The Nikon D5300 is a DSLR for enthusiasts who want a bit more than a simple model (such as Nikon’s own, new D3300). Shooting 24.3-megapixel images, the $1,096 D5300 and 18-140mm kit lens package we tested offers strong image quality, plenty of control over how pictures are captured and processed, plus a few extra features that sweeten the deal. You can also pick up the D5300 with an 18-55mm lens for $900. In a fiercely competitive market, this DSLR is one of the strongest contenders.
|1||Nikon D5300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Auto Focus-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens (Black)||Check Price|
The D5300 shares the same design as most Nikon DSLRs – a chunky, solid construction that focuses more on function than form. Like the new D3300, the D5300 comes in three colour choices: black, reddish coloured and a gunmetal grey. Its large grip offers a firm hold for your best hand. The body on its own isn’t very large: at just 17 ounces, it is similar to its predecessor, the D5200, and is definitely notably lighter than the 20.5-ounce Rebel T5i. You’ll need both hands, though, if you use the large 18-140mm zoom lens we tested: The combination weighs over 5 pounds.
The D5300 is comfortable to hold, with the user’s index finger falling naturally onto the shutter button, and the thumb onto the rear control dial. The 3.2-inch LCD on the back of the camera is definitely about a pivoting and rotating hinge. You can fold the LCD flush against the camera body or rotate it out to sit next to the camera, where it can angle down 45 degrees or flip up and over 180 degrees so you can watch it from in front of the camera, selfie-style. The 1037k-pixel display screen is clean and bright, although direct sunlight does overwhelm it.
The D5300 includes 15 buttons, three dials and two switches. That can be intimidating for beginners, but it puts all of the features close to hand for the experienced shooter. The control dial on the trunk makes it easy to step through options such as for example shutter rate or aperture, while buttons near the shutter permit you to stop and start video recording or add direct exposure compensation (making images a little brighter or darker in auto mode) without looking away from the viewfinder.
We test all mainstream DSLRs and mirrorless cameras – those with a so-called APS-C-size sensor – using a prime (non-zooming) zoom lens of about 35mm focal length, which is roughly equivalent to a 50mm lens on a full-body camera. In cases like this, we chose Nikon’s 35mm f/1.8G, which markets for $196. We also tested Nikon’s 18-140mm kit zoom lens. We shoot photos at the same time in JPEG and RAW to see the camera’s best capabilities versus any quirks in how it creates the JPEGs.
The D5300 can shoot HD video at up to 60 frames per second. That makes for smoother, even more, a realistic video that looks better on the big screen compared to the 30fps of rivals such as the Canon T5i. We shot a scene of traffic on a bright day at the highest-quality settings, and this video showed smooth movement, lots of detail, accurate shades and little noise. We did discover some rolling shutter, though, where panning the camera causes an off-putting stair-step effect, or makes fast-moving objects look like they are torn. That’s not unusual for DSLRs, though.
We were disappointed by the sound quality: When the person holding the camera speaks, it easily overwhelms the small stereo microphone before the flash shoe, and the microphone doesn’t grab sound from in front of the camera well. The D5300 also picks up the sound of the zoom lens’s autofocus mechanism, which is more distracting in with some other lenses we have tried. You can plug a better microphone into the 3.5mm jack in the still left side of the camera body, though, and Nikon offers a $179 stereo microphone that connects to the sizzling shoe and is focused to better pick up sound from the subject of the video.
Not surprisingly, video shot by low light suffers from a lot of noise. The motion, however, still remained mostly smooth.
Lenses and accessories
The F mount that the D5300 uses supports a huge selection of lenses, from ultra-wide angles to very long telephotos. There are literally hundreds of compatible lenses on offer from Nikon and additional manufacturers, ranging from cheap models to very expensive, professional lenses. The D5300 doesn’t completely support some older lenses: only those that are AF-S or AF-I capable will work fully. Other old lenses may not support the various metering modes that the D5300 makes available, and may only give manual focus.
The D5300 includes a standard flash hot shoe so that it is compatible with flashes from Nikon and other companies. Nikon also presents a better microphone than the built-in version, and microphones from various other manufacturers can also be connected to the standard microphone socket.
Check Out: Best Nikon D5300 Lenses
The D5300 offers a few performance improvements over the D5200. It also adds some compelling features that competing products like the Canon T5i don’t have, such as 1080p/60 fps video capture and built-in GPS and Wi-Fi.
The image quality is good, though not exceptional, the D5300 definitely represents good value for the money. At $799 for the camera body only (or $1,096 with the 18-140mm lens we attempted), you get a lot of shooting power for the price. If you already very own a D5200, the new model’s improvements probably aren’t more than enough to merit an upgrade. But the D5300 is an excellent option for someone stepping up to this class of camera.