Nikon D5300 Review: The Ultimate Camera for Photography Enthusiasts

Nikon D5300 ReviewNikon’s “advanced beginner” DSLR, termed as D5300 takes D5200’s spot between the enthusiast-targeted D7100 and amateur level D3200 in the brand’s APS-C inventory. The camera offers a lot which today’s Nikon D5300 review will unveil.

Specs

  • Optical (pentamirror) viewfinder
  • No Optical low-pass (anti-aliasing) filter
  • 5 fps continuous shooting 
  • 24MP – APS-C CMOS Sensor 
  • Dimensions 3.9″ × 4.9″ × 3″
  • ISO 100 – 12800( expands to 25600)
  • Weight 1.1 pound without a lens 
  • 3.20″ Fully Articulated Screen

Nikon D5300 Review

Design & Features

Nikon D5300 resembles the profile of D5200, but with some minor changes. It’s significantly larger than Canon’s small EOS Rebel SL1. Similar to Canon EOS Rebel T5i, it displays a vari-angle LCD, but it is not a touchscreen at all. If you own older Nikkor AI lenses, they can be positioned on the D5300. However, users will experience restrictions to manually setting up the exposure. Keep in mind that only those lenses having internal AF-S motors are able to autofocus because there is no screw-drive mechanism.

Nikon D5300 Design

Like the majority of SLRs, Nikon D5300 uses a pentamirror viewfinder, which saves considerable weight and size. However, it is not very bright and does not provide the coverage of a standard pentaprism, which employs a solid glass piece to redirect light. Rather, the pentamirror operates on 3 mirrors to achieve this.

The camera’s finder covers 95% of the frame. This means there will always be some additional width on your picture edges, with 0.82x magnification. Nikon has consumed much space on the camera’s body to add physical controls. For instance, one can see the drive mode control at the left side, the flash release control (hold it down to regulate the flash output power), a lens release button, and a programmable function button.

There are no controls or buttons on the pop-up flash and the left side of the hot shoe. However, the right side displays the toggle switch to allow Live View and a mode dial. Record button, Info button, shutter release, and the traditional power switch are present at the top of the handgrip. There is also a control to adjust the exposure value compensation in accordance with the back control wheel.

Surprisingly enough, there is no depth of field preview function. On the other hand, other cameras provide this function as a button beside the lens mount or as a third position on the power switch. But the D5300 lacks both and users also cannot assign depth of field preview in the programmable function button. It’s disappointing that this feature is absent as it enables you to view what will be in focus when the aperture on the attached lens is narrowed.

The back controls are somewhat compressed because the vari-angle consumes much space. Menu button is found on the left side of the viewfinder, with the control dial and AE-L/AF-L. A thumb rest is found directly underneath it, which is settled above the magnification controls for image review and Live View focus, Play button, a joypad with an OK button, and a trash button.

i button is utilized frequently because it offers fast access to above a dozen shooting controls, such as the bracketing, area, autofocus, metering patterns, and ISO. It avoids you from going to menus to tweak settings, but you will always have to dive into the menu to switch between manual ISO and automatic control.

The back display is a huge 3.2 inches LCD panel having a 1,037k-dot resolution. This is vivid, sharp, and comes with an amazing view angle. Since it is mounted on a hinge, users can swing it out on the camera’s side, and adjust it so it faces downward, upward, or forward. If you are trying to achieve a good angle in Live View mode or shooting on a tripod, the design is quite helpful.

There is a vari-angle display in Canon EOS Rebel T5i. Although it is exactly as crisp and also supports touch input, it is 3 inches smaller. This offers Canon users more direct control of their shooting settings, rather than employing the directional pad or i button with the D5300.

Both WiFi and GPS are added to Nikon D5300. These functions were only present in D5200 through external accessories. Allowing the GPS automatically adds a geographic address on all pictures. As for the integrated WiFi, it allows the transfer of pictures to a tablet or smartphone.

However, users need to install the free Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility app for iOS or Android to accomplish this. With the enabled WiFi, the camera broadcasts its own network, which can be connected to from the smartphone. Remember not to allow the feature to remain enabled after using it as no password is necessary.

The camera enables the transfer of both RAW and JPG pictures, but the former images you shoot are copied to the smartphone in JPG format, excluding videos. Users can also take advantage of the remote control through the handheld device. Choose “Take Photos” via the app menu and the camera will switch to Live View Mode and transfer the content to the smartphone display. This is a smooth process, and you can choose a focus point by tapping on an area of the frame. However, there is no option for manual control.

The app respects the settings set on the camera prior to allowing the remote control. However, you will have to back out of the wireless control, tweak settings on the camera body, and then return if you want to make changes. This aspect definitely needs some improvement. For example, the Pentax K-3 offers complete manual control while remotely shooting through WiFi.

Performance

Nikon D5300 activates and captures an image within a second. This is the most rapid speed in this category of cameras. During the Live View mode, the focus slows down to 1.5 seconds while shooting a web-based stopwatch target. In low light, it slips to 2.4 seconds. It matches the Canon EOS Rebel T5i while focusing in the optical viewfinder, but it gets faster in Live View mode.

The D5300 boasts a contrast based Live View focus system. It can fire off shots at 4.7 fps when set on the continuous shooting mode. This is just less than the 5 fps advertised by the brand. The amount of shots you can receive in burst shooting differs depending on the file format you are currently using. For instance, RAW and JPG+RAW shooters have reported that the camera is limiting because it becomes sluggish after just 4 shots.

However, you can hold down the shutter and achieve 100 shots in the JPG format after which it starts to slow down. But you can start to shoot again because the pictures are written to the card and removed from the buffer. However, it takes some time to completely clear out – 27 seconds for JPG format, 2.5 seconds for RAW, and 3.6 seconds for RAW+JPG format.

We are reviewing the camera as a body only, but it is also sold in a kit with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR or the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II. Nikon offered an 18-140mm for review with the camera. It is sharp throughout the zoom range, but also plagued with extreme distortion. But don’t worry, it can be automatically fixed in-camera, even while shooting RAW, by allowing Auto Distortion Control through the menu.

Plus, the images fall on the noisy side if users choose to shoot JPG at default noise reduction settings. 1.4% noise is detected in pictures at ISO 400, which boosts to 1.7% at ISO 800. Again, it rises to 2% at ISO 1600. This is a tad higher than the 1.5% we see from a picture, but it’s obvious that the camera is adopting a hands-off approach to noise reduction, as details are superb at ISO 3200, and only raises somewhat at ISO 6400.

The available resolutions for videos are 424p30, 1080p60, 720p60, 1080p24, and 1080p30 in QuickTime format. Videos are detailed and crisp, with the smoothest motion at 60p. D5300 rapidly focuses with changing scenes in the AF-F mode. But the contrast system shows the effect where a picture snaps out of focus.

Its stereo mic is practical for everyday use, but if you take videos seriously, an external mic can be attached through the standard input. Users can tweak audio levels automatically or manually. Plus, it’s equipped with a port for wired remote control, a proprietary USB port, and a mini HDMI output. The camera supports standard SDXC, SDHC, and SD cards.

Pros
  • Standard mic input.
  • 24MP sensor without optical low-pass filter.
  • Addition of GPS and WiFi.
  • Crisp vari-angle display.
  • 1080p60 video.
  • 39-point autofocus system.
  • Incredible JPG detail at high ISO.
  • Fast startup.
  • 4.7 fps consistent shooting.
Cons
  • Lacks depth in field preview.
  • Images are noisy.
  • Self-timer switches off after usage.
  • Pentamirror viewfinder.
  • Does not autofocus with screw-drive lens.
  • One control wheel.

Final Verdict

The Nikon D5300 review has made it clear that the camera is a modest upgrade from its predecessor. But it’s just as worthy.

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