The D5200 is all plastic, but the D7100 has magnesium alloy top and back plates for extra robustness. It also has the dust and moisture seals found on Nikon’s professional cameras, so it’s much better for adventurous outdoor photography in tough conditions.
It doesn’t have the all-metal build of Nikon’s professional DX-format camera, the D300s, but it’s a clear step above the D5200.
Nikon D5200 vs D7100: 14. Control layout – beginner versus expert
The Nikon D5200 has almost all the features of the D7100, but it’s designed to be much more user-friendly for beginners or photographers who are still learning.
Its interactive interface is clear and helpful, but more experienced users may find it soon becomes frustrating because the manual settings are that little bit more difficult to get to.
The D7100, by contrast, is designed more for enthusiasts. It’s easier to get to common manual adjustments and the D7100 has two command dials not one, which speeds things up even further.
Nikon D5200 vs D7100: our conclusion
The Nikon D5200 is smaller, cheaper and more novice-friendly than the Nikon D7100. It has the same resolution and many of the same features, and we particularly like the articulating LCD display.
However, while you might not notice a huge difference in the picture quality, more experienced camera users could quickly find the D5200’s simplified control layout quite frustrating, and the differences between the Nikon D5200 vs D7100 will become more apparent over time.
So we think that although the Nikon D5200 is a terrific camera for novices ready to try out more adventurous photographic techniques, the D7100 is the one that true photo enthusiasts should go for.
Image quality and resolution aren’t the only factors – ergonomics, accessibility, speed and handling are more important in the long run.
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