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Monday, 28 January 2013

Should You Buy a Nikon D5200 Camera?


Buying a new camera is a big decision, not least because it is quite an expensive investment. If you buy a Nikon D5200, it will also tie you into other Nikon products, like lenses and Flashguns. But I think it is worth serious consideration. The D5200 launch was finally completed in January this year. It had already been launched everywhere else except the USA. The delay for the States was due, it is supposed, to the chaos caused by Hurricane Sandy on the East coast. Of course, this meant that every photo enthusiast in America had already seen the D5200 and examined its features. This could explain why the launch did not come with the huge buzz that accompanied the launch of the Compact System Camera updates, the J3 and the S1, or even the sibling Nikon D3200 last year. However, the D5200 is a quite excellent camera that can produce high quality stills and superb HD video. It was recently rated better than the Nikon D3200 by the highly regarded DxOMark.
The D5200 has a brand new 24MP sensor, supplied by Toshiba. As a result, nobody knows how well this sensor can perform yet, but it is assumed that it will be even better than the similarly sized Sony sensor that operates in the Nikon D3200. Certainly the D5200 gives quite splendid color saturation and clarity. The sensor produces a 68MB file, which will satisfy almost any requirement. The D5200 has the Expeed3 processor, which has already proved itself to be very quick and efficient in the D3200. It ha also inherited a couple of excellent features from the D7000 - the 39-point Auto-focus system - up from the 11-point Auto-focus system in the D5100. This gives you much greater accuracy when focussing and is especially useful for shooting landscapes. The D5200 also has the D7000's metering system, which gives makes the exposure settings far more accurate and takes it into the realm of professional cameras (in fact DxOMark place the D5200 only a few points behind the professional Nikons, the D3x and the D4). It has also upgraded the internal Mic from mono to stereo which produces very good sound for videos. There is a side port which allows you to attach either a GPS receiver, or a WiFi connector, so that you can receive and transmit with your computer. It can also be used as a remote control for the camera, even operating the Live-view option. Nikon have worked to address some of the criticism directed at the D5100. For example, there are now two customizable buttons on the camera that give you the chance to change certain parameters instantly, rather than find the settings in the menus.
Of course, if you are considering whether to buy a Nikon D5200, you will need to have a look at the alternatives. The main rival to the D5200 is the Canon T4i. Out for over a year, the 18MP files don't seem as impressive as they once did, but it is a superb camera and, like the D5200 is designed for both stills and video. Like the D5200, the T4i also has an articulated viewing screen which canon have made a touch screen. It is fair to say that opinion is divided on the value of the touch screen option, but Canon loyalists insist that it is an extremely useful feature and much quicker for navigating the menus. You might also like to look at rivals closer to home. The Nikon D3200 and D7000 are both in the same entry-level category as the D5200. The D3200 was launched last year and also has a 24MP sensor. This file size blew the opposition away at the time and that, combined with the great picture quality and the very competitive pricing, has led it to dominate its class. However, it has a poorer build quality and no articulated back screen which is becoming a requirement for those who want to seriously shoot video. The D7000 is probably going to be replaced this year and that is reflected in current prices. Only offering a 16MP file size, it seems to be a poor relation in that area. However, there are many photographers who are not dazzled by the file size debate and see other qualities in the D7000, like the internal motor (for older lenses), the tough magnesium alloy body, twin memory card slots and 6FPS burst speed. Not flash or up to date, the D7000 still holds a place in the hearts of the Nikon stalwarts for its reliability and ruggedness.
Other things to think about if you are wondering if you should buy a Nikon D5200 are the accessories. The Nikon lenses are second to none and there is a healthy second-hand market for them. If you do buy a Nikon D5200, get the 18-55mm kit lens or, if you can afford it, the 18-105mm lens. They will give you some great flexibility for shooting video and stills. Make sure you buy a decent memory card and, if possible, a tripod - as you may be enticed by some of the scene options that require a slower shutter speed. If you are still unsure, I would advise that you to find a good camera shop and ask to pick one up and see how it feels in hand. I have seen many new cameras over the years and I don't think that the D5200 is revolutionary or the next technological leap forward. It is however an excellent performer across stills and video, in different lighting conditions and quick enough for action photography. So, should you buy a Nikon D5200? Well, I have.
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