DigitalCameraReview.com
CES 2013: Nikon D5200 First Look Preview
by Laura Hicks -  1/22/2013

Entry level prosumer DSLRs are finding a stable niche in the ever changing camera market. With a sensor packed full of pixels and the option to use the full lineup of interchangeable lenses, why not?


Nikon is no rookie. In 1948, Nikon created its first Rangefinder camera. Ever since then, Nikon has been working hard to perfect the camera. And the D5200 is a product of that collective knowledge. The D5200 was announced at CES 2013 for distribution in the United States with an estimated shipping date of late January 2013.

Positioned as a great camera for those new to DSLRs and/or those wanting to step up from entry level DSLR cameras they already own, the Nikon D5200 has a huge 24.1 megapixel DX format CMOS sensor and covers a wide ISO range from 100-6400. It offers Nikon's most recent image processor, the EXPEED 3, which promises rapid camera response and energy saving measures. The D5200 has a 39-point AF system which allows for a variety of AF settings. The camera also features a continuous shooting mode of 5 frames per second when shooting at full resolution.

The Nikon D5200 has the ability to shoot both stills and video. Video recording is captured at Full HD 1080p at 30fps. This camera also marks the first time a Nikon HD-SLR can record sound from an internal microphone and permits you to attach an optional external microphone through a dedicated terminal for recording even better sound quality.

The D5200 allows for the entire lineup of Nikkor lenses and Speedlight flashes to be at your disposal. Don't care for the included kit lens? Want to upgrade to better glass? No problem. The 5200 accepts both the DX and FX line of lenses. So, don't be afraid to get a little more creative with lenses like the 10.5mm fisheye or the 70-200mm telephoto. These faster lenses will give you the ability to shoot more confidently in dimly lit situations. They can also give you more depth and sharpness to your images.

I was able to get my hands on the Nikon D5200 at CES this year. Although the camera might seem bulky to those unfamiliar to DSLRs, it is actually smaller and more lightweight than the ones I'm used to. It has a good grip and is easy to hold.  Nikon users will find the layout of physical buttons and menu features familiar and pretty easy to navigate. The top of the camera holds a multitude of buttons including a mode dial that has dedicated P,S,A, and M icons. On the back of the camera, all of the buttons are housed on the right side due to the variable angle 3-inch LCD screen. The screen is bright and is able to swivel and rotate making it easy to shoot from up high or down low. The menu is intuitive. I really enjoy the "teachable" feature in the menu. When using the P, A, S, and M options, the menu gives you visual feedback when you change the aperture, shutter speed or ISO. See image below.

The kit lens is an AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. It's an all-around good enough lens. However, I would save up some money and purchase a better lens. You will not experience all this camera has to offer if you only use the kit lens. In order to take advantage of this camera in low light or challenging situations a faster lens, f/2.8 or f/1.4 for example, is highly recommended. These lenses come with a higher price tag, but will allow you to expand your camera's flexibility and creative functions.

The autofocus on the D5200 seems fast. I was able to grab focus pretty quickly and the camera/lens did not have to "hunt." At CES the lighting was pretty dim. I did have some blurry images, so I changed the settings to compensate for the lighting. This is where the kit lens did not allow me to fully utilize the camera's functionality. With an f/2.8 I would have had enough light entering the camera to get a crisp image. Unfortunately, when zoomed out to 55mm, the aperture is at f/5.6 and was not good at capturing movement inside the large convention center.

My first impression of the Nikon D5200 is great. It will be a fantastic seller for Nikon. It has so much capability. And with the right lenses this camera has the ability to be awesome. I can't wait to get it in my hands for a full review.

The Nikon D5200 comes in three colors (black, red and bronze). It has a suggested retail price of $899.95 with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. It is expected to start shipping at the end of January.