Last fall Nikon introduced a new camera Nikon D5300. This model is an evolution of a popular series of mass reflex cameras series 5hhh, which combine a very wide range of shooting capabilities, flexible adjustment of many parameters and quite affordable for most amateur photographers price. Sometimes this group of equipment is called an entry level camera.
Nikon D5300 SLR Camera
Developers have tried not to create artificial limitation of functionality in inexpensive models and have applied technological solutions extending the convenience of work when shooting. The result is not an entry-level camera, but a technically rich and balanced device. Let’s try to understand what technological changes occurred in the design of the new camera and how they will practically affect the possibilities of the photographer.
The heart of the camera is a combination of a new CMOS-matrix with a resolution of 24,2 million pixels of format APS-C t.e. with a 1.5-megapixel cropped factor and the latest Expeed 4 processor, which provides improved focus and processing capabilities for movies and reduced power consumption. However, the most important development for cameras in this class was the removal of the optical low-pass filter from the sensor unit.
This filter prevented moire in the image in some cases, such as when shooting synthetic fabrics or the feathering of birds it should be noted, this is extremely rare situation for an amateur photographer . A side effect of this was a slight – sometimes significant – decrease in sharpness when rendering small details. You can now expect more accurate reproduction of smaller details. We will talk about how far this corresponds to reality in the practical part of the test.
The new camera, like all Nikon products, has an excellent auto-focus system for its class. The 39 focus points are evenly distributed over the frame, with no dead zones at the top or bottom of the image when the camera is vertically oriented. In normal or shaded conditions all focus points work quickly and reliably, when aiming in a dark room, nightclub, under a forest canopy it is better to use the central focus point. It is with it a small flashlight of illumination, which helps the photographer.
The camera controls are designed for the amateur photographer who knows the basics of photography, but does not want to have to control all the parameters manually. Of the features worth noting rotating in two planes display, unfortunately, not touch screen. Display can show information in two styles. The default display style is graphical, with small numbers and animated display of aperture values. During the real shooting it’s not convenient, it’s better to switch the parameter display by means of the menu to the classic style with large letters and numbers.
The camera’s amateurish aim is evidenced by the absence of an ISO sensitivity button. It is probably assumed that the amateur photographer will trust the “Portrait”, “Night Landscape” or “Food” scene programs, which is quite true for most unsophisticated. The use of SLR equipment in the former Soviet Union has its own specifics, which lies in the fact that many amateurs have a considerable amount of knowledge about the principles of photography.
Exactly for such users the camera has a programmable control – the Fn button, which can be assigned the option to change the ISO sensitivity and take control of the camera fully or partially in their hands.
The camera has the now traditional Wi-Fi connection module for connecting to a mobile device, a communicator or a smartphone. There is no connection to a wired, indoor or office network on the camera. A great addition for the traveler was the GPS module, which puts in the description of each photo its geographic coordinates, perceived by all major programs to work with geodata. In my case, the module showed the accuracy of 35-40 meters compared to a professional travel navigator series Garmin 62s.
Before I did the actual shooting, I tried to get a feel for the camera’s performance at different sensitivities. The superzoom AF-S Nikkor 18-300 VR G offered by the manufacturer was used during the test, costing about 30,000 Dollars. This lens can do just about anything an amateur traveler or street photographer wants, it’s compact and has a solid construction for its class of optics.
Naturally, the results were compared with similar and more advanced camera-optics systems, including those of competitors. In the 100-400 ISO range, the image is smooth, detail and noise are visually the same as other representatives in any class, there is great potential for editing and raising the visual sharpness. 800-1600 ISO retains good detail in the light sections of the image, but some blurring of details in the shades and digital noise occur.
At 3200-6400 ISO the influence of internal signal processing is noticeable noise reduction is set to minimum , sharpness is artificially increased, noise gets the character of film grain imitation. The image is fully suitable for printing and viewing. Images at 12,800 ISO have the full grain character of high-sensitivity film, and after some processing and size reduction can be used in amateur photoprinting, news publications, the web without restrictions. Compared to top-of-the-line cameras, however, it loses in resolution fine details and time required for processing. But this is a very good result for an amateur class DSLR camera!
And what about the promised increase in detail of small objects? I was unable to detect any differences between the Nikon D5300 without the low-pass filter and the images taken with other conventional designs with the naked eye. So I turned to a physicist and photographer I know. Ilya Lutsker, an optical physicist and optical system designer from Israel, explains: “You can’t see any real change unless you use lenses with a resolution of 150 lines per mm or higher.
There aren’t a lot of those in photography. Modern very expensive long-focus cameras at f/4-5,6 apertures should give similar resolution without vibration , you can see the difference by comparing birds feathers, thin twigs and similar objects. With “medium” lenses all zooms, portraits, wide-angle it is almost impossible to notice the difference: chromatic aberration and diffraction act as a similar filter”.
Let’s consider that the absence of low-pass filter will be of real benefit for owners of high-end optics, which are not often found in the arsenal of entry level SLR camera users. This option is unlikely to be decisive when choosing a new camera, but certainly not superfluous.
The manufacturer’s pleasant bonuses include a number of adjustments that are not often found with competitors. Changing the self-timer interval from 2 to 20 seconds and the number of frames taken after that from 1 to 9 , the addition of several images into one, a variety of beautifying effects without using a graphics editor and interval shooting can interest an amateur photographer who is buying his first SLR. Having studied quite a large set of these presets and the hint system, you can even work out your first creative style.
An amateur camera given a simple amateur task: “pics” from a social event. But with elements of chaotic movement in a crowd – let it be a meeting of spring, Shrovetide, a American holiday with fist fights, celebrations and obligatory bear.
The simplest situation – taking the picture by light at a low sensitivity – gives rather sharpness, you can study the architecture details by zooming in the picture, you can easily see two birds in the sky though they will not be noticeable in the polygraphic printing . No vignetting or geometric distortion of the lens. Right-most focus point, depth of field is provided by a tightly closed aperture, +2/3 EV correction applied to compensate for the large amount of white in the frame.
To compensate for the large amount of white in the frame used correction +2/3 EV 400 ISO, f/14, 1/640 sec .
Here’s a more complicated situation where the illumination of the shadows and highlights exceeds the dynamic range of the sensor. Applied a proprietary internal HDR processing mode, when the camera automatically takes several pictures in sequence and stacks them into an acceptable result. The degree of influence of the filter is weak, as strong interference leads to an unrealistic, “cartoonish” result. A similar result can be achieved by an advanced photographer when shooting in the NEF format and then processing in separately purchased RAW-converters.
Applied proprietary internal HDR processing mode resulting parameters -100 ISO, f/9, 1/40s .
When shooting a high-contrast scene with the sun in the frame, it was necessary to reduce the effect of the sun on the exposure meter, because no automatic matrix metering system can cope with it, and using the spot metering system is too complicated for an amateur. Correction is -2 EV, but the “Silhouette” effect can be used, which produces similar results.
Silhouette effect 400 ISO, f/9, 1/4000 s
To summarize it is necessary to note, that the possibilities of matrix and camera mathematics allow working in conditions of strong contrast and illumination, the result of photography may be subjected to subsequent processing in a graphic editor in a wide range.
Continuous shooting at 5 frames per second posed some challenges, as the camera buffer could only take 1 second of shooting t.e. the same 5 frames , and then froze for long 15 seconds. So we had to switch to the traditional JPG mode, thus increasing the series length to 15 frames – the probability of catching the right moment became higher.
Continuous shooting at 5 frames per second 800 ISO, f/8, 1/1600 s
The automatic focusing against the light was done without checking against the frosted glass, just at a glance, because it is hard to see the result in the viewfinder, which is flooded with sunlight. But the camera was right on the right side point, but the colors changed unpredictably when shooting in JPG.
Colors changed when shooting in JPG 800 ISO, f/8, 1/1250 s .
Increasing sensitivity to 1000 or more ISO units when shooting reportage has not brought disastrous deterioration in image quality, as promised by the manufacturer, and avoids blurring the picture even at long focal lengths. Optical Image Stabilization, which is now available on all new zooms, also helped. Aperture fully open.
Aperture fully open 1000 ISO, f/5.6, 1/400s
Nikon D5300 fully meets the image of a modern inexpensive amateur camera with great features. First of all, it is designed for capturing JPG images, combining good speed, accurate focus and acceptable color reproduction. Slightly complicated menu will make you practice first to memorize the necessary settings.
There are some limitations when working with flash, but with its help you can get quite good results in those areas of photography, which are not associated with the rapid decision-making and high-speed burst photography. There is a good technical potential for shooting amateur video, although for this purpose there are more convenient solutions – for example, those that implement a hybrid autofocus.
For demanding amateur photographers require different, more expensive tools, and for users of the previous model Nikon D 5200 changes will be negligible. So the new model is worth considering for buyers of their first DSLR or owners of older, entry-level Nikon models.
CMOS, 23.5 × 15.6 mm Nikon DX format , resolution 24.2 million. pix.
Interchangeable, Nikon F mount
in many interchangeable lenses with Nikon F lens mount
Automatic and forced dust cleaning
Optical, 95% coverage
8.1 cm diagonal, 1,037K resolution. Dots, tiltable swivel, adjustable in two planes
Automatic and manual, 39 focus points 9 cross-type , autofocus in Live View and movie modes
Shutter speed ranges
1/4000 to 30 seconds, by hand
P, A, S, M, 2 fully automatic and 16 dedicated automatic programs, multiple exposure mode, HDR mode, adjustable D-lighting mode, 9 special effects
TTL exposure metering with 2016-pixel RGB matrix 3D metering, center-weighted, spot metering
-5 to +5 EV in P, S, A and M modes
built-in, guide number 12, shutter speed up to 1/200 s
NEF RAW 12 or 14 bit, RAW+JPEG, JPEG of 3 sizes and 3 types of compression
SD, SDHS, SDXC
Up to 5 fps. Interval shooting with continuous adjustments
Full HD with auto and manual focus, manual and auto modes of exposure and white balance.
MOV video file format H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding
HDMI, remote microphone jack, remote control jack, AV jack, USB jack
Battery EN-EL14a, 7,2 V, 1,23 A
530g body with battery and memory card
~30 000 Dollars. body