The D5600 is a compact and lightweight D-SLR with high shooting capabilities rivalling that of high-end models. In this article, we look at a field test carried out by a professional photographer on the actual shooting capability of the D5600. (Report by Noboru Sonehara)
AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G/ FL: 40mm(equivalent to 60mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority Auto(f/8, 1/10 sec)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
Faithful reproducibility changes depending on how much of the fine details of subject is accurately resolved. One of the elements necessary for realising high resolving power is the number of pixels of the image sensor. On that point, the high effective pixel count of 24.2 megapixels on the D5600 is top class even among DX-format cameras.
However, it is not simply a matter of the more the better when it comes to pixel count. Cameras on devices such as smartphones have a small sensor with a narrow pixel pitch (light receiving area per pixel), so the resolution cannot be said to be high.
In contrast, because the D5600 is equipped with a large, DX-format, APS-C (23.5×15.6mm) size image sensor, it can receive an abundance of light per pixel even with about the same number of pixels. By combining this with Nikon's high-performance EXPEED 4 image-processing engine, the D5600 can capture right down to the fine details of the image, such as detailed depictions of similar colours, and light and dark areas. As a result, you can obtain high quality images rich with a sense of depth that only a D-SLR can produce.
First, have a look at the high resolution of the entire image. Even though the subject comprises a complicated intermingling of straight and curved lines, you can see at a glance that the whole image has been captured in fine detail.
Furthermore, when you enlarge part of the image by 100%, every grain is depicted in detail, with even minute differences in the green colours expressed in rich gradations, so you can clearly see that the colours you experienced at the time of the shoot are reproduced as you imagined.
As expected, I experienced the faithful reproducibility of lines that sees D-SLRs stand out from the likes of smartphones and compact digital cameras. The D5600 has a depictive power that is great not only for everyday commemorative photos and recordings, but that is also more than sufficient for full-fledged works such as photo exhibitions.
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR/ FL: 20mm(equivalent to 30mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority Auto(f/5.6, 1/1000 sec , EV-0.3)/ ISO 100/ WB: Auto
The dynamic range on a digital camera indicates the range of light and darkness that can be reproduced by the image sensor. Areas exceeding the dynamic range will appear as completely white (blown out highlights) or completely black (crushed shadows) because the information for constructing the image is lost. In other words, the wider the dynamic range, the greater the suppression of blown out highlights and crushed shadows, meaning that changes in lightness and darkness can be depicted smoothly.
As mentioned previously, the D5600 is equipped with a DX-format sensor, which has an overwhelmingly large surface area compared to the sensors used on smartphones, enabling rich light information to be converted into signals to realize a wide dynamic range.
I performed a photography test during the day when the sunlight is strong. The contrast is high, so there is a considerably large difference between light and dark for areas in the sun (highlight areas) and areas in the shadow (shadow areas). However, the camera smoothly depicts changes in brightness without breaking the gradations, from the white of the clouds to the areas of the palm tree depicted in black.
For example, if you photograph the same scene using a camera equipped with a small image sensor, the camera would not be able to smoothly reproduce the gradations, causing tone jump.
Being able to maintain natural gradations close to what you see with your own eyes is very important in photography, so it is essential that the camera delivers such performance when you are shooting landscapes and the like. On that point, the superior dynamic range performance of the D5600 gives the photographer a great sense of security and reliability.
AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR/ FL: 105mm(equivalent to 158mm in FX/35mm format)/ Shutter-priority Auto(f/4.8, 1/500 sec , EV+0.7)/ ISO 1600/ WB: Auto
ISO sensitivity is a numerical expression of how sensitive a digital camera is to light. In general, the optimal sensitivity is when the dynamic range and noise are in balance; in other words, the sensitivity at which the best image quality can be obtained is the reference sensitivity (in the case of the D5600, ISO 100), while the higher the sensitivity above this value, the greater the amount of noise that occurs in an image.
When you increase the ISO sensitivity, you can achieve higher shutter speeds even at the same aperture, enabling you to take photos with minimal camera shake, even in a dark location. However, because there is a corresponding increase in noise, there will be a relative drop in image quality.
An enlarged view of the orangutan's face in the above photo taken at ISO 1600. The image of the face of the young orangutan that I focused on maintains sufficient sharpness and texture.
I photographed an orangutan family using ISO 1600. Although noise is slightly visible, the loss of sharpness and detail is minimal so the focus point retains sufficient sharpness and texture. A high level of image quality is maintained, meaning that you can use an ISO sensitivity of around 1600 as a normal setting with peace of mind.
AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR/ FL: 18mm(equivalent to 27mm in FX/35mm format)/ Aperture-priority Auto(f/8, 1/4 sec)/ ISO 6400/ WB: Auto
An enlarged view of part of the above photo taken at ISO 6400. While there is more noise in the dark areas of this photo than that of the photo taken at ISO 1600, it doesn't stand out unless you enlarge the image. I was surprised that even when shooting at high ISO sensitivity, I could take the kind of beautiful photos typical of a D-SLR camera.
I photographed a street lit up by streetlights at night, using ISO 6400. This level is two stops higher than ISO 1600, yet noise is well suppressed even at such a high level of sensitivity. ISO 6400 is a sufficiently practical level that allows you to take great photos that are worth viewing even when printed in A4 size.
The main types of noise produced by digital cameras are luminance noise, which is a rough graininess, and colour noise, whereby false colours such as red, blue, and green, appear as dots. The noise that we confirmed in the example above was all luminance noise, while we could hardly notice any unsightly colour noise. This is also where the D5600 excels.
With the excellent high sensitivity performance of the D5600, which suppresses deterioration of image quality to the utmost, the increase in shutter speed that comes about from increasing the ISO sensitivity suppresses camera shake, making it possible to expand the handheld shooting range.
AF-P DX NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-6.3G ED VR/ FL: 150mm(equivalent to 225mm in FX/35mm format)/ Shutter-priority Auto(f/5, 1/500 sec , EV+0.3)/ ISO 800/ WB: Auto
Continuous shooting speed refers to the number of shots that can be taken continuously in one second. The higher the speed, the higher the chance that you can capture photo opportunities in the moment when shooting moving subjects. The D5600 has a maximum continuous shooting speed of 5 fps, which enables you to select your best shot.
Moreover, the D5600 is equipped with 39 all-important focus points that enable focus to be attained on the subject reliably. The camera is equipped with a wealth of AF-area modes, such as "Single-point AF", for which you select one of the 39 focus points for focusing, as well as "3D-tracking", in which you press the shutter release halfway so that the camera automatically shifts focus points to continuously maintain focus as the subject moves. By using different modes according to the situation, you can reliably focus on your intended subject.
The autofocus on the D5600 accurately captured the face of the white tiger as it walked toward us in all 5 shots that we took continuously. The best shot I selected from the 5 was the 5th shot.
To set AF-C, press the i button. In the settings screen on the LCD monitor, use the multi-selector to select the focus mode.
I used continuous-servo AF (AF-C) and high-speed continuous shooting to capture the white tiger as it walked towards me from between the trees. As a result, I was able to accurately capture the face of the white tiger in focus for all 5 shots taken using continuous shooting. Because the shots were taken at a focal length of 150mm (equivalent to 225mm in FX/35mm format), the depth of field was very shallow, which would previously cause the camera to go out of focus easily if the subject moved even just slightly. However, the D5600 is able to predict the subject’s movement and continue tracking the subject.
With the D5600, you can enjoy high-accuracy AF performance that only a D-SLR with an optical viewfinder can deliver, whether you are photographing an animal or bird, a sporting event, or a child running around.
For this live-action test, I took the D5600 outdoors and photographed various subjects. What I found was that every feature of the D5600 that I looked at delivered satisfying performance, including the image quality in terms of resolution, dynamic range, and high ISO sensitivity, as well as the high-speed, accurate AF performance. This is decisively different from the capabilities of devices such as smartphones and tablets. Without a doubt, even users who previously struggled to take great photos in difficult shooting conditions, such as scenes that are too bright or too dark, would be amazed at the power of the D5600, which makes it easy to take beautiful photos.
When you think of D-SLRs, there is the impression that they are big and heavy, yet the D5600 is compact, thin and lightweight. It is also great that you can carry it around without getting tired out. The camera also allows you to take shots by touching the vari-angle LCD monitor, so that even first time D-SLR users can easily use the camera.
The D5600 is lightweight, yet it can sufficiently handle a range of works, right up to full-fledged photography. This is one camera that I would recommend, particularly for those who are thinking of stepping up from smartphones and compact digital cameras.
Born in 1971. After completing postgraduate studies at Shinshu University, he worked at a video production company and then went freelance as a photographer. He mainly shoots for various magazines, and also writes for camera information magazines. His photo exhibitions include "Inside the Walls of Istanbul".