Nikon D5300 camera review

Like Canon’s EOS 70D, the consumer-targeted Nikon D5300 also offers up a range first of Wi-Fi connectivity – with a dedicated ‘i’ button – and a tilting LCD screen on the backplate, plus a higher resolution still at 24.2 megapixels from an APS-C sensor. Alongside the more obviously semi pro 70D, the D5300 suggests better value at a body only £729.99, or £829.99 if twinning it with a standard 18-55mm zoom. However it’s fair to say that the Nikon’s glossy, plastic-y body – available in red, black or silvery grey – isn’t quite up to the Canon’s workhorse construction, appearing a tad toy-like in comparison. However it is lighter and in that respect more portable.

Aimed at the ‘advanced beginner’, the D5300 appears to offer enough specification to allow users’ photography to grow as their skill set does. For example, as with the Canon, the Nikon’s light sensitivity range can be manually boosted from ISO12800 to ISO25600 for an almost see-in-the-dark performance. Naturally we get Full HD video capture too, and again with stereo sound here, something that isn’t automatically the case on consumer models. However on the Nikon we prefered to use manual focus when shooting video, as its AF wasn’t as smooth and as swift in this mode as the 70D.

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Anyone looking for their first DSLR yet one that is sophisticated enough to keep them interested for years to come is directed at the D5300

For a beginner’s camera the D5300’s layout is as, perhaps surprisingly, as busy as a photo enthusiast would want, whilst it’s as speedy to get up and running from cold as we’d expect from a DSLR in this price bracket; being ready for the first shot as swift as our forefinger could switch from on/off lever to main shutter release button. Whilst mostly the controls are placed within easy reach of finger and thumb of the right hand, the menu button is bizarrely placed on its own top left of the rear plate. A command dial is provided for scrolling through available options via the marginally bigger than average, 1037k dot resolution 3.2-inch screen, but at this price we don’t get a second, smaller LCD window for short cuts.

More familiar controls such as a ten pence piece sixed shooting mode wheel are crammed with 13 useful options, and there are digital effects filters on board too, including the popular ‘miniature’ and ‘toy camera’, for enhancing pictures in-camera. Whilst when the camera is left on its default settings we found colours could appear a little dull, there is the option to easily increase saturation in camera to compensate if required. But more importantly perhaps this Nikon is capable of capturing a very impressive degree of detail and delivering sharply focused results across a broad range of subjects. There is in other words plenty to stop keen amateurs from getting bored once they’ve initally got to grips with the D5300.

OUR VERDICT

Despite the outward shiny-ness and more modest 600-shot rechargeable battery life, it could make for a longer term investment than the cheaper still Sony A3000 or your most basic entry level model.

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