Nikon D5200 review: New sensor and new leader

By Kevin Carter - Friday, January 18, 2013

Camera Review
Introduction | Nikon D5200 sensor performance | Nikon D5200 versus competition | Conclusion
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With an overall sensor score of 84, the new Toshiba sourced CMOS imaging chip in the Nikon D5200 achieves the no.1 spot for APS-C sized sensors

In the overall sensor ratings, the Nikon D5200 is ranked 11th regardless of sensor size. This is an excellent score for the new Nikon D5200 that can be credited wholly to the new sensor design with its improved circuitry.

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An overall sensor score of 84 places the Nikon D5200 in first place in the DxOMark rankings for a camera with an APS-C size sensor, just two points ahead of semi-pro (and considerably pricier) Pentax K-5 II and the K-5 IIs derivative. Both these models employ a Sony sensor, but a 16-Mpix model with theoretically larger light gathering pixels.

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Nikon’s cutting edge sensor design means the APS-C format D5200 has one of the better Dynamic Range results, regardless of sensor type

Colour depth, indicated by our Portrait score is excellent at 24.2bits and with a Landscape score of 13.9 Evs the wide Dynamic Range surpasses that of many (albeit older) full-frame and medium format cameras. In fact, it’s one of the better results we’ve seen in the Labs. It’s ranked 9th jointly with the APS-C Nikon D7000 and bettered by only three APS-C rivals the 16Mpix Pentax K-5 and K5II models.

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Although not aimed specifically at the sports shooter, the Low-Light figure/measurement of 1284 ISO (for the Sports category) continues upwards with each new sensor design. The score for the Nikon D5200 stands currently as the highest for any camera with an APS-C size sensor, passing the previous leader, the Pentax K5 IIs at 1235ISO. Although that’s good to see, it’s only a slight improvement and wouldn’t be noticeable in real-life use. If you’re curious, the best low-light sensor score belongs to the now discontinued full-frame professional-level Nikon D3s at 3253 ISO, followed by the new full-frame D600 at 2980 ISO. In fact, the top five low-light cameras are all full-frame Nikon models, currently (though that will likely not remain for long), with the Sony RX1 and Canon EOS 6D full frame cameras following in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

For an APS-C format camera, either DSLR or hybrid camera (aka mirrorless type), the results show that Toshiba’s successful entry to this market is likely to be unsettling for competitors, not just Sony but Canon. Despite that, the Nikon D3200 sporting the rival 24Mpix sensor from Sony scores a very respectable 81 overall, not a bad performance at all considering the price.