Nikon D5300 in 2018: Still An Awesome Option For a First DSLR (Review + Samples)

Nikon D5300 in 2018 (Review). An Awesome Camera for a First DSLR.


One of the questions I often hear people ask is: “Is it worth buying Nikon D5300 in 2018?”

If yes, then what’s so “yummy” about it? Let’s figure this out in this Nikon D5300 review.


Let me start off by saying that if you decided to try yourself in photography and are ready to purchase your first budget SLR camera, then D5300 might be one of the best purchases you’d make.

Here is the truth:

  • When it comes to image quality, Nikon D5300 by no means is inferior to the expensive full-frame cameras;
  • And in terms of functionality, it’s only one step behind the D7100, only smaller and weighs less.

Generally speaking, this is another great SLR camera from Nikon with an updated tilting screen and Wi-Fi adapter.

The ability to connect your smartphone with a camera through Wi-Fi without additional accessories might not be a big deal, but in my opinion it was a huge step forward to new opportunities in photography.

And a tilting screen is a feature that practically everyone will love.

Anyway, this post won’t only include a boring set of features that the camera has.

  • You can watch a video review,
  • You’ll learn how to set up your Nikon D5300,
  • A few lens recommendations based on whatever photography genre you’re into,
  • And a few photo samples so you can judge this DSLR for yourself.

Now, let’s have a warm up with a video review.


Nikon D5300 Video Review (Still Great in 2018)


Here is what Damien Brown has to say about this camera (with samples):


What has changed in comparison with the D5200


  • at high ISO was an order of magnitude less noise
  • 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
  • updated 18-55 VR II kit lens
  • the screen became larger, can now view horizontal photos in full screen (see image below)

Nikon D5300 review and why D5300 in 2018 still a good purchase


What you might like about Nikon D5300


  • articulated LCD screen
  • little noise at high ISO, practically leveling out the difference in noise with FX cameras
  • the ability to sync the camera with a smartphone
  • control the camera through a smartphone without any additional devices
  • marking photos that will be automatically transferred to the phone during syncing
  • viewing horizontal photos on a new screen became more convenient

What you might not like about Nikon D5300


  • high price compared to D5200
  • the built-in flash does not have a Command mode, also no Auto FP mode


Is Nikon D5300 worth buying in 2018? Nikon D5300 review


How to Set Up Nikon D5300?
Use the Following Camera Settings


Shooting Menu

  • Auto Distortion Control ON
  • Active D-Lighting Auto
  • ISO sensitivity settings, Auto ISO ON, minimum shutter speed – Auto
  • Release mode Continuous H

Custom Setting Menu

  • a1 AF-C priority selection Release
  • a2 number of focus points AF39
  • a3 build-in AF-assist illumination OFF
  • d1 Beep OFF
  • d3 ISO display ON
  • d4 File number sequence ON
  • f1 Assign Fn button HDR

Setup Menu

  • Auto info display OFF


D5200 vs D5300 Display – What Has Changed?


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 and How It Helps (With An Example)


Now you can sync the camera 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).

This way:

1) You can view photos that are on the camera and download the photos you want to a smartphone or tablet.

2) Now it’s convenient to take pictures with long exposure when the camera 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.

Nikon D5300 Review and It's Capabilities. Still Worth Buying in 2018

One friend told me how he used the remote control function of the camera using Wi-Fi.

Basically he was on a beach vacation somewhere in the USA, where crowds of crabs would crawl ashore, but upon seeing people they would hide back in the water.

So, he installed the camera on a tripod, waited for the crabs to get out of the water and remotely photographed a lot interesting frames of these sea creatures.


GPS – Know Your Location with Nikon D5300


Another pretty useful feature in D5300 is GPS.

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 camera having this feature.

Location especially matters if you’re one of the landscape photographers.


Now, A Few Words About D5300 Sensor and ISO


The camera 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 camera that can use real ISO 12.800 (and not the advanced ‘Hi’ modes).

Note: 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 cameras – D5100, D5200, D5300 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 expose the ISO border at 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 review and kit lens samples
18.0-55.0 mm f/3.5-5.6 (kit lens) · 35.0mm · ƒ/5.0 · 1/100s · ISO 1250

Lens Compatibility and Nikon D5300 Kit Lenses


Nothing has changed.

The camera 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.

Now, a word about kit lenses.

Kit version is exactly what we recommend buying if it’s your first DSLR camera.

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 we recommend buying the Nikon D5300 18-55mm kit lens.


A Few Other Features Worth Mentioning


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.


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:

  • Menu> Shooting Menu> Auto distortion control> On.

It helps a little to correct the distortion of your lens, especially true for wide-angle lenses that you’ll likely use to capture the beauty of an immense landscape.


Auto ADR (Active D-Lighting)

I’d have this feature always turned on. It works when you shoot in JPEG.

Basically, in this mode, the camera 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.


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 camera does not move, otherwise you will smudge the frame.

Nikon D5300 review and photo samples: cityscapes, architecture, street, night photography
18.0mm · ƒ/18.0 · 100/10s · ISO 100

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 the camera does by itself.


Video Shooting

D5300 is directly designed for shooting video, because has a gorgeous articulated screen and a stereo microphone.

Personally, I rarely shoot videos, however, everything goes well for people who do this professionally.


Camera Flash

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.


Memory Card

It is necessary to purchase a regular SD memory card, as the camera doesn’t come with it.

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.


Battery Life

The battery in the camera has become larger, 1230 mAh versus 1030mAh on the D5200, and it’s not surprising, because now with the included WiFi and GPS, the camera won’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.


Lens Recommendations for Nikon D5300


If this is your first DSLR, then it’s best to buy it with an 18-55VR kit lens.

It is also recommended you pay attention to the following lenses:

  • Tokina 12-28mm f/4
  • Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (with motor!) or
  • Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5

In case you do not have enough versatility, it’s worth buying 18-200VR, which is also the best lens in travel.

For those who like to shoot with a telephoto lens, go with 55-200VR or 55-300VR.

Passionate fans of the macro photography need to take the 105 mm VR micro lens, or a budgetary 40mm micro lens.

And finally, if you’re into portrait photography, it’s recommended that you find Nikon D5300 with 18-140mm kit lens.

It is because this longer kit lens is gonna be really useful as you’re shooting different types of portraits and light wedding stuff. 

It is also greatly recommended that you pick up Nikon 50mm F/1.8 G.

It autofocuses, it very sharp and it really gives you that background blur that portrait photographers love.

Attention: Not the D model will not autofocus for you with that camera body, so be careful to get the G model!!!


Final Thoughts on Nikon D5300 And Why It’s Still Great As First DSLR in 2018


Landscapes with Nikon d5300 (review)
45.0mm · ƒ/8.0 · 10/1000s · ISO 280

The D5300 is definitely the best budget DSLR I’ve ever had in my hands.

It’s light, it’s compact and has an amazing image quality even in poor lighting at high ISO.

D7100 is worth buying only if you are photographing for money, such as weddings or reportage photos, where speed and convenience of switching settings are important.

In the D5300, everything will need to be set up using the menu on the screen, but if it does, it will not take long.

The camera is equipped with a built-in Wi-Fi module that will allow you to sync the camera with your smartphone in a matter of seconds.

It’s convenient, and in my experience doesn’t affect the quality of the images.

I don’t think the owners of earlier versions, like D5100/D5200, should upgrade to D5300 because you already have everything you need for quality photography.

And if you suddenly decide to go from D3100/D3200/D3300 to D5300 then this should be done only if you REALLY want a tilting screen.

And lastly, should you buy Nikon D5300 in 2018?

Based on the review and the video review you’ve seen here, you should come to the conclusion that Nikon D5300 in 2018 will absolutely be a great purchase.

Especially if you are a beginner on a budget, looking for your first DSLR.


Any questions, recommendations, concerns?

Let us know in the comments below!

Nikon D5300 in 2018: Still An Awesome Option For a First DSLR (Review + Samples)
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