Nikon D5600 Review for 2020

Nikon D5600 review featured image

If you’re wondering whether the Nikon D5600 is still worth buying in 2020, the short answer is a resounding “yes”! That said, we’ve written this in-depth Nikon D5600 review to provide deep insights and answer key questions about the Nikon D5600.  

Nikon announced the D5600 late 2016 as an upgrade to the already-stellar D5500. The light-build upper entry-level camera is marketed as a consumer DSLR. This Digital SLR camera enjoyed a largely positive reception upon release. 

ProsCons
Fantastic image quality 
Lightweight, small and compact profile
– Impressive Live view 
– Great noise performance with images stills usable at up to ISO – 3,200
– Excellent battery life CIPA-rated 970 shots
– Excellent ergonomics for great handling
SnapBridge needs to improve
– No 4K video support 
– Limited room for advanced settings and customization

Nikon D5600 Review – Brief Overview

The Nikon D5600 is a modest upgrade, considering it is supposed to be a successor to the Nikon D5500. But being a modest upgrade has got nothing on the D5600 as we found out.

The first thing that strikes you is the diminutive nature of the D5600. This camera weighs almost nothing, is super light, and therefore unobtrusive (14.7 oz. or 415 g).  And there’s SnapBridge too!

Nikon added the SnapBridge feature to the D5600. 

Nikon SnapBridge is a Bluetooth-enabled feature that helps you sync photos with smart devices. The camera comes with a more polished touch navigation and a significantly improved time-lapse ability. Other than these, it retains most of the D5500’s key specs and features. 

Nikon D5600 Key Specs & Features

Nikon D5600 DSLR

The D5600 has a range of impressive features. While it boasts most of the specs already available on the previous D5000 series, Nikon’s D5600 adds SnapBridge. 

That feature lets you sync photos between devices, thanks to its Bluetooth connectivity. It also allows remote live viewing as well, although the feature still needs a bit of improvement. To be specific, below is a list of the key specs and features of the Nikon D5600;

FeatureSpecifications
Image Sensor24-Megapixel resolution
CMOS Sensor type
23.5×15.6mm Sensor size
3.92µ Sensor pixel size
Image Size6000 x 4000 pixels
Image ProcessorEXPEED 4
ViewfinderPentamirror
95% Coverage
0.82x Magnification
Continuous shooting mode5 FPS
Shutter1/4000 to 30 sec Shutter speed 
100,000 cycles Shutter durability
Buffer size11 (RAW, 14-bit)
ISOISO 100 – Base
ISO 25,600 – Max
AutofocusNikon Multi-CAM 4800DX
39-point, 9 cross-type AF system – Focus points
-1 to +19 EV – AF detection range
VideoMOV, H.264/MPEG-4
1920 x 1080 (HD) up to 60 fps
No 4K capability
LCD3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD
1,036,800 dots Resolution
Tilting and touchscreen capability
ConnectivityBluetooth 4.1
Wi-Fi, NFC
Type C Mini HDMI, USB 2.0
BatteryEN-EL14a Lithium-ion Battery
CIPA-rated 970 shots Battery life
MH-24 Battery charger
Dimensions 124 x 97 x 70 mm
Weight (body only)14.7 oz. or 415 g

As this Nikon D5600 review shows, this camera is feature-packed.

It boasts among other things a built-in flash, SD card storage, and face detection in live view. It, however, misses out on 4K time-lapse recording, GPS capability, as well as auto AF fine-tune and group AF mode. If you don’t need these specifics features, the Nikon D5600’s would be more than enough!

Nikon D5600 Build Quality & Handling

Users have raved about the Nikon D5600’s build quality.

This camera is small and light, much like a mirrorless camera. While the small and light appearance is great, it still does not compromise on the grip. With the camera held in your hands, you’ll feel the grip is deep and it’s perfectly sculpted. 

Except for the buttons on the camera that may be too small for some, handling the D5600 will be a bliss for most users. While the buttons are small, it does not get in the way of getting a great grip and hold of the camera, the icons, however, are a little difficult to read as a result. 

For the build, this Nikon camera boasts a carbon fibre monocoque frame construction.

Carbon fibre monocoque is no more than just fancy jargon for plastic. But that carbon fibre build on the D5600 is not just cheap plastic. This build is similar to what you’ll find on Nikon’s most advanced cameras like the D850

But what good is a Nikon D5600 review that does not identify any flaws, even if the build quality gets a great overall pass mark? Well, here are a few of the issues we feel could have been better with the D5600’s build; 

  • The SD card slot on the D5600 appears a little too wobbly; and
  • The buttons on the back of the camera look somewhat cheap.

But even with these, this Nikon DSLR has an overall build quality that will impress even the most experienced pro photographers. Included in the build are a metal lens mount, strap anchors, hot shoe, and tripod socket.

D5600 Nikon Performance Review

Nikon D5600 performance

Our Nikon D5600 review has put the performance of this camera to test. While that performance is very impressing, here are the key observations from our review;

  • The SnapBridge system on the D5600 clearly needs some improvement. While it works fine, albeit slowly with android devices, using it with an Apple iPhone prompts you to manually select a Wi-Fi connection. 
  • White balance, autofocus, and exposure systems all worked perfectly under different lighting conditions. On most occasions, the camera can work out the right settings reliably enough.
  • Detail rendition of this camera is phenomenal 
  • The 5fps continuous shooting mode on the DS5600 is no doubt solid. But its mirrorless rivals in the same price points offer something faster.  
  • Last but not the least, the incredible battery life of the DS5600 can get you up to 970 shots per charge, something you’ll hardly find in most mirror-less options rivalling this camera.

D5600 Autofocus Performance

This D5600 review is not complete without a focus on autofocus.

This Nikon retains the 39-point Multi-CAM 4800DX AF system. While mirror-less rivals to the D5600 may offer ever-more AF points that may make the D5600’s AF system seem dated, this AF system is still impressive with Viewfinder. 

The AF modes on this camera, both single and continuous, are fast and spot on. You’ll, however, miss out on some of the more advanced custom settings of the Nikons in the higher rungs of the ladder. But hey, isn’t this supposed to be an upper entry-level DSLR? 

Nikon D5600 Image Quality & Lab Tests

And now, the very core of our Nikon D5600 review. How’s the image quality on the D5600?

This camera has a base ISO of 100, a maximum ISO of 25,600, and great creative effects modes. Despite the absence of a low-pass filter, the image quality of this camera is still impressive.

The 24-megapixel camera packs enough pixels onto the sensor. 

Images shot with the D5600 are very clean, with almost no noise, especially when shot at low sensitivities. However, a bit of luminance becomes noticeable in shadow areas at about ISO 800. 

There’s hardly any significant impact on image quality at this ISO point. 

But luminance and chroma noise become more pronounced above this setting and may impact image saturation and detail. Overall, we find this camera’s performance pretty amazing. For the price it costs, the Nikon D5600 is no doubt a great value. 

Nikon D5600 Lab Tests

This part of our Nikon D5600 review is the result of a test/comparison of the Nikon D5600 against the Nikon D3400, the Sony Alpha 68, and the Canon 750D.

That test was conducted using DxO Analyzer and Imatest to test the color accuracy, dynamic range, and signal-to-noise ratios of all three cameras. Below are the results;

TestObservation
Nikon D5600 Color accuracy (color error test)All the cameras compared did excellently well here. 
The colors of the D5600, however, were the closest we had to neutral. 
Dynamic RangeThe dynamic range test was done to assess the ability of these cameras to capture details in very dark or very bright areas. 
In this case, all four cameras did great and the results were so similar it was nearly impossible to choose among any.
Nikon D5600 Signal-to-noise ratioThis test was conducted to assess the level of noise in the image detail. The result here is unflattering due to the absence of an anti-aliasing filter.

Comparisons & Competition

The purpose of a Nikon D5600 review is more than just highlighting specs and performances.

In some ways, you want to know how this particular camera stacks up against its closest rivals, predecessors or successors, and alternatives options in the market. 

The D5600 has no shortage of competition.

Everything from Nikon’s own older DSLRs to newer options, and lower-end mirror-less cameras are likely to be considered a competitor to the D5600. There are a whole lot of cameras within this range but most notable among these will include the Nikon D5200, D5300, D5500, D7500, Canon Rebel T7i. Mirror-less options that may be considered as alternatives include the likes of the Sony A6000, Fuji X-A5, and the Olympus E-M10 III, among others.

Nikon D5600 vs D5300, D5500, and D7500

D5600D5300D5500D7500
Image quality8.5888.5
Autofocus 7779
Video 87.57.58.5
Ease of use777.57
Battery life8.5789
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$

Compared to the older DSLRs such as D5200, D5300, D5500, the D5600 maintains a slight edge. 

Deciding which might be a better fit for you between the D5600 will likely depend on whether the touchscreen capability, SnapBridge feature, and better battery life on the D5600 are enough to win you over. 

In a Nikon D5600 review against the D7500, the image quality differences are at best, insignificant. While the D7500 fared better at high ISOs, the D5600 excelled at low ISOs. Where the major differences lie is in autofocus, ergonomics, and frame rates. 

The D5600, compared to the D7500 is a better option for beginner photographers. 

It’s more compact, less expensive, and already has many of the options you’ll need. Aside from these, the D7500 will be better in cases where you need frequent shots, advanced customizations, and a faster autofocus performance that may oftentimes be needed for erratically-moving animals during wildlife photography sessions.

Nikon D5600 vs Canon Rebel T7i

Choosing between the Nikon D5600 and the Canon Rebel T7i is much like a tug of war because both are all too similar. In this case, making your choice may be down to which of the two you find at a better price or whether you already have lenses or cameras from either brand. 

Summary & Verdict

The Nikon D5600 ticks the boxes at all of the right places.

You have a camera with a great resolution, phenomenal image quality, and a superb build inside a lightweight body. For a so-called entry-level DSLR, the D5600 never fails to impress. 

While there are a few flaws here and there, this will hardly be a deal-breaker considering the price range of this camera.  What then is the takeaway from this Nikon D5600 review?

Well, we say buy this amazing Nikon camera if you’re a;

  • Professional photographer in need of an advanced camera that is still unobtrusive. But that’s if you’re fine with sacrificing high customizability, too;
  • Hobbyist or beginner photographer who needs a high-quality camera that has everything you’ll need for important moments, and;
  • Professional who need a backup camera, especially one that’s not bulky, suitable for travels, -and compatible with the Nikon lenses you already own.

Most photographers will find the Nikon D5600 shooting experience quite amazing. 

But if you fall into any of the groups above, we make bold to say you’ll hardly go wrong with the Nikon D5600 in your shooting arsenal. The amazing Nikon D5600 bundles are now selling for much less when you include all the accessories that come with it. Should you settle for it, it would be more than worth every penny it costs!

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