The Good With excellent photo and video quality for its class, a fluid shooting design and solid feature set, the Nikon D5200 delivers a lot for the money.
The Bad Though it has no significant flaws, the lack of an autofocus motor in the body limits your lens-selection flexibility.
The Bottom Line The Nikon D5200 makes a great choice for family and vacation photographers.
A camera that can keep up with the kids
The Nikon D5100 is a solid camera with excellent photo and video quality, but relatively sluggish performance tarnishes its allure for me. Nikon fixes that in the D5200 with the same new autofocus and metering systems that debuted in the D600, plus an updated higher-end viewfinder, and the result is a noticeably better shooting experience that makes it an excellent choice for all-around family and vacation photography.
As with the D5100, still and motion image quality remains excellent; but despite a new sensor and updated image-processing engine, it's not noticeably better. The camera does a great job optimizing its JPEGs -- while raw still gives you more adjustment latitude than JPEG, there doesn't seem to be any benefit for sharpness or noise reduction until you hit about ISO 1600. Images look clean up through ISO 800, good through ISO 1600, and remain usable through ISO 6400 depending upon subject matter and output size.
Exposure and dynamic range look good, though the camera tends to produce darker exposures than I expect under a given set of circumstances. Recoverable highlight and shadow detail are in line with what I expect from a camera in its class. It reproduces colors with solid accuracy, and the default color settings don't push contrast or saturation overmuch; the biggest difference between the standard and neutral settings seems to be sharpness.