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Enthusiast: Photographyon November 25, 2013
I got this camera as an upgrade to my beloved D5100 so the bar was pretty high and so this review is often D5100 vs. D5300. I'll be frank. The D5300 outclasses the D5100 so substantially that it has utterly obsoleted the D5100. Ignore those who say that the D5300 merely provides an opportunity to pick up a D5200 or D5100 for a bargain price. No. The D5300 is now the ONLY camera in the Nikon D5xxx line. It has changed the game. Don't bother counting pennies, this camera is underpriced at full price. The fact that I am sincerely comparing images from this $800 camera body to my D800E's images truly says it all.

Please allow me to just get into the Pros and Cons:

PROS:

1) PHENOMENAL IMAGE QUALITY! AT LOW ISO THE D5300'S IMAGES ARE ON PAR WITH THE BEST CAMERAS IN THE WORLD AND THAT IS NO EXAGGERATION WHATSOEVER. I can't believe there is still a debate going on about the efficacy of Anti-Aliasing filter removal. I'm sorry, but the difference is so noticeable there is no debate. And moire was a myth even on the D800E, which I do also own. I guarantee you that you will find more moire in a D5100's or D7000's images than you will on the D5300. Color and saturation from the D5300 are exceptionally good versus ANY camera at any price point. Now, I will still take the D800E's images over the D5300's but it is not at all night & day. They are actually surprisingly close at low ISO.

EDIT 2013-12-09: Photographing cats a lot I am catching a little false color on shiny fur. Nothing of concern to me though.

2) Focus point spread (area of image with AF sensor coverage) is MUCH greater than in FX ("full-frame" sensor size) cameras. The D5300's AF point coverage extends left-right top-bottom much farther than FX cameras. I would estimate the D5300 covers probably double the area that FX cameras do and this is an ENORMOUS advantage. I always leave my D800E's focus point glued to Center because the AF coverage is only in the center area anyway so why bother with the other 50 AF points when they just don't cover anything? I actually do use my focus points on my D5300 because they cover the frame pretty well. I'd still like to see even more coverage, but vs. the FX bodies, APS-C cameras have a tremendous advantage.

3) Minimum shutter speed in Auto ISO now has AUTO setting that adjusts based on focal length! This is SO much better than a fixed shutter speed regardless of lens length.

4) Hard to quantify but the HDR images look much nicer than the D5100's and the Extra High setting is intense and beyond the D5100's abilities. I have not been able to verify this but it *appears* as though there is now image alignment for the 2 photos used for the HDR image as my handheld HDR shots nearly never look like 2 images whereas they often did on my D5100 at full or nearly full magnification. HUGE improvement!

5) Great-for-DX and pretty-good-versus-FX ISO performance. I'll put this to bed right now; the D800E smokes the D5300 for high ISO performance. Sorry, this is a different league. However, the D5300 substantially outperforms the D5100 at ISO 1600+. The improvement in the D5300 over the D5100 is readily noticeable.

6) Much more intuitive i Menu. The D5100's i Menu being J-shaped was ridiculous and totally awkward. I never got used to it after thousands of photos. The D5300's standardized 2-lines-across-the-bottom Nikon style is a drastic improvement.

7) GPS! I don't know what Nikon was thinking with that clunky expensive GP-1A. Did anyone ever buy one? The D5300's internal GPS works great and hooks up quickly and I'm big on geotagging so I am super stoked to have this on a REAL camera!

EDIT 2013-12-09: I spent a day in the country (wide open clear sky) with this camera outside of my normal metro town area and despite using A-GPS data, it took somewhere between 30-60 minutes to get GPS lock. Surprised, disappointed. But that was the only time I have had trouble with hookup.

8) Nikon's had truly exceptional built-in flash performance since at least the D90. The D5300 does not disappoint and bests or matches its predecessors at any price point. This could be a result of image processing more than flash performance but whatever it is, using flash is a joy, not something to dread.

9) The red body paint color is super-gorgeous! It's like a candy apple red Corvette color and it is way sexy.

10) The new bigger, higher-pixel screen is REALLY nice. It is not insignificant like many reviewers dismiss it as. I like it a LOT. :)

11) EN-EL14a battery with 19.4% more capacity is a nice treat and helpful when running GPS and/or the silly WiFi. I have not spent a full day shooting hundreds of photos with the D5300 yet but I have shot perhaps 100 shots in a day with GPS on and flash here and there and a lot of reviewing and in-camera editing and not gotten below 2/3 battery level in a day.

EDIT 2013-12-09: GPS was on from about 8:45am to 5:30pm, WiFi was off all day, I shot 362 photos (almost all were 14-bit RAW+Large Basic JPEG so roughly only about 170-190 shutter clicks) and probably 15 of those photos had flash, 2 minutes of video, edited 6 photos and had a couple of review sessions during the day. Battery level fell to 1/3 remaining. Not bad but could be better. If you're a heavy shooter and will use GPS and/or pop-up flash, carry a spare battery.

12) Here's a gem for the old-school film guys like me. ;) Or a little "secret treat" for digital-era photographers with a true creative streak. In Manual exposure mode, the "T," or "Time" setting has returned! Want to take a 5-minute or 5-hour exposure but you left your plug-in intervalometer/timer at home? Lol, as if you even have one... No problem. Turn your shutter speed dial all the way past 30-seconds, past Bulb and click on into good ol' Time at the end of the dial. Press the shutter button to open shutter, let your wristwatch or phone tell you when exposure time is up and then press shutter button again to close the shutter. Seriously?! Yes, seriously. How cool is that?! I miss this so much and guess what? Even my D800E does not have T and the D5100 does not either. According to the Nikon info page for the D5200 (Yes, D5200. Not a typo), T is there but you need the ML-L3 remote to use it.

CONS:

1) EDIT 2013-12-09: I have found that focus points other than THE Center focus point are somewhat frequently inaccurate. Focus points at or near the left and right edges are rarely accurate and almost never dead-on. If you use ONLY the Center focus point, focus accuracy is quite good and consistent. As Center AF point AF-S is almost always how I shoot, this is not a deal-breaker for me but it is certainly a handicap. If you use multi-point AF tracking or regularly venture away from Center AF point, you had better experiment with different AF points at a local camera store before buying one from any store, Amazon included. I am beginning to think my camera may be defective and will likely send it to Nikon for repair or exchange it with Amazon for a new one. Honestly, I expect this to be a performance trade-off that Nikon will not remedy. Though $800 is not cheap, this caliber of image quality for $800 is going to come with trade-offs and I bet being forced to use Center AF point is one of those trade-offs.

2) EDIT 2013-12-09: I had a chance this past weekend to use Live View in some beautifully sunlit countryside. Sorry, even with truly ideal lighting Live View is horribly slow and constantly hunting. Don't use it for anything other than manual focus confirmation with screen zoomed for precise focusing. And focus VERY slowly as screen update time has substantial lag. I'm not really concerned about video, but this camera cannot focus worth a darn for video. It really is that bad, sorry.

3) When reviewing a photo on my D5100 and even the D5200, I could just press the OK button to get into Retouch Menu and then get into RAW processing of that image in another click of OK. Boom, 2 presses of OK and I am RAW processing the image I'm looking at. Well, not anymore. Now I have to press the "i" button to get into Rating/Retouch/Send Menu and then click OK to get to Retouch Menu and then another click of OK to get to RAW processing. Hardly a nightmare but takes an extra button press and, more importantly, is ergonomically awkward and more prone to mistakes.

4) Noisy Multi-Controller. I like having solid clicks, but man, clicking Up, Down, Left or Right on this Multi-Controller is literally enough to wake someone up. My gf grumbles at me for reviewing/RAW processing in bed because of that. It's also not so great in public areas as it intrudes on the conversations of neighboring tables, etc. It's really an irritating higher pitch that grabs attention. I know this complaint sounds whiny, but it truly is an intrusive noise problem.

5) WiFi is rubbish. You can't upload full-resolution images to your smart device via WiFi. And I don't believe (but I could be wrong about this) that you can WiFi upload at all to a PC. I wanted to have instant constant file backup via WiFi. Nope.

6) Slow RAW process Menu navigation. Perhaps it's the sheer file size but things like scrolling Picture Control modes in RAW processing is very slow relative to the D5100.

7) Slow photo review after taking a picture(s). Takes too long for the D5300 to gulp down one or a few RAW+Large Basic JPEG shots (my standard resolution).

8) After assigning HDR function to the BKT button (D5100)/Fn button (D5300), activating HDR now requires holding the Fn button and turning the dial until you get the setting you want before letting the Fn button go. On the D5100 you set your HDR preference one time in the Menu and then activation via BKT button only took a single press. Now it's a process. And my favorite setting (High) takes the most clicks (3 to the left or 3 to the right) to get to. The Auto HDR mode should simply be removed so we just scroll Low, Normal, High, Extra High and should be permanently Menu-set to facilitate 1-press activation a la D5100.

9) To get autofocusing you MUST use an AF-S or AF-I lens. D5300 body has no focus motor for AF or AF-D lenses. Metering requires a CPU lens.

CONCLUSION:

The D5300 is not a camera for sports, when rushed or in demanding conditions and you are gambling when you change away from Center AF point. Many consumer cameras like to claim performance in this fast-action realm, but no. If it's not pro gear it will suck at sports and tracking a subject. Always has been and likely always will be the case. However, for general photography, landscape, portraiture/still life, macro, time-lapse, etc. the D5300 creates stunningly sharp and colorful images able to be painlessly enlarged to enormous proportions. I wouldn't hesitate to print 3-foot x 2-foot (that is 36x the size of a 4-inch x 6-inch) prints. And that would be essentially pixelation-free. 6-foot x 4-foot would still look fantastic.
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VINE VOICEon December 1, 2013
I've owned every "compact-format" Nikon from the D60 to the D5000, D5100, D5200, and now D5300. And while my D5200 is less than a year old, I chose to upgrade to the D5300 for two reasons: convenience (built-in WiFi and GPS removes 2 devices I had to carry / attach) and improved video (60fps). I chose the new grey body which is a nice departure from the traditional black, although the glossy finish is a bit of a fingerprint magnet around the back of the articulating display. Luckily, the rubber grips are still in place around the rest of the body.

What I didn't expect from the D5300, but actually blew me away was the stunning improvement in image quality over my D5200. First, and some would say finally, Nikon appears to have dramatically improved the auto white balance for incandescent lighting. Secondly, in side-by-side comparisons with the same lenses, focal distances, and shots, the D5300 shows dramatic improvement in image sharpness over my D5200. I'm not sure this can be attributed only to the lack of a anti-alias filter on the sensor, especially when using my Nikon 16-85VR (F3.5-5.6). But when viewed at 100%, the photos are dramatically sharper in both RAW and JPEG versions on the D5300 over the D5200. Given the dramatic improvement in image quality that the D5200 brought over my D5100, I wasn't expecting such a marked improvement that the D5300 brings. Although the D5300 boasts a higher ISO range than the D5200, I haven't noticed a dramatic improvement in low-light performance (the D5200 was already outstanding).

Other notable improvements from the D5200:
- new 24.2MP image sensor without anti-alias filter
- higher ISO sensitivity (100-12800) and low light performance
- new larger 3.2" articulating display is also much brighter, although still not a touch screen like others offer
- built in WiFi is much more reliable and faster with my iPhone than the Nikon WiFi dongle I used with my D5200
- built in GPS, although I found it slow (several minutes) to acquire a lock outdoors
- autofocus time in LiveView is noticeably faster, but sadly Nikon still relies on contrast detection so focus is slow
- video can now be captured in 1080P resolution at 60 frames per second
- slightly smaller and lighter camera body, without (in my experience) sacrificing handling
- higher capacity battery (EN-EL14a) provides 600 CIPA shots per charge vs 500 on the D5200/EN-EL14 (but if you turn on GPS and WiFi, the battery drains much faster)

And, if you're upgrading from a D5100, the D5300 carries over these improvements from the D5200:
- dramatic focus improvement: 39-point AF, 9 cross-type AF points, and 3D focus tracking
- Nikon EXPEED 4 image processing engine
- 5 fps continuous shooting (JPEG); if you're shooting RAW you can shoot up to 6 images at 5 fps
- stunning HD video capture, including live output of uncompressed video through the mini HDMI port
- built in stereo microphones for video capture

If you own a D5100, the new autofocus system (taken from the higher-end Nikon DSLRs such as the D7000) is stunning. With 39 autofocus points, it quickly identifies the subject and locks focus. With my D5100, I had some instances of out-of-focus shots (especially in low-contrast subjects or greater distance). With the D5200 and now D5300, focus has been perfect for every shot.

So what could be improved? The GPS sadly disappoints. Given how horrible the reviews are of Nikon's external GPS unit, I wasn't expecting much from the built-in unit. But even outside, it takes several MINUTES to get a GPS lock. And when you switch off the camera, the GPS doesn't keep its last position, so it must hunt AGAIN when you power on. I have read that there are workarounds (you can manually download GPS assist data but you have to keep it up to date every 7 days) to improve performance of the built-in GPS.

As I mentioned earlier, LiveView focus performance, although notably improved with the D5300, still disappoints. Nikon is one of the last camera manufacturers to rely only on contrast detection for live autofocus. So while the articulating screen is great, don't expect to capture an action shot in LiveView.

Finally, while the display is greatly improved in brightness and clarity over the D5200/D5100, it does not support touch, which can be useful for choosing focus points for example.

Also important to note is that some Sigma lenses are incompatible with the D5300 (no autofocus in LiveView, no optical image stabilization). Sigma has issued an advisory, and has said they will correct these problems in a forthcoming firmware update. But Sigma is not issuing updated firmware for discontinued lenses.

That being said, the negatives are easy to overlook when you consider the stunning image quality, autofocus and scene detection, shooting performance, and HD video capture. Taken together, Nikon has a real winner in the D5300. It is definitely for their target buyer - someone like me who is not a professional photographer but who demands top image quality without taking up a lot of physical space in the camera bag.

*** UPDATES:
Nikon has released updates for both ViewNX 2 (v2.8.2) and Capture NX 2 (v2.4.5) that support the D5300 RAW image format. Make sure you have installed these updates.

For a truly outstanding GPS unit, I can confirm that the Solmeta Geotagger N3 external geotagger is supported by the D5300 via the accessory port.
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on March 23, 2015
I really like this camera. The D5300 has far more functions than I can take advantage of, but I am learning as I go. I have the camera set to Manual, so I must choose all the settings (ISO, shutter speed, Aperture etc.) myself, There are a ton of pre-programmed functions that you can take advantage of, and if you go that route you will take great pictures, and not understand how photography works. I choose to go the other way, so I have to learn the fundamentals. Either way is valid.

The camera takes great pictures, and I am using it as I acquire lenses, and to learn the hobby before getting a more professional setup. I chose the D5300 over the D5500 as it is cheaper, and I don't really need the options of the D5500 for the additional price.

Quite happy with the purchase
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on October 8, 2017
I have had a Nikon D3100 for a long time and decided to add an extra DSLR to my camera bag. I am not a super-pro, but I do shoot a lot of sports pics of kids for my friends, family and co-workers. For me, the D5300 is priced right, has features that are similar (but updated) to the D3100, fits all my Nikkor lenses and is reliable. I like the ability to swing the view screen out and flip it over or have it on the side when shooting video.

For what I do, this is a fantastic DSLR for the price. While there are other Nikon DSLR cameras that have more features, they also are about 7x the cost and since this is a side gig / hobby for me, I am completely satisfied with the D5300. In fact, I have friends who are professional photographers who have spent $3k and $4k on other DSLR camera bodies and have ended up trading them for lenses and going back to the D5300 or D3100 because it gives good quality photos and is easy to use.
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on January 12, 2015
We had an older Nikon DSLR that we gave to our parents when we bought this one. I love it. So fun to send to my iPhone easily and then text photos to friends and family. For example, we took a Christmas group photo with the entire family (actually this happened twice - both sides of the family), and then I was able to send it out to everyone's cell phone moments later. I like the 18-140 mm lens and also bought the 50mm lens so it would be compact. I regret the 50mm lens - I ended up buying the 35 mm lens to complement. With the 50, I kept having to step way back to get the right shot. You can zoom in on the 35mm photo on your computer to extremely high quality so don't get the 50. But the zoom this one comes with will be good for sight seeing in Europe.
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on March 3, 2016
Just recently bought this camera and have only been able to play around a little. I am a novice and all i can say is Wow! The picture quality is amazing and the camera is so easy to use even if you have just basic photography skills. I bought with the 18-55mm kit lens and am really satisfied with the auto focus of this lens as well as the VR to reduce camera shake. If your like me, you can search Youtube and find all sorts of video's on photography and even specifically this camera which is reviewed quite a bit. Would highly recommend for someone that wants to capture memories and have good quality photos that are a huge step up from most point and shoot cameras.
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on May 26, 2017
Great camera. I bought the manufacturer certified refurbished model with the18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR II AF-S DX NIKKOR Zoom Lens. I have owned 3 Nikons in the past, all but one was a film camera. Because of it's construction, it is far lighter than my two SLR film cameras. This is my first DSLR and I am using the Nikon D5300 for Dummies book, that I bought on Amazon, it is helping a lot with my learning to use this DSLR, because there are so many different options in the workings of this camera.
It was a good buy.
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on March 18, 2016
It takes Sharp photos indeed, I had a D90 prior to this camera. In comparison to D90 with 18-200mm zoom lens, the pictures with D5300 (18-55mm or even 50-300mm) are way sharper and I guess that's all I need for now.
Wi-Fi is awesome to share your photos right after taking them. GPS is not something that I need but it works fine.
Videos are more than awesome!
I highly recommend this over D5500 for the sake of money and D7000 for the sake of back focus problems.
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on June 23, 2017
A worthy upgrade to my aging D40. So far I've noticed for me that HDR is useless, but the rest of the camera features are welcome and very nice.

UPDATE:

So by now, I've several thousands of pictures under my belt with this camera. I have to say, I'm very impressed. The reason why I got this particular camera. is that I read a few professional photographer review where pro's say this is an excellent backup crop sensor camera. I am very glad I listened. The dynamic range on this camera is second to non. At least in the crop sensor arena. I've heard tell of people comparing images from this camera to full frame pro bodies, and while I do not own a full frame yet, I believe it. 14bit uncompressed RAW images, you do not even need the HDR funciton of this camera. Which only works for JPEG photo's anyhow. Take a look at the storm clouds image I've uploaded to get an idea of dynamic range.

Now if you would like to see how much information can be gathered by the14bit image sensor compare the image moon light 1, and moon light 2. Then realize the scene was pretty close to the first image to the eye. Then realize that lightroom 6 was able to pull enough information out of the image, to make the post processed image look like it was taken in daylight ( sunset or dusk, instead of late dusk ). Compared to my 10 year old D40 . . . this is simply amazing.

Additionally, I am a novice astro-photographer, and have been able to get some fairly decent photo's of the milkyway. galaxy. Using a tripod, and various prime fast lenses( Nikkor F/ 1.8 35mm and 50mm ). Up to ISO 3200, these images are not too noisy. However, I would guess, a good full frame, such as the D810, would do a lot better. Not to mention the additional 12MP of the D810, would probably render a lot of noise moot, for normal sized "prints".

I would also say that this camera while does an admirable job at landscape type photo's, it is not as well suited as something that is full framed. Which should be for obvious reasons. However, if you shoot several images vertical, and stitch them together into a panorama. . . .they can look really good. Eventually, I will probably buy a D810 to add to my collection, but I m very pleased with the D5300 camera. the 1.5X crop factor, would make it excellent for telephoto images alone, but this camera also has an excellent image sensor in it. Very hard to beat IMHO.

This camera is well worth the cost, and then some.
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on February 21, 2016
This camera is AWESOME! It can do so much, it is good for a beginner and can be used for seasoned photographers as well. It is a great base. I bought a lightly used one from a certified seller for a great deal on Amazon. I got the camera, the 18-140 lens and a ton accessories for $600 so I would recommend looking at the used options on amazon if you do not want to pay full price. Also do not rush to buy everything at once. I have takes photos for a while now and most photographer upgrade certain parts as they need them. Do not feel like you need a complete kit with 3 lenses right off the bat (I only say this because I have a lot of accessories that I never use). If you are lazy like me and hate changing lens' go for the 18-140 lens in the bundle or buy just the base and get the 55-300 lens that is even more versatile separately. Make sure any lens you buy is AF-S, if the price seems too good to be true the lens probably has no autofocus to work with this camera. I have had it now for several months and mostly shoot wildlife (birds). The auto settings on it are so good I rarely use and of the manual settings and can take great in flight pictures of birds.
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