Nikon D5200 vs D3200 vs D7000 Comparison

November 8, 2012

Nikon D5200 camera

The Nikon D5200 is here, Nikon’s latest upper-level DSLR camera. The NIkon D5100, as for the time of writing these lines, is at the top 10 best sellers in the DSLR category on Amazon website, 8th actually. The D5200 replaces the D5100, which was a very popular camera.  This camera is aimed for amateur photographers who want something a bit more advanced than either the D3100 or the D3200, and for enthusiasts on a tight budget. The D5100 delivers superb results and I know you are very excited to know what’s new on the D5200. In this article I will be talking about all the great features of the D5200, and also compare the D5200 vs  D7000 and D3200.

Upper Entry-Level DSLR FTW!

Every company wants to sell as many cameras as it can, and for this reason, you can see that the variety of cameras is pretty large. The idea is to have a camera for every budget. Right now we have the D3100 and the D#200 as entry-level offering below the D5200. Those entry-level cameras are cut out of the advanced features that you can find on the upper entry-level models,, but the different is not huge.  For example, the D3200 lacks WB bracketing, stereo mic for movie recording, has less focus points,  weaker burst and shorter ISO range than the D5200 and also features a less advanced light metering sensor.

Not all of you might be convinced to get those type of cameras over entry-level ones. In fact, Some just prefer saving spending that extra money on a better / extra interchangeable lens. Other people do feel that they will be taking advantage of those features and for them it’s certainly worth getting an upper entry-level DSLR camera.

So if you are reading this comparison article and you need to make a decision, I will help you out understanding the differences between the D5100, D5200 and the D3200 so you can make a better buying decision. Let’s satrt!

 

Nikon D5200

With the D5200 Nikon wants to continue the success of the D5100. It’s doesn’t bring revolutionary changes, and in fact, it doesn’t suppose to.  With update models you usually see a camera inherits a few features of the camera above it, as the camera above it inherits some features of the camera above it. In some cases we can see that some models have new features that we haven’t seen before on any model, but that’s kind of rare though.

Nikon D5200 dslr, bronze

Nikon D5200 upper entry-level camera (bronze)

So the D5200 isn’t a revolutionary camera model, but certainly has some very interesting features. including a 24.1MP DX CMOS sensor (specially developed for the D5200), 39-point AF system, 2,016-pixel light metering sensor, Vari-angle high resolution LCD, EXPEED 3 image processor, up to ISO 25600 sensitivity, 5 fps burst, Full HD movie recording with continuous AF, support for both wireless remote control and Wi-Fi module and plenty of in-camera software-based features to play with.

The Nikon D5200 as a very impressive package of features. I really like the fact that Nikon improved both the AF sensor with 39-points (9 cross-type) and the light metering sensor. These features are certainly the core in every digital camera, which helps photographers take well exposed photo under tough lighting conditions as well as track fast moving subjects across the frame. The D5200 was designed to give beginners and advanced photographers a camera with premium capabilities, getting you the feel of how it is like to shoot with enthusiasts models, like the D7000. The D7000 for example features the same 39 focus points (9 cross-type) and 2,016-pixel exposure metering system.

So as you can see, the D5200 inherits some of the D7000 features, those who I personally think, count more then others.  For many photographers on a tight budget this is a wish come true, especially those who really wanted to get the D7000 but couldn’t afford it. The D5200 was design to be an all-in-one winner when it comes to features, giving a very tough competition to the Canon EOS 650D / T4i and even the Canon 60D. Nikon spoiled photographers with plenty of features to enjoy with, including a new generation GUI design and brand new camera design. Oh, and let’s not forget, you can also buy this camera in red or bronze, yes bronze – how cool is that!

I personally really like new camera designed. It’s not a radical change but I really like the overall design of this camera. Here, take a look how the D5200 looks alongside the D511 – can you notice the differences (image courtesy of camerasize.com, a site to compare sizes of digital cameras, even with various lenses attached!)

Nikon D5200 vs D5100 comparison

Nikon D5200 and D5100 (via camerasize.com)

 

I’ve read many comments and opinions about the D5200 from people who expected more, but honestly, what can you expect more. It seems what people expected the D5200 to have weather-sealing and higher X sync … and the list continues. Some demands might not be so realistic, but nevertheless, the D5200 is certainly a camera with semi-pro features that really make this camera stand apart from other entry-level cameras in Nikon’s lineup.

OK, now that we know how awesome the D5200 is in terms of it new features and design, let’s take see how the D5200 compares to the Nikon D3200 and the D7000!

 

vs D3200 & D7000

The D5200 will be heavily compared to two other Nikon DSLR cameras, including the D7000 and the D5200. Some people might be tempted to get the more expensive D7000 or pay less and get the more affordable D3200. Let’s take a look at a side-by-side comparison table that will help you better understand the differences between those three cameras.

D5200D3200D7000Notes
AnnouncedNovember 6, 2012April 19, 2012September 15, 2010
Sensor/Processor24.1MP
ASP-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
EXPEED 3
24.2MP
ASP-C (23.2 x 15.4 mm)
EXPEED 3
16.2MP
ASP-C (23.6 x 15.7 mm)
EXPEED 2
D7000 lower resolution and older image processor
ISO100 - 6400
25600 boost
100 - 6400
(12800 boost)
100 - 6400
(25600 boost)
Both the D5200 and the D700 have a higher ISO range with boost, but all shoot at the same native ISO range.
Focus Points39 (9 cross-type)11 (1 cross-type, center)39 (9 cross-type)D5200 inherits the D7000 AF sensor
Light Metering2,016-pixel RGB sensor420-pixel RGB sensor2,016-pixel RGB sensorD5200 inherits the D7000 light metering sensor
LCD3-inch
921K-dots
Full Articulated
3-inch
921K-dots
Fixed
3-inch
921K-dots
Fixed
The D5200 is the only one with tilt-swivel articulating design. Great for shooting low and high-angle shots and for videos!
ViewfinderPemtamirror
95% coverage
0.78x magnification
Pemtamirror
95% coverage
0.8x magnification
Pentaprism
100% coverage
0.95x magnification
D7000 has larger and viewfinder with 100% coverage, and it's also a Pentaprism (pentamirror, tunnel-like viewfinder, made of several mirrors, vs Pentaprism, single piece of glass, heavier, costs more to produce
Shutter Speed30 - 1/4000 sec30 - 1/4000 sec30 - 1/8000 secD7000 feature faster max. shutter speed. Useful for stopping the action when shooting fast moving subjects
Built-in FlashYesYesYes
Flash X Sync1/200 sec1/200 sec1/250 secD7000 faster flash sync speed
Continuous Shootingup to 5 fpsup to 4 fpsup to 6 fpsD5200 in the middle in terms of burst performance
WB BracketingYesNoYesBoth D5200 and D7000 have support for White Balance bracketing
AE Bracketing±2 (3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV steps)No(3 frames at 1/3 EV, 1/2 EV, 1 EV steps)Both D5200 and D7000 support auto exposure bracketing
Video Recording
(NTSC)
1080i60
1080p30,24
720p60
640p30
1080p30,24
720p60
640p30
1080p24
720p30,24
640p24
D5200 more robust video features
Video Soundbuilt in stereo mic
+ 3.5mm stereo mini-pin jack
built in mono mic
+ 3.5mm stereo mini-pin jack
built in mono mic
+ 3.5mm stereo mini-pin jac
Wi-Fioptionaloptionaloptional
Dual Card SlotNoNoYes
Environmental sealingNoNoYesD700 is sealed against moisture and dust and can even sustain water splashes
Size129 x 98 x 78 mm (5.08 x 3.86 x 3.07")125 x 96 x 77 mm (4.92 x 3.78 x 3.03")132 x 105 x 77 mm (5.2 x 4.13 x 3.03")Both D5200 and D3200 are smaller than the D7000
Weight555 g (1.22 lb / 19.58 oz)505 g (1.11 lb / 17.81 oz)780 g (1.72 lb / 27.51 oz)
Battery Life500 shots540 shots1050 shotsD7000 much better battery life, 2x times more than the D3200 and the D5200
Latest Prices & Deals Click here!Click here!Click here!

 

As you can see from the above comparison table, the D5200 certainly looks like a D7000 with some chopped edges.  It features the same ISO range, AF and light metering sensor but still lacks the 6 fps burst, weather-sealing, sync speed,  pentaprism larger viewfinder,2x times faster shutter speed, build quality (d7000 top and front metal plate) and excellent battery life of the D7000. The D7000 certainly doesn’t lost its shine when the D5200 came out, it’s still a better camera than the D5200 in some respect. The D5200 has some features that the D7000 doesn’t have, including the articulating LCD, built-in mic,  much higher resolution, new EXPEED 3 image processor, the new GUI and it’s more compact design.

stereo mic

D5200' stereo mic

The D3200 is somewhere in between (dough). The D3200 lacks the ISO 256000, has less focus points and less sophisticated light metering sensor, slower burst, no WB nor AE bracketing, no 60i Full HD video recording and no built-in stereo mic and doesn’t enjoy the new graphical user interface and less shooting modes. As I mentioned earlier, the D5200 is the better camera of the two. I would probably get the D5200 if only for the better AF system and light metering system. Video enthusiasts will certainly appreciate the great articulating LCD monitor and the ability to record videos with stereo sound without the need to attach an external stereo mic via the 3.5mm mic jack. The D5100 is still is a great camera.. let’s not forget that.

Nikon D5200 vs D5100
The following video from Engadget wil give you a quick overview of the differences between the D5200 and the D5100 (older model).

I personally think that the D5200 is a great update over the D5200, and I would certainly pick up the D5200 over the D5100 if only to improved light metering, AF system and faster EXPEED 3 processor.  The D5100 is still an amazing camera and it will stay like that. The thing is that you can get the Nikon D5100 for a relatively lower price now and many people might be selling their D5100 in second -hand websites so you might get the D5100 for a relatively low price, which is good.

However, many of you probably want the taste of a newly announced gadget. Their is nothing like enjoying a brand new product. I think the debate would rather be whether to get the Nikon D3200 or the D5200.  I owned the D3100 an believe me, it took gorgeous images, I just didn’t feel that I need anything more advanced. What I am trying to say is that although the D5200 enjoys many advanced technologies, some of them brought from the D7000, it doesn’t mean that you should just jump and get it.  Some of you might prefer getting the D3100 or the D3200 for a lower price and invest the rest of your money in a better lens or another secondary lens.

In general, the Nikon D5200 is a great new addition to Nikon DSLR camera’s lineup. It put the upper entry-level DSLR very close to what the mid-range D7000 has to offer. However, the D7000 is still a much better camera and I’ve mentioned the reasons above.

 

Image Quality & Sample Images

We can talk forever about the D5200, but many people make their decision after viewing sample images and analyzing the image quality. The Nikon D5200 enjoys Nikon’s EXPEED 3 image processor, the same image processor used on the D4, Nikon’s high-end DSLR camera. This helps bring out the full potential of the high-solution sensor on the D5200. Nikon optimized the algorithms to help photographers get beautiful looking images every time, including natural skin tones, very sharp and detailed images and with very low noise at high ISO.  that means that even if you are just starting out and shoot in JPEG, you can trust the camera to make the best out of the scene, analyze it and making the right adjustment to make images looks sharp and clean. You can shoot at very high ISO sensitivity with low noise and without losing the punchy colors and contrast of the scene.

 

“This camera will make pixel-peepers proud..”

 

Active d-lighting is very effective in eliminating those blown highlights and making the image look more even and well exposed all across the frame. the d5200 features in-camera HDR mode that can help you capture beautiful High Dynamic Range images that looks natural, although you can easily stress this out to get a more exaggerated effect.

Low angle

Image quality is very impressive.  take a look at the beach photo and you can see what I mean. Even at 100% magnification, OMG! – the camera captures even the smallest details. Of course you need a good lens to get the best out of this sensor, but really.. the D5200 IQ is really impressive. This camera will make pixel-peepers proud, I am pretty sure about it.

Furthermore, I think that this is the first time I see Nikon publishes official high ISO sample images. We usually see ISO100 images and that certainly shows how confident Nikon is with this camera. The next photo shot at ISO 3200, look how crisp the image looks, although noise exists, it’s still looks very good

ISO3200

Considering the pixel density, this is a great achievement from Nikon. I also was pretty amazed to see that the contrast and saturation was well maintained across all the ISO range up to ISO 6400, some very impressive stuff we see here.

There are plenty of high-res Nikon D5200 sample images to enjoy on Flickr, and they look really amazing. The light metering works incredibly well so it seems, i tried really hard to find some defects but really, image quality is very very good.

I am still waiting for a side by side sample image comparison on dpreview to make my final conclusion Having said that, if I had a choice to pick one up now, I wouldn’t think twice. I mean, what more do you need?

I would certainly spoil this camera with a good lens. When I bought my Nikon D3100 I got it with the 18-55mm VR and the 70-300mm VR. For those who are just starting out I recommend getting the 18-55mm VR, it’s an amazing lens, tack sharp (really!). If you want a more versatile lens, get the 18-105mm v/3.6-5.6 lens, it’s an outstanding lens.  Some people don’t like changing lenses, and I personally think that for some people, the 18-105mm lens might be the only lens that you need. So just make sure that you pick the one that better fits your shooting style.

So whatever camera reviews’ sites comes up with,  the D5200 won’t disappoint you when it comes to image quality, it’s really a stiller performer.

 

Conclusion

The Nikon D5200 is certainly more then a step up from the D5100, it more resembles the performance of the D7000 but with some cut edges. Many of you might find the D5200 more than adequate for all your needs, others might find the D7000 a better camera for their needs, whether it’s because of the faster shutter speed, dual card slot,  pentamprism OVF, faster sync, weather-sealing and better battery life. Some of you might be well enjoy the D5200 for many years to come. Not every photographer wants to become a professional photographer. Some people just want a highly capable DSLR camera for still and videos. The D5200 certainly is that camera. Some of you might not even upgrade to a mid-range DSLR and entry-level model is all that you need.  I know that video enthusiasts will prefer the D5200 over the D3200 due to its articulating display and built-in stereo mic. And by the way, both the D3200 and the D5200 can record video with full time autofocus.

So which camera to choose? – It really depends on the D5200 price tag. If the estimations are right and the D5200 will costs close to $1000, it will certainly be a show stopper for many people. It might more fit to those who want a D7000-like camera. Of course you also need to consider that a D7000 replacement might come in a few months (D7100?), and even if the D5200 will close to the D7000 one,a new D7000 replacement will introduced with better features.
If the price difference won’t be so high between the D5200 and the D5100, get the D5200 without thinking twice.

For the D3200 vs D5200 debate , it really comes to your own specific needs.  You already know by now the differences between those two cameras, so make sure that you know what you are actually paying for. Don’t just buy the most expensive camera because you might not even take advantage of its more advanced features  and won’t notice the differences at all. My brother bought the D5100 over the D3200 because it has everything that he needed and he was impressed with the image quality.

The Nikon D5200 is an amazing camera and I have no doubt that it will be another hit from Nikon, conquering Amazon best-seller’s charts. I hope that you find this article useful and it helped you understand the differences between the D5200, D3200 and D7000. If you enjoyed reading this article, please share it with your friends. Thanks.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gail Piper February 16, 2013 at 8:48 am

Please clarify? Does the Nikon d5200 have +-2 EV bracketing. I have found mixed information on this specification. The D5200 User Manual, specs say
1/3 or 1/2 steps. Today, i tried to look at the EV Bracketing on the camera itself in a store, and the options were 1/3 or 1/2 only. I couldn’t find where to set it to +- 2.0. Or if there is a setting that will do that.

For me this is such an important feature, because i do a lot of HDR work.
I think this camera has great features, but if it cant do good exposure bracketing that’s a shame!!

Reply

John June 6, 2013 at 1:31 pm

I too would like an answer to this question. I have read a review that says up to plus and minus 2 EV in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV. But the camera specification seems to suggest 3 steps that are either plus/minus 1/3 EV or plus/minus 1/2 EV. The latter seems to be not much of a dynamic range.

Reply

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