Nikon didn't wait very long to update its excellent D5200 digital SLR. That camera, announced internationally last November, didn't make its U.S. debut until CES in January, and less than a year later we have its successor.
On the exterior the new D5300 is pretty much the same as its predecessor-the only notable change is an LCD that's a bit larger (3.2 inches) and sharper (1,037k dots) than the 3-inch, 921k-dot vari-angle display found on the D5200.
Despite boasting the same 24-megapixel resolution as its predecessor, the D5300's image sensor is a different design. It's the same one that is found in the D7100. That means that it omits the optical low-pass filter (OLPF). Professional medium format digital cameras have long done away with the OLPF, which saps up a bit of detail in order to eliminate the possibility of color moire appearing in images. Over the past couple years, more and more smaller format cameras have dropped the OLPF, including Nikon's own D800E and the Pentax K-5 IIs. But the D5300 is the first camera we've seen that is squarely aimed at the consumer market to take this approach.
The EXPEED 4 image processor is also new to the D5300, replacing the EXPEED 3 chip that powered the D5200. This is the first Nikon camera with this image processor, but the company promises that it will deliver improved performance in low light and faster operation overall. The native ISO range is ISO 100 through 12800, with 25600 available as an expanded option. The metering and focus systems are the same as the D5200-that gives the camera a 2,016-pixel RGB sensor for scene recognition and 39 selectable autofocus. Like its predecessor, the D5300 is rated to shoot at 5 frames per second.
The other big internal upgrade is the addition of built-in Wi-Fi. Previously Nikon D-SLR owners had to purchase the WU-1a adapter to add wireless connectivity to their cameras. This feature is built into the D5300, so you can transfer photos wirelessly to an iOS or Android device without the need for an add-on. A GPS module is also built into the camera, so your location is added to photo metadata automatically. You'll be able to look at shots on a map when using software like iPhoto or Picasa, or sharing online via a hosting service that includes a map view, like Smugmug.
The D5300 will be available in black, red, or dark gray. It's priced at $799.95 as a body only, or $1,099.95 with an 18-140mm lens. It will be available to purchase in mid-November.
This announcement comes on the heels of news of the D610, a very minor update to the full-frame D600. It's essentially the same camera, but with an improved shutter that allows for a 6fps continuous shooting rate. Many D600 owners reported that the camera has a tendency to pick up dust on the sensor after extended use. It wasn't something we saw with our review unit, and sensor dust is a common issue with all interchangeable lens cameras, but the noise that D600 owners made indicated that it was something beyond what is normally expected.
Nikon issued a service advisory for the D600 relating to the dust issue. The company is not saying that the new shutter is there to reduce the instances of dust accumulation; rather, the official line is that it improves the burst shooting rate and also introduces a new 3fps quiet continuous mode.
The D610 comes in at a $100 less than its predecessor; it's priced at $1,999.95 as a body only, and can be purchased in a kit with the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens for $2,599.95.
Rounding out the Nikon announcements is a new high-end prime lens. The AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G matches the focal length of the classic Noct-Nikkor 58mm f/1.2, but its aperture isn't quite as ambitious. The new lens features the latest nanocrystal coatings, ED and aspherical elements, and an internal SWM focus motor. It's priced at $1,699.95 and will be available at the end of October.