Nikon D5300 Digital SLR Review

The D5300 is an update to the previous D5200 model, it ‘s not a revolution over the previous model but it is quite well featured in most respects, though for heavy flash users you might want to step up to the D7000/7100 which offer more functionality


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Nikon D5300 Digital SLR Review

Comes with 18-55mm VR II Compact Lens Kit (24.2 MP) 3.2 inch LCD

It’s a nice compact body, and a good introduction to photography.

A quick summary of the good and weaker areas


  • Very good image quality from the 24mp CMOS sensor, no optical low pass filter makes for sharper images with a bit more resolution
  • Impressive 39 point AF system with 9 cross type sensors
  • Built-in Wi-Fi and GPS
  • 3.2″ LCD screen with a meaty 1.04M dots very sharp and clear as well as articulated
  • 5fps is quite fast (buffer is about 8-9 shots Raw, about the same jpeg no so big but ok)
  • Good full HD movie mode with audio control and mic input, sharp and clear video (some moire at times though)
  • Has MLU (mirror lock up) useful for macro and longer focal lengths
  • Good Auto ISO settings you can set a min shutter speed, or let it work on focal length (ie increase speed to match focal length used or reduce it for wider angle lenses) You can even tune it to faster or slower speeds. Very nice
  • Built in AF assist light is useful though can be a bit harsh for people subjects


  • No depth of field preview
  • Won’t autofocus screw drive lenses (non AF-S)
  • Limited flash capabilities, no Auto FP (High speed sync), no native support of wireless flash (CLS) with built in flash
  • Live view and movie AF could be quicker, cannot see real preview of aperture set until the shot is fired
  • No vertical grip option (shame really third party ones might turn up though with some compromises)

D5300 v D3300 (main differences)

D5300 has an articulated LCD (which is also higher res)
39 point AF system with 9 cross type sensors v the 11 AF points on the D3300 (one cross type sensor)
D5300 has WiFi and GPS built in, the D3300 has neither

Image quality wise the cameras are near enough identical (both have no optical low pass filter)

Some field notes:

Battery life is about 550-600 shots, though using the movie and live view will drain it more. Worth picking up a spare

Image quality is very good but you really need something a bit better to take advantage of the full 24mp resolution, the kit lens is OK but not really up to the job by some margin. Jpegs are decent but RAW is the way to go for max details and for processing the best images at high ISO
Viewfinder is slightly higher magnification than the previous model (just a little but it’s a good move) the view is a little bigger

GPS worked quite well but it can drain the battery a bit (though the battery life is quite good) it’s OK accuracy wise but not as good as a car or hand held GPS (no GPS I’ve used in camera is dead on all the time) Still quite useful to have it
Wifi allows you to connect the camera to a smart phone or tablet, and you can control it remotely with an “app”. It does have some basic functions available though it’s not extensive, this might improve over time.

Handling is ok fairly comfy to hold though like the D3300 it lacks the dedicated buttons for WB and ISO, you can assign this to the FN button which improved things a bit. You can also access some quick settings on the rear LCD with the info button such as Raw/Jpeg settings, ISO, metering mode, and a fair few others. This does avoid a trip to the main menus which can slow you down operation wise.

AF system is the respected 39 point AF, using the D pad you can move between AF points making it quite easy and intuitive to use. I would prefer a larger viewfinder though, it’s OK for a Pentamirror usable.

The optical low pass filter is gone just like other Nikon’s this does give a tad more resolution (it’s not a huge difference though) Image quality is very good, if you have the lenses that can take advantage of that the basic kit isn’t really ideal here, but Nikon’s affordable 35mm f1.8 G is a good one and can deliver nice sharp images, it’s also very affordable and a must have lens for new users. (giving you a view of just over 50mm it’s both fast and well worth picking one up)
Jpegs are quite good though you want to shoot raw for the best output possible, low light again it might be worth processing your own files for important shots. 24mp is a bit OTT for many users, you can of course though shoot jpegs and get good results from the camera, and you can reduce resolution to save some card/file space.

Some points to note, for users wanting to pick up older lenses (ie non AF-S or D type ones) the camera doesn’t have a built in focus motor, this isn’t a huge problem the majority of Nikon lenses have a built in motor in the lens, just something to watch out for. You can mount and use non AF-S/screw-drive lenses but you will have to manually focus (live view can help here)

Flash wise much like the D3300, you have to move up to the D7100 (or D7000) to enjoy Auto FP (high speed sync) this is useful for fill flash outside where you will exceed the camera’s sync speed of 1/200 second. You can work around this with ND filters to cut the light down. CLS or wireless flash can’t be controlled with the built in flash, but you can get radio triggers which can overcome this.

Nikon have designed it so that more advanced users who need these features move up to higher priced bodies (just decide if these areas are important to you when making your buying choice) As a starter camera or something a bit more meaty to get your teeth into, this is a good camera in most respects. Image quality is very good, it’s quite an easy camera to use and learn on. The articulated LCD is the main appeal if you are shooting videos or experimenting with photography with interesting angles (very low or high) it’s a real plus to be able to move the LCD around as you wish.

Not a bad back up camera either just make sure it meets your needs. Nikon didn’t blow the barn doors off with this update, so if you have a D5200 and are happy with that, then stick with it. For new users this is a good camera which is a fun creative tool to use. Do look around though there are alternatives from other makers, each with their pros and cons.

Well worth looking at  5 stars.

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