Hands-on: Nikon D5300 review

There's a new DSLR in the Nikon range, the D5300, which slots into the line-up alongside the D5200 model. Pocket-lint was on hand to get a feel for the new DSLR at a Nikon pre-launch event. It was only eight months ago that we saw the final D5200 model, so why add an extra model into the range now?

In a nutshell the D5300 is all about connectivity. What we get is built-in Wi-Fi, built-in GPS, better battery performance, the new Expeed 4 image processing engine and Nikon has removed the optical low-pass filter to improve sharpness.

But that's not all. A 0.82x magnification viewfinder means the 95 per cent field of view is now larger to the eye than before, while the rear LCD is now larger: all 3.2-inches and 1,037k-dots of it. It looked good to us and we had fun twisting it through various angles to snap some shots.

Design-wise there are some changes too. The D5300's "monocoque" - yes, we laughed too - design refers to its single, shell-like structure. It's built differently from the D5200, but Nikon won't specify how, exactly, even when pressed for further details. What we do know, however, is that it feels just fine in the hand. No complaints here.

On top there's also a new lever to activate the live view (LV) preview, which is preferable to the button-press or rear-mounted lever. A small adjustment, but a chance nonetheless.

It's what's under the hood that's perhaps more important. The Expeed 4 processing engine makes its debut in the D5300 said to deliver a whole host of new and improved results. Enhanced resolution, high noise reduction performance, better high-ISO performance, improved colour processing and enhanced auto white balance accuracy are on the list. We didn't have the scope to be able to test that in detail beyond taking a few initial snaps around the venue where the event was held. So, for now, we'll have to await the final review sample of the camera to turn up before we can assess just how much better this model is, or, indeed, isn't. It's still 24-megapixels of resolution here, just like its D5200 brother.

One thing that we did get to test out was the new Wi-Fi mode. Nikon has been a little shy about building Wi-Fi into its cameras, so it's good to see the feature here, complete with a new app that simplifies the sharing process. We were using the older app, as the latest isn't available yet, but managed to pair up with a smartphone with no trouble at all, copy an image over via the "i" button on the rear, and get a live preview through the smartphone in real time too. Much better than before.

Using the camera feels a lot like the earlier D5200 model. And no surprise really: the Multi-CAM 4800DX autofocus system, with its 39 AF points (nine of which are cross-type), did the business with little effort. Whether single or continuous autofocus it works smoothly, while metering is handled by Nikon's 2,016 pixel RGB sensor. So no step up here, but the level it's at is already good enough.

READ: Nikon D5200 review

Elsewhere it's the new battery that caught our attention. Now we weren't able to stand there and reel off 600 shots, but that's what the EN-EL14a, in combination with Expeed 4, claims to offer. That's a big step up.

Despite being a familiar DSLR model, there's a lot to like about the D5300. It polishes up some of the already strong D5200's features to add extra sheen and goes in headstrong when it comes to sharing. It's not a quantum leap, mind, but does look like another solid Nikon release.

The Nikon D5300 will go on sale 14 November, priced £730 body only and £830 with the 18-55mm kit lens. It will be available in black, dark grey and red colour options.



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