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Nikon D3200 versus Nikon D5200

The Nikon D3200 and the Nikon D5200 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in April 2012 and November 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D3200 has a resolution of 24.1 megapixel, whereas the D5200 provides 24 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5200

The physical size and weight of the Nikon D3200 and the Nikon D5200 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left – the D3200 – represents 100 percent across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5200
D3200 versus D5200 top view
D3200 and D5200 rear side
Body view (D3200 on the left)

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5200 is notably larger (5 percent) than the Nikon D3200. Moreover, the D5200 is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the D3200. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3200 nor the D5200 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
Camera Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(y/n)
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Nikon D3200 (⇒ rgt) 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 no 2012 599discont. check
Nikon D5200 (⇒ lft) 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 no 2012 749discont. check
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 no 2016 499 latest check
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 no 2016 699 latest check
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 no 2015 899discont. check
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 no 2014 499discont. check
Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt) 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 no 2013 799discont. check
Nikon D7100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 YES 2013 1,199discont. check
Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 no 2011 749discont. check
Nikon D3100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 no 2010 599discont. check
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 no 2013 2,799discont. check

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3200 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the D5200, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.


Sensor comparison: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5200

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D5200 is 3 percent bigger. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D3200 and Nikon D5200 sensor measures
Sensor size

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon D3200 offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixel, compared with 24 MP of the Nikon D5200. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.85μm versus 3.91μm for the D5200). Moreover, it should be noted that the D5200 is a somewhat more recent model (by 6 months) than the D3200, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

D3200 versus D5200 MP
Sensor resolution

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar image quality. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
Camera Sensor
Class
Resolution
(Megapixel)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Nikon D3200 (⇒ rgt) APS-C 24.1 6016 4000 1080/30p 24.1 13.2 1131 81
Nikon D5200 (⇒ lft) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60i 24.2 13.9 1284 84
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.8 13.9 1192 86
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.1 14.0 1306 84
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.1 14.0 1438 84
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.3 12.8 1385 82
Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.0 13.9 1338 83
Nikon D7100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 24.2 13.7 1256 83
Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 16.1 4928 3264 1080/30p 23.5 13.6 1183 80
Nikon D3100 (⇒ lft | rgt) APS-C 14.2 4608 3072 1080/24p 22.5 11.3 919 67
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) Full Frame 24.0 6000 4000 1080/60p 25.0 13.6 2537 91

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D5200 provides a faster frame rate than the D3200. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60i, while the D3200 is limited to 1080/30p.

Feature comparison: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5200

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D3200 and the D5200 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3200, the Nikon D5200, and comparable cameras. If you need more detail on the specs, you can find comprehensive listings, for example, in the dpreview camera hub.

Core Features
Camera Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(Y/n)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(Y/n)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec))
Build-in
Flash
(GN)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Nikon D3200 (⇒ rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 4.0 12 no
Nikon D5200 (⇒ lft) optical no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 5.0 7 no
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.2 1037 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.2 1037 swivel YES 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 fixed no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.2 1037 swivel no 4000 5.0 12 no
Nikon D7100 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical YES 3.2 1229 fixed no 8000 6.0 12 no
Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 921 swivel no 4000 4.0 12 no
Nikon D3100 (⇒ lft | rgt) optical no 3.0 230 fixed no 4000 3.0 12 no
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) no no 3.0 1229 fixed no 4000 5.0 6 no

Both the D3200 and the D5200 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3200 was replaced by the Nikon D3300, while the D5200 was followed by the Nikon D5300.

Review summary: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5200

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D3200 better than the Nikon D5200 or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3200:

  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2012).

Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5200:

  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60i versus 1080/30p).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (6 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D5200 emerges as the winner of the match-up (5 : 2 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera.

D3200 02:05 D5200

In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D3200 or the D5200. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites. You can find the full text of the reviews, respectively, at cameralabs.com, dpreview.com, ephotozine.com, imaging-resource.com, and photographyblog.com.

Review scores
Camera camera
labs
.com
dp
review
.com
ephoto
zine
.com
imaging
resource
.com
photography
blog
.com
Camera
Launch
(year)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(amazon)
Used
Price
(ebay)
Nikon D3200 (⇒ rgt) HiRec 73/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 599discont. check
Nikon D5200 (⇒ lft) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2012 749discont. check
Nikon D3400 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 76/100 4/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2016 499 latest check
Nikon D5600 (⇒ lft | rgt) - 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4/5 2016 699 latest check
Nikon D5500 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2015 899discont. check
Nikon D3300 (⇒ lft | rgt) Rec 77/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2014 499discont. check
Nikon D5300 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 79/100 Silver 4.5/5 4.5/5 4.5/5 2013 799discont. check
Nikon D7100 (⇒ lft | rgt) HiRec 85/100 Gold 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2013 1,199discont. check
Nikon D5100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 86/100 HiRec 76/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2011 749discont. check
Nikon D3100 (⇒ lft | rgt) 84/100 HiRec 72/100 Silver 4.5/5 5/5 4.5/5 2010 599discont. check
Sony RX1R (⇒ lft | rgt) - - 4/5 reviewed 4.5/5 2013 2,799discont. check

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.


Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, kindly get in touch, and I will try to update the database with the necessary infos.

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