Nikon D5300 in 2019: Great Budget DSLR for Beginners to Invest In (Review)

Nikon D5300 Review 2019: An Awesome Budget DSLR for Beginners (Under $500)


Welcome to my updated Nikon D5300 review for 2019!
(With video, sample photos and lens recommendations).


I often hear people ask: 

  • What’s so great about D5300?
  • Is it worth buying Nikon D5300 in 2019

My honest opinion?

YES.

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.

Reasons to get this entry-level camera:

  • 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 is by no means inferior to the expensive full-frame cameras.

How awesome is that?


Anyway, this post won’t just 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 photos so you can judge this DSLR for yourself.

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


Nikon D5300 in 2019 (Video Review)


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


Quick Specs:

  • Camera type: Compact SLR
  • Camera weight: 480 g
  • Resolution: 24 MP
  • Sensor size: APS-C (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
  • ISO: Auto, 100 – 12800 (25600 with boost)
  • LCD Screen: Fully articulated
  • Touchscreen: None
  • Weather sealed: No 

What you might like about Nikon D5300:

  • pretty low price tag
  • rotating rear display (and a good resolution)
  • 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 from your 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

  • no touchscreen
  • might not be the best option for video lovers
  • the built-in flash doesn’t 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

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D5200 vs D5300 Display – What Has Changed?


So…

What has changed in comparison with the D5200?

  • 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)

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

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 in D5300 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.

By the way:

Digital Photography School offers excellent online courses to help you improve all aspects of your photography.


GPS – Know Your Location with Nikon D5300


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 camera having this feature.

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


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 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 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 on kit lenses.

Kit version is what I 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 I’d recommend buying the Nikon D5300 18-55mm kit lens.


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:

  • 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.


3) 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.


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 camera doesn’t 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

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 the camera does by itself.


6) 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.


7) 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.


8) 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.


9) 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 more budget 40mm micro lens option.

Finally…

If you’re into portrait photography, I recommend you find Nikon D5300 with 18-140mm kit lens.

Why?

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

I also highly suggest 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:

Note that the D model won’t autofocus with that camera body, so be careful to get the G model!!!


Nikon D5300 vs D3500 for Beginners


If you’ve been doing a lot of research on which entry-level camera to get, you likely came across the D3500 that was released in 2018.

I don’t have the review out yet but I can say a few words here.

I’ll be straight:

If you’re doubting between these 2 options, I suggest you choose D5300.

I don’t know what’s happening with this brand, but Nikon’s D3x00 series just get worse and worse. Basically D3500 is a downgrade from D3400 and D3400 is a downgrade from D3300 (in terms of features). 

How’s that so?

Well…

Nikon D3300 had:

  • sensor cleaning,
  • remote shutter port (intervalometer), and,
  • microphone port.

These features were removed in Nikon D3400, and were replaced with Bluetooth. Then, while D3500 is smaller, we see less buttons there and arguably less usable.

This being said:

Nikon D5300 would be the obvious better choice.


Final Thoughts on Nikon D5300
(And Why It’s Still Great As First DSLR in 2019)


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

The D5300 is definitely the best budget DSLR you’ll ever hold in your hands.

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

Now…

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 the tilting screen.

So… 

Should you buy Nikon D5300 in 2019?

Based on the info you received here, you should come to the conclusion that Nikon D5300 totally is worth buying this year.

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

See for yourself if this camera is a good fit for you.


Nikon D5300 Review 2019: Your Thoughts?


My full review of Nikon D5300 with video and lens recommendations (updated in 2019).


I’ll repeat myself here but D5300 sure is one of the best starter cameras today. 

Some people argue that it might be the ideal DSLR for beginners.

Alternative option:

If you are really on a tight budget and just want to get your feet wet, do consider Nikon D3400 under $500 (WITH the lens).

Remember:

My job with this website is to provide accurate information but ultimately, it’s your decision whether this camera is the right fit for you.

Now, I’d like to hear from YOU:

  • What are your thoughts on this Nikon D5300 review?

Anything else to add?

Comments and suggestions are welcome in the comments below (click to jump straight to the comment section).

Nikon D5300 in 2019: Great Budget DSLR for Beginners to Invest In (Review)
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