Published on November 7, 2012 11:08 AM

Nikon D5200: 24-Megapixel DSLR to Rival Canon 650D

History seems to be repeating itself. In 2011, Nikon presented the D5100 to rival Canon's freshly arrived 600D DSLR. So this year, Nikon is due to launch the D5200, armed with a boosted pixel-count and a high-end autofocus system to take on Canon's 650D.

Nikon has treated this updated SLR to the 24-Megapixel APS-C sensor already seen in the D3200. But at first glance, it's not easy to tell the D5200 apart from its predecessor. The cameras keep the same basic shape and dimensions, and the control layouts are very similar. There's therefore still no sign of a button for directly accessing ISO settings. Handling remains pretty standard fare, with a chunky dial for choosing your exposure mode (PSAM, scene modes, effects, auto, flash off) and a thumb-wheel on the back of the camera. The rest of the settings are accessible via a redesigned graphic user interface using the "Info" and "I" buttons.

The full swivel screen flips out from the camera body so you can line up shots from all kinds of angles. Definition is 921,000 dots but there's no touchscreen functionality like in Canon's 650D. That's a shame too, as touch-controls can be handy for selecting your AF zone. They also make a camera totally silent to use, which is a real boon in video mode.

Nikon D5200

The viewfinder is lifted straight out of the D5100 (so it's still pretty tight) and there's no support for controlling external flash units.

The biggest changes brought to this camera, however, aren't visible from the outside. For starters, the D5200 has a 24-Megapixel APS-C sensor (6000 x 4000 pixels) and has been treated to the autofocus system seen in the D7000, with 39 AF points including nine cross-type points. On top of that, you get a 2016-pixel RGB sensor for scene recognition, light metering, autofocus and white balance. Plus, the Expeed 3 image processor can line up 5 fps in continuous shooting mode, which is almost good enough to consider sports photography. The video mode has been updated slightly too, as the D5200 films 1920 x 1080 HD video at 60/50i. However, the contrast-detection AF could be a bit of a hindrance in video mode compared with the latest excellent micro four-thirds cameras and even Nikon's 1-series models.

In the end, the D5200 looks like an excellent camera on paper (sensor, autofocus) but we can't help regretting that Nikon hasn't dared to take the plunge with some of the market's newest features, such as touchscreen technology, Wi-Fi connectivity (although this can be added via an optional accessory), a GPS or even a new autofocus system for video or lining up shots onscreen.

In comparison, the Canon 650D offers fewer pixels but comes with a new faster AF system for smoother operation in video mode (but only with STM lenses), as well as a sleek touchscreen. Canon's model is also more expensive than this Nikon. Plus, anyone who's really into video will no doubt look to the Sony Alpha 65.

The Nikon D5200 will be available with the 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens for around £820.

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