Digital Cameras - Nikon D5200 Test Images

Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge!Visit our Comparometer(tm)to compare images from the Nikon D5200 with those from othercameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so letyour own eyes decide which you like best!

 

Still Life

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This is our new "Still Life" test target. We"re combiningsome of the elements from previous shots (DaveBox and Res Chart) intothis and the "Multi Target" shot below, plus added a numberof elements that are very revealing of various camera characteristicsand foibles.

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Here"s what to look for in this target:

Tone-on-tone detail & noise suppression:The cloth swatches in the pinwheel were chosen because they show a lotof tone-on-tone detail, across a broad range of colors. This is justthe sort of detail that noise suppression processing tends to flattenout. If you look at the detail in these swatches as the ISO increases,you"ll see just where different cameras start to lose subtle detail.-- The white and tan swatches and the dark swatches tend to be particularlyrevealing of this. The label of the vinegar bottle (second from theright) is another great place to look for lost detail from noise suppression,as the image of the person at the top of the label is actually a depictionof a mosaic. The dark colors in the background and in the figure"s clothescontain detail that"s very quickly lost when a camera"s noise suppressionsystem kicks in. Cameras with really high-quality, low-noise sensorsthat require little noise suppression will be able to hold onto thedetail in these areas, many others will show only a uniform swath ofsmudged color.Another place where you"ll quickly see the effects of over-aggressivenoise suppression is in the white salt grains of the salt grinder inlower left. Cameras are often more conservative about suppressing noisein highlight areas (because our eyes tend to see less of it there),but many cameras seem to have a hard time holding onto the subtle shadingsthat distinguish the salt grains from each other, particularly at higherISO levels.Fine Detail: You"ll find a lot of fine detailin the label of the beer bottle on the right, in its fine cursive text,but the other bottle labels hold a lot of fine detail as well. Finetext is often a good visual indicator of resolution, because our brainshave an excellent idea of what the text should look like, soare very quick to notice even minor loss of detail.For really fine detail, look to the circular scale/calculator on theright side of the scene. Some of the fine lines there are extremelyfine indeed. Looking at results from many different cameras with thistarget, we found that camera noise-suppression systems often confusethe fine lines with image noise, and so flatten them out. There"s alsoa nice range of fine text sizes in this chart as well, once again greatvisual cues for resolution and detail.Highlight Detail: Three elements in this sceneshow off (or show up) a camera"s ability to hold onto highlight detail.As mentioned above, the salt grains (and reflections of the studio lights)in the salt mill are examples of fairly subtle highlight detail thatcameras" anti-noise processing sometimes obliterate. The folded whitecloth under the mug on the right side of the frame likewise shows alot of white-on-white detail that is easy to lose, particularly if acamera"s tone curve is too contrasty. As it turns out though, the mostsensitive test of a camera"s highlight abilities seems to be the hankof white embroidery thread in the upper right corner. These fibers areunusually bright and reflective, so its easy for a camera to blow outdetail in them.Shadow Detail: Several elements of this subjectare useful for evaluating shadow detail, particularly the black mugand the pieces of folded black velvet, both under and inside the mug.The bottoms of the beer bottles also provide some gradations of deepshadow, and the clump of peppers in the bottom of the pepper oil bottlehad a fair bit of detail that"s far down at the shadow end of the tonecurve.We were actually surprised when we constructed this scene just how darkthe velvet and sides of the beer bottles ended up being. Even with thebright studio lights shining directly on it, the velvet in particularstays way, way down at the shadow end of the tone curve. With most camerasand on most monitors, the velvet will simply appear as an unrelievedswatch of black. To see whether it contains deep detail or not, in mostcases you"ll have to open the file in an image editor and boost thebrightness dramatically, to bring the detail up into a visible range.

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Preservation of "Shape" in Strong Colors:As you approach the extremes of a camera"s color gamut (its range ofrecordable colors), it becomes more and more difficult for the camerato show fine gradations of tone, because one or more of the RGB colorchannels are close to saturation. It"s not uncommon to see a brightlycolored piece of clothing or a vibrant flower appear in digicam photosas just a blob of color, because the camera ran up against the limitsof its color gamut. The brightly colored embroidery threads in the upperright portion of the Still Life target are good examples of situationswhere this might happen. Pay particular attention to the bright redand dark blue colors here, as these are both colors near the edge ofthe typical sRGB color gamut.Color accuracy and white balance: It"s prettysmall in there, but we"ve included a mini-MacBeth chart, which displaysvery carefully controlled color swatches. Our Multi Target (see below)sports a full-sized MacBeth chart, but the one here serves as a goodcheck of color balance and rendition, and is also useful for checkingwhite balance on this particular shot. Image noise and detail vs ISO: As mentioned above,this target contains many elements useful for evaluating detail lossto anti-noise processing. We"ll therefore always shoot a full set oftest images of this target across each camera"s ISO range, for everycamera we test. (See below.)

ISO Series NR = Normal
ISO100 ISO200 ISO400 ISO800 ISO1,600
ISO3,200 ISO6,400 ISO12.8K ISO25.6K 
ISO Series NR = Off
ISO100 ISO200 ISO400 ISO800 ISO1,600
ISO3,200 ISO6,400 ISO12.8K ISO25.6K 
ISO Series NR = Low
ISO100 ISO200 ISO400 ISO800 ISO1,600
ISO3,200 ISO6,400 ISO12.8K ISO25.6K 
ISO Series NR = High
ISO100 ISO200 ISO400 ISO800 ISO1,600
ISO3,200 ISO6,400 ISO12.8K ISO25.6K 
ContrastSeries
-3
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0 (Default)
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+3
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Auto
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SaturationSeries
-3
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0 (Default)
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+3
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Auto
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