The Nikon D3200 is an entry-level DSLR camera that includes simple, guided features to help beginners. The company's D5200 has more advanced features, such as a 39-point autofocus system and support for HDR photography and wireless remote control adapters. These features classify it as a mid-range camera and are not as advanced as those found in the Nikon D7100. The D3200 body costs around $330 compared to $500 for the D5200.
The D3200 and the D5200 essentially take photos at the same resolution, with a mere 16 pixel difference between them. The D3200 is capable of taking photos at a maximum resolution of 6,016 x 4,000 pixels (24.2 megapixels), while the D5200 has a max resolution of 6,000 x 4,000 (24.1 megapixels). There is really no noticeable difference between these resolutions, and both will allow for close cropping and large photographic printing.
Autofocus (AF) systems allow users to control a camera's focus automatically, rather than manually. This makes taking sharp, in-focus pictures fast and easy. Without exception, it is better to have more autofocus points than fewer, as more autofocus points always mean greater user control over imagery. Selecting all available autofocus points allows for crisp sports photography, while selecting a single focus point can help bring specific details into careful, close focus.
The D5200 hautofocus system is significantly better than the D3200's. Whereas the D3200 only supports 11 focus points, the D5200 supports 39. This is fewer than the "prosumer" D7100 offers (51 points), but more than adequate enough for most hobby photography.
In digital cameras, ISO sensitivity ratings relate to how sensitive a camera's image sensor is to surrounding light. The higher the ISO sensitivity, the more light the camera takes in and the faster it takes the picture (i.e., fast shutter speed). Low ISO is typically only used in bright, sunlit situations. ISO sensitivity is a balancing act, as high ISO can result in noise grain, and low ISO can result in blurry images in low-light conditions.
The D5200 has an extended ISO sensitivity of 25,600 (what Nikon calls "Hi-2"), while the D3200 has a maximum ISO sensitivity of 12,800 ("Hi-1"). While the difference is significant, only more experienced photographers who know when and how to use such specialized ISO settings will find this feature helpful.
Both the D3200 and the D5200 are capable of filming full HD movies. They film at the standard high resolution of 1920 x 1080, at 30 or 24 frames for second (fps). These cameras are also able to film at 60 fps, making them ideal for fast-paced scenes, such as those captured during a sports event. The higher frame rate also allows for smooth slow-motion effects.
High Dynamic Range (HDR)
In contrast to the D3200, the D5200 supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography. This feature allows users to capture a single scene at multiple, different exposures with just one release of the shutter. These multiple exposures are combined into a single photograph for richly-colored, high-contrast imagery.
There are six types of picture control, such as monochrome and landscape modes, available in the D3200 and D5200. The D5200 offers additional support for image effects (e.g., night vision), editing functions (e.g., filters), and various scene modes (e.g., for food- or night-related photography).
A single frame separates the D3200 (4 fps) from the D5200 (5 fps) during continuous shooting. For those who use the continuous shooting feature for action shots, this seemingly minuscule difference can actually be significant.
New photographers will likely appreciate the D5200's 3-inch LCD screen, which can be flipped and rotated at varying angles as needed. In some respects, the D3200 is less usable for beginners when it comes to its display, which requires users remain behind the camera or use a remote.
Nikon measures battery life according to how many pictures can be taken before a battery requires recharging. Both cameras use a rechargeable li-ion battery, but the D3200, with up to 540 shots per charge, is very slightly more efficient than the D5200, at 500 shots.
Both the D3200 and the D5200 bodies come in black or red. The D5200 is also available in bronze.
"Classic" and "graphic" interfaces are available for both cameras, which also share the same color theme options of black, blue/green/white, and brown/orange. The D5200's interface should seem slightly more responsive than the D3200's.
The D5200 features an accessory terminal where a wireless remote control adapter can be added to take remote shots. The user can control one or more cameras from a distance of up to 66 feet using the Nikon WR-R10 or WR-T10 wireless remote controllers. The D3200 does not support this functionality.
The D3200's body is slightly lighter and smaller than the D5200's body. The D3200 weighs 455 grams and measures approximately 5.0"W x 3.8"H x 3.1"D, while the D5200 weighs 505 grams and measures about 5.1”W x 3.9”H x 3.1”D.
Wi-Fi and GPS
Wi-Fi adapters can be purchased for either camera, but wireless image transfer is not supported by default. Similarly, a GPS adapter must be purchased for GPS functionality. Both cameras support these adapters.