The Nikon D5600, originally released spring 2017, marks another successful release in Nikon’s D5000 series of APS-C cameras. The D5600 is aimed primarily at the beginning photographer looking to purchase their first entry-level Digital SLR or existing owners looking for a substantial upgrade. It retains the vast majority of features and specifications provided by the previously released D5500.
The notable improvements, however, are smartphone connectivity, updated time-lapse ability, and polished touch navigation. While the D5600 is simple and straightforward, it’s definitely not basic. Today, we discuss whether or not it continues to build on the success of the D5500. And whether or not it’s really something valuable and still exciting enough to divert someone from the Canon T7i or Sony a6000.
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What are some of the goods, bads, and the uglies of the Nikon D5600?
Strong image quality and overall noise performance. Images are found to be usable up to ISO 3,200.
Shoots video at 1080p at 60 FPS.
Has 39 autofocusing points, 9 of which are cross-type, which make overall AF performance and accuracy superb. Continuous autofocusing performance, in particular, is also fantastic and even more so when Face Detect is enabled. This combination specifically makes the D5600 a great overall camera for VLOGing or self-composed videos.
Good overall battery life and performance that’s rated at 820 shots per charge.
Has a 3.2“ articulating touchscreen display that offers superior variability and is easily positioned to the desired angle, making video composition easy.
Has a Live View mode that disables the internal mirror and enables users to see exactly what the sensor captures. Overall, this feature allows users to get a more accurate representation of what the final photo will be prior to shooting.
The optical viewfinder is bright, sharp, and provides coverage of 95% of the frame.
Has a superb menu and user interface. The D5600 takes full of advantage over the LCD touchscreen and allows users to perform several, otherwise tiresome, functions simply through touch. Overall, this feature makes navigating the complexities of the Digital SLR easy and intuitive. The LCD supports touch to focus when in Live View mode, which allows users to pick a focus point simply by touching the display. While in playback mode, the LCD also supports both swiping to switch between images and pinch to zoom, making assessing and reviewing images simple.
Solid ergonomics. The camera is comfortable to hold and has great contouring, even for those with larger hands.
Has a time-lapse movie function, that allows users to capture time lapses entirely in-camera. Not only that, but it also has a built-in exposure smoothing function that evens out variations in lighting and prevents exposure from changing dramatically throughout the capture. The results of this feature are fully rendered time-lapse videos, completely remove the need for post-processing altogether.
Has a continuous shooting burst rate of 5 frames per second, that is maintained until a maximum of 100 shots is reached. Granted, this result is only seen when shooting JPEG not RAW.
Has built-in WIFI, NFC and Bluetooth capabilities which allow the D5600 to wirelessly connect to a smartphone through Nikon’s Snapbridge app. Once connected, the low powered Bluetooth allows the camera to instantly connect to the paired device and automatically transfer captured JPEGs directly from the camera to the phone.
Has a microphone input port, a necessity for those wanting to use an external microphone for better audio capture. It also has a small built-in stereo microphone directly in front of the hot shoe for those not using an external microphone. Unfortunately, this built-in microphone does pick up significant amounts of ambient noise so bear that in mind.
Has a built in-camera rating system, which can be used to flag favorited images and a RAW processor. The RAW processor allows you to slightly retouch images directly in-camera, namely adding filters and cropping.
Has the ability to connect a remote using the remote input port, which is perfect for those requiring the ability to remotely trigger the camera during long exposures.
It does not have a built-in focusing motor, meaning that all previously released Nikon D lenses are manual focus only.
The included diopter doesn’t provide a large range to adjust the focus of the optical viewfinder. This is a problem, namely, for those who wear glasses and require more correction. If your eyesight is poor, the diopter may not be able to adjust to the level needed for your specific prescription to get the best viewing results.
Only records video in Live View mode, making the viewfinder irrelevant once in this mode. A particular issue when shooting in direct sunlight, as the LCD is easily washed out and difficult to see thus making video composition outdoors challenging.
Doesn’t support 4K video.
The SnapBridge connectivity app doesn’t support remote video recording and is strictly for photos only.
No dust or weather sealing.
There’s no built-in level, a standard feature found even on entry-level cameras, that is lacking here for some reason. Without a level, composing landscapes now becomes tedious, as the horizon is rarely straight in-camera and will require some level of adjustment in post-processing. A step that could have been avoided with an in-camera level.
There is no dedicated histogram while shooting. The histogram is only available when viewing images in playback, which means you’ll have to chimp (shoot then immediately review images) to land proper exposure. Strange.
There’s only one adjustment dial to change either Aperture or Shutter speed, depending on the mode being used, which slows down workflow considerably. Luckily, you do have the ability to press the Function button to switch the default behavior of the wheel or to map Shutter Speed or Aperture to the touch screen.
No headphone input port.
The D5600 is only charged through a dedicated battery charger. While the camera does have a USB port, it cannot be charged nor powered through said port.
Is the Nikon D5600 a good starting camera?
Yes, and even in today’s standards. While the D5600 is definitely a photography centric camera that’s best tailored to those already familiar with the workings of the Nikon ecosystem, It is also a great option for those ready to upgrade from a point & shoot camera to their first Digital SLR. It’s easy to operate, with a minimal yet effective control set and layout, while not overly difficult to master. And even in 2019, the D5600 remains competitive in image quality, interface, ergonomics, and features offered.
Best bundles for the Nikon D5600
Is the Nikon D5600 a good camera for you?
Yes potentially. As mentioned before, this is a photography centric camera that places only a slight emphasis on its video capabilities. If you’re already familiar with the Nikon ecosystem and are looking to upgrade your current Digital SLR then definitely consider the D5600. While, if you’re brand new to Digital SLRs, this camera and the Nikon D3400 would be trustworthy choices. The D5600 is easy to operate and makes mastering the complexities of digital photography simple. We believe you can really grow with this camera, and it will perform to adequately meet the needs of beginning or amateur photographer.
For those reading that already own a Nikon camera, the D5500 in particular and are looking to upgrade, we would challenge you to really assess whether or not the D5600 is really the best fit. The D5600 is really just a rebranded D5500 with minor improvements in software, not hardware. If you already own a D5500, we do not suggest upgrading to the D5600 unless you want the specific additions it offers: updated touchscreen, SnapBridge, and time-lapse mode. Definitely, don’t feel pressured to upgrade if you already own the D5500 or D3400 for that matter.
With that being said, the D5600 is a solid choice for the photographer that values quality with simplicity and is still one to watch in 2019.
The D5600 is definitely a photography centric camera that places only a slight emphasis on its video capabilities. It’s a solid option for those already familiar with the workings of the Nikon ecosystem or those ready to upgrade from a point & shoot camera. It’s easy to operate, while not overly difficult to master. And even in 2019, the D5600 remains competitive in its abilities. Overall, we believe it’s a solid choice for the photographer that values quality with simplicity and is still one to watch in 2019.