Nikon D5600: A Camera for Image Capturing Pleasure

pix of Nikon D5600 with box

Nikon D5600: A Camera for Image Capturing Pleasure

DSLR camera has been facing a vague future in the past few years.  In the advent of mirrorless and mobile camera phone, consumers can capture fine quality images with their mobile phone.  Why do they need to carry a heavy DSLR camera with them?  From my point of view, mobile phone camera may be cool enough for your own selfies. But when it comes to a decent image quality, DSLR is still my first camera of choice.

Of course, DSLR camera has to evolve especially in the age of social network era.  Today, you can snap photo shots and readily post them on Facebook or Instagram right from your own DSLR camera.  Nikon D5600, the latest DSLR camera from Nikon, will surely satisfy social network lovers.

Nikon D5600 is the midrange entry level DSLR camera from Nikon D5000 series.  Nikon D5000 series sits between early-entry level like Nikon D3400 series and semi-pro level like Nikon D7500 series.  According to its popular demand and high sales figure, Nikon has finally released the latest model from D5000 series, Nikon D5600.

Specification of Nikon D5600

Pix of Nikon D5600 rear view
The camera comes with vari-angle touchscreen

Nikon D5600 camera is an essentially small-size, lightweight, and easy-to-carry DSLR camera which I think it is the solid selling point of D5000 series.  Even though the camera is too small to fit in a palm of a grown-up male, it works fine with a female who usually has a much smaller palm.  Anyway, the camera is likely to take a nose dive when mounted with a long and heavy zoom lens due to its lightweight body.

Like its predecessor, Nikon D5600 body is a polycarbonate monocoque construction which uses the exterior shell of the camera’s body to provide structural support while a lens mount is made of aluminum-alloy materials.  The F mount weights heavier than the previous model at 465 g but it can still be carried with a single hand.  The rubber grip is added to firmly hold the camera.

Nikon D5600 is equipped with 24 MP DX-format CMOS image sensor with the removal of a low-pass filter for more image’s sharpness and it is powered by a latest EXPEED4 processor.  The autofocus system remains the same as Nikon D5500, the Nikon muti-CAM 4800 DX with 39 individual focus points and 9 cross-type points.  It also supports Single-servo AF, Continuous-servo AF, AF-A, and auto face detection.  AI servo predicts the movement of the subject and maintains the focus on it. The camera is compatible with AF-S, AF-P, and AF-I lens.

Nikon D5600 allows the user to set ISO sensitivity from 100 to 25,600. The maximum burst speed the camera can capture is 5 fps.  The shutter speed runs from 1/4000 to 30 seconds.  The user can switch to bulb mode (shutter B) and shutter T (Time) by rotating the mode dial for long exposure shot at night. The silent shutter mode is also provided.

Design of Nikon D5600

Pix of camera top view
The top view

Generally speaking, the layout of Nikon D5600 is almost identical to the previous model of D5500.  The optical viewfinder provides coverage of approximately 95% of the frame with manual eye-point adjustment.

From a top view, The Hot Shoe for external flash or additional microphone accessory situates right on the center and supports Nikon Creative Lighting System. The speaker is on the left shoulder and the camera mode dial is on the right.  Like a cheaper model Nikon D3400, the camera mode is available from A (Auto), P (Program), S (Shutter), A (Aperture), and M (Manual).  The user also has 16 scene modes as well as 10 effects to choose from.

Under the camera mode dial, there is a switch that the user can use to turn Live-View on and off.  Next is the exposure compensation button which is used in conjunction with a command dial below to adjust the aperture value.  The spin dial below is used to adjust shutter speed while the button with a red dot is for video recording.

From front cover, you will find the focus-assisted light on the leftmost. The button to pop up built-in flash is placed well below a flashlight compensation button. The Fn button on the front side is used as a short-cut to quickly access some functions such as ISO sensitivity, white balance, and Active-D Lighting.

Nikon D5600 camera has equipped with USB and HDMI ports for viewing images and video records on any HDTV.  The transfer rate is up to the standard with crisp, clear picture and sound.  The SD card slot is compatible with SD, SDHC, and SDXC types and also supports UHS-I standard.

Nikon D5600 is powered by EN-EL14a 1,230mAh battery and is capable of capturing up to 400-600 images on a single charge.

A Larger Touchscreen

Pix of Nikon D5600
A larger touchscreen

Nikon D5600 has come with vari-angle 3.2” touchscreen and 1 million dot resolution which is slightly larger than that of other competitors in the market.  Since Nikon D5600 is relatively small in size, the single-dial machine means that the user has to rely mostly on a touchscreen to access camera’s features and a setting menu.  The screen’s responsiveness has done quite well and is useful for positioning focus in live view and video mode.

Key Features

Nikon SnapBridge:  Nikon D5600 camera can transfer images to various smart devices like any other digital cameras in the market.  It will connect to a smart device with Bluetooth function via the SnapBridge application.  It uses always-on Bluetooth low energy (BLE) and Wi-Fi technology to sync images with your smart devices either a smartphone or a tablet.  Furthermore, you may opt to transfer images to cloud storage via Nikon image space as well.  Finally, you can also record the coordinate of each image for further reference on the information and a particular location.

Raw File NEF 14 Bit: the user has an option to record a raw file either in 12 bit or 14 bit.  The retouch menu can be processed as well as converted to JPEG format directly from the camera.  Furthermore, the user may take the advantage of Bluetooth technology to transfer images to smart devices.

Video Recording: Unfortunately, Nikon D5600 retains its video recording capability to 1080p at 60 fps while most of mid-range cameras in the market have already moved to 4K.  A bit disappointing.

Timelapse Movie function:  this function is added to D5600 for the first time in D5000 series. Previously, a timelapse function will only be available from Nikon’s higher model.  By utilizing this function, the user can capture timelapse movie and entirely put together with an exposure smoothing function to smooth out lighting variation.

Performance

The ISO sensitivity

We have started with ISO sensitivity analysis by firing multiple shots with ISO ranging from 100 to 3,200 and the image quality is almost flawless, thanks to the power of EXPEED4 image processing chip.  However, at ISO 6,400, noises are partially visible if you zoom in the image but it is still acceptable for social networks like Facebook or Instagram.  The JPEG image will start losing much of its detail from ISO 12,800 to 25,600 range.

Image Quality

Pix captured by Nikon D5600
Shutter Speed 1/8, f16, ISO 400

I decided to choose AF-S 20 mm, F/1.8 G ED lens to test a still image capturing capability and Nikon D5600 had done quite a good job on the test.  I tried to emphasize on capturing images in high ISO sensitivity setting to see the noise effect on image’s detail in both RAW and JPEG format.  Again, with the power of the EXPEED4 processor, the image successfully retained most of its detail even in high ISO sensitivity setting.  The 14-bit RAW file had given us as impressive quality as it did to top model counterpart like D500 series camera except for noises which were more visible in D5000 series than those in a higher model.

Pix taken by Nikon D5600
Shutter Speed 1/640, f13, ISO 320

The JPEG quality can retain most of its fine detail in a relatively low ISO sensitivity setting.  From my point of view, an acceptable ISO sensitivity range for JPEG format should not be over 6,400 otherwise the image quality will get deteriorated as the ISO goes up.  A noise reduction feature also comes in handy to help to smooth much of detail on the image.

Pix taken by Nikon D5600
Shutter Speed 1/400, f11, ISO 2800

Camera Layout

As mentioned earlier, Nikon D5600 is originally designed to be a small, light-weight, and easy-to-carry camera.  With a well-placed rubber grip, I could operate the camera with a single hand and don’t have to worry about dropping it at all.  D5600 handling may even be rival to many mirrorless cameras in the market.  It seems to me that Nikon has decided to trade off the camera control with improved handling.  Being a single-dial machine has forced the user to mostly rely on a touchscreen to access camera features and a setting menu.  Because of that, the user has to plan in advance of which function should be assigned to a customizable button.  A bit awkward and inconvenient.

Video Recording

Video recording doesn’t change that much from previous model 5500 but it is considered OK for image quality and noise reduction.  Unfortunately, Nikon has failed to upgrade video recording to 4K resolution and rather stick to a 1080p resolution.  A major criticism is on a slow responsiveness on autofocus when working in conjunction with Live View mode.

Bottom Line

Pros

  • Small and lightweight.
  • Vari-angle touchscreen enable a user to capture images from various angles.
  • Better touchscreen’s responsiveness.
  • Superb 14 Bit RAW file quality
  • SnapBridge function to help to transfer images via Bluetooth.
  • Last-long battery life.

Cons

  • Slow autofocus on Live View mode.
  • No 4K resolution video record.
  • Being a single-dial machine complicates camera control.

 

 

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