Nikon D5300 (about $800, or $1,400 with 18-140mm lens). enlarge. My biggest source of support is when you use any of these links, especially this link directly to it at Adorama or directly to it at Amazon, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. Thank you! Ken.
Rear, Nikon D5300. enlarge.
Top, Nikon D5300. enlarge.
Flip screen, Nikon D5300. enlarge.
Nikon D5200 2012
Nikon D5100 (introduced April 2011)
Nikon D5000 (introduced April 2009)
The Nikon D5300 is Nikon's newest update to their excellent D5100 of 2011 and D5000 of 2009. These are all low-priced, high-performance DSLRs with pivoting LCD screens and Live View for shooting photos and movies while held away from your head.
The D5300 adds Wi-Fi and GPS over last year's model, the D5200. Honestly, when I need Wi-Fi and GPS, I use my iPhone which does it right. The other hottest features of the D5300 are that it also comes in grey or red. Otherwise, I'd suggest the older models like the D5200 for a big discount.
Overall, the D5300 makes fantastic quality images and weighs almost nothing, so it's a pleasure to carry it everywhere. Compared to the pro cameras I often haul, the D5300 feels as if it's hollow, which is a very good thing.
The reason you'd want to buy a more expensive model, like my favorite Nikon D7100, is not for picture quality, but because if you really know how to use all the controls and settings as I do, the D5300 demands most of these settings be adjusted in the menu system, requiring you to stop shooting and piddle with the camera at arm's length. By comparison, if you want to adjust the autofocus system of the D7100 from one shot to the next as I do when snapping different kinds of subjects, I can do it with the D7000 held to my eye instead of having to piddle in menus. (Since the D7000 is a higher model but a year or two older than the D5300, the D7000 is discounted to about the same price as the D5300, but its LCD doesn't swivel.)
Therefore, if you just want great photos easily, the D5300 (or D3200, D3100 or D5100) can't be beat. If you are like me and are constantly resetting the camera from shot to shot as conditions change (very few people know how to do any of this), the D5300 is annoying because I constantly have to stop my shooting to do everything in the menu system instead of directly with the buttons of higher-end cameras.
If you're a photo whiz who actually uses all of his camera's settings, consider the D7100 for its more numerous direct control buttons, but if you're like 99% of normal people who have no idea of what all these controls do anyway, by all means don't waste your money for knobs you won't use and just get this D5300.
Unlike the better DX and FX cameras, the D5300 has no internal autofocus motor, so it will not autofocus with original-style screw-drive AF lenses. With older-style AF lenses it exposes and does everything perfectly, except that you'll have to turn the focus ring manually and look either for a sharp viewfinder image or the electronic focus confirmation dot at the bottom of the finder.
In other words, the D5300 works great with all the lenses someone who is going to buy this will buy, and Nikon is not expecting everyone who buys this to have to pay for the additional parts needed by maybe 0.1% of the people like me who want to use this with 20-year old AF lenses just for fun.
See more details at Nikon Lens Compatibility.
0.44x magnification with standard 28mm lens (0.78x magnification with 50mm telephoto lens).
-1.7 to +0.7 diopters.
2,016 pixel RGB meter sensor.
3D Color Matrix, center-weighted and spot.
Nikon Multi-CAM 4800DX sensor module stolen from the D7000.
AF-S (single). AF-C (continuous), and AF-A (auto).
Single-point AF, Dynamic AF, Auto Area AF.
LV -1 to +19.
1/4,000 to 30 seconds in 1/3 or 1/2 stops, bulb.
Maximum with flash (sync) 1/200.
Up to 5 FPS.
QUEIT mode selectable in a menu.
ML-L3 (get one!)
Wireless remote controller WR-R10.
Remote cord MC-DC2.
DX (23.5 x 15.6 mm) CMOS.
24 MP: 6,000 x 4,000 pixels.
Also 4,496 x 3,000 and 2,992 x 2,000 pixel image sizes.
NEF (raw), JPG, or both.
Auto, 100 - 6,400 and up to 25,600 in "H" modes.
Works only with SB-910, SB-900, SB-800, SB-700, SB-600 and SB-400.
Built-in TTL flash.
Optional manual control in a menu.
Does not work as an i-TTL commander.
Non-standard (cropped) 640x424 25/30p mode.
Up to 30 minutes per take.
H.264/MPEG-4 stored as .MOV files.
Nikon claims Full-Time AF, but I seriously doubt AF works well. it's horrible on the D7000 in video mode.
Stereo mic built in.
SD memory card, one slot.
SDHC-, SDXC- and UHS-I compliant.
Nikon approves only some SanDisk, Lexar, Toshiba and Panasonic cards.
DO NOT tempt fate with crap cards like Kingston, PNY, Sony etc.
Type C mini-HDMI.
NTSC or PAL analog video.
3.5mm stereo audio input.
Battery weight: 1.680 oz. (47.5 g.), measured.
Optional EH-5a AC adapter. (requires EP-5B power connector.)
Up to 85% RH.
GPS terminal for GP-1.
Connector for optional $58 WU-1a wireless adapter.
5.1 x 3.9 x 3.1 inches.
129 x 98 x 78 millimeters.
Nikon rates the D5300 at 19.6 oz. (555 g) with battery and card.
Nikon rates the D5300 at 17.8 oz. (505 g) stripped naked.
Made in Thailand.
Included (body-only version)
BS-1 Hot Shoe Cover
BF-1B Body Cap
DK-5 Eyepiece Cap
DK-20 Rubber Eyecup
UC-E17 USB cable
CP16 Audio video cable
ViewNX 2 CD-ROM (don't waste your time).
If you're in the USA, your box should show a "(U)" above the UPC code, for "USA."
If it says something else and you bought it in the USA, you probably got scammed with a camera intended for a different country.
17 October 2012.
The D5300 is an excellent camera that weighs next to nothing.
The images are fantastic, with so much resolution that the D5300 can push many lenses to their limits, however for advanced users, the D5300 hides too many adjustments behind a menu system instead of providing real buttons.
The default settings are great: the D5300 figures out what sensors and how to use them, and just focuses.
To set anything about the AF system, you have to revert to the menu system. Even to change from automatic AF area selection to manual selection, you have to set it by pushing buttons and looking at the camera's rear screen.
The all-auto-area AF system seems pretty clever, but it can still get fooled and focus behind the subject.
It's OK in the dark; not instantaneous, but it focuses well. If it's too dark, the AF illuminator helps at closer distances, and further away, it can hang-up if it's too dark for you or I to read a book.
The finder is small. It uses a mirror, not glass, prism.
You may see ghost reflections in the finder with extremely brilliant points of light, but not to worry, they aren't in your actual image.
As covered above, the D5300 is super lightweight, but often sentences advanced users to diddling in menus to make basic settings instead of just shooting.
It's great that all the buttons except the MENU button are on the right side, making one-handed shooting and playback easy.
Menu setting requires two hands, and sadly, too much has to be done in the menus.
The shutter is a dream. It's smooth, refined and quiet. For use in sensitive areas, the D5300 is much quieter than the bigger and more advanced Nikons.
The QUEIT [Q] mode isn't useful. It's not much quieter than the regular mode, and the finder goes black after every shot until you take your finger off the shutter release, at which time the D5300 makes more noise again.
If you want other times than 10 second delalys, Nikon hid them at Custom Function C3, where you have your choice of 2s, 5s, 10s or 20 second delays, as well as can set it to your choice of from one to 9 shots when the delay is over.
Exposure at the default setting is usually pretty good, regardless of conditions. Nikon has gotten better as each generation comes and goes.
Particularly impressive is how well the D5300 can handle a fast sequence where the light is changing rapidly, like when a birthday cake has its candles blown out:
See how the subject is reasonably well exposed, but look at how the background has changed from dark to light as the D5300 automatically changed its exposure and Auto ISO by three stops as the candles extinguished and the light diminished.
Looking at the EXIF data, the time elapsed in this sequence is only one second from start to finish! The D5300 not only exposes well, it exposes well even when conditions are changing faster than the eye can see.
Shot in very dark conditions, like outdoors at night (LV -2), the D5300 also exposes very well, for instance, at 1/6 at f/1.8 at Auto ISO 6400.
Color rendition seems quite good, similar to other Nikon DX cameras at the same settings.
I don't see any of the color bias I sometimes see in Nikon's newest 2012 FX cameras, the D600, D800 and D4, so to my sensitive eyes, the D5300's photos are usually better than those from the more expensive FX cameras!
Auto White Balance
Auto White Balance (AWB) works pretty well.
It works extremely well under bright halogen light, giving perfect results.
Under crappy fluorescent lights, it is usually too green, as are most cameras.
It's about as good as other DSLRs, but not as good as an iPhone 5. So it goes.
High ISOs look great. I see no significant noise at ISO 6,400, which is all I need.
The built-in flash will not operate as a comander to control other flashes. It onyl works in the usual TTL mode as well manually.
The built-in flash is very good. Recycling is reasonably fast and exposure is usually dead-on, as we expect from Nikon.
The preflash is usually visible just after the shutter is pressed, before the mirror flips up.
Auto White Balance shifts to make the images a bit warmer with the built-in flash ON.
The D5300 is among the first DSLRs with a built-in stereo mic for real stereo sound!
The LCD is excellent. It has so many pixels that one never sees any of them to make the screen look grainy, and the D5300's LCD's colors match my calibrated 30" Apple Cinema Display.
Power and Battery
As expected, shots-per-charge life is long, much longer than "mirrorless" cameras. It probably runs 1,000 shots per charge; I never ran out a battery!
My only whine about the power system is the very slow blink rate of the charge light while charging. The charger is a small one with a folding plug, at least in my USA model.
Playback is great, and I can hit the PLAY and ZOOM buttons while shooting with one hand.
I can scroll diagonally, but it's slower than I prefer.
* this is the same; anything more than 6 MP is more than enough for anything. Picture quality is NOT dependant on resolution; today that's just a specification used to scare people into paying more for the latest camera.
** the D5300 and D5100 have very sharp, smooth and detailed images, while the fewer dots of the D5000's LCD make it look a little bit more grainy, but even the D5000 has a perfectly fine LCD.
*** Again probably irrelevant; there won't be much if any visible difference with more resolution here; the biggest difference is that the newer cameras make much bigger files that take up a lot more room on your card and hard drive!
**** If playing back on a home theater system or a computer with stereo speakers, stereo sound makes a huge difference in sound quality over the mono mic of the older D5100 and D5000.
***** The 39 point system is nice, but the 11 point system works great, too. Heck, Nikon's top pro cameras until 2007 all had only 11 points or less, and no one complained!
The Nikon D5300 is a swell little camera, but I wouldn't pay $800 for a D5300 when I can get the pretty much identicalMikon D5200 or Nikon D5100 new or refurbished for about half price. I don't see anything significant to make it worthwhile to throw more money at the newer D5300 if you can still get the D5200 or D5100 instead, but if you want the newest, sure, the D5300 is a great camera. For Wi-Fi and GPS< I prefer the iPhone.
Honestly, when a freind asks, a refurbished Nikon D7000 for $649 is a better camera for less money. I'd much rather have all the controls of the D7000 than the fluff of the D5300.
If you're a seasoned photographer who wants more knobs for faster control, go for the far superior D7100. If you don't need the flippy screen, the D3200 and D3100 are essentially the same thing for even less money. All will make the same superb photos if you know what you're doing, and if you're not an expert photographer, no camera is going take any better or worse pictures for you. The finer points of camera performance, like the finer points of a Steinway versus a Bösendorfer piano, are only apparent or significant to virtuosi.
Forget the ancient D90, which is a leftover from the previous decade; the D90 trails these new cameras in every respect, but costs about the same.
Here's another hint: the only real reason to pay three times as much for a Full Frame FX D600 is to get a bigger viewfinder, and to have to carry bigger cameras with much bigger lenses. The pictures are the same!
For the D5300, as with all DX cameras, my favorite lens is the 35mm f/1.8 DX as opposed to the 18-55mm VR kit zoom. I move as I need to to frame the photo, so I'd get the D5300 body-only and the 35mm f/1.8 DX separately.
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06 November 2012