If you decided to get into photography and want to buy your first budget DSLR, then D5300 might be one of the best investments you’ll make. However, it’s NOT for you if video shooting is your primary goal.
Reasons to get this entry-level DSLR:
costs less than $500,
has WiFi and GPS functions built-in,
comes with a fully articulating LCD screen,
… just to name a few.
Here is the truth:
In terms of functionality, it’s just one step behind the D7100, only smaller and weighs less. And when it comes to image quality, Nikon D5300 won’t disappoint.
no more anti-aliasing filter, just like in D800E and D7100
built-in WiFi and GPS
video recording in 1080 60p/30p
timer control button moved to another location
the updated 18-55 VR II kit lens
the screen became larger, can now view horizontal photos in full screen (see image below)
The screen on D5300 is slightly larger, 3,2″ (720 x 480 resolution) compared to D5200’s 3″ screen.
To an average person, this difference isn’t noticeable, however this is what allowed for the 3:2 aspect ratio to happen. Simply speaking, this allows to “stretch” the image on the whole screen.
(What’s not clear to me is why this couldn’t be done earlier.)
In this sense, viewing horizontal photographs has become much more convenient. (As seen in the comparison image earlier).
And of course, just like it’s predecessors (D5000/D5100/D5200), the Nikon D5300 also has a tilting screen.
This will help you shoot videos and macro photography conveniently (without bending yourself in funny positions).
Wi-Fi Connection & How It Helps (Example)
You can sync it with your smartphone via WiFi without any problems.
To do this, you just need to install the program Wireless Mobile Utility on your Android or iOS device (and is free and very easy to use).
You can view photos that are on the camera and download the photos you want to a smartphone or tablet.
Now it’s convenient to take pictures with long exposure when it is in Bulb mode, there is no need to buy additional devices like remote control or Triggertrap (which is out of business now, by the way).
Note on how to do that:
Put it in Manual (M) mode and roll the wheel until it shows “Bulb” on the display. Press and hold the shutter button for the desired length of time.
Someone once told me how he used the remote control function using Wi-Fi.
Basically he was on abeach vacationsomewhere in the US, where crowds of crabs would crawl ashore, but upon seeing people they would hide back in the water.
He installed the gear on a tripod, waited for the crabs to get out of the water and remotely photographed a lot interesting frames of these sea creatures.
Another pretty useful feature in D5300 is the GPS module.
With GPS, you can tie your images to a specific place. The location data will be spelled out in exif and you can easily determine where exactly you took a particular photo.
Most people I know do care about having this feature.
Location especially matters if you’re one of the landscape photographers.
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A Few Words About D5300 Sensor and ISO
It has a 24 MP sensor, so the number of megapixels doesn’t differ from the one on the D5200.
Due to the new Nikon sensor, the D5300 can use the ISO range from 100 to 12,800 units and extend it to the Hi1 value (equivalent to 25,600).
Compare it with its predecessor, Nikon D5200, which uses ISO from 100 to 6400 units and extend it to the value of Hi2 (equivalent to 25.600).
By the way, the Nikon D5300 became the first Nikon DX sensor that can use real ISO 12.800 (and not the advanced ‘Hi’ modes).
Judging by this indicator, the D5300 (and D3300) outperform the Nikon D7100. Also, there are serious suspicions that the Nikon D7100 uses the same sensor as the Nikon D5300, but because of the older processor it can’t use ISO 12,800.
Funny, but all three:
… use the maximum ISO threshold of 25,600 and still can’t get any higher.
Generally speaking, when it comes to ISO there is a significant improvement in a sense that the noise has become smaller at greater ISO.
Now you can safely use ISO 6400 and not be afraid of possible losses of quality.
Even the photos at a maximum ISO of 12,800 and Hi-1 (ISO 25,600) look quite decent.
One more thing to mention, the sensor on the D5300 without an anti-aliasing filter, like on the D800E and D7100, so the image is extremely sharp.
If the image is not sharp, then you are doing something wrong.
Nikon D5300 Lens Compatibility
Now what about lens compatibility and Nikon D5300 kit lens?
Well, nothing has changed.
It is compatible with all Nikon lenses released from the 60s.
However, the autofocus will only work with the new AF-S and old AF-I contact lenses (with the motor).
The good news is that the majority of the lenses are with the integrated autofocus motor and the old AF lenses are almost completely replaced by the new AF-S ones, so I doubt you will have any problems.
A word on kit lenses.
Kit version is what I recommend buying if it’s your first DSLR.
In the beginning, you don’t need a lot of lenses, and a standard kit lens covers 150% of the need for your creativity.
When you have more experience in photography and will know what you like photographing the most, then you can buy that lens that will best suit your needs.
The D5300 comes in two versions, with an updated 18-55 VR lens and a new 18-140 VR kit lens.
The difference in price will be about $200, which is quite significant, so I’d recommend buying the Nikon D5300 18-55mm kit lens (on Amazon).
Other Features Worth Mentioning
1) Burst Rate
The rate of burst is no different from the D5200, however having 5 frames per second is a very good indicator, especially for a budget camera (and it is only slightly different from semi-professional models like D7100/D610).
This shooting speed is more than enough for photographing children, landscapes and even wedding photography.
2) Auto Distortion Control
Works amazingly well.
This function is enabled by default, but if you accidentally turned it off, here is how to turn it on:
I’d have this feature always turned on. It works when you shoot in JPEG.
Basically, in this mode, the DSLR tries not to light out the bright areas, and at the same time not lose the dark ones.
This happens by processing the frame at the conversion stage from RAW to JPEG right within the camera, but of course in difficult situations only the HDR mode will save.
4) HDR Mode – And How Does It Differ from ADR?
The difference is that the ADR turns a RAW frame into JPEG, trying to keep the details in both shadows and light areas.
HDR mode does roughly the same, but uses both frames with different exposures. Once you press the button, the camera in HDR mode makes two frames and then glues both together.
Naturally, this requires that the DSLR doesn’t move, otherwise you will smudge the frame.
5) Interval Mode
Interval time shooting is the ideal thing for photographing lightning and fireworks.
You set the number of frames and the interval between them, press the start and rest back. Everything else it does by itself.
6) Video Shooting
D5300 has a great articulated screen and a stereo microphone, so technically it should work fine for video shooting. However, if video is your primary goal and you want to do it professionally, then I would suggest finding another (better) option.
When D5300 came out, its video capabilities were probably great but in 2021, there’s a very high standard. And that’s why I don’t recommend it for video content creators.
It has an excellent built-in TTL flash, but it still doesn’t know how to control external flashes, as do the D7100/D610.
D5300 also lacks the ability to FP-sync, so you have to take pictures with a minimal shutter speed (with the flash turned on) in 1/200 seconds.
If you plan to often shoot in the street with a flash, you should think about the ND-filter. And if you want to control external flashes you need to read about the ways to control your flash.
8) Memory Card
It is necessary to purchase a regular SD memory card separately.
SD card is much more convenient than the CF because a slot for an SD card is available on almost every laptop and many tablets.
This is especially relevant if you forgot your USB cord at home.
Personally, I hate having too many cords, so I find this option super useful.
9) Battery Life
The battery is larger, 1230 mAh versus 1030mAh on the D5200, and it’s not surprising, because now with the included WiFi and GPS, the camera wouldn’t “live” as long.
In practice, it feels like Wi-Fi is eating up the battery, but if you don’t use it for too long, then you can easily shoot more than 1000 frames, and the battery will live longer too.
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Founder & content creator at Digital World Beauty. My main objective here is to create a valuable resource for photography enthusiasts with honest tech reviews, course recommendations, and how-to tutorials.