The Nikon D5200 in more Detail

The headline improvements are impressive, but there are more subtle changes inside the D5200

nikon d5200 DSLR camera frontThe Nikon D5200 is a worthy upgrade to the D5100, with several obvious and welcome improvements

The 24MP file size, which brings it level with it’s sibling the D3200, the faster Expeed 3 processor taken directly from the D3200, and the 39-point AF system and metering system taken from the D7000 are the attention grabbers, but there are other more subtle changes as well.

The Nikon D5200 has an improved Auto ISO program, adopted from the D800, which lets you set the minimum shutter speed automatically based on the focal length of your lens. This makes Auto ISO much more controllable when you are using zoom lenses.

Nikon d5200 digital camera top without lensOn the top plate, the D5200 has a built-in stereo Mic in front of the hot shoe and, next to the mode dial, a new drive mode button.

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Whilst this new camera is very slightly smaller in size, it has a similar shape to the D5100 and feels pretty solid and sturdy

The external buttons and controls are usually well placed and, in the main, easy to use with your right thumb when you have your eye to the viewfinder. The LCD screen, that offers a great deal of flexibility for live view and movie shooting, and the 4-way controller at the back can be used to directly move the active focus point around the viewfinder. This combines very well with the Nikon D5200’s new 39-point AF system.

Nikon d5200 wu 1a wireless The Nikon D5200 also supports Nikon’s WU-1a Wi-Fi unit, which plugs into the camera’s accessory terminal and lets you send your images to a phone or tablet for uploading to the internet. It can also be used as a remote control for the camera,even operating the Live View option. There are also the usual set of connectors – HDMI and USB/AV out, a stereo microphone input for video, and a multi-function port for GPS or electronic cable release.

The D5200 has the same viewfinder as the D5100 – a 95% pentamirror with 0.78x magnification. It is a shame that Nikon didn’t take the opportunity to improve on this. It also doesn’t have an eye sensor to let you alternate between the back screen and the viewfinder. However, you can now overlay a composition grid into the viewfinder – another option lifted for the D7000.

The thumb dial on the back of the camera is used to change exposure settings in the PSAM modes. Pressing down the +/- button behind the shutter release and turning the dial allows you set aperture value or the exposure compensation in manual mode.

Beside the mode dial is a sprung lever which sets the camera to Live View mode, letting you to compose your pictures on the back screen rather than in the viewfinder. The autoexposure/autofocus lock button (AE-L/AF-L) is configurable. It can be set to lock either exposure or focus, or both. It can also be used as AF-ON to activate autofocus separately from the shutter button, which can be useful when shooting action.

The back of the D5200 is dominated by the LCD screen. The display now gives shutter speed, aperture and ISO with equal emphasis, which makes it easier to monitor them at a glance.


This is a great improvement on the D5100. Apart from the Menu button, which is on the top left, all of the others buttons are on the right and can be easily reached by your thumb when you have your eye to the viewfinder. The ‘[i]’ button to the right of the viewfinder switches the back screen on, which gives you access to the settings underneath the virtual dials. The four-way controller is used to navigate the menus and – conveniently – can be used to move the autofocus point around the frame. Just below the controller is the magnification button that can be used to check detail in playback mode and zoom into the live view display.

Nikon D5200 digital SLR side on with lens

The D5200 has two buttons on the front left side, above the lens release. The flash button is multi-mode, letting you set the flash mode or the flash exposure compensation.

Fn button below it is customizable, and offers a range of settings:

Image quality/size

ISO sensitivity

White balance

Active D-Lighting

HDR (High dynamic range mode)


AF-area mode

Live View

You can also set these AE options though these can be performed via the AE-L button:

AE-AF lock

 AE lock only

 AE lock (Hold)

 AF lock only


The Nikon D5200’s 39 autofocus points are, of course, a massive improvement over the D5100’s eleven points. Nine of the D5200’s AF points are cross-type (sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail), rather than the D5100’s single central cross-type point. The more sophisticated 2016 pixel metering sensor of the Nikon D5200 greatly improves subject tracking during AF-C. This means the D5200 is much better at tracking faces when they’re further away and smaller in the frame than the D5100. Like the D7000, the Nikon D5200 can be set to use just 11 AF points. Reducing the number of points makes it faster to select an off-center point if you don’t need the level of precision that using all 39 points provides.