Category Archives: The Nikon D5200

This page offers some of the best information about the Nikon D5200 digital camera. It has the best prices for the Nikon D5200 and accessories, and some great advice. Check it out!

Supercars video with the Nikon D5200

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Shooting Supercars with the Nikon D5200 was a Real Thrill

The Video Quality was Superb from this DSLR

A couple of weeks ago we got the chance to shoot some video for one of our clients who run supercar track days in Scotland. We wanted to get plenty of stock video so that, over the next few weeks, we could put together a selection of movies to advertise their next visit to the track. We had a really great day – the weather was superb and the crowds were really enthusiastic. The great thing about Supercars Scotland is that they are so enthusiastic about cars. It is infectious. I am not a petrol head by any means (I’ve got a boring Saab) but they took me round the track a couple of times on the Lambo (that’s a Lamborghini Gallardo, if you didn’t know…) and it literally took my breath away. It’s not just the acceleration, it’s the awesome breaking power of these cars that amazes you.

Anyway, I took the Nikon D5200 along. We were using a Nikon D800, D3s and Panasonic AF100 for the main action shots, but I was to shoot some of the drop in segments. The light was really bright, so I made sure to drop the picture profile down to neutral and focussed on doing the fronts of the cars. We have a make shift slide system made from some plastic piping and so I shot the from to the orange Lambo with that. Although we were planning to put music over most of the video, I didn’t want the noise, or inconsistency of the autofocus, so I used AF to focus and then switched it off on the lens. That way the Lambo stayed in focus even when other cars were in the shot. Next time I shall try to focus from one to the other.

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Other than changing the picture profile from standard to neutral and controlling the focussing, I left everything on auto. Let me know what you think!

Here is one of the finished videos….

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Check out this video by Alex James

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Check out this video shot on a Nikon D5200

Alex james takes the DSLR through its paces

 

Check out this video by former Blur musician Alex James. He shot it in the USA for Virgin Media and has made  pretty good job of it. No sour grapes here, but I suspect he didn’t do it all by himself – not least because he is in it. Still, it does show what the camera can do. However, the over-riding lesson from this video is – mind how you cross the road….

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Nikon Lens Abbreviations

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What do those initials mean in the side of your lens?

 Getting the right lens for your Nikon camera

A detail of a nikon lens Different manufacturers identify the different features of their lenses with different initials or abbreviations. These can be quite confusing and so we thought it would be a good idea to go through the most common ones, so that you know what to look for. It is important to know what your Nikon lens can do, because some lenses will not be appropriate for your camera.

Firstly though, two very basic settings

MM or focal length of the lens. So the larger the number, the longer the focal length, the higher the magnification and the further you can see with it. The human eye is about 30mm (though there are different interpretations of this), so if you want to see more than that you want a higher number. For example, sports lenses tend to be big, perhaps 300 – 1000mm, so that they can get close to the action. They also tend to be fast…

Which brings us on to aperture. The aperture of a lens is known as the F number or F-stop. Often the widest aperture is shown on the lens. So an f4 means that the widest aperture on that lens is f4 – though it will have other settings, probably going down to f22. If the lens has two numbers – for example f4-5.6 – then it means that the lens has a variable aperture. This means that when you zoom the lens in and out, the aperture will change. This can be annoying when shooting stills, but a nightmare if you are shooting video. The bigger the number, the smaller the aperture. Again, a sports lens would be f2.8 or so, so that the shutter speed can keep up with the action.

Now some of the abbreviations:

DX Means that the lens is built for DX cameras like the D3000, D5000, D7000 series cameras. They tend to be smaller and lighter than FX lenses and the focal length doesn’t change – if you put an fx lens on a dx camera the focal length will change. It will be increased by a factor of 1.5 or 1.3, so a 50mm lens would become a 65mm or 75mm lens. If you buy a 50mm dx lens and put it on a dx camera, the focal length will remain 50mm

IF Means internal focus. This means that the front of the lens doesn’t move – so you can attach filters to the lens either clear filters to protect the lens, or polarisers or neutral density filters to change the light going into the lens.

ED Means extra low dispersion. This is supposed to reduce the amount of chromatic abberation, which is the blue/red tinge you can sometimes see on edges when you blow pictures up.

AF-S Means Autofocus the lens has an internal motor for focusing, it might also use the initials SWM for silent wave motor. Because the D5200 doesn’t have an internal motor, if you want your lens to auto focus, it must have an internal motor

VR Means vibration reduction and is designed to reduce the effects of camera shake. Very useful for low light hand held photography, and in big lenses which are hard to keep steady. Because this is automatic, you must switch this function off if you are on a tripod or it will increase blur.

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The D5200 is getting cheaper

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Nikon D5200 prices drop

The best entry-level DSLR is getting more competitive

buy a Nikon D5200 front with screenThe Nikon D5200 only fully launched in January and already the prices in the UK are dropping, making this highly rated DSLR even more competitive. Nikon have really taken the entry-level category apart with their successive launches of the D3200, D5200 and, more recently, the D7100. Canon, their main rival have responded by launching the Rebel T5i (If you can work out the difference between the T4i and the T5i please let me, and the rest of the world, know).

When launched, the D5200 was selling at  priced at £650/$800 for the body and £720/$900 for the body and lens kit. In just a couple of months, the prices have dropped down to around £550 for a body in the UK which suggests that the prices in the USA will soon follow.

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However, I don’t think that they are going down because the camera isn’t selling well. After all, this DSLR has had some superb reviews, especially from the likes of DxOMark, who have rated it higher than the newer D7100 and only a few points short of the Nikon fully professional cameras. I think that the manufacturers are aggressively targeting the entry-level market because they see they enormous potential there. The technology available now to the amateur/enthusiast is so good that I think Nikon see this selection of DSLR cameras as the corner stone of future expansion. The file 24MP sensors produce such astonishing results, both for stills and for video, that it is doubtful that customers will be looking for anything better for a while. With Canon only offering 18MP in their T5i/T4i, Nikon believe that this advantage will work in their favor for a couple of years. This gives them the ideal opportunity to attract point-and-shooters who want to move up and also the disillusioned Canon user.

Nikon D1 digital cameraProfessional photographers have seen this sort of seismic shift before. When Nikon launched the F series of SLRs, they were the best cameras around as far as the Pros were concerned. Their dominance lasted until Canon brought out the revolutionary EOS system cameras in 1987. Professionals migrated en masse to Canon and your couldn’t give Nikon gear away. Finally Nikon caught up and released the D1 in 1999 and, again the Pro’s changed allegiance. But it took 12 years of hard work to make them think seriously about buying Nikon cameras again. I think Nikon are hoping for a similar shift in the enthusiast market. If they can attract the enthusiast with great quality and technology, they have a great chance of keeping them locked into their lenses and accessories (and why not? Their lenses are superb). That is the main reason why the Nikon D5200 prices are dropping….

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The Nikon D5200 and selective color

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The Nikon D5200 selective color mode

Nikon have a winner with their Schindler setting

I must admit, I am not a great fan of some of the scenes and effects on modern cameras. I think some of them are more for show than anything else. Someone somewhere has decided that this camera or that camera should have 16 effects and so the designers and engineers have to come up with modes that will never get used. If you buy a Nikon D5200, will you ever use the Dusk/Dawn setting? or Autumn colors? (and why is it autumn, British season and colors, American spelling?) Will you ever find yourself in a situation when the silhouette effect will be just what you were looking for?

However, the selective color settings on the D5200 open up a whole new perspective on shooting both stills and video. That dramatic scene of the little girl in the red coat in Schindler’s list has spawned a thousand imitators and has made the part color, part monochrome image a right of passage for many photographers. Of course, it is relatively easy to do in photoshop – you just draw around your color object, select the rest of the image and grayscale it. But if you want to have multiple objects colored, you have to draw around them all, and even with the Magnetic Lasso Tool is can get quite laborious. That is the price of having a software that defines color by pantone and is very specific and exact. The selective color option on this digital camera is a blunt tool by comparison. When you choose a color, every object in the image that has that general color will keep it. This sounds pretty rubbish, but I think it works really well. In these two pictures, I chose orange and removed all other colors.

selective color on a Nikon D5200

selective color in a D5200

I particularly like the detail in the lampshade and the fact that the software found orange in the cabinet. Obviously, you need to be careful. I don’t particularly want the buildings outside keeping their color, for example but, used with some forethought, this can be a great effect.

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There are two ways of using selective color for stills. You can either chose it from the Effects menu on the Mode Dial or use it in the retouch menu after you have taken the shot. The pictures above were changed in retouch. This picture was shot having selected yellow through the Effects menu.

selective color in the nikon d5200

With video, you cannot use selective color in retouch (imagine the processing power you would need for that) but you can choose it through the Mode dial. If you choose your color wisely, it can have a very dramatic effect. Which, I guess, is why it was so appealing to Steven Spielberg…

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Should you buy a Nikon D5200

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Should you buy a Nikon D5200?

Should you buy a Nikon D5200? Nikon D5200 digital camera with standard lens

Buying a new camera is a big decision, not least because it is quite a big ticket item. If you buy a Nikon D5200, you will also be tied into other Nikon products, like lenses and Flashguns. Nikon produce great quality kit, although it can be expensive. But I think buying this DSLR is worth serious consideration. Launched in the States in January, every photo enthusiast in America had already seen the D5200 and examined its features ( it was launched in Europe and Asia at the end of 2012). This could explain why there was not a huge buzz that accompanied the launch of other cameras like the Compact System Camera updates, the J3 and the S1, or even the sibling Nikon D3200 last year. However, the D5200 is a superb camera that can produce high quality stills and astonishing HD video. It was recently rated higher than the Nikon D3200 by DxOMark and was only a few points behind Nikon’s Pro cameras.

Nikon have furnished their DSLRs with different sensors from different manufacturers. The D5200 has a brand new 24MP sensor, supplied by Toshiba. As a result, nobody knows how well this sensor can perform yet, but it is assumed that it will be even better than the similar Sony sensor in the Nikon D3200. Certainly the D5200 gives quite splendid color saturation and clarity. The sensor produces a 68MB file, which will satisfy almost any requirement, and the Expeed3 processor –  which has already proved itself to be very quick and efficient in the D3200 – it quite at home in the D5200. It has also inherited a couple of excellent features from the D7000 – the 39-point Auto-focus system – up from the 11-point Auto-focus system in the D5100. This gives you much greater accuracy when focussing and is especially useful for shooting landscapes. The D5200 also has the D7000′s metering system, which gives makes the exposure settings far more accurate and takes it into the realm of professional cameras (in fact DxOMark place the D5200 only a few points behind the professional Nikons the D3x and the D4). It has also upgraded the internal Mic from mono to stereo which produces very good sound for videos. There is a side port which allows you to attach either a GPS receiver, or a WiFi connector, so that you can receive and transmit with your computer. It can also be used as a remote control for the camera, even operating the Live-view option. Nikon have worked to address some of the criticism directed at the D5100. For example, there are now two customizable buttons on the camera that give you the chance to to change certain parameters instantly, rather than find the settings in the menus.

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Of course, if you are considering whether to buy a Nikon D5200, you will need to have a look at the alternatives. The main rival to the D5200 is the Canon T4i. Out for over a year, the 18MP files aren’t as impressive as they once were, but it is a superb camera and, like the D5200 is designed for both stills and video. Like the D5200, the T4i also has a an articulated viewing screen which canon have made a touch screen. It is fair to say that opinion is divided on the value of the touch screen option, but Canon loyalists insist that it is an extremely useful feature and much quicker for navigating the menus.

You might also like to look at rivals closer to home. The Nikon D3200 and D7000 are both in the same entry-level category as the D5200. The D3200 was launched last year and also has a 24MP sensor. This file size blew the opposition away at the time and that, combined with the great picture quality and the very competitive pricing, has led it to dominate its class. However, it has a poorer build quality and no articulated back screen which is becoming a requirement for those who want to seriously shoot video. The D7000 is probably going to be replaced this year and that is reflected in current prices. Only offering a 16MP file size, it seems to be a poor relation in that area. However, there are many photographers who are not dazzled by the file size debate and see other qualities in the D7000, like the internal motor (for older lenses), the tough magnesium alloy body, twin memory card slots and 6FPS burst speed. Not flash or up to date, the D7000 still holds a place in the hearts of the Nikon stalwarts for its reliability and ruggedness.

Other things to think about if you are wondering if you should buy this digital camera are the accessories. The Nikon lenses are second to none and there is a healthy second hand market for them. If you do buy a Nikon D5200, get the 18-55mm kit lens or, if you can afford it, the 18-105mm lens. They will give you some great flexibility for shooting video and stills. Make sure you buy a decent memory card and, if possible, a tripod – as you may be enticed by some of the scene options that require a slower shutter speed. If you are still unsure, I would advise that you to find a good camera shop and ask to pick one up and see how it feels in hand. I have seen many new cameras over the years and I don’t think that the D5200 is revolutionary or the next technological leap forward. It is however an excellent performer across stills and video, in different lighting conditions and quick enough for action photography. So, should you buy a Nikon D5200? Well, I have.

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