Nikon D3200 Image Comparison Essay

Which is better – Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5200? Anyone who’s looking to buy a beginner DSLR (or an Advanced) and his already set on a Nikon will probably be comparing these two models. Looked at on paper, the two cameras seem very similar. They have the same resolutions, the same kit lens, same shape and many of the same features.

Even with the passing of the years, the D5200 is still considerably pricier than the D3200. Is it worth the extra cash? Let’s take a look and see how they compare.

Nikon D3200: Advantages

  • Lighter weight
  • Cheaper price
  • Can support UHS memory cards
Click to See Price: Nikon D3200

With almost identical sensors and image processing engines it’s a bit hard to find any real difference between the cameras in image quality. Both cameras do a good job at handling noise reduction. A bit begins to creep in at ISO 800 and becomes very noticeable after ISO 1600. The D5200 does a better job at noise reduction but only ever so slightly.

That statement easily applies to all the performance capabilities in the D3200. Higher color saturation, more accurate white balance, and customizability. These though are hardly things worth paying that much extra cash for.

It’s also worth mentioning that both cameras come with a built-in flash for easier night shooting. Most advanced photographers will rarely use this because of the inability to control it but for beginners or amateur photographers, it can be of use.

One advantage the D3200 has over the D5200 is its ability to support UHS memory cards. This allows it to read and write at ultra-high speeds, making it easier to set-up and work with. Again though, it’s only a minor advantage, in this case for the D3200.

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Nikon D3200: Disadvantages

  • Fewer focus points
  • Less cross-type focus points
  • No tilt-swivel screen

The only real disadvantages that someone will encounter with the D3200 (when compared to the D5200) is the lack of a tilt-swivel screen and few focus points.

Anyone who practices sports or action photography knows how useful extra AF points can be. Similarly, street photographers can also find extra points a big help for focusing quickly. At 11 AF points to the D5200’s 39 its quite a difference and one that will be apparent in any fast moving situation.

The lack of a tilt-swivel screen will also be an issue for any videographers. Most videographers tend to shoot from the hip or if self-shooting from a tripod it helps when you can see yourself. A no tilt screen also makes it more difficult to get low angle still shots, something which can really limit your options, especially for travel photography.

Along with all that both cameras, as mentioned share similar weaknesses. No environmental sealing makes both cameras more prone to weather or dust damage. No image stabilization means you’ll need to be more careful in holding your shots steady, lastly, no GPS or Wi-Fi connectivity makes both cameras restricted in their abilities.

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Nikon D5200: Advantages

  • Tilt-swivel LCD screen
  • More AF points (39 vs 11)
  • More cross-type focus points (9 vs 1)
  • Faster continues shooting (5fps vs 4fps)
  • Higher ISO performance
Click to See Price: Nikon D5200

First off, let’s just make it clear that the differences between these two cameras lie in their features, not their performance metrics. They’re very similar in make, design, and performance but a few key convenience and control options set them apart. Which is better depends entirely on your shooting style?

Both cameras share almost the same 24MP APS-C sensor (the D5200 is 0.1MP higher) as well as the same Expeed 3 image processing engine. Differences in photo quality and performance are so slight as to be almost mute but the D5200 wins out for slightly better white balance accuracy and noise reduction.

Shooting speed is 1fps faster than the D3200 but when testing this out on continues shooting it tended to only be 0.7fps faster. Hardly a big enough difference to warrant the higher price tag.

As mentioned it’s in the features that things really stand out. The D5200 has an advantage in possessing a tilt-swivel LCD screen allowing you to extend the screen out. A very useful feature for low angle shots or when shooting video.

Another difference is found in the camera’s software. Although both cameras have old tired and tested Nikon menu screens, the D3200 lacks a customizable menu setting tab, making it far less detailed and customizable. Beginner photographers may find this more accessible and less intimidating but more advanced ones will find it very restrictive.

A feature that is sure to sway a lot of people is the 39 AF points on the D5200’s sensor, all of which are cross-type and have 3D tracking capability for improved focusing on moving objects.

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Nikon D5200: Disadvantages

  • Minimal external controls for adjusting settings
  • Lacks environmental sealing
  • Heavier weight
  • No in-camera image stabilization
  • No built-in Wi-Fi or GPS

Along with sharing many similarities, both cameras also share many weaknesses. Neither camera has environmental sealing, image stabilization or built-in GPS or Wi-Fi connectivity. All things that these days are considered basic features in an entry-level DSLR.

Shutter speed is also the same for both cameras at 1/4000s along with a flash sync speed of 1/200s. like most DSLR’s, the D5200 does not come with a focus motor so AF is limited to AF-S or AF-I lenses. It’s marginally heavier than the D3200 but only by 50g.

As far as disadvantages go between the two cameras the D3200 doesn’t have much to brag about against the D5200.

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Final verdict

Ask yourself how you intend to use your camera? If you expect to be shooting a lot in video then the D5200 could be worth it just for the tilt-swivel screen. Likewise, if you’re into sports or action photography then the extra focus points will make focusing and shooting much easier.

If not then question whether these extra features are worth the higher price tag? Upgraded features are always nice but when their as minor as this it hardly warrants paying so much extra. Both cameras are excellent and a worthy addition to any photographer’s bag. Our recommendation so is to ask yourself how much camera you really need? If the extra features aren’t that important to you then save your money and spend it on some good lenses instead.

About John English

John is an avid photographer & gear enthusiast. You'll often find him playing with a new toy (cameras/lenses/mounts), or sharing his love of photography with his friends & family.

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More detailed differences and similarities →

More detailed differences and similarities →

Nikon D5200 Competitors

NikonD3300

Entry-level DSLR

399 € body only

450 € with 18-55mm lens

Larger viewfinder
Longer battery life
Screen does not flip out

Compare the D3300 vs the D5200

NikonD5300

Entry-level DSLR

490 € body only

503 € with 18-55mm lens

Much larger screen
Significantly higher resolution screen
More expensive

Compare the D5300 vs the D5200

NikonD3400

Entry-level DSLR

379 € body only

386 € with 18-55mm lens

Much longer battery life
Larger viewfinder
Screen does not flip out

Compare the D3400 vs the D5200

Nikon D3200 Competitors

NikonD3300

Entry-level DSLR

399 € body only

450 € with 18-55mm lens

Lower frame rate movies
Larger viewfinder
More expensive

Compare the D3300 vs the D3200

NikonD3400

Entry-level DSLR

379 € body only

386 € with 18-55mm lens

Lower frame rate movies
Significantly longer battery life
Lacks an external mic jack

Compare the D3400 vs the D3200

Canon EOS700D

Entry-level DSLR

480 € body only

576 € with 18-55mm lens

Significantly higher resolution screen
Has a touch screen
Much lower true resolution

Compare the EOS 700D vs the D3200


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