Nikon D5200 Ken McMahon, March 2013

Nikon D5200 vs Canon EOS T4i / 650D Quality

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Nikon D5200 and the Canon EOS T4i / 650D, within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG 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 enabled, Chromatic aberration correction is disabled, Auto lighting optimizer is set to Standard, and Picture style is set to auto as is White balance.

Overall, the D5200 has produced a good result with accurate exposure, good white balance and natural looking colours. The low winter sunshine creates a scene with a wide range of tonal values and the histogram for this shot is clipped at both ends, indicating that the D5200 couldn't record all of them. So the shadows will be filled a little and some highlight detail on the white walls of the buildings is blown, but the histogram is in the middle so a different exposure would only have made things worse for either the shadow or highlight clipping. Interestingly, the 650D managed to capture the full tonal range without clipping.

Turning to the crops, overall the level of detail is quite good, but in areas there's a softness which obscures the finest details and blurs the edges. This is only a little evident in the first crop, the top edge of the wall surrounding the chapel is well defined and you can make out the door and window detail and some of the detail in the stonework.

In the lighthouse crop the softness is more apparent; you can make out the white cylinder of the lighthouse and the lamp room at the top, but it's a little indistinct. The windows and roofs in the middle ground are also a little blurry. The same goes for the larger detail in the brickwork on the third crop from the edge of the frame, though there's no evidence of colour fringing from chromatic aberration.

The fourth crop is the most interesting though, because it tells a different story from the other three. Here the edge detail is nice and crisp and the fine detail is well resolved; you can clearly make out the individual tile and brickwork in the foreground of this crop. I think what this set of crops shows is that the D5200's new 24 Megapixel sensor is capable of resolving more detail than the 18-55mm kit lens is showing here.

The crops from the 18 Megapixel Canon EOS T4i / 650D sensor show a larger area with smaller detail. Generally the Canon crops look more contrasty with puchier detail and sharper edges than the D5200 crops. The third crop shows some pretty dreadful colour fringing but don't forget that the EOS T4i / 650D turns chromatic aberration correction off by default and simply enabling it will take of problems like this. The fourth crop, like the others, is more contrasty with better edge detail, but the difference here is less pronounced. My Nikon D5200 RAW quality results on the next page will provide evidence of how much, if any, of the difference is due to processing. or see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Nikon D5200 Noise results.


Nikon D5200
Canon EOS T4i / 650D
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 ISO
f8, 100 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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