Life Tech Expert review: We test out the latest Nikon
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Expert review: We test out the latest Nikon

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In an age where the art and skill of photography is becoming more accessible to the everyman, Nikon’s newest instalment in its entry-level DSLR line is making it easier to make professional quality pictures without investing hours in training and digital darkroom processes. The D5300 is the new 24.2-megapixel body that can shoot full HD video and comes with built in Wi-Fi. You can’t do a Google search on it, but it does come in very handy. 

It combines DSLR features that would be expected on a camera used by the pros, with fun in-camera effects and filters, to create a total image making machine. In fact there are so many preset effects and modes, from the nostalgic Toy Camera effect to the creatively titled Pet Portrait mode, that you begin to wonder why there is a manual shooting mode.

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(Interestingly, the user guide has instructions for the traditional manual mode after the instructions for the presets. The future of photography, I hear Gen Y say?)

It is a clever ploy by Nikon to target a market that relies on mobile phones and social media for the supply and demand of their images. The D5300 nods to the future by having in-built Wi-Fi to a mobile device, so what were low res, unprintable phone photos now become 6-8MB jpegs. So the strains of “Take one with the iPhone as well so I can send it to Mum,” will no longer be heard as cocktail sipping honeymooners snap away in Bali with their D5300.

For those that wish to move to a DSLR but don’t want to invest too heavily, then this camera would make a great start.

A smart-looking camera, small and light, it has an extremely comfortable, deep grip with a clever rubber pad on the back for the thumb.

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Most controls are smartly arranged and reachable by thumb and/or shutter finger, allowing for one-handed camera control and one hand lens control. The large 3.2-inch vari-angle LCD monitor is a bonus for any selfie-obsessed Kevin Rudds out there. Seriously though, it makes composing images from extreme angles a cinch, and a feature that I would love on my pro-bodies when stuck in a crowd.
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When shooting, the screen displays the controls in cockpit-style graphics, which not only look great but  serve as a visual reference for the novice as to what the ‘aperture’ and ‘shutter speeds’ are. The camera provides both built-in flash, which will pop up when needed, as in the portrait mode, and a hot-shoe, to mount a Speedlight for greater control over flash lighting. Noise is mostly non-existent at ISO range 100-1200, and is bearable at ISO 1600 (see below for 100% zoom and minimal noise), meaning the image quality on the D5300 is superb in most lighting conditions.

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However, unlike most DSLR’s there is no ISO selection button on the camera body so the ISO has to be changed from within the menu. A hassle when you need to adjust quickly to varying low light conditions.

Nikon offers a body with 18-140mm 3.5-5.6 kit (reviewed) and an 18-55mm kit or body only, for use with Nikkor DX Lenses. The 18-140mm lens was fine in most conditions and suitable for amateur photographers. Covering 18mm to 140mm would mean not a great deal of lens changing or for the budget conscious, lens purchasing. The auto-focus was a bit hit and miss and the lack of selective focus points something that I missed from a higher end camera, but a cleverly placed exposure/focus lock button meant a quick re-composing of the shot got around this.
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The D5300 is an ideal camera for the family, regular traveller or for those with the inclination to take their skill set beyond the point and shoot. With operating tendencies towards high end DSLR’s but with built in automatic (and fun!) filters this camera covers all bases.

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The built in Wi-Fi and HD video with excellent colour reproduction and ease of use are smart extras that complete this camera and make it one that should be under the tree this Christmas.

*All Images are straight from camera and unaltered. For more information, click here.