The Nikon D5600 is the most recent member of the Nikon D5000-series camera club. The D5600 is one step up from the entry-level Nikon D3500, filling the space between that model and the more enthusiast- and pro-orientated Nikon D7500 and D500.
In one vital respect, though, it’s one up on all of them. These D5000-series cameras are the only DX-format Nikon SLRs with a vari-angle screen. The range's combination of novice-friendliness, vari-angle screen and small size make it ideal for both first-timer camera users and photography students.
• Update: In 2021, five years after this camera was launched, it's still on sale and, surprisingly perhaps, it's still a serious proposition in the beginner camera market. It's main downfall (for some) is its lack of 4K video, but otherwise it's a compact and lightweight DSLR with a flip-out screen, a great 24MP sensor and a wide range of lenses to choose from. Five years on, it looks just as competitive as when it was launched, and in a market where mirrorless camera prices are climbing steadily, it looks better value than ever.
The key new feature in the D5600 is Nikon’s wireless SnapBridge technology, where the camera maintains a low-power Bluetooth LE connection with your smartphone or tablet.
Sensor: 24.2MP DX-format CMOS (Expeed 4)
Lenses: Nikon F (DX format)
Viewfinder: Eye-level pentamirror viewfinder, 95% coverage
Max video resolution: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) at 60, 50, 30, 25 or 24p
ISO range: 100-25,600
Autofocus points: 39 (9 cross-type)
Max burst rate: 5fps
LCD screen: 3.2-inch, vari-angle, touch-sensitive, 1,037k-dot LCD
Shutter speeds: 1/4,000 sec to 30 sec, Bulb
Weight: 465g (with battery and memory card)
Dimensions: 124 x 97 x 70mm
Power supply: Lithium-ion EN-EL14a battery, 820 shots
Build and handling
The D5600 is almost as small and light as an SLR-style mirrorless camera, yet the grip is deep and well-sculpted, so that you still feel as if you’ve got a proper hold. Some of the buttons are oddly small, though. This doesn’t affect their operation, but the icons are a little harder to read.
The new AF-P 18-55mm lens transforms the camera’s Live View performance. It’s still not as fast as a mirrorless camera, but the speed and responsiveness of the Live View autofocus is certainly unexpected – and it works really well with the screen’s touch control. You can just tap an object in the scene, and the camera will focus on that object and take a picture in a single action.
The SnapBridge system is less impressive. It worked fine, if slowly, with a Android smartphone, but the iPhone operating system insists you select a Wi-Fi connection manually.
The D5600’s autofocus, white balance and exposure systems worked well. Most of the time you can leave the camera to work out the correct settings and it’ll do it reliably.
The camera’s fine detail rendition is especially good and, unlike a lot of kit lenses, the new AF-P 18-55mm holds its sharpness right to the edges of the frame – and at longer zoom settings, too.
We use Imatest and DxO Analyzer hardware and software to test cameras for their colour accuracy (colour error) signal to noise ratio (the amount of noise in the images) and dynamic range (their ability to capture detail in very bright and dark areas). We also pick three rival cameras to test them against.
We compared the D5600 with the Canon 750D, the Nikon D3400 and the Sony Alpha 68. It delivered colors closest to neutral, although all four cameras did well here.
Signal to noise ratio
Using the diminutive Nikon D5600 is a world away from shooting with a bulky enthusiast SLR like D500. It’s light and unobtrusive, but its image quality is terrific, and the vari-angle screen makes it supremely versatile. Now that this DSLR is getting on in age, it is really a matter or ensuring that you buy this at a decently discounted price.