Nikon’s ‘advanced beginner’ DSLR, the D5300 takes the D5200’s place between the entry-level D3200 and the enthusiast-targeted D7100 in the company’s APS-C lineup. The D5300 offers a 24MP sensor (like its 24MP APS-C stablemates), an articulated rear LCD, and more physical controls than the D3200, but without the twin-dial interface and professional-grade AF system of the decidedly higher-market (and much more customizable) D7100.
Both visually and ergonomically the D5300 is a near-clone of its predecessor (it’s fractionally lighter and a tiny bit smaller), but under the hood it is a stronger camera in a couple of important ways. The D5300’s 24MP sensor lacks an anti-aliasing filter, which – consistent with our experiences testing the D7100 and D800E – gives it the edge in terms of resolution over the D5200. The difference is subtle (especially with a kit zoom attached), but it’s always nice to see improvements to critical image quality potential, especially in mid-range models.
The D5300 also offers a beefed-up video mode, which is now capable of true 1080/60p HD video. This, plus the slightly widened (3.2″ compared to 3″) fully-articulated 1.04 million-dot LCD screen, should mean that the D5300 will be attractive to videographers as well as stills photographers. Easy to miss, but useful features include built-in Wi-Fi and GPS – both firsts for Nikon’s DSLR lineup. Battery life gets a boost too: according to CIPA figures the D5300 offers an endurance of 600 shots, compared to 500 from the D5200. Remember, though, that this figure does not take features like Wi-Fi or GPS into account, and using them will shorten the amount of time you can spend shooting.
The Nikon D5300 can easily be classified as an iterative update, providing only a handful of features that weren’t present in its D5200 predecessor. It speaks volumes about the D5200 that adding only a few more things amounts to an APS-C DSLR with 24 megapixels, no optical low pass filter, 1080/60p HD video recording, a fully articulated display and built-in Wi-Fi. In terms of on-paper specifications, the the D5300 looks ‘fully loaded.’
Nikon D5300 key features
- 24.1MP DX format CMOS sensor, without OLPF
- EXPEED 4 processing
- ISO 100-12,800 standard, up to 25,600 expanded
- 5 fps continuous shooting
- 39-point AF system, 9 sensors cross-type
- 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor
- 1080p60 video recording, built-in stereo mic
- 1.04M dot 3.2″ vari-angle LCD monitor