In line with the previous generations of cameras, the D5200 delivers excellent photo quality for its class. In automatic modes, colours appear vibrant, but not oversaturated.
We tested the D5200 in conjunction with the 18-105mm lens. This lens proved to be a responsive and capable companion to the camera, ensuring quick and accurate autofocus and a generous focal length range for beginner and intermediate photographers.
Though the D5200 uses an entirely new 24.1-megapixel sensor from the D5100, the way the camera renders dynamic range has not changed much at all. Exposures are even, and without too many blown highlights. While quite a lot of shadow detail can be recovered when shooting RAW, more extreme recovery measures involving several stops of compensation in post will produce a fair amount of grain.
Straight out of the camera on default settings, there is a touch of softness to JPEG images when inspecting at full magnification. The D5200 handles noise quite well, though the bump in resolution does result in a few more artefacts on images at lower resolutions, compared to the D5100.
In general, noise is well controlled up to and including ISO 1600, with ISO 3200 showing up some coloured noise at full magnification. Details do begin to look a little smeared as the sensitivity climbs higher.
The D5200 does make its JPEG images look a little more rich and vibrant than the original RAW files.
Video quality is very good. Continuous autofocus is available — Nikon calls this AF-F — though it is a little twitchy, and you can quite clearly see the lens pulling in and out of focus to lock on to a subject. For casual use, it works just fine, though, and anyone seriously looking at improving their video recordings will be choosing to shoot with manual focus anyway. You can hear the lens movements in very quiet situations when using the internal mic, but outdoor use presents no problem.
Photographers can choose to shoot video using manual exposure modes, as well as tweak audio levels of the external microphone.
Speaking of sound quality, the internal stereo microphone is very good for most purposes, though there is a fair amount of wind noise picked up outside. There is no wind-cut feature for the internal mic.
Exposure: 1/200, f/11, ISO 200
Exposure: 1/200, f/4.5, ISO 200
Exposure: 1/60, f/14, ISO 3200
Exposure: 1/50, f/11, ISO 200
The D5200 is a very good all-rounder, ideal for beginners dipping their toes into SLR photography, or for more advanced users looking for good image and video quality with a small body.