the viewfinder, which I found to be a lit­tle too small for my lik­ing. The screen is sharp and rea­son­ably bright and the fo­cus point over­lay and ex­po­sure read­outs are clear, but it only of­fers a 95% cov­er­age and is quite cramped in use. Spec­ta­cle wear­ers will most likely want to use the diop­tre con­trol.

The D5600 uses the same 24.2- mil­lion pixel CMOS sen­sor ( with­out low- pass fil­ter) that was used in the pre­de­ces­sor, which is no bad thing as it is ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing very high qual­ity re­sults. It also uses the same EXPEED 4 im­age pro­ces­sor, which of­fers a sen­si­tiv­ity range of ISO 100- 25600 and a shoot­ing rate up to five frames- per­sec­ond. An­other sim­i­lar­ity with its pre­de­ces­sor, which is less wel­come, re­lates to the max­i­mum res­o­lu­tion for record­ing video, which is un­changed at Full HD ( 1080p). This lags be­hind the ev­er­in­creas­ing num­ber of cam­eras boast­ing 4K.

The aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem uses Nikon's tried and tested Multi- CAM 4800DX sys­tem and fea­tures 39 AF points, of which nine are the

more sen­si­tive cross- type sen­sors. The stan­dard set of sin­gle, con­tin­u­ous and auto AF modes are avail­able and as well as be­ing able to have all 39 points or in­di­vid­ual AF points ac­tive, you can also set it to use only 11 ac­tive points. Live­view is an ex­cel­lent op­tion on the D5600, thanks to the 3.2in LCD mon­i­tor, which pro­vides a bright and large im­age, a 100% cov­er­age and ben­e­fits from fast and ac­cu­rate Live­view AF.

One other in­ter­est­ing op­tion is that you can use your thumb on the touch­screen to change the AF point while look­ing through the viewfinder, which can be use­ful when fol­low­ing a mov­ing sub­ject.

While the range of fea­tures found on the D5600 might be lim­it­ing for en­thu­si­asts, it should suit the novice pho­tog­ra­pher. A wide range of Scene modes are ac­cess via the main dial and ro­ta­tion of the in­put dial, with a set of cre­ative fil­ters, such as Toy Cam­era and Minia­ture Ef­fect, se­lected in a sim­i­lar way. With an in­ter­val timer and a time- lapse fa­cil­ity also avail­able, there are a few cre­ative op­tions for be­gin­ners be­com­ing a lit­tle more ad­ven­tur­ous with their pho­tog­ra­phy.

There's a rea­son why Nikon did lit­tle in terms of upgrade to the D5600' s AF and ex­po­sure sys­tems – both are ex­tremely con­sis­tent and re­li­able. With static sub­jects, the AF locks on quickly, while con­tin­u­ous AF does a fair job in track­ing mov­ing sub­jects. As al­ways, the Ma­trix pat­tern han­dles the ma­jor­ity of scenes with ease, while the White Bal­ance proves ac­cu­rate in var­i­ous light­ing con­di­tions. Colour re­pro­duc­tion and con­trast is ex­cel­lent, while sharp­ness is ex­cel­lent whether shoot­ing JPEG or Raw.

While very lit­tle has changed be­tween this and the pre­vi­ous model, the D5600 has enough about it to re­main one of the very best en­try- level mod­els you can buy.

Above & be­low: The small size and light weight of the Nikon D5600 makes it a real al­ter­na­tive to mir­ror­less for those look­ing for a very com­pact but ca­pa­ble en­try- level cam­era. The screen's in­ter­face of­fers an ex­ten­sive level of de­tail and is mod­ern and graphic.

Ex­po­sure: 1/ 800sec at f/ 2.8 ( ISO 200)

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