- 1MP APS-C CMOS sensor
- 2-ich 1037k dot vari-angle LCD display
- 39-point AF system (9 cross-type)
- Nikon F mount
- Expeed 4 Image processor with 1080/60p video recording
- ISO sensitivity 100-12,800, expandable up to ISO 25,600
- No OLPF (optical low pass filter) and AA (Anti-aliasing) filter
- 5fps continuous shooting
- Pentamirror with 0.80x magnification and 95% coverage
- Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
- Wired and wireless remote support
Nikon D5300 was first announced on October 17, 2013. Since then it has successfully managed to be in the race of upper entry-level DSLR. It not only offers good imaging specifications but also has a nice build quality as compared to its market counterparts.
Design, Build, and Handling
Despite its plastic exterior, Nikon D5300 looks quite a well-constructed and sensibly designed camera just like any mid-range Nikon camera. The camera weighs around 480g without battery and approx 530g with battery and memory card. Most of the control keys fall easily to hands. The articulated LCD on the rear can be turned outward for shooting live view and movie. The OK and the 4-way controller button on the back help us navigate the camera’s menu, adjust the AF point and set different shooting parameters. The menu button is placed at the left of the viewfinder. Above the screen just to the right of the viewfinder, you have an ‘i’ button for accessing the key shooting parameters and an AE-L/AF-L button for locking focus and exposure during shooting.
The flash button is positioned on the left of the flash housing to the camera’s front. Not only the button can be used in adjusting the flash but also can be used simultaneously with the adjust options and camera’s dial. The customizable ‘Fn’ button that takes you to the custom setting menu is placed below the flash button. The upper plate looks almost similar to most of the low to mid-range Nikon DSLRs. The red button on the top activates movie recording and the ‘Lv’ switch activates live view.
The camera automatically activates the bright light LED autofocus illuminator in low-light settings. This can be disabled temporarily by switching the camera to ‘Quiet’ shutter mode or permanently in the menus. The camera sports two infrared receivers (front on the handgrip and rear on the left shoulder) for the ML-L3 wireless remote control. There is a hotshoe on the top of the optical viewfinder that is compatible with Nikon’s Speedlight range.
Ergonomically, there is only one difference between the D5200 and D5300 and that is the absence of the drive mode button. This button is now located on the front on the left-hand flank and near the lens throat of the camera. It sports an articulated large 3.2-inch LCD display that opens a lot of options for shooting in high/low angles or video recording. The optical viewfinder provides 95% frame coverage with a magnification of 0.82x.
The slot for the memory card is on the camera’s grip side that can take SD, SDHC and SDXC cards. It also supports hi-speed UHS-I cards. The connecting ports are on the left of the camera behind a rubberised flap. On the top left, there is a stereo mic jack and above this, there is the port for MC-DC2 cable release. The HDMI socket and the USB/AV ports are located on the right. The stereo microphones are concealed by two small grills in front of the hot shoe.
Performance and Image Quality
The overall performance of the camera is almost similar as compared to D5200. The camera is relatively responsive with quick dial operation and onscreen response to buttons. Whether you navigate through the menu, change shooting parameters or zoom in and out of live view previews, the working is brisk. We think that the touchscreen would have been an excellent addition here and would have also helped in speeding up the whole process of changing the settings.
Just like its predecessor, the camera uses 39-point (9 cross-type) AF system. Autofocus with 18-140mm is quite accurate and speedy. However, we have noticed that the camera tends to focus on a scene in low light even when the scene is not in focus. AF-S and AF-C are fairly accurate. The focus speed with 18-140 f/3.5-5.6 VR is quite decent whereas with 18-55 f/3.5-5.6 VR II is a little faster. D5300 offers burst shooting at two speeds— high and low. The continuous focus is available in either of the modes, but it tends to lower the frame rate as the camera needs to adjust the focus.
The camera hits its top 5.0fps (top burst rate) in JPEG shooting. However, it consistently meets burst rate of 3.0 fps in low continuous mode. Though, the camera hesitates when the buffer fills to its frame limit but continues shooting after a pause at a less consistent rate. The camera can also continue shooting even when it is writing the images to the card. So, you don’t have a notable amount of lockup time.
The 24.2MP image sensor and the resolution are same as the D5200. The elimination of anti-alias filter along with other improvements and modifications lead to a better overall performance. The sensor captures some really good images with pleasant colours and fine detail. Coming to the white balance performance, the camera hardly gets the colour cast of a particular scene wrong.
The camera has an option to correct distortion to JPEG images which can be enabled or disabled in the shooting menu. It also offers an automatic chromatic aberration correction. Though the CA is present in the Raw files, it can be easily removed in ACR. The metering system too performs quite a good job. However, it only gave marginally inaccurate exposures in the high contrast setting.
The camera delivers a pleasant level of dynamic range. The Active D-Lighting feature is available in four levels— Low, Normal, High and Extra High (also ADL Auto) and can be used in both Raw and JPEG shooting modes. The detail in the image is fairly nice without much less noise (both in Raw and JPEG) from ISO100 to ISO6400. However, the performance level struggles as you go up above ISO6400.
The video quality is as good as the still shots and the camera offers 1080/60p full HD video with more detail and smooth motion. The camera also has the ability to output Raw video over HDMI with an external microphone plugged in that makes it one of the best videographer’s camera for the beginners. The camera makes sharing an easy option with its built-in Wi-Fi that can transfer all your stuff. Additionally, a free Wireless Mobile Utility app allows you to control the camera with your smartphone. The built-in GPS feature saves all the information regarding location to the images.
Nikon D5300 includes an EN-EL 14a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can survive up to 700 shots (CIPA rated). The camera ships with an MH-24 Quick Charger that can completely charge the depleted battery within a couple of hours. However, the rating would be different if the Wi-Fi or GPS is turned on.
Should You Buy this camera?
Nikon D5300 is priced at $414.95 (body only) $495 (with AF-P 18-55mm VR kit lens), $807 (with AF-S 18-140mm VR kit lens), $627.99 (with D-ZOOM KIT: AF-P 18-55mm VR + AF-S 55-200mm VR II kit lenses) and $696.95 (with D ZOOM KIT: AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR + AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR).
Coming to our verdict, the camera won’t let anyone down and will definitely please its target audience, especially the beginners. They can easily shoot in Auto mode and those who want to move beyond the basic things can use the easily accessible exposure controls. Though there are some things like interface issues that force us to deduct some points. Another thing we feel is missing is the touch screen that other market counterparts are offering in this price range. Overall, Nikon D5300 is worth your consideration.
- High resolution with vibrant colours and excellent image quality
- 39-point AF system with 9 cross-type sensors
- Burst speed of 5fps (when shooting 12-bit RAW or JPEG’s)
- Decent dynamic range (RAW)
- 1080/60p HD video with full-time AF
- Clean HDMI output
- Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
- Improved battery (600 shots)
- LCD is glossy which is prone to reflections
- Inconsistent flash exposures with the kit lens
- Slow AF in live view
- Burst mode gets slow with 14-bit RAW files
- No headphone jack to observe sound levels while recording video