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Will the Nikon D5200 Benefit from the D600′s Extra Functionality?
Well, finally we can stop pretending that the Nikon D600 might be coming out in time for Photokina. The worst kept secret in the camera world is now officially out. Cheaper than the Pro D800, the D600 is a full-frame enthusiast camera that is priced to compete with the Canon EOS 5D and fill the gap between the D7000 and the D800. The main talking point, of course is the file size. The D800 offers a whopping 36MP, but Nikon seem to have decided that 24MP is sufficient for all their DSLRs below the Pro-level. But what are the other changes and what clues do they give to what the new Nikon D5200 will offer?
Click here to see a full review of the Nikon D5100
If we take a look at some of the features on the D600, I think we could take an educated guess at what Nikon are planning for the new D5200. Of course, as mentioned, the file size is likely to be 24MP. This will probably be the default size for all the enthusiast and entry-level DSLRs. It is a significant improvement on many of it’s rivals, and big enough for most purposes.
The D5100 is a purely DX camera which, although it doesn’t let you shoot full-frame, can offer advantages in lens length. The D600 offers both DX and FX (full frame) which is a great level of flexibility. But, whilst a full-frame entry-level DSLR has often been considered the holy grail, I think, on a practical level, it is largely unimportant. Consequently, I don’t see the Nikon D5200 have dual shooting formats.
The D600 is a very promising all round camera, but I am a bit disappointed by the shutter speed of 1/4000 and burst rate of 5FPS. Whilst it is more than most photographers will need, they want more. 1/8000 shutter speed would sound a lot better and I would hope that the D5200 leap-frogs the D600 and offers at least 6FPS. An entry-level DSLR should be flexible enough to allow the photographer to experiment and push their skills to the limit – 5FPS is simply not fast enough.
It does look like the D5200 will have an improved AF system. The D600 offers the 39 point AF and I would be surprised if the D5200 doesn’t match that. I think the 51 point AF system will be held back for the higher end DSLRs. I also think it is unlikely that the pentamirror system, which gives a 95% view through the viewfinder will be upgraded. It does a pretty good job, and whilst the restricted view is annoying on paper, people get used to it very quickly. The introduction of a pentaprism and 100% view would increase the price for little benefit.
Obviously, the D5200 will have to offer two card slots – it becomes imperative with modern cameras. The video requirements and larger files (especially if you want to save them as RAW files) means that relying on a single card is madness.
The D600 has an auto brightness function on the LCD monitor. The D5100′s articulated monitor has been a great success and it would be great if the Nikon D5200 could continue progress in this area. Why not have the auto brightness function on the D5200 as well? In fact Nikon should be looking hard at whether they can incorporate Canon’s touch screen system as well and make the D5200′s back screen a unique selling point.
The HD video function was a huge selling point for the D5100 and Nikon need to maintain their momentum in this area on the D5200. Offering a 60 FPS rate on full HD would be really useful, but I think they could take a neat trick from the D600 with it’s auto time lapse movie creation function. It seems a practical way to take the hard work out of time lapse photography and encourage the beginner to try something new. Also, with sound being so important, Nikon might add a headphone jack to the D5200.
So What clues does the D600 offer those of us who are waiting for the new D5200? Well, we are likely to get 24MP sensor, 5 FPS, 1/4000 shutter speed, 39 AF points, a re-vamped LCD monitor and a few more options on the video front. The build will probably be the same, tough plastic. If the price is right – around $900 – that seems a pretty good deal.