Price: $917 body/$1179 lens (from Livewire advertiser)
THE LOW-DOWN: This 24 megapixel DSLR is for “advanced beginners” according to Nikon. The internals, such as sensor, image processor, auto focus and auto exposure are similar to the D7000, while the externals, such as viewfinder and body material is not quite up to big brother standards. That said the glossy rigid plastic outer shell of the body is rigid and attractive and the viewfinder is not bad. The freely swivelling LCD is high resolution and versatile. Controls are well designed and laid out. The lens, as tested, is nicely made with good image stabilisation and smooth zooming and focusing. Auto focus is fast and accurate.
LIKE: Picture quality is excellent. The lens is the big surprise. We are not well disposed to these super zooms, but this one could win us over. Apart from distortion at each extreme it has astonishing optical character. Even at 300mm (450mm equivalent on this camera) images are sharp with well resolved detail. Image stabilisation is very effective. But it is big and heavy.
DISLIKE: As with all entry level Nikon DSLRs this one lacks a body drive for auto focus lenses, so some older optics without a motor in the lens, will not auto focus.
VERDICT: Let’s assume that an ”advanced beginner” is an occasional photographer who wants quality photos from a reasonably priced package. The D5200 will do the job superbly, perhaps teamed with a less ambitious and expensive lens. It is a good way to buy into the Nikon system of lenses and accessories. In this hotly contested segment of the market the buyer has a tough choice to make between the Nikon and the excellent cameras from Pentax, Canon and Sony.