Street price: $1320 with 18-140mm lens
Entry to a great system
This 24-megapixel DSLR is Nikon's second level (by price) model. It has an 8.1cm swivelling LCD and live view is activated with a small lever near the mode dial. Pressing the i button turns the LCD into a control panel that gives direct access to all the vital camera settings. Other functions, such as exposure compensation, burst shooting and movie mode, are accessible through body buttons. Wi-Fi and GPS are built-in and the camera can be controlled from a smartphone app (not available for Windows phone). Nikon's implementation of smartphone control is limited to focus and shutter release. Construction quality is good and the camera sits well in the hand, thanks to a prominent hand grip.
The feel of the controls is smooth and luxurious. The supplied lens can hunt a little for focus on low contrast subjects but, in general, the camera is very responsive. The shutter and mirror are well damped and make a sweet noise. Automatic lens distortion correction is good.
A three-exposure bracket mode is inadequate. And because there is no in-body focus drive, the older Nikkor lenses won't auto focus.
For anyone looking for an entry into the Nikon system this is the camera to consider. The D5300 uses a sensor that is also fitted to other Nikon APS-C models, as well as to other brands such as Sony and Pentax. There is nothing cut-down about the internal workings of this camera - the price difference is not due to diminished image quality. Recommended to the aspiring enthusiast. Sample images at dpexpert.com.au