Estimated Street Price: $2,999 (with 50mm Special Edition kit lens).
The Nikon D5300 offers a number of improvements over its excellent D5200 predecessor, while retaining the features that made the D5200 so popular. The pixel count remains the same, but the 24.2-megapixel DX (APS-C) CMOS sensor in the new camera was designed without a low-pass filter (similar to the D7100’s sensor), which offers the potential for even greater sharpness.
EXPEED 4 processing and 12- and 14-bit NEF (RAW) files further improve image quality. The EXPEED 4 processor also improves battery life, in conjunction with the new EN-EL14a battery (you can use the earlier EN-EL14 batteries, as well).
The D5300 provides a normal ISO range of 100-12800, expandable to 25600. It can shoot JPEG and 12-bit RAW files at 5 fps, and 14-bit RAW at 4 fps. The 39-point phase-detect AF system includes nine cross-type sensors in the center.
Like the recent DX flagship D7100, the D5300 can do 1080 video at 60p (also 30p and 24p, as well as 720p at 60 fps, with full-time contrast-based AF or manual focusing). You can record stereo sound via a built-in microphone or an optional external mic.
Built-in Wi-Fi lets you share images wirelessly via smartphone or tablet, while built-in GPS automatically geotags images with latitude, longitude and altitude for easy location mapping. Like the D5200, the D5300 can do lots of in-camera editing and effects.
The D5300 is even more compact than its predecessor, measuring 4.9×3.9×3.0 inches and weighing 16.9 ounces. And like its predecessor, it doesn’t have an AF motor, so it can autofocus only with Nikkor lenses that have one (AF-S and AF-I). But there’s a full range of those, from a 10-24mm ultrawide zoom to a 600mm supertelephoto, so it’s not a big problem.
STANDOUT FEATURE: The step-up entry-level DSLR is Nikon’s first with built-in Wi-Fi and GPS.
1. The 3.2-inch LCD monitor tilts and rotates for easy video and odd-angle shooting.
2. There’s a built-in pop-up flash unit, but the D5300 also has a hot-shoe that accepts versatile Nikon Speedlights.
3. You can save images on SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, including UHS-I.