You might be thinking that Nikon D5600 is the latest mid-range line-up offered by Nikon in the present market then why this guy is taking about Nikon D5300, which was launched long ago in the year 2013. It is obvious to think so. But I request you to be with me till the end of this review and I hope that I can justify my title for this particular article, which is “Mr. Dependable”.
The D5300 is a camera that boast of minimalistic design with all polycarbonate construction, easy going size and low weight which is around 480g. It really feels solid and can bear regular abuses targeted to it very easily. It is a perfect portable DSLR camera from Nikon when handling is concerned. The D5300 comes with a 24.2 Megapixels DX-Format APS-C CMOS sensor. This is the most common sensor used by camera manufacturers within mid-range category till date. This camera is compatible with Nikon’s F-mount lenses. Now let’s take a Deep Dive into this D5300, for which you are here.
First thing first, D5300 was the 1st mid-ranger from Nikon which didn’t have anti-aliasing filter, which means this D5300 can take better as well as crisper images with lot more details stored into it. Nikon D5300 incorporated Nikon’s famous Expeed 4 processing engine under the hood. Expeed 4 helps D5300 to take burst shot upto 5 fps and capture Full HD (1080p) videos upto 60 fps with autofocus.
This mid-ranger camera D5300 supports 39 Point AF-System along with 9 Cross-type points around the centre array. You also do get the option to switch down to 21 Point AF-System or 9 Point AF-System as per your need. The AF-System provided in Nikon D5300 is quite strong. You can manage to take beautiful low light landscape images or fast moving images quite easily. Though at times the AF-System do struggle but once it manages to lock its subject then it can capture really beautiful images with lots of information stored in it. This a model which can be used by both amateurs as well as experts and I can assure you that each one of them would enjoy using it.
Are you thinking of HDR Photography? Are you a fan of Trey Ratcliff? If your answer is Big YES! Then this the camera you can go for with a minimum budget. At this price bracket, this is the best camera that can capture images between 5 EV to -5 EV exposure settings, which means you can capture both darker as well as brighter image frames with more details stored into it which would further give you beautiful eye-catching HDR images. By the way, for amateurs HDR Photography is a type of photography in which we capture minimum three photographs of a particular scene under different exposure settings (say 1st image at 0 EV, 2nd image at +5 EV and the 3rd at -5 EV) and later combine these three images into a single image using post processing techniques.
Another feature of Nikon D5300 is that that its Flash comes with a 12 metres Guide Number (GN), which means you will have no issue taking night images considering the fact that your subject is within 12 metres of range. D5300’s flash is quite strong enough to serve day to day life photography. The camera has an ISO range from 100 – 12800, which means Low Light image capture can be easy depending on your capture situation. With just high ISOs you cannot take beautiful night images, other factors do matter a lot. But considering the sensor quality, images taken up to ISO 1600 would be having low noise levels but after that it captures images with lot more noise stored into it.
Nikon D5300 do support Nikon’s 3D tracking technology and it works really well due to the inbuilt AF-System under its hood. D5300 also provides Auto Area – AF, which further strengthens your auto focus ability of this camera. Obviously, you get manual focus but you have to dive into the menu options to select it. Unfortunately, you don’t have any manual button dedicated for this. This is nothing so important that you should really bother for, but a dedicated button would have been better for such a wonderful camera. You also have the option to switch over between the live mode (screen view mode) and the viewfinder mode. Talking about the viewfinder, it is of good quality based on the Eye-Level Penta-mirror single-lens reflex construction concept but shows approximately only 95% of the scene, which might be initially difficult for amateurs to frame their subject properly.
Another quality add-on that can be seen in Nikon’s D5300 is the 3.2” size TFT screen. The screen has got a whopping resolution of 1037K dots, which means viewing under live mode won’t be an issue neither you would have any difficulty hovering your controls for various selections under bright daylight. Interestingly this camera comes with a full articulated screen, which means you can easily see yourself within the image frame while capturing your own videos or images. This is really a plus point for YouTubers who want to shoot them through a DSLR camera. Unfortunately, the screen is not a touchscreen, which is the only caveat. But, I personally prefer non-touchscreens, it too has many advantages.
It is worth mentioning that D5300 doesn’t have a Time-Lapse video option, but you have the dedicated AE-L (Auto Exposure – Lock)/AF-L (Auto Focus – Lock) button on the body itself, which helps you to capture images under locked Exposure and Focus which further helps you to take images at a regular time interval as per your preferences with the time interval option within the menu. You can later combine these images with the help of a post processing software to get a Time – Lapse video. Bracketing as well as metering options works really well within this camera.
If you are an amateur photographer and still doubt your own credibility, then Nikon’s D5300 will surely help you with its different scene modes and special effects. You just need to select either of them (say landscape mode, portrait mode, sports mode, child mode, etc.) depending on the environment you choose to capture. The Auto mode also detects scenes really well and helps you to capture really beautiful images. But if you are an expert then don’t worry, you too get a whole set of controls like manual mode, aperture mode, programme mode and shutter speed mode. Under each mode you can further dive into and select your preferred ISO, AF-System, Bracketing, metering, Aperture, etc. as per your shoot occasion.
The Nikon D5300 does come with an internal Wi-Fi adapter, which easily connects with your smart devices and allow you to transfer images smoothly from your camera to these smart devices. You can also take the advantage of Nikon’s WMU app to control your D5300 remotely. You can easily connect Nikon’s ML-L3 wireless remote to your D5300 and can take unshaken images remotely. Nikon D5300 comes with a built-in GPS system, which if switched-on, can capture location information for all those images you click. You also get an external microphone connector as well as an external flash connector in case you need it someday. You also get A/V output, mini HDMI and an USB terminal as per connectivity of the D5300 goes. Luckily, you get a connector to connect optional cable release device. As per the overall connectivity is concerned, it is “Mr. Dependable”.
The battery section of Nikon D5300 is average. You can take 600 shots on a single charge. If you are moving into some remote areas for your photographs than I suggest you to carry an extra set of battery, in case you need it. For a day-to-day imaging, the battery capacity is enough.
Let’s take a dig into the storage department. The Nikon D5300 supports SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards up to 256 GB. It only supports UHS-I (Ultra High Speed) cards. Don’t go for UHS-II cards, which are new in the market and offers greater speed compared to the UHS-I.
Let’s talk about the kit lenses. The basic kit lens that ships with Nikon D5300 is the new AF-P DX-Format NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR (Vibration Reduction). It has a retractable design which helps it to be more portable when not being used. It can be locked using a button on the Len’s body. It is really very compact. The speciality of this kit lens is that that it has Nikon’s Stepping Motor Technology embedded into it. This means you will have smooth and quite autofocus experience during the process of capturing an image. This lens also offers up to 4 stops of image stabilization. Of course this lens is not at par with the NIKKOR’s prime lenses but still I strongly recommend you to have this. You also get an option to have a zoom lens as a secondary kit lens. This zoom lens is AF-P DX-Format NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G VR (Vibration Reduction) ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) as per the configuration goes. This is another piece of excellence and a must buy if you are into lot of landscape photography. This is a new lens and is built with the same Nikkor’s Stepping Motor Technology. If you budget allows, please try to get the Nikkor’s 35 mm AF-S DX-Format f/1.8G Lens. This is a prime lens and when combined with D5300’s technology, it takes awesome images.
Without the anti-aliasing filter or low pass filter before the sensor, you can now achieve excellent image quality with greater level of details under proper lighting condition. At low light the D5300 captures images which are more than average quality. At times it may struggle with the AF-System during very low light conditions. At dawn and dusk, the images turn to be really beautiful and captures lot more details into it. The images turns to be smooth with wider aperture. You can easily manage to get a sharper image under proper lighting condition. Chromatic aberrations are well handled in JPEGs as well as in RAW files. With Nikon D5300 I suggest you take RAW images compared to JPEGs. RAW files capture more details which can be extracted during the post processing period and it may happen that you won’t believe on the quality it produces.
Up to ISO 1600, the images are well colored but beyond that you lose quite an amount of details. The noise reduction technology works great till ISO 1600 and beyond that it completely fails. I would suggest not to take an image beyond ISO 800 because it really becomes tough in post processing.
If you are into Landscape Photography like me, then I request you to choose neutral setting option over any other Picture Control options. This Neutral setting really comes handy after the most used Standard setting if you are thinking to take a dig into post processing color grading. This Neutral setting provides more natural looking images compared to any other settings. Colors and saturation are really well maintained. The Vivid Picture Control settings is really good for flowers or any other foliage because this setting adds a balanced punch to an image which really looks awesome.
It is worth mentioning that the VR system works really well till 2 seconds exposure in my case. It may differ depending on the person’s handling style and decent amount of photography experience. Overall, the quality of the image is top notch under proper lighting conditions. But you don’t get a 35 mm sensor quality. Low lighting images are also perfect. Mr. Dependable does its work really well when imaging is concerned. In few occasions you may complain the quality but most of the time you will trust your buddy Nikon D5300.
Nikon has really managed to incorporate many features into this mid-ranger camera to target the beginner’s niche as well as the expert niche in the market. Starting from its design, AF-System, Image quality and articulate screen, Nikon has done a great job. If you are someone who is just getting into photography, than D5300 is the obvious camera that you should look for but only if your budget permits otherwise you can go for its younger sibling Nikon D3400. The price tag of $800 (Indian Rupees 48000) is really decent price tag that Nikon has attached to this device.