D5300 Review

D5300 Review in bullets.

Some points are vs D5200 some are just important points. Sample images and video below.

D5300 Pros

  • The body is redesigned - smaller than the D5200 and feels better in the hand
  • Large vibrant 3.2" articulated screen is lovely
  • Excellent sensor and processor- best image quality at this price point- images are sharp(with a good lens) and high ISO files are clean and usable up to ISO 4000, maybe even 6400 if you are careful and or apply a little post processing
  • On auto this camera take some of the best photos - consistently turns out nicely exposed images even when popup flash is used.  Downside - Nikon tends to have a slight greenish cast to many indoor(under artificial light) images - can be corrected in post easily or adjust WB but default setting is a little greener than I like
  • No AA filter or Optical Low Pass Filter means the images are sharp. Image are sharper than the D5200 but not a huge difference.
  • Speedy! I found the D5200 to hesitate at times and occasionally be slow to operate - none of that is present in the D5300 - focus is fast, general camera operations are snappy and it has a buffer that lets you fire off a stack of JPEGS and RAW - in some cases it can even shoot more images in a 10 second period than the D7100!
  • 14 Bit RAW files as an option gives you increased post processing latitude - they are big and slow the camera down but if you want to have the greatest latitude in post processing it is nice to be able to shoot in 14-bit.
  • Packed full of fun/amateur features including selective color, miniature effect (makes neat movies too)
  • Better battery life vs D5200 unless you turn on the GPS and select settings that make the GPS useful

D5300 Cons

  • Weak GPS - needs A-GPS file from Nikon to work better, annoying hassle and if you turn off GPS sleep timer so that ALL photos will be tagged your battery life is going to be significantly shorter and you run the risk of forgetting it is on there and a few hours later picking up a camera with a dead battery.
  • Wifi is limited - you can stream live view, take a photo and download photos - no control over the camera other than pressing the shutter button.  Not able to start or stop video with the WiFi.
  • Live view aperture block/exposure simulation hassle - Being able to control aperture is tied to manual movie settings and then that blocks shutter speed changes - watch my review to see this illustrated.
  • Live view focus is about the same as earlier models - still has that in and out as it grabs focus- lenses make noise on board mic can pickup. Nothing like the 70D video focus and even T5i is still smoother and silent with STM lenses.

Final Thoughts on the Nikon D5300

Overall- at this price point no other sensor matches this camera for pure sharpness and low light capabilities.Pair it with something like the Sigma 18-35 or just the Nikon 35mm f/1.8 prime and you will have an amazing photo machine that excels in lower light, I mean like dark alley photos at midnight.  It is being sold with 18-140 lens which I have found to be decent and convenient but not an amazing difference from the Nikon 18-105. Please don’t but this camera with the Nikon 18-55. I didn't’t think it was being sold with the 18-55 but heard from someone that picked up a bundle from a big box store - the 18-55 cannot resolve at the level of the sensor - You will have better results shooting through coke bottle glasses.

D5300 vs D5200:

Is the D5300 worth the extra cost over the D5200?

Yes. There is enough of a performance and quality increase over the D5200 to warrant paying the difference about $150. And you get the Wifi which limited is a nice feature for on the go sharing, you get a better battery and slightly smaller and lighter camera.

Is it worth it to upgrade?

It is very rarely a good investment to move up one body.  Despite all the PROs and the noticeable improvement in sharpness and high ISO quality you will have better results spending upgrade money on a new lens or two. These lenses will likely move with you to future bodies and be a better overall investment.  This is often where I encourage people who feel they have outgrown their camera to consider the next model line, like the D7100 but honestly in this case the D7100 doesn't offer much over the D5300.

D5300 vs Canon T5i(700d)

I found the T5i easy to recommend over the D5200, the D5200 offered slightly better image quality versus the T5i(700d) but was sluggish and quirky.  That image quality gap has widened noticeably with the D5300 and now that it offers responsive performance it becomes harder to recommend the T5i.  The D5300 still has that aperture live view annoyance and doesn't offer silent lenses for video but depending on your needs you may not care and on Auto mode for photos Nikon images look better to me 8/10 times. In video it is much closer - I like the look of the Canon files but this is more a personal opinion.

D5300 vs Canon 70D

A little unfair as we are matching what is basically an entry level model from Nikon against a prosumer model from Canon.  But prices are similar and image quality is very similar.  I give the Canon an edge in most use cases - the live view focus and video system of the Canon is amazing, after 3 months of use I absolutely love the 70D and for sports, video it just does an amazing job at the price point.  But it is bigger and it does cost more. The D5300 image quality is similar until you get up above ISO 4000 and then the D5300 files look a little better to me.Additional Videos -GPS & WiFi with Nikon D5300D5300 with 18-140 vs 18-105 ReviewD5300 with 18-140 and 18-150 Sample ImagesD5300 High ISO sample VideoMore Sample D5300 ImagesWhich camera is best for you?  Leave me a message on my Facebook page - tell me what is important to you and I can suggest which camera I think would be a best fit.If you want easy to use and excellent image quality the D5300 paired with the 18-140 is an excellent choice.If you want the absolute best performance out of this camera add something like the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8Additional Nikon Lens recommended for the Nikon D5300 and Best Budget Macro for Nikon DX cameras - Nikon 40mm F/2.8Buy the Nikon D5300 with 18-140 from Amazon  Buy from B&H(Includes freebies) Your purchase support this website and my work.