We are proud to bring to you today a review of the Nikon D5300 entry level DSLR camera. Announced back in October 2013, the D5300 brings some relatively small but interesting changes over the previous D5200 (announced only a year before).
The Nikon D5300 with the new 18-140mm lens
Here are a few of the changes and some general specs for the D5300:
- 24MP CMOS sensor with no AA filter for higher image quality just like the D7100 (the D5200 had an AA filter).
- A new (first in any Nikon camera) EXPEED 4 – image processor for improved image quality and video.
- ISO 100-12800 (and up to 25600 expanded – improved over the D5200).
- 5 fps continuous shooting speed (same as the D5200).
- 39 point AF system (9 cross type – same as the D5200).
- FHD video recording – 1080p @60p (first for Nikon) with built-in stereo mic (and mic input).
- 2016 pixel RGB metering (same as the D5200).
- LCD – 1 million dot 3.2″ vari-angle monitor (the D5200 uses 920k 3 inch vari-angle display).
- WIFI+GPS built in – a first for any Nikon DSLR (the D5200 had to use external units which cost more money).
- Improved battery life – CIPA 600 images (with a new battery).
- Price: The D5300 currently sells for $800 (on Amazon) or $1100 (on Amazon) with the new 18-140mm kit lens.
Based on our extensive testing of the D5300 for over a month:
- Turn on time – around one second (maybe even less) – similar to most current DSLRs.
- Continuous shooting & buffer – at idle conditions shooting speed reached about 5 fps (just as Nikon claims), buffer size on the other hand proved more tricky. We got results all over the place – 22 images, 16 images and even as low as 13 images (we shot with the fastest Sandisk extreme pro card, RAW, with manual focus and full manual with fast shutter speed). We can’t really explain this behavior.
- Sensitivity – we compared the D5300 to the D7100 (which supposedly has the same sensor and both with no AA filter. We were pleasantly surprised to find out that the D5300 with its new image processor has the edge in terms of IQ – you can judge for yourselves (click to enlarge).
ISO 100 (D7100 on the right, D5300 on the left) – click to enlarge
ISO 800 (D7100 on the right, D5300 on the left) – click to enlarge
ISO 1600 (D7100 on the right, D5300 on the left) – click to enlarge
ISO 3200 (D7100 on the right, D5300 on the left) – click to enlarge
ISO 6400 (D7100 on the right, D5300 on the left) – click to enlarge
ISO 12,800 (D7100 on the right, D5300 on the left) – click to enlarge
- Battery life – the new EN-EL14A battery does seem to improve the battery life of the camera (in comparison to the D5200) but we didn’t reach 600 images per charge – keep in mind that we did use the screen a lot and played with the GPS and WIFI – so your results may vary.
New battery – EN-EL14a
- Focus – One of the biggest improvements of the D5200 was the 39 point focus system (similar to that of the older D7000). This is a capable focus system and it didn’t change in the D5300 to the best of our knowledge (it is a great improvement over the 11 point system of the D3200/D3300).
- LCD and viewfinder – Nikon changed the LCD on the D5300 and went with a larger (3.2 inch instead of 3 inch in the D5200) and higher resolution (1 million dots instead of 920k). As far as we know this is the largest vari-angle display of any DSLR. The display itself is very nice even in sunlight (to a degree of course). The optical viewfinder of the D5300 is similar to what you find on all Nikon entry level DSLRs and is smaller and less bright than the one on the D7100.
- GPS/WIFI – these two features might be the biggest reasons why Nikon was in such a rush to release the D5300. Canon already has the 6D/70D with built in WIFI and Nikon did not want to stay behind. GPS is nice but we discovered that if you leave it turned on it consumes a lot of battery (your camera will almost be drained after a few hours (we think NIkon should fix this as the camera was supposed to be in sleep mode and was not in use). The WIFI is a nice touch and Nikon did update the Android app we already used in the past but its still very very basic and allows very restricted control of the camera (basically touch and shoot). Nikon really needs to step up its game when it comes to controlling their cameras with WIFI (we talked to them about it on our interview with them last year and they are aware of the problem).
Built in WIFI+GPS
- Video – Nikon was never to strong when it comes to video, but the D5300 does add 60p Full HD for the first time which is a nice touch (honestly we didn’t find it very useful – but maybe its just us). With the elimination of the AA filter you might expect more moiré – we didn’t see any but we didn’t shoot too much video. Here are two quick examples we did shoot with the camera at 24p and 50p.
A sample video shot with the Nikon D5300 (and the new Nikon 18-140mm lens) – shot with the 18-140mm, 1080p @24p
A sample video shot with the Nikon D5300 (and the new Nikon 18-140mm lens) – shot with the 18-140mm, 1080p @50p
- Build quality and ergonomics – If you are used to semi-pro or pro cameras like us – the D5300 feels small in the hand. If you have large hands it might even feel too small. Otherwise its feels pretty nice in the hand. We didn’t like some of the locations of the bottoms (Nikon had to compromise due to the new large screen – the play bottom felt especially awkward to us. The size of the bottoms also felt a bit too small (but this really depends on the size of your hands). The build quality of the camera is great as with all Nikon cameras – no loose parts and very solid.
The D5300 is a great entry level camera. Its not a huge improvement over the D5200 but there are a few additions that make it a worthwhile successor such as the bigger screen, improved image quality (currently the best APS-C DSLR on the market) and WIFI (although Nikon really needs to improve their app).
What we liked
- Great image quality – best in class.
- Fast AF with 39 points (9 crossed).
- Good build quality.
- The largest vari-angle LCD of any DSLR.
- Integrated GPS/WIFI (new for Nikon).
What we didn’t like
- Too small if you have large hands.
- WIFI app way too basic (GPS needs firmware update to solve battery issue).
- No built in motor for using older lenses (something Canon has on all its cameras – even the most basic DSLRs).
A few more images (you can see more images plus non-edited images – at the bottom gallery in our full review on our sister site MegaPixel.co.il).
A few images show with the D5300