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Nikon D3200 vs D5300

The Nikon D3200 and the Nikon D5300 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in April 2012 and October 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D3200 has a resolution of 24.1 megapixels, whereas the D5300 provides 24 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3200   Nikon D5300
Nikon D3200 Nikon D5300
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 24 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-6400 (100-12800) ISO 100-12800 (100-25600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD, 921k dots 3.2" LCD, 1037k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 5 shutter flaps per second
540 shots per battery charge600 shots per battery charge
125 x 96 x 77 mm, 505 g 125 x 98 x 76 mm, 480 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3200 and the Nikon D5300? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D3200 vs D5300

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3200 and the Nikon D5300 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D3200 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the D5300 is available in three color-versions (black, grey, red).

Size Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5300
Compare D3200 versus D5300 top
Comparison D3200 or D5300 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5300 is somewhat larger (2 percent) than the Nikon D3200. However, the D5300 is markedly lighter (5 percent) than the D3200. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3200 nor the D5300 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 compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D3200 gets 540 shots out of its EN-EL14 battery, while the D5300 can take 600 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14a power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3200» 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599- i Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5300« 125 mm 98 mm 76 mm 480 g 600 n Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5600« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 465 g 970 n Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 445 g 1200 n Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » 124 mm 97 mm 70 mm 420 g 820 n Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« » 124 mm 98 mm 76 mm 430 g 700 n Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D7100« » 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5200« » 129 mm 98 mm 78 mm 555 g 500 n Nov 2012 749- i Nikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100« » 128 mm 97 mm 79 mm 560 g 660 n Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3100« » 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Sony RX1R« » 113 mm 65 mm 70 mm 482 g 270 n Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

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 25 percent) than the D5300, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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 D5300

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the 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 D5300 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.

Technology-wise, the D5300 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 4) than the D3200 (Expeed 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D3200 and Nikon D5300 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon D3200 offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 24 MP of the Nikon D5300. This megapixels 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 D5300). Moreover, it should be noted that the D5300 is a somewhat more recent model (by 1 year and 5 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. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D5300 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The Nikon D3200 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5300 are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

D3200 versus D5300 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3200» APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5300« APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5600« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484Nikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100« » APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3100« » APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Sony RX1R« » Full Frame 24.0 6000 40001080/60p25.013.6253791Sony RX1R

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the D5300 provides a faster frame rate than the D3200. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the D3200 is limited to 1080/30p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D3200 vs D5300

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D3200 and the D5300 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D5300 has a higher magnification than the one of the D3200 (0.57x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3200 and Nikon D5300 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3200»optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5300«optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5600« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« »optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5200« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Nikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100« »optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3100« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Sony RX1R« »- n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Sony RX1R
The D5300 has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies. In contrast, the D3200 does not have a selfie-screen.

The Nikon D5300 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D3200 and the D5300 write their files to SDXC cards. Both cameras can use UHS-I cards, which provide for Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s.

 

Connectivity comparison: Nikon D3200 vs D5300

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D3200 and Nikon D5300 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3200»YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5300«YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5600« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYNikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »Ymonomono--mini2.0Y-YNikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D7100« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5200« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3100« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Sony RX1R« »YstereomonoY-mini2.0---Sony RX1R

It is notable that the D5300 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D3200 does not offer wifi capability.

Both the D3200 and the D5300 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3200 was replaced by the Nikon D3300, while the D5300 was followed by the Nikon D5500. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.


Review summary: Nikon D3200 vs D5300

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D3200 better than the Nikon D5300 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.


Advantages of the Nikon D3200:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in April 2012).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5300:

  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.7 EV of extra DR).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 4 vs Expeed 3).
  • Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/30p).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.57x vs 0.53x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1037k vs 921k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (600 versus 540) out of a single battery charge.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (1 year and 5 months) more recently.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5300 is the clear winner of the contest (14 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D3200 03:14 D5300

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3200 and the Nikon D5300 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D3200 or the D5300. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews: Nikon D3200 vs D5300

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Nikon D3200»+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599- i Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5300«+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799- i Nikon D5300
 
Nikon D5600« »-79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i i Nikon D5600
 
Nikon D3400« »+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499- i Nikon D3400
 
Nikon D5500« »+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899- i Nikon D5500
 
Nikon D3300« »+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499- i Nikon D3300
 
Nikon D7100« »+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5200« »+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749- i Nikon D5200
 
Nikon D5100« »+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749- i Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D3100« »+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599- i Nikon D3100
 
Sony RX1R« »--4/5o4.5/5 Jun 2013 2,799- i Sony RX1R
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (-) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D3200:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D5300:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D3200 vs Nikon D5300

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D3200 Nikon D5300
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2012 October 2013
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 799
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3200 Nikon D5300
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.2 x 15.4 mm 23.5 x 15.6 mm
    Sensor Area 357.28 mm2 366.6 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.8 mm 28.2 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24.1 Megapixels 24 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6016 x 4000 pixels 6000 x 4000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.85 μm 3.91 μm
    Pixel Density 6.74 MP/cm2 6.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100-6400 ISO 100-12800 ISO
    ISO Boost 100-12800 ISO 100-25600 ISO
    Image Processor Expeed 3 EXPEED 4
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 81 83
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.1 24.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.2 13.9
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1131 1338
    Screen Specs Nikon D3200 Nikon D5300
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.57x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0 inch 3.2 inch
    LCD Resolution 921k dots 1037k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Swivel screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3200 Nikon D5300
    Autofocus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 5 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3200 Nikon D5300
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Geotagging GPS built-in
    Body Specs Nikon D3200 Nikon D5300
    Battery Type EN-EL14 power pack EN-EL14a power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)540 shots per charge600 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 125 x 96 x 77 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
    125 x 98 x 76 mm
    (4.9 x 3.9 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 505 g (17.8 oz) 480 g (16.9 oz)

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