If you are looking to take your photography to the next level-whether jumping from point and shoots to DSLRs, or wanting to gain a level on DSLR shooting and features-then we are here for you. With so many models on the market, finding what you need in the camera that works for you can take time, but we are hoping to save you just that with the research we did on the Nikon D5300 and some of its competitors.
This article focuses on entry level to mid range cameras on the DSLR scale. So, while these are not top of the line professional cameras, they will definitely feed any photographer's fire for quality, and without breaking the bank.
What Is the Nikon D5300?
The Nikon D5300 is a DSLR camera built for entry level photographers who want to jump into DSLR shooting. It combines quality specs with creative features and essentially puts itself on the map with those same features. The Nikon D5300 is not just a beginner's DSLR camera, it keeps the creative spark alive by bringing in unique and useful shooting modes and features users can explore without needing to dig through the manual first.
Nikon invested in the EXPEED processor for the D5300 which should not only improve image quality but also reduce noise. Also added to the Nikon D5300 are nine effect modes and a high total of 16 scene modes. There are definitely a lot of creative options Nikon has focused on allowing users a well rounded creative experience. These modes include HDR painting, toy camera, monochrome, and many more.
To help users in terms of convenience, Nikon has included built-in Wi-Fi and GPS so uploading or transferring photos on the go is faster and easier, and geotags for location sharing are available. Not only is this right in sync with the technology we have at our fingertips already, but it is also extremely useful for photographers on the go who need a way to connect or transfer photos without lugging cords and laptops around with them.
Prices in the camera market are always changing, so while we cannot guarantee this price, we did find it to be an average among different stores.
In terms of a DSLR camera with the specs the Nikon D5300 flourishes, this is a good price. Nikon has newer models out, like the D5600, that have lowered the price of this model. But that does not mean that the specs are compromised, so if this is the model you are looking for this is a good price for it.
You can find the Nikon D5300 at these stores:
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How It Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare. Now that we know what the Nikon D5300 promises in terms of features and specs, we want to see what it actually delivers - and what its competitors can do to take the lead.
This is a fair price for a DSLR camera with the specs of the Nikon D5300. Of course, if you want something that fits a little more comfortably in your budget, check out used or refurbished options as well. You can even buy just the body of the camera now and either use it with other Nikon lenses or wait to buy the lenses separately.
- ease of use
- design quality
For the most part, the Nikon D5300 handles well and is easy for new users to pick up regardless of their experience. The fact that this camera works well in both auto and manual modes aids in its simplicity as well because users can still get creative shots no matter the level of sophistication where they feel comfortable shooting.
We did find some problems with button placement that were slightly irritating-especially if you have used the previous models beforehand. While there was nothing that seriously detracted from the use of the camera, some things took more buttons to access, and many of the menu options or shooting modes are only available if you go through a few menu levels.
In terms of ISO, megapixels, and shooting modes, the Nikon D5300 lived up to our expectations of its specs. The EXPEED 4 processor is definitely a sensation felt in use as well. Image quality is good in different lightings, with different subjects, and in different environments.
A few areas where we feel the Nikon D5300 falls short though are in its focus points, sports shooting, and Wi-Fi. While it has 39 focus points, all but the center point seem to have trouble really grasping the subject and locking on, which leaves it feeling a little less than sharp.
Sport shooting is just not something this camera seems capable of doing well. This is in part due to the poor quality of the 38 focus points off of center, but overall, if you want a camera for moving subjects, we would recommend moving on.
As for the Wi-Fi, it is great to have the option, but we found that it really does not fulfill as many needs as we had hoped. You cannot upload full resolution images to your phone, for example, which some may then feel makes the feature pointless. Not only does this mean you cannot upload full quality images on the go you also cannot backup images on the go. Users have also had a problem hooking up to laptops as well with the Wi-Fi feature.
There were a few points that we felt knocked this model back from where other DSLRs in this price range usually sit. Our main critique is that the shutter and menu buttons are so much noisier than is necessary, much more than other models. In this case, it is actually distracting to have the shutter click and button click. We can't imagine why either of these would need to have such a loud sound, but either way, it was frustrating to work with.
Another issue we noticed was that the live view mode - though helpful for new users - was slow and largely not useful. Disappointing given that this is an entry-level camera and live view can help learning photographers understand what each feature and adjustment does.
Nikon has a limited warranty for parts and labor that covers manufacturer errors. For this price point, we feel this is a good warranty and will cover most users needs.
The T5i model from Canon offers another option in entry-level DSLR cameras. With 18 megapixels and 1080p video, the T5i is still a viable option for those wanting a camera for creative daily shooting. This model also offers HD video and a rotating touchscreen as well as a wide sensor that factors at a max ISO of 25,600.
This price is a little high for us, so we recommend looking at ways to tone it down. One of the greatest ways to fit this model into your budget would be to just buy the body of the camera. Canon truly has an arsenal of lenses and with so many to choose from, you may find one that better suits your needs anyway. You can also shop used or refurbished to get better deals.
- ease of use
- design quality
With the addition of a touchscreen, navigating menus and shooting modes is faster and even customizable. Canon has a reputation for supplying cameras for every stage of experience though, so it is no surprise that this camera is easy to pick up and go for with the level of straightforward use it presents. Canon has built in a feature guide for first-time users so instead of digging through the manual, the camera teaches you how to use itself.
While this camera boasts an ability to capture moving subjects, it only offers five frames per second, which is low for sports photography. It also only offers nine focus points, which effects moving subjects and landscape photography especially. Beyond that though, the camera seems to live up to its specs.
It offers quality creative shots as well with 7 different creative filters and an HDR backlight control mode, so users wanting some new and artistic shooting features have plenty to explore as well.
If you have used Canon before, then the design and build of the body will be familiar. There are plenty of shortcuts programmed into buttons on the body which makes navigation easier and taking photos much simpler.
Canon has a 1-year warranty for parts and labor that we feel matches the price point of the camera and should cover any needs of the user in terms of manufacturer error.
- 18.0 Megapixel CMOS (APS-C) image sensor and high-performance DIGIC 4+ Image Processor for excellent speed and quality
- ISO 100-6400 (expandable to H: 12800) for shooting from bright light to low light. Compatible with Eye-Fi Cards. Multimedia cards (MMC) cannot be used
- Built-in Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity provide easy sharing to compatible smart devices, select social media sites and the Canon Connect Station CS100 device
- 9 point AF system (including one center cross-type AF point) and AI Servo AF provide impressive autofocus performance with accurate results. AF Assist Beam - Effective range : Approx. 13.1 ft. / 4.0m. Periphery: Approx. 11.5 ft. / 3.5m
- High-performance Optical Viewfinder helps facilitate quick and accurate focusing by firmly framing and capturing the subject at hand
The T6 model from Canon has similar specs to its sibling the T5i, with 18 megapixels and 1080 video. It also has Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity for users on the go whose main focus is social media photography.
This is a good price for the specs and features the T6 offers. Like we mentioned with the previous Canon model, buying only the body would be a less expensive option as would buying refurbished or used.
- ease of use
- design quality
While the navigation and menu options are straightforward and simple to figure out, we do wish there was a touchscreen just to hone in on that navigation. Since most users are accustomed to touchscreens, we feel it would especially make sense in this model.
Some specs are lacking in terms of performance. For example, this model only offers three frames per second and nine focus points. This means that shooting a moving target is frustrating and likely will not result in quality shots. The ISO is also not ideal for low light environments so be sure to take into account what you are going to be shooting.
For the price, the 1-year warranty Canon provides gives enough coverage for errors on their end.
While this camera only offers 12 megapixels, the Panasonic Lumix LX100 is one of the few compact cameras that has a Micro Four Thirds sensor which definitely helps in terms of image quality. This model also offers 4K video. Combined with the specs and size, this camera is great for users on the move or traveling abroad who need something small and effective.
This price is a bit high for the specs this model offers, so we recommend buying used or refurbished.
- ease of use
- design quality
Given its compact body, this model has limited shortcut buttons and, without a touchscreen, navigation is a little more time-consuming. New users may have to spend a little time with the manual before setting out with this camera.
Users have also reported frustration with the buttons this model does have, saying that because most buttons have dual purposes, the camera does not always pick up on which purpose are intended.
One of the biggest complaints on this model is its lack of zoom and zoom support functions. As this model would otherwise work great as a travel camera, those looking at it for just that reason have been disappointed by the lack of zoom, often needed when taking pictures on the go.
We also want to note that the megapixels of this model are not great. It will work well for daily photography, but if you want to take pictures in low light, with moving subjects, or of subjects far away, this model just does not have that ability. The low number of focus points also means that landscape photos may suffer in quality a little too.
This is a compact camera, and compared to the other models on this list, it is definitely small and light. However, in terms of compact cameras, it is actually heavier and bulkier than many others. This is due in part to the sensor which is larger than many compact cameras have, but it should be taken into account.
This model does not have a touchscreen or rotating screen, which we feel detracts from not only its ease of use but also its design.
This model has a limited warranty for parts and labor. Be sure to buy the model for your region though as international models have a warranty that is voided in the US and vice versa.
Given the pros and cons of each of these models and the features they all share as well as those that stand out, we are going to return to the Nikon D5300. After going through each of these options.
For the most part, it lives up to its specs and features, which is what we all want in a camera-to deliver what it promises. However, the inability for quality sports shooting and the odd and annoying issues with the build are disappointing and definitely things to consider if you are looking into buying.
Featured Image: Image via Amazon