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Andrew Reid

Nikon D5300 Review and why DSLRs are dead for video

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Your reviews should all just be condensed down to this:
 
"I want (insert flavour of the month feature here).... If a camera doesn't offer it, it is useless and therefore a suicidal move by (insert multi million $ making company here)."


brilliant, nailed it!

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Hmm... was seriously considering replacing my T3i with this but I think i'll wait for the GH4 to come out before I make my decision. the price of the GH4 along with it's low light performance will kind of decide it for me. 

 

Also Magic Lantern makes the T3i so much easier to use. Access to ISO and Kelvin White Balance without digging through menus, focus peaking, zebras, etc are all features that are valuable to me and save tons of time for run and gun/event stuff.

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Hello, Andrew.

Strong arguments!

I'm not as sure as you about the immediate death of DSLRs for filmmaking. I think lots of people (me amongst them) will still use them for quite a time.

I know you have to make your own decisions, but I'm hesitating whether I should make a brand switch and I would like to get your opinion as well as the forum member's.

I own and shoot with a Nikon D800 and 6 different lenses (Nikkor, Tamron and Samyang). I'm a little disappointed with moire issues and high ISO performance. But, above all, I feel Nikon never had a real intention to compete in the video league, just as you mentioned. Canon has always been several steps ahead. More over, Canon users have the chance to use their lenses with photo cameras (MkIII, MkII, and so on) as well as cinema cameras (C100, C300, etc.).

Regarding still photos, I'm very happy with my D800.

This week I had the chance to play a little with a 5D Mark III. I loved the ergonomics, the back LCD, lack of moire, high ISO performance, ease of use of menus, plus the possibiliy of installing Magic Lantern with all its features.

Would you make the switch from a D800 to a MkIII?

Would you wait to see the market trends?

If I make the move, it is not just to buy a Canon 5d Mark III instead of a D800, but with the intention of joining a brand that seems to integrate photo and cinema lines much better than Nikon.

Thank you in advance.

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I owned a D5200 until a couple months ago. My main caveats were to do with the body and the interface.

 

  • You had to hold down other buttons to change the ISO and aperture. Even after several months, I would often press the wrong button because they're all the same shape and size. Also there was no second control dial. The inability to change aperture while filming didn't bother me at all (ive never come across a situation where I would need to do that) but the other stuff above did.
  • Manual focus was difficult because of the small viewfinder and no focus assists for the live view.
  • There are some weird inconsistencies with settings when switching between live view and normal.
  • Taking pictures in live view was awkward because there's quite a bit of delay before the picture is taken after pressing the shutter and also when that mirror slaps, it's loud and very mechanical.
  • I never did any proper side by side comparisons, but the when I shot the same scene with the Nikon a few months after I'd shot it with a NEX 6, the Nikon seemed to have much less detail on distant objects.
  • The colours in both video and stills always tended towards a greenish tint.
  • There was no way to control highlights, and so brightly lit things in dark scenes would often blow out despite the generally great dynamic range. You can see the effect of this here:

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After seeing some videos shot with the GH1 by Franc Perec over at Vimeo, I was curious to read some reviews of the camera. I found a comprehensive and enlightening review over at the Luminous Landscape (written some five years ago), where Michael Reichmann had this to say: "And what are Canon, Nikon et all doing in the meantime? Hard to say, but if they are not scrambling to produce something competitive they're going to find RED capturing a big chunk of the high-end of the prosumer stills and video market. Another warmed over 5 series camera from Canon just isn't going to be competitive.

Because Nikon doesn't have an existing video camera business to protect from the ravages of convergence you'd think that they would be in the forefront. But, given what we've seen so far Nikon seems to simply be playing a holding action rather than innovating when it comes to video. At least not yet.

Which brings us back to Panasonic.

First, an anecdote. Back about 30 years ago I was National Sales Manager for the Video Division of Panasonic in Canada. (This was industrial and broadcast; there was no consumer video at the time). I was then always frustrated by the fact that Sony and JVC would have cooler gear and have it first, bringing new features and innovations to market sooner than Panasonic.

After several years with Panasonic, and on a visit to headquarters in Japan one time, I voiced this concern to a senior executive and asked why this had to always be the case. He smiled wryly and responded that as the world's largest electronics company Matsushita felt no need to be first and coolest, but would emulate the turtle, not the hare. Slow but sure wins the race. He also said that the company chooses its battles carefully, but when they target a particular market they play to win." The thing is, in just slightly over a year since the introduction of the GH3, Panasonic have done the unheard-of: they have not just added incremental functionality and cosmetic changes to their flagship camera - an already popular model among video enthusiasts - but a host of features we've been eager to see implemented. 

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very simply, all of my camera purchases are on hold for the GH4. and I suspect a lot of people are in the same boat. nothing that canon or Nikon can put out this year will touch it, and every DSLR they have is obsolete.

 

True for video and this is a video site. So you see why the D5300 gets harsh marks.

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There's a lot of things the GH1 was doing in 2009 that are far better than Nikon are doing in 2014 with the D5300, which is kind of laughable. The hacked GH1 is over 3 years old and ranks just 2 places below the D5300 on my video quality charts from earlier this month.

 

The D5300 is of course much better in low light and has a slightly larger sensor. That sensor is the best thing about the D5300. The rest is so middle of the road.

 

I don't deny that sensor gives above average video and certainly very good stills for the money, therefore you can get some lovely results from it.

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Guest 89e2bdf5797fbbdc17c2cc6da1413fa0

I think this should have been two different articles Andrew...

 

Absolutely. In fact, most of this article just re-covered the ground of Andrew's fairly recent "Dear Nikon" article. I was hoping for a more in-depth review of the actual camera. Not another generalised rant about why MFT cameras are great. I have a G6 and love it, and agree that mirrorless is the future, but my D5300 is getting more use ATM because I like the image so much. Often I don't find the Nikon quite sharp enough, but resolution is OK and the other qualities trump the G6 for me. The 5300 really is a pain in the neck to shoot with though.

 

There is a lot about this article that is right, but there is also a lot that is unsaid or unacknowledged. There are some things I'm very disappointed EOSHD didn't address and that I actually feel make this quite a misleading/lazy review.

 

My responses to the article are below, mainly adding up to my opinion that for everything the D5300 lacks compared to other similarly priced cameras, it makes up for in other areas - making it one of the best all round choices at the moment. Having said that, I do completely agree that in a year's time the level of detail on the 5300 will look slightly archaic, and the extremely frustrating interface design and feature set makes it extremely frustrating and probably a no-go for a lot of work.

 

So, addressed in article-order:

 

 

Quote

The D5300 comes into a world where video enthusiasts are shooting 4K on Panasonic consumer cameras

 

Er, not yet they're not. And the D5300 actually came out in 2013.

 

 

Quote

I just wanted to shoot nice 1080p, conveniently, for a low price with interchangeable lenses. The D5300 to some is $799 for a Super 35mm camera that shoots quite nice 1080p with no moire & aliasing problems, good in low light, great articulated screen – and free Nikon stills camera into the bargain.

 

Agreed. This is where I'm coming from.

 

 

Quote

I just cannot get over the…
Baby Photo Mode

 

This is all an important point, but not really a problem specific to the 5300. But agreed. Nikon are being stupid about their video mode, and so are Canon.

 

 

Quote

The LCD has almost invisibly faint transparent masking marks for 16:9

 

I don't find this a problem at all, once you're used to it. A small, small, tiny inconvenience.

 

 

Quote

Simply by repackaging the D5300 and redesigning the firmware, Nikon could make it 10x more useful for everyone in the world with an interest in shooting artistic video.

 

Again, agreed. Hugely frustrating.

 

 

Quote

The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera is $999 with a 10bit 4:2:2 ProRes codec, crisp detail and 13 stops of dynamic range. The D5300 does have a better screen than the Pocket Camera, which is articulated and it does have an APS-C sensor, 1080/60p in addition to the film frame rate of 24p and 25p, so it’s not all bad…

 

The Pocket has a very different workflow that a lot of shooters just aren't going to want, and is even more frustrating to use than the 5300 in many ways.

 

Quote

Neither can quite match the GH3 for detail in 1080p (let alone the GH4). I believe the trick Panasonic are using to give us such crisp 1080p on their cameras is to down-sample the sensor to roughly 2.5K and then oversample 1080p from that higher resolution raw image. The D5300 looks like the 5D Mark III’s stock video mode for resolution – it’s a bit mushy. You notice this the most when shooting in daylight at focus points between infinity and roughly 5 meters. Sometimes you don’t notice the softness much at all, so it’s not the camera’s main problem.

 

Agreed. Interesting theory about Panasonic too.

 

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Standard or Vivid picture profile ... Whatever method you use the results after grading look similar.

 

FFS ANDREW WHY HAVE YOU NEGLECTED TO TALK ABOUT FLAAT?!

 

 

Quote

Low light performance is very good, even with the focus assist zoomed in 2 levels you will find it difficult to see any noise on the LCD while out shooting in low light at ISO 800. The image maintains rich colour at high ISOs and on brighter areas of the image at high ISOs noise almost vanishes altogether. ISO 1600 and 3200 are perfectly usable in video mode and even 6400 and 12,800 are better than on many cameras at the same price, closer in fact to the Super 35mm sensor in the Sony FS100.

 

IMO this is the major strength of the camera. It is superior to the Pocket, even with Speed Booster, here - because the Pocket has very washed-out colours in low light that completely negate it's low-noise levels. I haven't had a chance to look at how the GM1/GX7 do in low light (and forthcoming GH4). I really hope the GH4 matches the 5300 here. That will make me really happy.

 

 

Quote

The punch-in focus assist is generally a bit slow to use and you can’t simply half-press the shutter button to come back out of it, instead you have to tediously reverse back out out with the ‘minus’ key.

 

Minor niggle and entirely wrong. Pressing 'OK' (centre button) brings you straight out.

 

 

Quote

The lens mount is way too restrictive.

 

Seriously, WTF? You go on about the graetness of the Speed Booster all the time. Pocket + SB = awesome. Nikon mount = grim.
But I agree that it's ridiculous the way Nikon cripple their low-end cameras for using their own glass.

 

 

Quote
with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 any lens you put on it automatically has class-leading stabilisation better than any VR lens in the entire Nikon range including their pro lenses.

 

This is the case with any camera other than Olympus - not just Nikon!!!

 

 

Quote
Last year’s D5200 has an identical image in video mode and costs just $400 used, which makes it hard to justify the D5300 if you don’t need 1080/60p.

 

On the surface this is true, but in actuality it is entirely, categorically false. The D5300 has none of the banding/fixed pattern noise of the 5200. This means far better low light performance and crucially, AMAZING DYNAMIC RANGE POTENTIAL USING FLAT PROFILES. I know that you know about this Andrew. WHY HAVE YOU NEGLECTED TO TALK ABOUT THIS?!?! A quote you made on our older D5300 thread:

 

 

Quote

EOSHD, on 16 Jan 2014 - 8:11 PM, said:

Today I bought a Nikon D5300 for review, and a bit of shooting, but mainly for the blog with intention of sending it back after.

Well, so far it is surprising me.

The dynamic range with the flat picture profile is really quite something. Head to toe with ProRes on the Blackmagic Pocket Camera. I'd put it at 12 stops. Very good colour and good shadows, and again good low light performance. The codec in 1080/60p seems ok so far too. The main drawback seems to be the cheap-mid-range Nikon ergonomics (not enough buttons and dials). Wish they had put this video mode (and articulated screen) in the D7100 instead.

But so far so good peeps!

 

Why didn't you address this in the article? You do know about this. DYNAMIC RANGE IS A MAJOR, MAJOR PRO OF THIS CAMERA. Far superior to any other low-bitrate camera in the price-bracket.

 

 

Quote

As of today, DSLR video is over. Dead. Kaput!

 

Er, I'd probably pick a GH4 over a 5D+RAW for convenience's sake and features, but I'm pretty sure I'll prefer the 5D image (?) and I think we'll be seeing just as much 5D RAW as ever, even after the GH4 is out. But yes, I hope in the long-run mirrorless is the direction we are headed in (and I believe it is too).

 


Quote
The lack of video features and 4K will put DSLRs at a very significant disadvantage on performance relative to the best mirrorless cameras this year.

 

Agreed.

 

 

Quote
To give you an idea of how antiquated the D5300 form factor is you still can’t change the aperture from the camera whilst live-view mode is engaged. Why on Earth not?

 

Agreed. Ridiculous.

 

 

Quote
But in the cold light of day for $1999 (maybe less by the time final pricing is announced), Panasonic offer us 4K video. At $799 Nikon offer us a Baby Photo Mode. Why bother with this crap any more? Really?

 

Ridiculous comment. $2000 is is over twice as much as $800. For some people that's a big difference.

 

 

Quote

Pros
OK video quality and very good low light performance
Better than Canon Rebels and 70D on image quality, for both video and stills
Pleasing colour straight out of the MOV files, richness of tone maintained in low light
1080/60p useful for slow-motion video when converted to more cinematic 24p frame rate
38Mbit codec avoids break-up in 1080/60p mode (only 24Mbit VBR in 24p and 25p mode though)
No significant moire or aliasing issues (though resolution falls short of being truly full HD)
PAL / NTSC switchable for wide variety of frame rates
Manual focus magnification has an ultra-detailed display mode (though painfully slow frame rate)
Quicktime MOV file format benefits (easy editing and access, thumbnail preview in Explorer and Finder)
Very nice smartphone standard 3.2″ articulated screen
The sensor produces immaculate stills quality for the price
$799

 

Agree with all of these, though it seems almost misleading for someone with the respect you have from your readers to neglect talking about dynamic range with the D5300. IMO DR is on-par with low-light as the greatest strength of this camera.

 

 

Quote

Cons
Charmless – looks cheap, bland shooting experience
Very poor ergonomics by Nikon standards
Extremely dated form factor

 

I really like the size, weight and shape of the camera. It is a pain in the backside to use though.

 

 

Quote

No real improvement in image quality over the D5200 in terms of video or raw stills

 

FFingF's sake!!! The banding is gone!!! That was THE major drawback of the D5200. You said so yourself when you reviewed that camera! At least bloody mention it!!!

 

 

Quote
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera offers much better image for filmmakers (13 stop dynamic range, 10bit ProRes 422) for just $200 more

 

The Pocket workflow is a very, very different proposition for some people, and it requires a much greater outlay in terms of gear and time spent in post. The 5300 is also a much better all-rounder.

 

I agree wholeheartedly with all of your other cons.

 

 

As is becoming standard Andrew, I have been very critical of you. As always I still have the greatest respect for you and your site (in fact I may actually just change my signature to say this ;) ).

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I'm a case in point.  I have a Sigma DP1 Merrill for portable medium-format quality stills.  A d600 for low-light event photography and portraits (with 85mm).  A Canon EOS-M with CCTV lens you recommended in your GH2 guide, for fun, super shallow DOF photography and video.  A GF3 which I share with my daughter for quick and easy stills and video with almost any lens and adapters.

 

For video I have a Blackmagic pocket cinema camera.  If I CARE about the image-quality of the video, I wouldn't even think about shooting it with any of the above.

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I've used Flaat picture profiles and also CineStyle before and I never liked the results 100%, felt that a small bit of extra dynamic range comes at the expense of colour and tonality.

 

Feel free to show me some examples in your next post Matt and I'll revisit this.

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Quote
Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera offers much better image for filmmakers (13 stop dynamic range, 10bit ProRes 422) for just $200 more

 

The Pocket workflow is a very, very different proposition for some people, and it requires a much greater outlay in terms of gear and time spent in post. The 5300 is also a much better all-rounder.

 

The Pocket workflow for ProRes doesn't require a greater outlay in anything aside from fast SD cards.

 

You can grade it in Premiere like DSLR footage and even just put Film Convert on it.

 

If you mean raw than yes I agree with you, it does invite a lot of time spent grading in post and a lot of storage space.

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True for video and this is a video site. So you see why the D5300 gets harsh marks.

 

And the 5300 is a predomintally stills based camera, clearly aimed at the family market who will be very, very happy with the 1080p this camera offers.

 

So you see why the D5300 perhaps shouldn't get harsh marks, if the reviewer thought about the target market and not just his own needs.

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Let's follow that RIDICULOUS logic through shall we... oh man... it makes my blood boil. You've got to be trolling right? I'll start writing reviews of DSLR video modes based on the family market and whether they would enjoy shooting Facebook videos of their kids with it?

 

EOSHD is a filmmaking site. It doesn't take much to put two and two together does it??

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I've re-written the review based on ScreensPro's suggestion:

 

***

 

The undoubted highlight of the camera is the Baby Photo Mode which produces optimised, colourful JPEGs of your children for uploading to Facebook, though one major downside of the camera is the inability to make calls on it and upload directly to Facebook, it does include WiFi. Of less interest is 1080/60p, which is good for that 'smooth home movie look' but is really designed for slow-mo. Unfortunately slow-mo requires very expensive and complicated editing software like Adobe Premiere. The D5300 benefits from not having 10bit 4:2:2 or ProRes because you can store a year's worth of heavily compressed footage on mum's iMac from 2008 with a 120GB hard disk.

 

*12 pages of in-depth scene mode coverage*

 

Conclusion...

 

The D5300 is perfectly suited to making shitty home movies with because it lacks any kind of innovation whatsoever.

 

The Super 35mm Toshiba sensor is completely wasted on a low-end camera, but it shouldn't bother THE FAMILY MARKET, the main target of this camera, and therefore top marks 10/10.

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I've re-written the review based on ScreensPro's suggestion:

 

***

 

The undoubted highlight of the camera is the Baby Photo Mode which produces optimised, colourful JPEGs of your children for uploading to Facebook, though one major downside of the camera is the inability to make calls on it and upload directly to Facebook, it does include WiFi. Of less interest is 1080/60p, which is good for that 'smooth home movie look' but is really designed for slow-mo. Unfortunately slow-mo requires very expensive and complicated editing software like Adobe Premiere. The D5300 benefits from not having 10bit 4:2:2 or ProRes because you can store a year's worth of heavily compressed footage on mum's iMac from 2008 with a 120GB hard disk.

 

*12 pages of in-depth scene mode coverage*

 

Conclusion...

 

The D5300 is perfectly suited to making shitty home movies with because it lacks any kind of innovation whatsoever.

 

The Super 35mm Toshiba sensor is completely wasted on a low-end camera, but it shouldn't bother THE FAMILY MARKET, the main target of this camera, and therefore top marks 10/10.

Hilarious. Thank you Andrew :D

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The D5300 is perfectly suited to making shitty home movies with because it lacks any kind of innovation whatsoever.

 

The only cameras suited for home movies are the olympus with 5axis stabilisation. In fact, the olympus are better suited for stills than any camera out there (except for FullFrames), the stabilisation is not only great for video and it surpasses the speed advantage of aps-c. Things like this make DSLRs look old, not some video mode only a few need.Consumer 4K will come soon enogh, with horrible compression ofcourse.

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