Nikon's new D5600 is the successor to the company's D5500, but it is not much of an upgrade.
It adds the SnapBridge app support with Bluetooth and Near Field Communications (NFC). Thus, a constant connection between the D5600 and a smartphone or tablet can be maintained for quick transfer of images.
The SnapBridge connection was easily set up using NFC with my Samsung Galaxy S7 edge smartphone. I was able to quickly download images and remotely control the D5600 using my smartphone.
Another new feature is the time-lapse movie function found in Nikon's higher-end DSLR models. This function compresses footage time into shorter periods within the camera. The time-lapse videos captured look smooth and have the correct exposure throughout.
But, otherwise, the D5600 is almost the same camera as its predecessor. Body design is identical - a good thing, as it means it feels solid like its predecessor. I like the deeply contoured grip that comfortably accommodates my fingers.
In terms of button layout, it is still as intuitive as before, with all the buttons within easy reach.
The Live View lever stays beside the Mode dial at the top right, while the dedicated video-recording button and exposure-compensation button remain close to the shutter release. You can change the autofocusing (AF) point quickly using the rear four-way controller. Overall handling is great.
Like the D5500, the D5600 has a 3.2-inch fully articulated touchscreen display which can flip 180 degrees for selfie shots. It also has the same touch operation found in its predecessor. A slight improvement is that you can now scrub through images during playback mode using the touchscreen display.
The D5600 also retains the 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor, sensitivity range (ISO 100 - 25,600), and the Expeed 4 image processor found in its predecessor.
Operation of D5600 is swift - starting up almost instantaneously and shutting down in just 1sec. Shutter lag is negligible with the optical viewfinder, but there is a 1sec lag when shooting in Live View mode.
Using an SD card with a writing speed rated at 30MB per second, the D5600 could capture only six RAW images in 1.4sec before the buffer ran out.
With the Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4 lens that I used for this review, the AF was quick and accurate in bright sunlight. In dim conditions, it took only about 1sec to lock onto a focus, with the aid of AF assist light.
Users need to set the AF mode to full-time-servo AF for it to automatically get a focus when panning to a new scene during video recording. It takes only 1sec to re-lock to a focus when you move to a new scene.
Like its predecessor, images shot with this camera are sharp, while colours are vivid with great details and natural skin tones. You will not be bothered by noise artefacts up to ISO 3,200.
Even at ISO 6,400, pictures are usable, though a slight detail loss and colour desaturation are evident. But don't go beyond ISO 6,400, as noise artefacts will become too visible.
In terms of battery life, the D5600 retains the stamina of the D5500 - an impressive 820 still images on a full charge.
Verdict: If you are in the market for a mid-range DSLR with intuitive touchscreen functions and great image quality, consider the Nikon D5600.
PRICE: $1,579 (with AF-S 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens)
IMAGE SENSOR: 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS
DISPLAY: 3.2-inch tiltable touchscreen LCD with 1,037,000 dots; optical viewfinder
SENSITIVITY: ISO 100 - 25,600
SHOOTING SPEED: Up to 5 frames per second
CONNECTIVITY: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Near Field Communications
WEIGHT: 415g (body without battery and memory card)
BATTERY LIFE: 4/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
This article was first published on Dec 21, 2016.
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