Nikon D5200 Ken McMahon, March 2013

Nikon D5200 vs Canon EOS T4i / 650D Quality RAW

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To compare real-life RAW performance I shot this scene with the Nikon D5200 and the Canon EOS T4i / 650D, within a few moments of each other using their RAW settings.

The Nikon D5200 was fitted with the AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens and the Canon EOS T4i / 650D with the E-FS 18-135mm kit lens. Both lenses were set to their maximum 18mm wide angle setting to provide an approximately equal field of view

Image stabilisation was disabled for this tripod-mounted test and all other settings were left on the defaults.

  Nikon D5200 results
1 Nikon D5200 Quality JPEG
2 Nikon D5200 Quality RAW
3 Nikon D5200 Noise JPEG
4 Nikon D5200 Noise RAW
5 Nikon D5200 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Nikon D5200. The camera was set to Aperture priority mode with the aperture set to f8 and the sensitivity to 100 ISO. The camera metered an exposure of 1/400. The EOS T4i / 650D metered an exposure of 1/500 at f8 at its base 100 ISO sensitivity. In the default setup for the D5200 Auto distortion control is off, Active D-lighting is set to Auto, Picture control is set to standard and White balance is set to Auto. On the EOS T4i / 650D Peripheral illumination correction is enabed, Chromatic aberration correction is disabled, Auto lighting optimizer is set to Standard, and Picture style is set to auto as is White balance.

I processed both files in Adobe Camera RAW using identical settings: Sharpening at 70 / 0.5 / 36 / 10, Luminance and Colour Noise Reduction both set to zero, and the Process to 2012 with the Adobe Standard profile. These settings were chosen to reveal the differences in sensor quality and isolate them from in-camera processing. The high degree of sharpening with a small radius enhances the finest details without causing undesirable artefacts, while the zero noise reduction unveils what's really going on behind the scenes.

These RAW crops from the D5200 don't hold any surprises but they do provide some confirmation of what we were able to tell from the in-camera JPEGs. Like the JPEGs. the RAW crops look a little soft, there are few clean edges visible in the lighthouse crop and though there's a little more detail visible in the stonework of the first crop its not as clean and punchy as in the crops from the EOS T4i / 650D. The fact that the first three crops, all from relatively close to the frame all look similar in terms of detail, where the final crop from close to the centre looks much better points to lens deficiencies. Even stopped down to f8, the 18-55mm kit lens, or at least this one, isn't a sparkling performer at the edges. Note also that the 18-55mm kit lens exhibits fringing to pretty much the same degree as the EOS T4i / 650D when it isn't corrected in the camera.

The fourth crop still doesn't look quite as crisp and punchy as its Canon equivalent, though, so, the EOS T4i / 650D lens and sensor combination is resolving more detail with sharper edges. Having said that, the Canon crops look more noisy than the Nikon ones. And with the right lens I think it should be possible to coax a little more detail from the D5200's processor when shooting RAW.

Now see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Nikon D5200 Noise results.


Nikon D5200 (RAW)
Canon EOS T4i / 650D (RAW)
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 160 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO

Nikon D5200
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise

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