Nikon D5200: The Ideal DSLR for Beginners

Nikon D5200 Image 3

Nikon D5200 DEALS

Among the wide range of Nikon cameras available, the D5200 is arguably the most suitable for personal use. Beginner photographers in particular have a specific set of needs that this camera will fill admirably.

The Nikon D5200 is an entry-level camera that has been on the market since 2013. Along with a 24MP APS-C (23.5×15.6mm) CMOS sensor, it comes with a fully articulated screen. Whether you need an upgrade on your camera or want to make your first purchase, it may just be the camera for you.  Today we’re going to take a closer look at this entry-level DSLR and the features that come with it.

Body and Design

Despite some changes, the Nikon D5200 has a similar design to the D5100, its predecessor. However, you’ll notice that it appears to be more streamlined and has sleeker lines. In front of the horseshoe, the D5200 has a stereo microphone, and beside the mode dial, there’s a drive mode button. One of the subtle changes is that it does not have the little finger hook as on the D5100.

Compared to its predecessor and other Nikon DSLRs, the D5200 is much lighter. On average, cameras in this class weigh around 774g. With this camera, you will get a 555g device with dimensions of 129x98x78mm.

Nikon D5200 Image 1

Image Quality

In terms of image quality, the D5200 performs relatively well for its class. The 24MP APS (23.5×15.6mm) CMOS sensor with an Expeed 3 processor does a good job.

It’s capable of shooting images with a 6000×4000 pixel maximum resolution. The ISO range for the D5200 is 100-6,400, but it can go up to 25,600. To enhance post-processing capabilities, you can save images in RAW format. Though other cameras in this class offer a higher resolution, the D5200 still does a decent job.

Its DxOMark sensor score best demonstrates this, an accepted industry standard for measuring a cameras’ sensor image quality. Its overall score for the test for image quality is 84, which is excellent. 

A lot of the time, when shooting videos with mid-range cameras, you’ll see artifacts in the images. This is not the case with the D5200 as it produces clear videos even when shooting in low light. However, there’s a decrease in the tonal range in darker settings. Nonetheless, the videos look good.

Lens Mount and Lenses

The D5200 uses a Nikon F lens for which Nikon has provided over 300 lenses to choose from. Better yet, F mount lenses from as far back as the 1960s can be used, as the Nikon F mount has backward compatibility and can be used with lenses from other manufacturers.

One of the biggest letdowns of the D5200 is that it does not have sensor-based image stabilization. Fortunately, over 100 of the lenses offer optical image stabilization.


In most instances, the window for taking the perfect picture is tiny. As such, if you miss the shot, the chance is potentially gone forever. Thanks to an efficient autofocus system, this will not be a worry when shooting with the Nikon D5200. 

The camera can power on and begin taking shots in less than a second. When in good lighting, it takes 0.5 seconds and only 0.8 seconds when the lighting is bad. When switching from play to record, it will only take 0.3 seconds to take the first shot. For its class, its continuous-shooting performance is impeccable. With a 95MB per second SD card, the D5200 manages 5.1 fps for over 40 frames without slowing for JPEGs. When shooting in RAW, you will get 5.5 fps for the first eight frames. From there, it will drop to 2.2 fps.

Though the autofocus system is fast, accurate, and offers a reliable continuous focus tracking system, it has one disadvantage. As with most cameras in this class, the continuous focus tracking system is unintelligent. When taking photos, it tends to focus on the brightest part of the scene, which can affect image quality.

Nikon D5200 Image 2

LCD and Viewfinder

Being a DSLR camera, the size of the Nikon D5200’s screen and the screen resolution on offer are standard. The three-inch LCD screen is fully articulated and gives you a resolution of 921K dots.

Are you a one-person vlogging team, or do you enjoy taking selfies? Then the D5200 is the ideal camera for you because the screen is selfie-friendly, making it easy to use for such purposes.

There are conditions, such as direct sunlight, that make shooting a nightmare as viewing the LCD screen becomes difficult. To address this challenge, the D5200 comes with an optical (pentamirror) viewfinder. However, with a magnification ratio of 0.52x and a 95 percent coverage, you will have to settle for pictures that vary slightly from the actual image.

Battery and Connectivity 

For entry-level DSLR cameras, the average battery life will give you about 940 shots. This is one of the areas the D5200 really disappoints. According to CIPA standards, it will only give you 500 shots. Fortunately, this can be addressed by carrying extra sets of batteries. To connect with compatible devices, the D5200 has HDMI and USB ports. 

How Does the Nikon D5200 Compare to Its Rebel Counterpart?

As you contemplate buying the D5200, it is important to know how it compares with other cameras in this category. One of its biggest competitors is the Canon EOS Rebel T5i.

Nikon D5200Canon EOS Rebel T5i 
Screen3″ Fully Articulated3″ Fully Articulated
ISO100-6,400 (expandable to 25,600)100-12,800
Video ResolutionFull HD – 1920×1080Full HD – 1920×1080
Battery Life550 shots440 shots

Is the Nikon D5200 a Suitable Option?

If you want a camera for personal use to capture special moments with your loved ones, the Nikon D5200 is a suitable option. Not only is it affordable, but it is also functional and reliable.

Features such as the optical viewfinder and a selfie-friendly LCD screen suggest that it was designed for the average Joe. Therefore, even if you do not have prior experience with a camera, you will enjoy using the D5200. However, you should always be prepared with extra batteries and a reliable battery grip.

The Review

Nikon D5200

As DSLR cameras go, the Nikon D5200 is an ideal camera for personal use, especially for first-time buyers. Though it has limitations in battery life, the D5200's picture quality and selfie-friendly screen make it worth the investment.


  • More portable than regular DSLR cameras
  • Selfie-friendly screen
  • High-quality video
  • Wide variety of lenses


  • Short battery life
  • Autofocus system can sometimes focus on irrelevant objects
  • No built-in image stabilization

Nikon D5200 DEALS

Review Breakdown

Image Quality





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