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Nikon D5600 review

It's small, it's speedy, it's simple to use – but is the nifty Nikon D5600 worth your time?

Nikon D5600 review
(Image: © Nikon)

Our Verdict

Using the diminutive Nikon D5600 is a world away from shooting with a bulky enthusiast SLR like the D7200 or D500. It’s light and unobtrusive, but its image quality is terrific, and the vari-angle screen makes it supremely versatile. The SnapBridge experience is disappointing, though, but now this camera is three years old and prices have dropped, there are some tempting deals on this DSLR.

For

  • Small size
  • Good Live View performance
  • Great image quality

Against

  • SnapBridge system still needs work
  • Limited external controls
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The Nikon D5600 is a recent member of the Nikon’s 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 D7200/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.

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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. 

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.

Performance

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.

Nikon D5600 specifications

 

Sensor: 24.2MP DX-format CMOS (Expeed 4)

Lenses: Nikon F (DX format)

Memory: SD/SDHC/SDXC

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

Lab tests

Nikon D5600 - Lab tests

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. 

Color error

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

The signal-to-noise figures are less impressive, although we’re used to seeing this in Nikon SLRs with no anti-aliasing filter. The payback is extra-crisp fine detail.

The signal-to-noise figures are less impressive, although we’re used to seeing this in Nikon SLRs with no anti-aliasing filter. The payback is extra-crisp fine detail.

Dynamic range

All four cameras deliver similar dynamic range results both from JPEG and raw files, so there’s little to choose between them in this particular test.

All four cameras deliver similar dynamic range results both from JPEG and raw files, so there’s little to choose between them in this particular test.

Verdict

 

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.

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