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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 01-Jan-13 10:56 PM
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"Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
Wed 02-Jan-13 01:13 PM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

In advance of a full review on Kickstartnews.com, here's a peek at the D5200.

My copy arrived on Monday December 31. New Year's day has turned out beautifully - cold, sunny, crisp and perfect for hitting a local trail and conservation area.



Okay, it's a bit front heavy with the large Nikkor 18-300 VRII mounted, but nobody will mistake it for anything but a Nikon.


Description

The D5200 is a mid-level consumer DSLR. Except for the rear, flip-out/reversible/vari-angle 7.5cm/3" LCD (the same 921k VGA TFT monitor Nikon has been using in all its DSLR bodies for several years), and the machined metal lens mount, the body is all-polycarbonate. It's lightweight and tough. The consumer-grade body is no better or worse than any of the competing models made by Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Sony. It will stand up to everything except rough daily use.

Controls are well-spaced so I had no trouble making adjustments during a cold weather walk in Lynde Marsh - a conservation area - while wearing winter gloves appropriate to the -6C/21.2F temperature and the -12C/10.4F wind chill. The rocker wheel has just enough positive feel to be workable with gloves. The top-mounted eV button and shutter button, the LiveView lever switch, and the single, rear command dial can all be used accurately while wearing gloves. In less frigid conditions, the controls are very easy to use. The shooting mode dial does not suffer from the easy movement issues that irritated some D7000 users. Basically, the shooting mode dial stays put and is also positioned so that errant touches, shifts and rubs can't change your setting as you draw or stow the camera.

The 24.1 megapixel sensor and the CPU process images fast. I normally shoot RAW/NEF+JPEG Fine/Large, and a SanDisk Extreme Pro 45MB/sec card is more than fast enough for even trigger-happy photographers. No lags, no freeze-ups, no waiting while shots are saved to the card. I think that as the cost of buffer memory continues to drop incrementally each and every year, Nikon and its competitors continuing adding more of it to each new camera body. That means 24.1mp images can spool to the buffer and then get saved to the SD card without interrupting your shooting even when you've set the camera to continuous/high speed and mash the shutter down for ten seconds.

The Nikkor 18-300 VRII f/3.5-5.6 zoom lens is a bit of a marvel. I'm not crazy about superzooms of this kind, mainly because of the inevitable ladles full of distortion. The thing is, Nikon bodies include a feature to auto-correct distortion in shots make with known lenses, and of course the database includes the 18-300. While some higher order correction is needed for photos made between 18-24mm adn with lots of straight lines near the frame edges, the auto-correct database can work wonders for everything else. Basically, if you're using a late model Nikon body, make sure you've updated to the latest firmware to ensure you've got the latest auto-correct database and then take edge distortion off your list of concerns for the most part.



A Winter Trail, D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VR II, slight sharpening in camera, Picture Control set to Vivid, great contrast and color out of the camera, the combination of snow and deep shadow are well handled. The shot was made in Auto mode, and white balance struggled just a bit.

Features

The shooting mode dial on the top right sets PSAM, Effects, Auto, and all the built-in Scenes. On the upper part of the back, there's a great big "I" button. Press it once for shooting or playback info, twice while in any shooting mode to call the control menu on the rear LCD. Then use the rocker pad to select different items and change them using the rear command dial - AF, metering and so on.

Manual exposure mode has one curious feature. In M, use the rear command dial to change shutter speed. Makes sense. To change aperture, you have to hold down the top-mounted eV button and then scroll to change the aperture. Had to look that one up in the manual.

The twisting, tilting, turning Vari-Angle rear LCD works well. Clarity is excellent, and visibility is good in strong sunlight from an angle but not with sunlight hitting the thing dead on. There's enough shooting and exposure information in the viewfinder to avoid any need for excess LCD use in bright sunlight anyway.

The Video record button is on the top right, situation between the shooting mode dial and the shutter button. It's easy to locate by feel. That's also true of most of the external control buttons and dials - they're all well-spaced and easy to locate by touch alone once you've learned the camera.

The 18-300 VRII has two telescoping barrels with very little play. The lens is heavy, literally overbalanced on the D5200 and is a much more natural fit on the bigger DSLR bodies including the D200 and older D2 series, D300, D300s and D7000. However, the lens offers a very solid measure of focus stabilizing weight especially shooting long while handheld. Still, as good as this implementation of VRII seems to be, to consistently nail focus on a good focus target beyond 150mm or so you need a tripod or a bean bag and a solid rest/stump/fence post/rock/partner. The lens exhibits very little flare or ghosts, and seems to be able to feed the 24.1mp D5200 sensor plenty of light.



Winter Lichen, D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VR II, slight sharpening in camera, Picture Control set to Vivid, notice the nice round background bokeh highlights although it's typically somewhat VR/IS/OS/VC busy. There was enough wind during this shot to very slightly move things.

All that considered, the sensor can handle anything you care to throw at it with even better glass. The Nikkor 17-55 f/2.8 and all the other top DX and FX glass won't outpace the D5200 sensor or processor.

The viewfinder is bright. I'm not sure what Nikon has done, but the D5200 viewfinder seems brighter than my old D300s viewfinder. I haven't done a side-by-side comparison, so the impression is entirely subjective. Nevertheless, there's no eye fatigue associated with the 'finder so I think I can use the thing all day long without the sort of tiredness I often feel when using the smaller 'finders for hours on end. The viewfinder seems identical is brightness to the D7000 (which is a good thing).

Usage

It's polycarbonate plastic. Tough it may be, but don't drop it (not that any of us actually regularly drop any of our expensive gear). The point is that as good as the sensor and CPU seem to be, the temptation for many enthusiast and even more serious photographers will be to put the D5200 into service as a birding, wildlife, landscape and all-around shooter. Good. Do it. Just be careful with it.

Speaking of birding, I did try to catch some clear, tack sharp shots of doves, chickadees and a very cooperative barn owl on my marsh walk, but there was just too much interfering brush and branches to get a decent focus lock. However, between the fast AF system and the continuous frame rate selections, the D5200 seems j-u-s-t fast enough to keep up with quite a range of moving wildlife.

As a travel camera mounted with a Nikkor 16-85 or the Nikkor 18-200 VRII, the D5200 appears to be a winner. Again, it's a consumer-grade body, so keep the thing in your bag when you're not shooting, thereby avoiding the inevitable smack against the corner of a building, bumping the thing against a fence post, and all the other grinds and bangs that always occur during moments of moving inattention.

Walking around in freezing temperatures, with wind chills hitting -12C/10.4F, the camera operated perfectly. Battery life seems excellent. I was walking and wandering in those temperatures for about 2 hours, and made about 350 shots, but the battery is still showing full.



Duck Pond, D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VR II, slight sharpening in camera, Picture Control set to Vivid. The outflow from the culverts is coming from the pond inlet on the other side of a footbridge. I like the contrast in this harsh light, especially with all the glare handled so well.

Is it a better D3200/D5100? Is it a high resolution D7000 without the size, weight or same set of external controls? I think it's the latter, which is a good thing. It's not a camera to which D3200 or even D5100 users should upgrade. They need to take a bigger jump. But for the superzoom Coolpix crowd, the D7000 or D300s (or upcoming D400/D7100) shooters looking for a lightweight backup with wonderfully detailed resolution, the D5200 is an ideal choice. The full review, including video testing, will be posted on Kickstartnews.com in the next week or so.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

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John Bertotti Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012Wed 02-Jan-13 12:59 AM
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#1. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 0


Garretson, US
          

Thanks for the sneak peek! Later Bertotti

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Wed 02-Jan-13 10:19 AM
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#2. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 1


Toronto, CA
          

You're welcome. The D5200 seems to be a very good camera. I'm still testing the 18-300 VR II to figure out if it's a either a jack of all trades but master of none, or a versatile lens that does a couple of things really well.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 03-Jan-13 08:45 PM
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#3. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 0


Toronto, CA
          

Now that I've been shooting with this combination for a few days, I'm open to any questions you've got.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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John Bertotti Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012Thu 03-Jan-13 08:53 PM
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#4. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 3


Garretson, US
          

I can't think of any off the top of my head. I'm sure those looking to buy will have some for you. I'll be interested to see how the lens fares. Other then low light abilities I am perfectly happy with my D3200 and low light really isn't that bad just wish it was FX good. You know how that goes. Thanks for the updates it's fun readi g reviews of nikons new cameras, probably more fun aging with the cameras and writing them!

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timpsm Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Sep 2010Thu 03-Jan-13 11:32 PM
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#5. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 3


Salt Spring Island, CA
          

Howard, I am looking at upgrading my daughter from a 20D (8MP) to a new Nikon body with my 18-200 on it, and I was surprised at the D5200 cost. Won't she get more camera with a D7000 @ $780 (thecamerastore.com in Calgary) than with a D5200 at or over $1k?

tim

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Fri 04-Jan-13 12:17 AM
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#6. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 5


Toronto, CA
          

The D5200 is most likely coming into North America at well under $900. It's a superb consumer camera. But the D7000 is a more advanced camera in many respects - a true enthusiast body - and it's being heavily discounted everywhere in anticipation of a replacement (which I've been predicting won't show up until April or May). The D7000 body is now under $800. It's the best choice for anyone looking for an advanced DSLR.

My Nikonians Gallery

Howard Carson, Managing Editor
Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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Toby01 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Nov 2012Fri 04-Jan-13 06:16 PM
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#7. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 6


El Sobrante, US
          

Hi, Howard.

Have you had a chance to assess the high-ISO capabilities of the D5200 yet? Since it supposedly has a different sensor from the D3200, I'm interested in its noise levels compared to the outgoing D5100. Thanks.

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John Bertotti Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012Fri 04-Jan-13 06:49 PM
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#8. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 7


Garretson, US
          

Check out the review by Saf on YouTube he did some ISO shots.

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Fri 04-Jan-13 07:10 PM
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#9. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 7


Toronto, CA
          

I'll post a couple of high ISO test shots as soon as possible. Initial impression is that the D5200, in good light, can produce very good results up to ISO3200. To me that means, shutter speeds can be increased to freeze action in many situations without a noise penalty. Test shots are coming.

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timpsm Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Sep 2010Sat 05-Jan-13 03:20 AM
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#10. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 6


Salt Spring Island, CA
          

> at well under $900.

That's a better price, didn't know that. I like the advanced features of the D7000, but that is more my style than hers. The D5200 may be a better balance between picture excellence and camera complexity for her.

I think I'll hold off and we'll try the D5200. If it doesn't feel right in her hands then the worst case is buying a nearly new D7000 from someone upgrading to the D4/800/e/600/7200/400/9000.

Thanks Howard.

tim

  

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mrginhop Silver Member Nikonian since 29th Mar 2009Tue 08-Jan-13 03:11 AM
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#11. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 6


Newfields, US
          

With a newer AFS & 24 MP on the D5200 why would the aging D7000 be a better choice? What would you lose vs a D7000. Also D5200 body only at Adorama is $799.00

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timpsm Silver Member Nikonian since 17th Sep 2010Tue 08-Jan-13 06:02 AM
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#12. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 11


Salt Spring Island, CA
          

With price equal I'd look to the D7000 for features that help me take pictures faster/better.

Each shooter is different I expect, but I know I regularly get benefits from having: 100% viewfinder, dual mode dials, top display, bracket button, DOF preview button. The D7000 body would let me work quicker and having 24MP won't help if I have missed the shot.

For some I expect the dual card slots and the focus motor for older lens will be very big advantages as well.

tim

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 08-Jan-13 01:24 PM
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#13. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 12


Toronto, CA
          

. . . not to mention better a tougher build and some weather sealing.

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Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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jbayston Registered since 30th Dec 2012Sun 13-Jan-13 05:34 PM
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#27. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 12


GB
          

I think the main advantage of the D5200 is the video capability. That, after all is its main purpose. Nikon declined to give it an internal motor, or DoF because that would make it too much like a d7000. It is the middle entry DSLR - better than the D3200 because of its video and articulated screen, not as good as the D7xx in terms of stills. It is pitched at those who want a decent camera to shoot stills and video and who are excited by big files. Nothing wrng with any of that, but I think the days of revolutionary cameras in the DSLR filed are over. CSC is where the innovtion is at the moment.

  

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eladams629 Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Jan 2012Tue 08-Jan-13 06:45 PM
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#14. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 0


Bronx, US
          

Sounds like a nice camera. But WHY NOT FULL FRAME? That was my only disappointment, so far.

E. L. Adams

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Wed 09-Jan-13 03:17 AM
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#15. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 14


Toronto, CA
          

>Sounds like a nice camera. But WHY NOT FULL FRAME?

Because it's the latest model in a DX/APS-C model line. Or are you hoping to see an entry-level full frame body?

My Nikonians Gallery

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Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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eladams629 Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Jan 2012Wed 09-Jan-13 09:07 PM
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#16. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 15


Bronx, US
          

>>Sounds like a nice camera. But WHY NOT FULL FRAME?
>
>Because it's the latest model in a DX/APS-C model line. Or are
>you hoping to see an entry-level full frame body?

Entry-level full frame body? No. Not really. For all the "bells and whistles," I just thought it might be better suited to a full frame camera.

E. L. Adams

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pjonesCET Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Jul 2011Thu 10-Jan-13 02:01 PM
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#17. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 0


Martinsville, US
          

On your test pictures I notice there seems to be a Blue cast to the pictures. Is That the actual light you saw or was the camera's color balance off.

Phillip M Jones, CET
pjonescet@comcast.net
http://www.phillipmjones.net/

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/pjonescet/

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 10-Jan-13 02:27 PM
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#18. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 17
Thu 10-Jan-13 02:29 PM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

There is plenty of blue in all three shots. The water and snow were reflecting a clear, very blue sky. A bit of +eV would have helped, but I was shooting in full Auto mode and in the Sand/Snow scene mode to see how well the exposure programmers had coped with these very high contrast, outdoor conditions. The NEF/RAW files clean up perfectly, without any noticeable blue cast at all. All in all so far, the D5200 WB seems to work quite well.

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Kickstartnews Inc. - http://www.kickstartnews.com

  

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pjonesCET Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Jul 2011Thu 10-Jan-13 02:57 PM
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#19. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 18
Thu 10-Jan-13 02:59 PM by pjonesCET

Martinsville, US
          

Just for kicks I save both photos to desktop and used an application called GraphicConverter The picture of the tree I was able to change where the tree was more natural and would have looked as it should have even the Lichen on the tree was a natural color. I don't intend to keep the photos just more or less to see if they could be improved. The ones with the ducks, the Blue shadows are still there but the water is more natural as are Ducks.





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Attachment #1, (jpg file)
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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Thu 10-Jan-13 04:09 PM
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#20. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 19


Toronto, CA
          

Thanks of course. Always good to experiment. But they are just throwaway shots - don't waste any of your time on them. I review dozens of cameras and lenses every year and end up with thousands of these sorts of shots which all end up in the recycle bin.

Working from JPG files of this kind is an useful editing/processing exercise I suppose. I'd send you the NEF files if I hadn't already dumped them.

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pjonesCET Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Jul 2011Fri 11-Jan-13 09:30 PM
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#22. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 20


Martinsville, US
          

I like to experiment. Guess its my background in Electronics repair showing. So I only intended to as shown.

Anyway I am concentrating on my new 3200.

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Fri 11-Jan-13 10:15 PM
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#23. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 22


Toronto, CA
          

>I like to experiment. Guess its my background in Electronics
>repair showing. So I only intended to as shown.

Never stop tinkering!

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John Bertotti Silver Member Nikonian since 01st Jul 2012Fri 11-Jan-13 10:40 PM
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#24. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 22


Garretson, US
          

Finally got you a D3200! Most excellent! How do you like it so far? Well maybe that's a question for another thread. But then again D3200 and D5200 are the latest greatest in the entry level. I don't know how much better if at all the d5200 pictures will be but it does have some added controls. At one time I thought I would upgrade as soon as a camera with this kind of resution came out because of those added controls. Oddly I don't miss them. I have been treating the camera le an old K1000. Learning loads and a since I have learned enough to shoot in raw I do t miss the extra controls. Flash commander mode would be nice some more and better hi ISO, stuff we always want, and I don't know if the 5200 has either of those. In the end I figure the 5200 wasn't a big enough increase in capabilities I want to justify a change in bodies. I think anyone using either will get great images! I did notice that I had to improve my technique to maintain a similar level of hand holding competency. Can I assume like with the d800 and d600 this is because of the great Mp/ pixel density? Anyway enjoy!

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pjonesCET Gold Member Nikonian since 11th Jul 2011Sat 12-Jan-13 10:57 PM
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#25. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 24


Martinsville, US
          

I like it except for one thing.
in my 3000 the Info display comes on when you turn camera on once you made your adjustments you take picture and after the picture just taken is displayed, it returns to the info screen.

On the 3200 after the picture is reviewed the display goes to black in order to turn it on you have to press shutter button on one of the info button. but it doesn't stay on long enough to to make any adjustments between shots it come on and almost immediately goes off.

I another thread several others have said apparently that the way Nikon set it up. The info screen is not very useful now

Otherwise it take great pictures.

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Sun 13-Jan-13 02:31 AM
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#26. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 25
Sun 13-Jan-13 02:33 AM by agitater

Toronto, CA
          

>I like it except for one thing.
>in my 3000 the Info display comes on when you turn camera on
>once you made your adjustments you take picture and after the
>picture just taken is displayed, it returns to the info
>screen.
>
>On the 3200 after the picture is reviewed the display goes to
>black in order to turn it on you have to press shutter button
>on one of the info button. but it doesn't stay on long enough
>to to make any adjustments between shots it come on and almost
>immediately goes off.
>
>I another thread several others have said apparently that the
>way Nikon set it up. The info screen is not very useful now

Download the full user manual and read page 140 - Auto Off Timers.

Press the menu button, go to the Settings menu, scroll down to Auto Off Timers, then adjust the auto off time for the items you're concerned about. The maximum auto off setting is either 20 seconds or 1 minute depending on the function.

We're way off topic here. Can we please stick to the D5200 in this thread.

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 01-Mar-13 05:12 PM
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#33. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 24


New HArtford, US
          

I did notice that I
>had to improve my technique to maintain a similar level of
>hand holding competency. Can I assume like with the d800 and
>d600 this is because of the great Mp/ pixel density? Anyway
>enjoy!

The d600 has less MP density then my 12MP d500. The D800 has similar MP density to the 16 MP d7000 and significantly less than the d5200/3200

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Fri 01-Mar-13 06:09 PM
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#35. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 33


Toronto, CA
          


>The d600 has less MP density then my 12MP d500. The D800 has
>similar MP density to the 16 MP d7000 and significantly less
>than the d5200/3200

I assume you mean the D50. I don't think the D600 comparsion is accurate. The D600 pixel density is 2.83mp/sq cm. The D50 is 1.65mp/sq cm. OTOH, if there's a D500 out there, I want to know about it!

I think you're basically right about the D800 vs D7000 though. The D800 is 4.22mp/sq cm and the D7000 is 4.39mp/sq cm. That tells me why the sloppiness I eliminated from my handhold technique along with a generally faster shutter speed setting when using the D7000 works perfectly for the D800 too.

All the Nikon 24mp APS-C bodies naturally have the same pixel density of 6.59mp/sq cm. It also explains why, at 24mp on an FX sensor, the D600 is a forgiving performer for a lot of photographers. Seems as though 24mp on FX is an ideal combination of resolution and handholdability (I don't think that's a real word).

Compare all sorts of camera specs at the Digital Camera Database.

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JohnE Nikon Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Jun 2010Fri 01-Mar-13 06:28 PM
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#36. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 35


New HArtford, US
          

I meant D5000. Sorry.

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cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2012Fri 11-Jan-13 03:21 AM
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#21. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 18


HIXSON, US
          

>There is plenty of blue in all three shots. The water and
>snow were reflecting a clear, very blue sky. A bit of +eV
>would have helped, but I was shooting in full Auto mode and in
>the Sand/Snow scene mode to see how well the exposure
>programmers had coped with these very high contrast, outdoor
>conditions. The NEF/RAW files clean up perfectly, without any
>noticeable blue cast at all. All in all so far, the D5200 WB
>seems to work quite well.

>>"full Auto mode"<<

I was having some difficulty understanding some of your comments otherwise. I spent a summer shooting with the D5100. Since video requires using Aperture Priority & I was intermittently shooting stills & video, I majored on shooting Aperture mode. It's a little clumsy, but learnable.

Then last year, I bought a D7000. The D7000 will be easier to use with "manual" lenses. Beyond that, the menu, and physical controls are far better on the D7000. If I have to shoot some serious stuff, I'd use the D7000 everytime. In fact, I would use my D300 over the D5100, unless I wanted to shoot video.

As far as the 18-300mm VRII, I have been very disappointed. Way too soft @ 300mm which is what I bought it for. My 70-300VR was much sharper, but doesn't have the range I need for Track.

Charlie

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Sun 20-Jan-13 04:25 AM
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#28. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 21


Toronto, CA
          

>As far as the 18-300mm VRII, I have been very disappointed.
>Way too soft @ 300mm which is what I bought it for. My
>70-300VR was much sharper, but doesn't have the range I need
>for Track.

I'm finding the 18-300 VRII quite sharp across a large part of the image circle. Outer edges are softer than the middle at almost every focal length, but that comparative softness is still acceptably sharp.

If you want to see something alarming, turn off the Auto Distortion Control in the Camera menu. That reveals the complex edge distortion at 18-22mm or so and at 250-300mm or so, with in-between focal lengths reasonably well controlled. Without auto distortion control in the camera, the lens would be a real dog for many photographers. ADC is not perfect, but it turns otherwise alarming edge distortion into something either barely noticeable or entirely invisible.

As for overall sharpness in real world shooting, the fact that it's effectively a superzoom means that (VR notwithstanding) photographers have to ensure their handheld and tripod techniques are solid. VR hover, as seen through the viewfinder, can ruin a photographer's technique. I watched a research assistant try the lens in my offices. Mounted on the D5200 and then on a D7000, the research assistant complained that the lens seemed to be backfocusing. So I watched her doing a couple of handheld test shots. What was happening is that she would quiet herself, aim, half-press to lock focus, then almost imperceptibly lean forward just before fully pressing the shutter button. Obviously, she was shifting position while in AF-S mode. I watched her do the exact same almost imperceptible position shift/lean while testing in AF-C, and while doing a focus reaquisition half-press/lift/half-press/release type of action.

I caught myself using shutter speeds of 1/60s while shooting longer than 200mm. Bad practice that is. Basically, VRII is not magic and if anything else in a shooting situation is slightly off (wind gust, unbalanced handheld shooting position, poor grip/hand position on the camera and lens, etc.), the resulting photo will look soft more often than not. I'm just saying that the 18-300 VRII needs regular use and attention to technique in order to produce good-to-excellent shots.

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Toby01 Silver Member Nikonian since 19th Nov 2012Tue 22-Jan-13 06:04 PM
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#29. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 28


El Sobrante, US
          

Hi, Howard.

Have you had a chance to shoot any high-ISO tests yet? Also, when do you expect to post the full reviews on kickstartnews? Thanks.

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Tue 22-Jan-13 06:42 PM
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#30. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 29


Toronto, CA
          

Using NEF files, high ISO shots look great up to 1600, good - after luminance noise reduction - above 1600 and up to 3200 for screen and in prints. Beyond that, everything falls apart. The camera is working well therefore and exactly as designed. That's all with a shutter speed of 1/60 or faster. Drop the shutter speed below that and excessive noise starts showing up below 3200. Drop the shutter speed below 1/2s and things get terribly noisy at 1600. So the D5200 is no different from all digital cameras in that really high ISO works best at the fastest possible shutter speed at max aperture of the lens for a given focal length.

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sde Registered since 01st Mar 2013Fri 01-Mar-13 03:03 PM
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#31. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 30
Fri 01-Mar-13 03:09 PM by sde

US
          

Sorry for duplicate post. Please see below.

  

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cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2012Sat 02-Mar-13 12:50 AM
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#37. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 28


HIXSON, US
          

>If you want to see something alarming, turn off the Auto
>Distortion Control in the Camera menu. That reveals the
>complex edge distortion at 18-22mm or so and at 250-300mm or
>so, with in-between focal lengths reasonably well controlled.
>Without auto distortion control in the camera, the lens would
>be a real dog for many photographers. ADC is not perfect, but
>it turns otherwise alarming edge distortion into something
>either barely noticeable or entirely invisible.

I wish that distortion was the only thing that I had to worry about with my 18-300. It really hasn't been sharp enough for me to worry about distortion. I shoot the same scene with my 70-300 & it is much sharper. Since you are looking at results on a D5200, I may try my D5100.

>As for overall sharpness in real world shooting, the fact that
>it's effectively a superzoom means that (VR notwithstanding)
>photographers have to ensure their handheld and tripod
>techniques are solid. VR hover, as seen through the
>viewfinder, can ruin a photographer's technique. I watched a
>research assistant try the lens in my offices. Mounted on the
>D5200 and then on a D7000, the research assistant complained
>that the lens seemed to be backfocusing. So I watched her
>doing a couple of handheld test shots. What was happening is
>that she would quiet herself, aim, half-press to lock focus,
>then almost imperceptibly lean forward just before fully
>pressing the shutter button. Obviously, she was shifting
>position while in AF-S mode. I watched her do the exact same
>almost imperceptible position shift/lean while testing in
>AF-C, and while doing a focus reaquisition
>half-press/lift/half-press/release type of action.

I would be interested if she uses the same technique with other lenses, and gets the same results.

Pretty sure that my D7000 isn't helping all that much. It's going to the service center this week. It is back focusing, albeit a small amount. A small amount can make a difference in the leaf or a blossom being in focus. But I get the same soft photos on my D300 with the 18-300.

There has to be a reason that Nikon is selling them for 30% off during the rebate period. When I get my D7000 back, I will do some bench testing. I do so want this lens to be a keeper for this track season.

Charlie

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cwils02 Gold Member Nikonian since 19th Apr 2012Sat 02-Mar-13 01:50 AM
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#38. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 28


HIXSON, US
          

Howard,

One thing that I forgot to ask about ADC. Is it better to use ADC or lens corrections in software such as DxO Optics, Lightroom, etc.??

Also, what would be the affect if I use ADC & then use lens correction in LR? Currently using Lr4.3. Probably will pass on Lr 4.4RC.

Charlie

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sde Registered since 01st Mar 2013Fri 01-Mar-13 03:06 PM
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#32. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Thanks for the review. I am planning to buy the exact same combination of body and lens. I have heard that the 18-300mm lens cast shadows for certain camera models if the built-in flash is used. Is that true? If it is true, at what focal length it is evident? Can someone please upload a few pictures of how bad it is.

Thanks in advance.

  

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agitater Gold Member Nikonian since 18th Jan 2007Fri 01-Mar-13 05:44 PM
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#34. "RE: Nikon D5200 + Nikkor 18-300 VRII Review"
In response to Reply # 32


Toronto, CA
          

It's a large, physically long lens (with hood) mounted on a small camera. The built-in flash does not extend high enough for it's spread to clear the hood for shots from 18-50mm or so. I didn't test specifically for the problem. Any shadow of that nature is intrusive and distracting.

The built-in flash on any camera has usage limits. It won't generate shadow when using the 18-55 or 18-105 kit lenses because those lenses are physically long enough to interfere with the spread of the flash. The 18-300 is a physically imposing lens. Don't know about the somewhat smaller/shorter 18-200.

A speedlight mounted in the hot shoe will also throw a shadow that can be seen in image at short focal lengths. If possible get your speedlight off the camera for serious work, and eliminate the problem altogether at any focal length.

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