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Nikon D5600 vs D7200: Which Should You Buy?

What's the difference? For most photographers, the new Nikon D5600 will be more than sufficient, but certain photographers will need a couple of features that are missing.

The Nikon D5600 is a very minor upgrade over its predecessor (the D5500), but still offers strong competition to the more expensive D7200, providing identical image quality. If you’re having a hard time deciding which one to buy, my general advice is always this: buy the least expensive camera that will meet your needs, and buy the best lenses that you can afford. Below, I’ll cover the differences between these cameras and explain which types of photographers will find the different features useful.

New In the D5600

But first, if you’re deciding between D5600 and slightly older D5500, here’s the difference:

  • the D5600 now supports continuous wireless communication with a smartphone or other mobile device with the use of Nikon’s SnapBridge App and NFC. This facilitates easier direct uploads to the the internet
  • minor improvements have been made to the touch functionality of the swiveling touch-screen
  • the time-lapse functionality has been improved to match the capabilities of Nikon’s higher end DSLRs, in case you don’t use your phone or another device as a time-lapse controller

That’s it! The D5500 and D5600 are virtually identical otherwise, so as the price drops on the D5500, many photographers who don’t care about these minor upgrades will be able to pick it up at a great price. Currently, the D5500 body costs $596 while the newer D5600 body costs $646.95.

The Nikon D5500 and D5600 side by side, front view
The Nikon D5500 and D5600 are almost identical, with only minor internal differences.

Nikon D5600 vs D7200: What’s the Difference?

To begin with, we can take a look at the most significant specs for the D5600 and the D7200.

 Nikon D5600Nikon D7200

Price (body)
Price (with 18-140mm kit lens)$946.95$1,296.95
Body MaterialSereebo, (carbon fiber reenforced plastic) body-chassisPartial Magnesium Alloy Frame, Plastic
Dust/Weather Sealed BodyNoneYes
Sensor Resolution24.2Megapixels
24.2 Megapixels
Anti-Aliasing Filter
(Reduces sharpness, prevents moire)
ISO Range100-25600100-25600
Total AF Points3951
Cross-Type AF Points915
AF Motor In Body
(For Using Older AF Lenses)
AF Light Level Range-1 to +19 EV-3 to +19 EV
Autofocus Fine Tuning
Shutter Speed Range1/4000th - 30 sec.
1/8000th - 30 sec.
Max Frame Rate5 fps6 fps
(7 shots in 1.3x crop mode)
Max RAW Burst
(buffer size)
6 shots, compressed 14-bit18 shots 14-bit
Max JPG Burst
(fine, Large)
Flash Sync Speed1/200th sec.1/250th sec.
Wireless Flash
(Built-in Commander)
Auto FP Flash Mode
(High Speed Sync)
Media Slots1 SD / SDHC / SDXC2 SD / SDHC / SDXC
LCD Size3.2"
1,036,800 pixels
1,228,800 pixels
LCD ArticulatedYESNO
LCD TouchscreenYESNO
Built-in WiFiYESYES
Body Weight420g (no battery)
470 (with battery)
675 (no battery)
Body Size124 x 97 x 70 mm136 x 106.5 x 76 mm
Battery Life820 shots
CIPA Standards
1,110 shots
CIPA Standards
Viewfinder Coverage95% Frame
.82x Magnification
100% Frame
.94x Magnification
Video CodecMPEG-4 / H.264
MPEG-4 / H.264
Video Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 50i, 30, 25, 24 fps)
1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps)
1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps)
1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps)
640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
Headphone JackNOYES
Back view of Nikon D5600 and D7200
Back view of the Nikon D5600 and D7200. The D5600 has a swivel-screen, while the D7200 does not.


Build Quality

Perhaps the most obvious difference between the D7200 and the D5600 is in their construction. The D5600 body is significantly smaller and lighter, built of carbon-fiber reenforced plastics (Sereebo), while the D7200 is heavier and built for durability, with a metal (magnesium alloy) back and top, and importantly, it is weather sealed. Since the D5600 also uses a smaller battery, the carry-around weight of the D7200 is about 40% more1 than the D5600.

Whether this is an advantage or disadvantage depends on your photographic needs; some photographers (especially those with larger hands) prefer a larger camera with some ‘heft’ to it, while others prefer something more lightweight and easy to carry around, especially travelers and hikers. Needless to say, those who work in harsh conditions will usually prefer the D7200’s weather sealing and heavier-duty construction, as a matter of practicality.

Nikon D7200 with grip
Nikon D7200 with optional battery grip

The Sensors : Exactly the Same

Like the previous generation, Nikon’s D5600 and D7200 both have 24-megapixel sensors, and neither one makes use of an anti-aliasing filter. Consequently, if you shoot RAW files, you will not be able to detect any difference in image quality between these two cameras, and since both cameras use the same processor, the JPGs should be equally indistinguishable, though shooting JPG creates many opportunities for differences to creep in.

More AA Filter Info
The success of the D800e may have led directly to Nikon’s decision to produce an APS-C camera without an optical low-pass/anti-aliasing (OLP/AA) filter, but whatever led to the fact, the D7200’s sensor is naked. Before the D800e, all of the major SLRs produced their sensors with an AA filter: essentially an extra layer in front of the sensor that blurs the image slightly, in order to reduce the jagged edges and moire 1 that have traditionally been associated with digital capture. With modern improvements in image processing software, though, Nikon was confident that the moire and jaggies could be avoided without the AA filter, so they opted to remove it2 and allow the cameras to capture finer image detail.

With the success of the D7100, Nikon also decided to remove the AA filter from the D5300 and D5500’s sensors, and now the D7200 and D5600. For all practical purposes, there is no difference between the sensors the D7200 and D5600, so there should be no difference in image quality if you shoot RAW. Though this lack of AA filter does provide the potential to for the camera to produce sharper images, don’t expect too much.

Why does that matter?
Comparisons of images produced by the D800 (AA Filter) and D800e (no AA Filter) have shown that the principle works; there are subtle improvements in fine detail in the D800e’s images. However, we should not expect such significant improvements in the D7200’s images. The receptors on the 24 megapixel sensor of the D7200 are already much, much smaller than those of the D800e. In fact, the D7200 and D5600 fit about 56% more pixels into the same sensor area as the D800e.

Why does that matter? Even with the much larger receptors of the D800, lens resolution has become a serious bottle-neck for image quality. Nikon has already produced a special list of lenses that can allow you make the most out of your D800 sensor. The dramatically higher pixel density of Nikon’s 24-megapixel APS-C sensors (which is even higher than that of the Canon 5DS R’s 50 megapixel sensor) will tax lens resolution even more, meaning that the D7200 and D5600’s images won’t get much sharper unless lenses get sharper first.

Auto Focus Systems

When the Nikon D5500 was announced, its 39-point autofocus system (9 cross-type, adopted from the Nikon D7000) was significantly better than its competitors like the Canon T6i and 70D, which had only 19 auto-focus points (though all 19 were cross type; click here for an explanation of what cross-type points are and why they’re so important). However, while the D5600 was announced with no upgrade in the AF system, Canon has upped their game, with the 80D and now T7i/77D housing AF systems with 45 AF points, all of them cross-type.

The D7200, however, shares the same AF system with the once-flagship Nikon D4 and the D810: 51 AF points, including 15 cross-type… the best system available in a Nikon body.

For all but the most dedicated action photographers, though, the system in the D5600 will be more than sufficient, even if you’re buying a camera primarily for shooting sports. If your paycheck is going to depend on your focusing system, though, the extra several hundred dollars will be well spent on the D7200.


When it comes to speed, the differences between the D5600 and D7200 are more modest that you might expect. The D7200 does have a top shutter speed that is one full f-stop faster than the D5600’s (ie, 1/8000th vs 1/4000th). When it comes to shooting bursts of photos, though, the D7200 only provides an additional frame per second over the D5600’s 5 fps (unless you’re shooting in 1.3x crop mode, in which case it will give up an additional frame per second, at 7fps).

However the D7200 has a significantly larger buffer, allowing longer continuous bursts of shooting. While the D5600 (and D7100) can only shoot 6 14-bit RAW files in a row before filling the buffer and getting bogged down, the D7200 can shoot 18 RAW images in a row, three times more than the D5600.

Shooting JPG gives you even more freedom to hold down that shutter button. The D7200 can shoot bursts of 100 frames or more (at 6 fps), just like the D5600. The D7100 was only capable of shooting 33 in a row.

The D5600’s Downfall

Flash. With the popularity of off-camera lighting (aka,“Strobist”) techniques over the past several years, flash photography has become increasingly important to amateur and professional photographers, and this is where the D5600 falls short: it lacks high-speed-sync3 (Auto FP Flash, henceforth AFP) and external flash control with the built-in flash. External flash control may not be a big deal; many of us prefer to use radio-units anyway… though the built-in IR system can be very useful with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS). Hot-shoe mounted flashes with commander-mode capabilities (such as the SB500, SB700, SB5000) can be used on the D5600 and D7200 to control CLS slave flashes.

The Nikon D7200 and D5600 with pop up flashes and hot shoe mounted flashes
The pop-up flash of the D5600 can not be used as a wireless controller for other flash units, but you can use radio triggers or hot-shoe mounted flash units for that purpose.

The lack of AFP, however, is a serious problem. Consider this situation: you’re shooting a portrait outdoors during the day, and you want to use a large aperture to blur the background… perhaps f/2 or f/1.4 . Even at ISO 100, this will push your shutter speed beyond 1/1000ths of a second, much higher than the camera’s 1/200th sec. maximum sync speed. So, if you want to use a flash to soften the shadows or create a catch-light in the eyes of your subject, forget it: the flash will not sync. The same is true if you want to use flash for sports and a high shutter speed, and while you can purchase external command modules or radio transmitters for off-camera-flashes, there’s nothing you can buy to work around the lack of AFP. You’d need to buy the D7200 instead.

In some instances, a neutral density filter can be used to bring the shutter speed down within the range of the D5600’s sync speed. There are several problems with the method, though: the image through your viewfinder can become quite dark, making it hard to frame your shot and making it hard for your camera’s AF system to pull focus, you lose flash power, if you’re shooting with a telephoto lens, shutter speeds at the camera’s sync speed might not be safe for hand-holding, and they’ll always be too slow for sports or fast action (if you’re balancing flash and ambient light).

Nikon SB-910, SB-700, and SB-500
A Nikon Flash Trio

All the Little Things

There are a few other assorted differences that deserve mention here, but they’re mostly the same differences that we saw between the D5000 and D7000. First, the D5600 does not have an autofocus motor built into the camera body, so it will not be compatible with the full range of (old school) Nikon lenses, while the D7200 does posses the motor. And speaking of “focus”, the D7200 is capable of micro focus adjustments to correct for front or back-focus problems on lenses, while the D5600 is not.

The Nikon D5600 with swivel screen extended
The Nikon D5600’s swivel screen can be rotated up, down, and even forward.

As should be obvious from the images above, the D5600 has an articulated LCD screen, which some people find helpful for ground-level shots and video but others find a breakage hazard (or just a bit amateurish), and it’s also a touchscreen.

The D7200 has dual SD card slots. It can be nice to have two slots if you want to record JPGs to one card and RAW to the other, perhaps sending JPGs to an Eye-Fi card, for example. However, if you only need storage space, a single slot is fine. These days, a good, single 128GB SDXC card costs only $50, and I rarely shoot more than 64GB per day, even at all-day events.

Additionally, the D7200 has two User Preset positions on its mode dial (U1 and U2), allowing photographers to store commonly used groups of settings for quick access later. I’ve never found this necessary, but some photographers find them very useful, and they’re not available on the D5600.

Top view of Nikon D7200 and D5600
Overhead view of the Nikon D7200 (left) and D5600 (right). Note that the mode dial of the D7200 has “U1” and “U2” positions for storing two user-preset modes, which are popular with some photographers.

As mentioned above, the D5600 can sustain a full-time connection to your smartphone, if you’re the type of photographer who likes to immediately take a shot and publish it to Instagram or some other social media site.

Finally, if you are interested in video, the D7200 has been given a headphone jack for monitoring audio while you shoot. The jack is absent in the D5600 (and D5500). All of these cameras can shoot video at up to 1080p 60fps.

Which Should You Buy?

The Nikon D5600 and D5500 are great cameras, and I’d recommend them for the vast majority of photographers, with the exception of those who need superior flash capabilities.

To summarize, you should buy the D5500 or D5600 if you:

  • want a great, all-around camera
  • shoot primarily with natural light (or manual flash)
  • need an articulated LCD screen for video or photos
  • really care about the weight of your camera
  • think you’ll really enjoy using a touchscreen
  • want to save money to buy the best lenses possible! At Amazon, the current price for the D5600 body is: $646.95

Buy the D7200 if you:

  • shoot lots of action, especially in long bursts
  • are hard on your equipment and need a more durable body
  • use flash for action or fill, and need high-speed sync
  • use Nikon’s CLS and want to use the built-in command module
  • shoot macro (or other focus critical work) and need to make micro adjustments to your lenses
  • shoot a lot of video and want a simple headphone jack on your camera
  • don’t need to worry about spending a little more. At Amazon, the price for the D7200 body is $1097

For the sake of simplicity I’ve tried to focus on only the differences that, in my experience, will actually be important. There are, of course, numerous differences between the two cameras, though, and some features may be more important to particular photographers. If you think that I’ve left out something important, please feel free to let me know.

Please Comment!

If you have additional questions or comments, please let me know, below. I’ll do what I can to answer questions and clear up any confusion.

  1. Actually 38.6%
  2. To be more precise, the Nikon D800e does have an AA filter, but it also has an AA-canceling filter, so it does not have one in practical terms. The D810 does not have an AA filter at all, nor do the D5500/D5600 and D7200.
  3. For a quick explanation of what high-speed-sync is, watch our video here.
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  • HI

    I currently have the D5100 and it’s been useful but I feel I’m missing something when my pictures don’t seem to be as crystal clear as professional photos. Will I close that gap with the D5600 or should I go for the 7200?

    • Hi Jossy,
      Unfortunately, there are several important factors that are needed to give you sharp, professional-style photos, and the camera body is probably the least important of them these days. If you’re not getting the results you want with the D5100, doing the same things with the D7200 won’t change your results. Using high-quality, professional lenses will make a big difference… though they tend to be as expensive as a new camera body (I’m a big fan of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART series lens). The most important thing, though, is experience, practice, and understanding of your gear, the light you’re using, and your post-processing techniques.

      So, my advice is to skip the new camera body and buy a new lens with a large aperture (f/2.8, f/2, f/1.8, f/1.4), and practice, and join a community (online or local) where you can get advice from experienced photographers and they can help you improve your craft. You can join the forums here :) But if you’re sure that the camera is holding you back, then I’d stick with the D5600.

      – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew,

    I’m so glad I found your site! We are travelling to Japan next month and on Friday I did a quick Google search “best camera for travel” and found a recommendation for D3300 but when I was on Amazon I found that the price difference of the D3300 and D5300 wasn’t significant, without doing much research I decided to go with the D5300.

    Last night I had more time so while trying to do some research on lenses, I came across a review that said D5300 can’t focus with non AF-S lenses and that D7200 is better. More googling brought me to your site and I’m sure glad it did. It’s so tempting because the D7200 seems like a great camera too but the only concern I have is the size and weight. Budget is not a big problem for me but I think the lighter weight of the D5300 will make it easier to carry it around and your articles confirm that the D5300 is still a good choice. I saw that you also like the Sigma 35mm F1.4 ART DG HSM Lens that I planned to get. Now the problem is I also noticed from your comment replies that mentioned the 18-140mm lens being a good overall lens but the D5300 I found a good price on ($489) comes with a kit lens 18-55mm. The option with 18-140mm lens for D5300 is not available at the same vendor but they have D5600 with 18-140mm at $900. Is the extra $500 worth switching to the D5600 because of the lens?

    Also, I understand your recommendation is to get a cheapest camera and spend the money on the lenses. This will be my personal first DSLR and I plan to take some classes but for a start I just want to get a good camera and a good overall lens that I can carry around for family picture and trips to learn and practice. If I don’t want to be lugging around a big camera bag, can I get by with just the Sigma 35mm F1.8 lens as overall lens for the trip? Even if I went with the D5600 with 18-140mm lens, I think I will still get the Sigma 35mm. But that lens is not cheap so I don’t want it to be a duplicate if later I end up with more lenses for different purposes… long term thinking of course :-)

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Hi Lee,

      The Nikon 18-140 lens does cost about $500, by itself, so that’s not too unreasonable a price increase, including the newer camera body. If you’re willing to buy without a USA warranty, the kit can be had for as low as $689 on Amazon (for the D5300 and 18-140).

      Lens choice is a very personal decision, based on how you like to shoot and your artistic style… some very good photographers think that a 35mm lens is the perfect travel lens, and would be fine with it (though that’s usually with a full-frame sensor, not an APS-C). That said, I would not ever travel with just a 35mm lens… I like having wide angle lenses and telephotos for different purposes, and it always drives me insane when I am walking along and I see an amazing photo that I can’t make because I don’t have the right lens with me. A 35mm lens can never give you the subject isolation and “compression” that a good telephoto can… though of course, a 35mm has it’s own unique qualities, too. I personally travel with at least two lenses: a 24-70 f/2.8 and a 70-200 f/2.8, which is heavy but covers my needs. I often add a 50mm f/1.4 to that, and sometimes and ultrawide zoom. But again, that choice is completely up to you.

      But as long as I have you here, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention another camera that you might want to consider: the Sony a6500 (or 6300 or 6000). You have essentially the same sensor as the Nikon, better video functionality if that matters to you, faster performance in many ways for shooting action, and wit the a6500, you get built-in stabilization… all in a much smaller body than the Nikon. And you can use some SIGMA Art lenses on it, like the 35mm ART and the remarkable 18-35mm f/1.8 ART lens… and you get image stabilization with them, unlike with Nikon or Canon. That’s kinda cool. And while I wouldn’t travel with just a 35mm lens, I might travel with just an 18-35 on APS-C. Maybe.

      Anyway, back on topic… while it’s true that the D5000 series cameras can’t focus lenses without a motor built in, it’s been a long time since Nikon stopped making lenses without motors. I have 4 or 5 that I bought back in the 1990s and can still use, but I don’t use them, because they really just aren’t as good as modern lenses (well… the 105mm micro is still good enough to use). So, while true, it’s really nothing to worry about. Just about any lens that you’d actually want will have a motor in it.

      Good luck!
      – Matthew

      • Thank you so much for the quick and thorough reply! Very informative and very helpful. It’s interesting that you brought up the mirrorless as an option, I never looked into it as much as I should have. I had the impression that they are just advanced pocket cameras but still a step down from DSLR’s. I grew up around Nikon enthusiasts so the image of “big Nikon body with big lenses = pro” stayed with me for a long time, long enough that I had made up my mind that when it’s time to get myself a new camera, Nikon is the only choice. It might be silly, I know but it’s just kinda one of those sentimental things. I also like the sound of the shutter and the flipping mirror that the traditional and digital SLR’s make, and the feel when holding those cameras. That being said, I do appreciate your recommendation on the Sony a6500, it seems like a great compact choice especially for travelling. I feel like it’s great as a 2nd camera with new technology that will make taking pictures easier but the D5000 series might be a better choice for learning the old school shooting techniques, I might be wrong on this since I don’t have any experience with the mirrorless cameras and am still a novice in general. I think I will get the D5000 series first and will follow the Sony a6500 till I feel more comfortable to make the switch (and for the price to come down a little more). Right now it’s still hard to erase that old Nikon image out of my mind :-)

        Oh! I will also look into the lenses you mentioned. I think I will change from the Sigma 35mm to the 18-35mm f/1.8 as it seems more versatile and might add a 24-70mm and a 70-200 later once I have time to do research on the selection. Since I only have barely a month left before the trip and still have to plan the trip details so might have to pause the camera-related search in the meantime.

        Thank you again!

        • Hi Lee,

          I’ve been in the same boat with DSLRs most of my life: I’ve always toted around a big DSLR with a battery grip and big lenses, and I still do. Last year, though, I was in Europe and Morocco or a couple of months, and I started to realize how heavy my gear was, and how it was limiting some of the things that I was willing to do, so I started looking at options to get similarly good image quality with less size and weight. I settled on the a6500 or Fuji X-T2 as my best choices, but I’m still using my DSLRs :), not because I think they’re the best choice, but by force of habit. I actually think that the manual dials and knobs on the Fujis are even better for learning photography than on modern DSLRs, but the important thing is always to choose your equipment and then get to know it inside and out, regardless of what it is.

          Enjoy your trip!
          – Matthew

          • Hi Matthew,

            You make me rethink the mirrorless and it’s possibilities. I’m slowly inclined towards the mirrorless now. I might have to try to stop by the store and take a look at them. Between the two of your pick, which one is better in low light? At a glance, I like the look of Fuji X-T2 more and also like the viewfinder location. The first thing I don’t like is the price though. It will be over $2,000 easily with lenses. If I took the plunge I don’t want to regret later. Some people said that the technology is still new and the price will drop later. Hmm… it’s a tough one…

            Thanks a bunch!

            • Both cameras are good in low light; the sensors are the same size, but the Sony uses a standard Bayer array of receptors, while the Fuji is an X-trans. The ISO on both can be set as high as 51200 on both, but you won’t want to… they’ll get really grainy and ugly beyond ISO 6400 or so, though for some purposes that may be acceptable. It’s hard to evaluate which is “better” in low light, because they behave differently… the Sony gets lots of color noise and artifacts, while the Fuji just starts to lose detail. That’s if you shoot RAW. If you shoot JPG, the Fuji’s images look sharper and retain more detail in low light. They’re pretty close, though.

              More importantly, Fuji makes more large aperture prime lenses, which are better in low light. For Sony, you’ll have to use Sigma (you can’t use them on Fuji) or full-frame optimized lenses (big and heavy).

              But the Sony has built-in stabilization, and access to some good Sigma lenses, and some of the Sony Zeiss lenses are good, too.

              I haven’t made up my mind between them, so I’ll be interested to hear if you do!

              – Matt

              • If you hadn’t mentioned the Sigma lens compatibility for the Sony, the Fuji X-T2 would win my vote easily. But even with that in mind, I feel that I would still pick Fuji. I think Sony makes it easier for people who already own a lens collection to switch to them if they can still use some of their favorite lenses on the new camera. But for people who have to start from scratch like me, the decision might be easier to go with Fuji. Even I feel sad that I wouldn’t be able to use the great Sigma lenses that I had my eyes on, the fact that I haven’t owned them make it easier to look for something else as I haven’t grown attached to the gear. I feel that overall I like the X-T2 more. Sony might have an edge on video but I don’t do a lot of videos so Fuji should be just fine.

                Hard to be believe, but I’m very close to finalize my pick :-) Now if I go with Fuji, I have to continue my search on the lenses. Seems like both of their FX 35mm f/1.4 or 56mm f/1.2 are good choices. If I can get only one, which one do you think is a better overall lens?

    • Our thread got a little too deep… I’m kicking it back out a bit.

      Keeping in mind that the X-T2 is an APS-C camera, a 35mm lens will give you a field of view similar to a 50mm lens on a full frame camera, and the 56mm is more like an 85mm. The 56mm is a beautiful lens; Alfred Lopez, who writes articles about Fuji on this site now and then, has one and I love the results for portraits, but it may be a little tight for general shooting.

      The 50mm field of view has traditionally been a “standard” lens; when I got my first film SLRs back in the 1990s, I got all of them with 50mm lenses, and they served their purpose… good for a lot of things, though not exactly a perfect portrait lens, and not quite wide enough or tight enough for interesting landscapes or city scenes. But that’s the problem you’ll have with any single prime lens. So… between the two, I’d probably lean towards the 35mm f/1.4.

      However, if I were you, I’d also consider the Fujinon 23mm f/1.4, which will give you the classic 35mm field of view on your sensor. That’s what most people consider the perfect “travel” lens, since the field of view is nice and wide, but not too wide… it’s super sharp, there’s minimal distortion, and it’s compact. Plus, it’s water resistant, like the X-T2 body, so you don’t have to worry about shooting in the rain, which is always nice. You might take a look at its reviews on Amazon (linked above, which supports my work here :-) ).

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

      • Hi Matthew,

        Do you have a link to Adorama or B&H for the X-T2 and kit lens? That will save me over $100 on tax and hopefully I can still support you :-)

        Thanks a million for your help through this whole process!

          • Hi Matthew,

            The 23mm f/1.4 is not water resistant , but the newer model with f/2 is water resistant and cheaper but reviewers say that the f/1.4 one is sharper. I’m still reading but leaning toward the f/1.4.

              • Hi Matthew,

                After reading and picking a few combinations of lenses, I think I’m settling on the kit lens (since it’s a great lens at a bargain price) and supplement it with the 16mm f/1.4 R WR. I didn’t think I would go this wide and it’s heavier than the 23mm but it seems to check all the boxes I want for low light, water resistant plus it also has macro capability. I think it will be great for the weekend hiking trips. I also like the 23mm, 35mm and 50mm. I think I will also get the 50mm f/2 WR and will see what the kit lens can do first and then might come back to get the rest.

                I’m ready to order them tomorrow. Very excited. Thanks again for your help! :-)

    • Lee,

      That sounds great! I hope that the new camera works out well for you… I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts on it after you’ve spent some time shooting.

      – Matthew

      • Hi Matthew,

        If you’d like, after I come back from my trip I can send it to you to play with it for a couple of weeks, as long as you promise to send it back :-) That might help you with your decision too.

  • Hi Matthew,

    Sorry for bumping an old comment thread, but I found your review very useful. Thank you. I’m looking to get my first DSLR soon and I’m torn between the 5600 and the 7100. I can’t justify the higher price of the 7200 just yet.

    One of my main concerns is weatherproofing (it is quite rainy in the UK as you know!). What is your experience, if any, for using a non-weatherproof camera in some rain? Or are there any accessories that can add/improve the weatherproofing of the 5600?

    My other concern is the lack of AFP in the 5600. I’d be mainly shooting wildlife/nature, but should I be worried about this when just starting out with photography?


    • I read this article a few weeks back then bought the 7200. You should too, it’s great. I got mine from grey stock from a highly rated store on a popular auction site. As they freely admit, you don’t get the Nikon warranty but they give you a year themselves. As I’d had a Nikon before for three years without a single issue, I was happy to take the gamble the 7200 will be problem free after the first year. I’ve only had it a month so far but so far so good and I saved 20% on Nikon’s minimum selling price. Good luck

    • Hi Luke,

      When it comes to weather sealing, there are a couple of things to remember: first, even if your camera body is sealed, most lenses are not (unless you’re buying pro-level lenses, and even then you have to check). So, even though sealing might be a good insurance policy for those of us who live in rainy areas (Seattle/UK), it’s not something that you can really count on while shooting all of the time. And if your lens isn’t weather sealed, then the body/lens mount is usually not sealed, which means that water can get into your camera body, which is a big problem. Second, even with weather sealing, I don’t trust equipment in heavy rain… and if you do get moisture inside of your camera, it’s not going to be covered by a standard warranty.

      So, there are a couple of option. There are plenty of products that you can use to protect your camera in the rain that usually amount to having a plastic bag strapped over the body and lens. Some are cheap and just cost a few dollars, and others are for professionals (like ThinkTank’s hydrophobia line) They’re annoying to work with, but they work, and the higher quality ones are less annoying. You can also just buy an extended warranty that has spill/water coverage. It won’t save your camera, but it might save your wallet. The Squaretrade warranties offered by many vendors cover drops and spills, and the ones from Amazon, usually do too.

      The AFP issue is something that varies from person to person. Some people rarely use flash, and almost never need AFP. Others, especially those who shoot weddings or lots of fashion or portrait photography, need flash with AFP frequently. That’s something you’ll have to decide according to what your goals and interests are as a photographer. But unless you plan to shoot with a large aperture prime lens, or if you want to use flash while shooting action sports, then you probably wont’ need it.

      As you’ve undoubtedly already seen, my advice is always to buy the least expensive camera that will meet your needs, and buy the best lenses that you can afford. If you’re looking at the D5600, you might also consider looking at older models (the D5300 is excellent) and/or factory refurbished, and I guess the same is true with the D7100/D7200 :-) Or look for deals on Ebay, as John McDonnell suggested!

      Good luck!

  • Hi Mathew,
    I was looking at the D7500, but it didn’t convince me to be better than the D7200 and worth the extra money. I don’t see any improvement in that foldable screen…

    So I compared the D7500 to the D5600. I am traveling and hiking and my hands are not that big, so from the body the D5600 suited me just perfect. Your article supported my tendecy to go for the D5600 and save some money. BUT there are two major points I am missing in your article.

    1. visionfield of the optical viewer
    D5600 has just 95% compared to D7200 100% which means that if you are composing your Fotos while shooting, you will have to cut those ‘unwanted’ 5% later manually on a computer.
    Furthermore the picture in the viewer is much smaller in the D5600.

    2. preview (sorry, in German it’s the ‘Abblendtaste’ and I don’t know the correct term in English) the D5600 is totally missing that button. It is not possible to check your settings regarding focus and background unless you take a picture and check.
    Usually with that button you can see it directly in the optical viewer.

    Hope you get what I mean :)

    • Hi Linda,

      You’re right about both points: on the D5600, you’ll have a little extra space to crop or straighten the horizon to get the same composition that you saw through your viewfinder. 5% might sound like a lot, but keep in mind that the difference is in area, so it’s much less significant than you might think (ie, if each side of a 2 x 3 rectangle were 95% the length of the original, the difference in area would be ~90%. The actual difference in each side is about 97.5%, as shown below). The lower magnification is more of an issue, I think, although even more expensive cameras like the Nikon D800 only have a .70x viewfinder, so it’s hard to fault the D5600 too much.
      95 vs 100% coverage

      The Abblendtaste is the “depth of field (Schärfentiefe or Tiefenschärfe) preview” button, and again, you’re right… the D5600 does not have one. However, that is a feature that is very rarely used by any photographer these days, since it’s easier to see and more accurate to just take a picture! Since the DOF Preview button stops down the aperture, it also darkens the view in the viewfinder significantly, which makes it less useful. I’ve never met a photographer that uses that feature regularly (I had it even back in the 1990s on my cameras, and rarely used it then, too)… you’d be the first, if it’s important to you!

      In any case: if you’re a big fan of the button, then it sounds like you already know that the D7200 is probably a better choice. However, if you are not particularly fond of the DOF button and are just curious about it, then I wouldn’t worry about it.. it’s being phased out for a good reason, in my opinion.

      Good luck!
      – Matthew

  • Finally time to upgrade my D70s (yes, its been a while) and I have a SB800, will D5500/D5600/D7200 all work as a remote trigger for this flash?

    Thanks, and great article!

    • Hi Jeff,
      The pop-up flash in the D5000 series won’t work as a command module for flashes like the SB800, so you’ll either need to use another flash or a hot-shoe command module on the D5500/D5600. The D7200 will trigger it. Nikon support has been saying recently that the D7500 doesn’t support the SB800 (and I think they say the same about the D7200), but that’s nonsense as far as I know… they just want people to buy an SB5000. Keep that D70 around for those times when you need to sync flash at high shutter speeds!
      – Matthew

  • Nice review. Thanx! This helped me a lot. Is the 5600 a lot better than the 5300? (there is a lot to save on going for 5300 vs 5600 and touchscreen is not on my “I really need that”-list. However. Higher ISO may be (if the quality in higher ISO is descent.)

    • Hi Gjøran. No… the differences between the D5300 and D5600 are pretty minimal. Personally, I was a big fan of the D5300 and didn’t see much reason to upgrade to the D5500 (added touchscreen, removed GPS, incorporated 25600 as “native” ISO range rather than expanded), and the step up to the D5600 was even more minimal. If you can find a good deal on the D5300, go for it.

  • Hi, I’m looking to upgrade my old Nikon D90. Tempted by weight and ease of use I spontaneously bought a Coolpix B700 a few days ago. Whilst weight and ease of portability certainly are great I am already missing the speed of the DSLR – I’m taking a lot of photos of children and pets, and am getting many lost moments, heads turned, eyes shut etc – all of which are so much easier to avoid with a DSLR.
    I asked in a photoshop which of the current Nikons would be today’s equivalent of the D90 and was advised it’s the D7200. Is that right? It seemed a great deal heavier…..
    They also said that buying *any* of today’s versions will give me an upgrade compared to my old D90. Would you agree with that?
    And would you definitely stick with Nikon? That’s my instinct, but if I’m missing out by ignoring Canon, then please say!
    Thanks for any thoughts.

    • It’s tricky to say which camera today is the modern equivalent of the D90. The D7200 has a metal body, unlike the D80/D90, but it’s also a little bit smaller. However, the new D7500 has dropped the metal body, making it more similar to the D90 than the D7200 is, in that regard.

      In any case, the D5500/D5600 are really excellent cameras, as are the D7200/7500. It’s true that any of them would be a pretty big upgrade over the D90 in terms of sensor performance. If you’re looking for something that’s nice and compact, like your Coolpix, though, the Sony compact a6000 line are the way to go… great image quality and sensors (as good as the Nikons) and responsive like SLRs.

      Canon also makes nice cameras, but the only real advantage they have over Nikon right now is that they are better with live-view autofocus and video autofocus.

      If I were you, I’d probably go with the D5600 or D7500, or the Sony a6500, though it is expensive.

  • Hi

    Thanks for a great article. Currently looking to upgrade my D3100 (I already have some decent lenses). Whilst I don’t use social media a lot, I do like to be able to easily share pictures with family and friends so was just wondering if you’re able to comment on how easy it is to send photos taken on the D7200 to a mobile device (and whether that can be achieved while out and about, or do you need to be on your home WiFi network, for examaple). From your article it sounds like the D5600 would be better for that but that otherwise the D7200 is the better camera.

    Also, I found your comment on using an Eye-Fi card in one of the D7200s dual SD card slots interesting – why would you need to have an Eye-Fi card if it has WiFi? I ask because I’ve given up with Eye-Fi. The X2 Pro was good but sometimes flaky before they effectively discontinued it and the one they replaced it with, which I did buy, makes you sign up to their storage/portal with a monthly fee. But perhaps some people like this which is why they may use an Eye-Fi card? But then didn’t I read somewhere that Nikon have a similar but free service in which you can back your photos up to the cloud (seems unlikely).

    Any help clearing this up would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hi John,

      I hate to say it, but wi-fi transfers are something that I use so infrequently that I never really test it on cameras like the D7200. I do rarely use wi-fi to transfer photos to a tablet to show clients while I’m working, but I’m only transferring small JPGs (and I’m shooting raw to the other card) to keep transfers fast. I used eye-fi cards in my Canon 5D III which has no wi-fi, and I’ll sometimes use the cards in other cameras like the D7200 because the cards and tablet are already set up to work together so it’s quick. Nothing more than that. This was with the older generation of cards from 4-5 years ago.

      But, I never transfer to my phone or upload to social media without running images through Lightroom/Photoshop. I’ve tried it with Nikon’s app, and it was such a pain that I quit using it. I understand it’s gotten better in the past year or so, but I haven’t used it. I’m old fashioned when it comes to importing my images to my computer, I guess… I prefer a cable straight to my computer, imported into my library. Sorry I can’t be of more help!

      – Matthew

      • Hi Matthew. Thanks for the quick response. When the older Eye-Fi cards worked they worked well. Images I wanted to keep I would protect on the camera which would then see them transferred to my phone first, within 30 seconds usually, then when at home and my phone connected up to my home WiFi network, it would automatically download my photos to my laptop into (customisable) date-named sub-folders. The endless memory functionality would also delete photos that had already sync’d off the card to always keep 20% free on the card.

        How good is all that? Never had to do anything manually to copy photos to my laptop. I consider it a faff to have to plug the memory card into the laptop, check which photos I’d already downloaded then copy and paste the ones I hadn’t.

        Shame a couple times it messed up, though I was able to fix it with help from their support, then Eye-Fi discontinued the service in order to try and make you sign up to their paid service.

        I assumed that if I bought a camera with WiFi connectivity I could still achieve what the Eye-Fi card used to but it seems not. Anyone have another way to achieve this?

        I guess it’s going to be use snapbridge for sharing lower quality photos using my phone (fine) then I could set up a (Windows) PowerShell script to run on inserting my SD card(s) that checks what I have on my laptop then only copies off what’s not already be transferred, again into date-named folders it creates. Not the end of the world but with the Eye-Fi method I almost instantly had the full size photos backed up to my phone in case the SD card broke or I lost my camera (not likely I know), not sure how I combat this. Anyway, rant over.

        Does anyone know if the D5600, which also uses Bluetooth, can transfer full size files?

        Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

  • so I’m currently debating which one to get and I would like to thank you for making this article it helped me pick which one I want more which I’m currently looking at the D7200 which I’m planning to take places if I travel mainly to Thailand because my parents currently live there

  • First of all let me say thank you Matthew for all the time and help you so generously publish on your website. I’m UK based so it is interesting to see so much of your recent work in Europe.
    This comparison caught my attention because I have been pondering this problem myself. However one feature you don’t mention that interests me is the difference with viewfinders in these cameras. As I understand it the D5600 has a pentamirror and the D7200 has a pentaprism.
    Bit of background. I’m ancient enough to have grown up for most of photo hobby time with Canon film cameras, including an A1 and ending up with a T90. A couple of years ago having retired I wanted to renew my interest in photography and started to compare digital cameras. My choice ending up between the Panasonic FZ-1000 and either a Canon or Nikon DSLR. I borrowed a Nikon D3200 which I quite liked but in the end the thought of lugging a bag of lenses around and the good reviews of the FZ-1000 I bought that camera. However what I found is that having been so used to using the viewfinder I rarely use the LCD screen and I just can’t get on with electronic viewfinder. So I am considering again going over to a DSLR for the ‘proper’ viewfinder.
    One other point about the D7200 that concerns me is that as the back LCD screen is exposed all the time is subject to getting damaged in normal use?
    I did wonder if the D7300 might arrive soon with the articulated LCD?
    Really appreciate your thoughts.

    • Hi Patrick,

      Ha! I loved my Canon A1; it was my first SLR, given to me by my dad when he got a Nikon 8008s when I was a teenager. I eventually skipped over the T90 (and other T-series cameras) and got my first EOS cameras instead.

      Of course you’re right; the D5600 uses a pentamirror, which will by slightly less bright than the D7200’s pentaprism, though I find that if you use large aperture lenses, the difference is negligible. More important to me is the difference in degree of magnification, and to a lesser extent, frame coverage. As is common with APS-C cameras, the level of magnification for both cameras is less than 100%, but the image produced in the D5600 is about 10% smaller than that in the D7200. If you’re used to a full-frame SLR and pentaprism, or if you have poor eyesight, you might notice the difference in the D5600’s viewfinder… I certainly do. But it’s quite usable, and people who are just getting used to a DSLR will not notice a problem. You might consider visiting a camera shop and looking though the viewfinder of a D5x00 series camera and see how you like it, if you haven’t already.

      As for the rear LCD, I wouldn’t worry about it. The glass used on modern LCD covers is very hard and is virtually scratch proof. If you’re concerned, you can buy a screen protector for $10 or so. If you’re more concerned about breakage (I’ve only ever broken one, and I’m very hard on my cameras) keep in mind that replacement is easy and cheap… if you do it yourself, it will generally cost less then $5.

      The D7000 was announced in 2010, the D7100 in 2013, and the D7200 in 2015, so it’s likely that the D7300 will be coming within the next year. It’s certainly possible that the D7300 will get an articulated screen, though it’s likely to be similar to the one found on the D500 (which can’t be flipped over for protection). But I don’t have any inside knowledge, there. I’ve only heard the rumors that it will have a lower resolution sensor like the D500 (20 megapixel) and will shoot 4K video.

      – Matthew

    • Yes :-) If you can still find one at a decent price (sometimes camera prices are weird), the D5300 is a great option. It has built-in GPS, which the D5500, D5600, and D7200 do not. The image quality is great. This article is an updated, reworked version of a previous one comparing the D5500/D5300 and D7200, so you might want to check out some of the details, there, but the differences are minimal… the D5300 has no touch screen, and is a little heavier.

  • Your comparison is way better than those others that look like a robot did it on auto pilot. Thanks for the extra effort. Also quite a sane, balanced perspective (you are wasted on the internet).

    Perhaps worth mentioning that the D5600 does support CLS and external flash control including groups, but needs an SB-500 or bigger on its hotshoe to do so. People interested in this usually have quite a few flash units to hand, so it is not a big difference IMHO.

  • I made the decision based on the weight and size, and then the 5600 is a clear winner. The only thing I missed so far are used defined presets. The most annoying feature of the D5600 was that the settings for the timer are lost after each shot. But for my travel photography those are minor points.

    • Hi Rene,
      I’m glad to hear that the D5600 is getting the job done for you. And thanks for the reminder about the User Presets; I’ve just added a note about them in the post body… it’s something that is very important to some people.
      – Matthew

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