Image Performance, Conclusion
With the large number of AF points and the wide coverage, the D5200's auto-focus is fast and snappy, locking on to subjects accurately. Nikon's useful 3D-tracking AF mode helps you to focus and re-compose without losing your plane of focus, as the camera will lock on to and keep recalibrating focus on the original subject while your camera is moving. The camera also lets you define AF points by controlling the general area of AF coverage, but unlike the higher-end cameras you cannot choose to show the area of coverage; the D5200 will only show a single AF point.
ISO performance is very impressive – we've gotten to the age now where even shooting at ISO 6400 doesn't produce complete sludge. Images are quite clean till ISO 1600 and the first hints of noise are apparent at ISO 3200, but the D5200 manages to keep it fine-grained and to a minimum. Most entry-level users probably won't mind going all the way up to ISO 6400. If you've shot a grainy image with your smartphone and are okay with it, you might not even mind shooting up to ISO 12,800 – an impressive feat for a semi-entry level DSLR camera.
The high-resolution 24MP image sensor returns a very high 2600 LPH (horizontal and vertical). The only downside to the D5200's images is each picture's high footprint; JPEGs average 12MB each, which will take an extra toll on your memory card, hard drive and graphics video memory (if you open a lot of these images). Otherwise, there's only upside to the photographs you're getting from the D5200 - this is high-quality stuff.
In closing, the Nikon D5200 should serve very well as anyone's first DSLR camera. The tri-dial learning interface has limited use, but it does help budding photographers at least see a relationship between the three legs of the exposure triangle. The camera is comfortable in the hands, and the 24MP sensor produces some gorgeous images with very good ISO performance.
Unless you want an APS-C camera with a built-in AF motor (and there are more DX lenses today being made with built-in AF motors), then the D5200 presents a very good value for money option today as an entry-level camera. There aren't any bells and whistles with this model like a touch-screen, but the focus on image quality and usability is appreciated.
The Nikon D5200 is available now at S$1129 for the body only, or at S$1319 with the 18-55mm kit lens.