Moving ‘up’ to a DSLR is considered to be the step that separates a casual snapper from a more serious photographer. Of course, you cannot just pick any DSLR -- you either start with a basic model that does not dent your wallet too much, go the whole hog and get something designed for professional photographers and costs a bomb, or maybe take the middle ground and opt for a camera that mixes elements of both. And the Nikon D5200 falls into the third category. It costs Rs 46,950, but some of its features would be welcome even in more expensive cameras.
In terms of appearance, the D5200 does not deviate too much from its predecessor, the D5100. It is compact but at slightly over half a kilo, not exactly lightweight. The top has the flash, the shooting mode dial and stereo microphones, as well as a slightly odd power on-off lever, on top of which is the shutter button.
The back has the 3.0-inch LCD which can be twisted around to offer you different shooting angle, should the need arise. Above it, and bang in the centre, is an optical viewfinder, with the menu button rather oddly to its left. There is an AE-L/AF-L button, a magnification button, a trash button, a review button and a disc for navigation and selection next to the LCD. A bit intimidating if you have never used a DSLR -- and the menu layout is not the most intuitive either (a DSLR bane, alas), but on the flip side, you are going to get smashing pictures even if you stick to the basic auto mode, although (this being a DSLR after all), you can play around with just about every setting you want to, from ISO to shutter speed.
It is not perfect. The flash sometimes comes into play even in well-lit conditions and the auto-focus takes some time to lock in. We think the menus could have been better designed as could have been the on/off button. Noise levels remained low even when shooting in dark conditions, and sport and close-up shots (macro) were a joy. There are also options to add effects to images on the camera itself, support for shooting 1080p video, and even some editing options.
All said and done, the D5200 is perhaps the best option for a DSLR in the sub-Rs 50,000 category.
Nikon D 5200: 24.1 megapixels, CMOS Sensor, 18-55mm Nikkor kit lens, 3-inch vari-angle LCD
Price: Rs 46, 950