Best lenses for the Nikon D5300: Part 1 - concise overview of primes and zooms

By Kevin Carter - Thursday, January 16, 2014

Lens Recommendations
Introduction | Nikon D5300 and kit lens option – How good is it? | Comparing the Nikon D5300 with the earlier D5200 | Comparing the Nikon D5300 with D7100 | Best prime lenses for the Nikon D5300 | Best zoom lenses for the Nikon D5300

Externally the D5300 differs from its predecessor by a slightly re-modeled exterior and a new larger 3.2-inch side-articulated display panel. There hasn’t been a lot of change internally either with some upgrades to the video capabilities (the addition of 1080/60p), however, the new model is the first to feature built-in WiFi and GPS. Previously, these were additional add-ons, and quite expensive options. The most significant modification, at least with regard to a potential increase in image quality is the removal of the AA filter. 

Sensor performance between the two models is practically identical, but the removal of the AA filter promises a substantial improvement in resolution and contrast.

When we compared the improvement in sharpness between the 24-Mpix D5200 and D7100 we noted an increase of up to 18% was possible using some of the best performing lenses. With the D5300 supposedly sharing the same sensor construction (sans AA filter) as the D7100, we were curious to see just how well the lenses perform on both those models and on the earlier Nikon D5200.

Comparing one of the best performing models on both the Nikon D5300 and D5200, the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f1.8G, there’s a significant increase of just over 20% in peak sharpness between the two. However, as you might hope, the increase in sharpness isn’t restricted to the optimum aperture. We measured an increase in sharpness throughout the aperture range.

With the AA filter removed the Nikon D5300 achieves a measurable increase in sharpness over the earlier Nikon D5200, despite both cameras having the same pixel count.