Much to the chagrin of Nikon enthusiasts, the Japanese cameramaker's third DSLR of 2012 has turned out not to be a successor to the D7000. Instead, we're seeing a refresh of the D5100, which actually brings a couple of the D7000's core strengths down to a lower price point and lighter form factor. The D5200 benefits from the same 39-point autofocus system as the D7000, including the 9 cross-type sensors in the middle, as well as the same 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor. The latter will be responsible for delivering better automatic white balance and exposure values than you can expect from the humbler D5100.
Nikon isn't replacing the D5100 entirely, that model will continue to be sold, along with the finely-aged classic that is the D90, with the D5200 slotting neatly between them. The new DSLR keeps a lot of the physical hallmarks of the D5100, including its articulating 3-inch LCD with a 920k-dot resolution. That does mean you'll find it a bit unwieldy if you like to have rapid access to adjusting settings like ISO and white balance on the fly. Nikon's D5x00 series has always demanded that you do a bit of digging around the menus to tweak the full set of settings, whereas the more professionally-minded D90 and D7000 give you more control dials and direct physical shortcuts. The D5200's interface has been spruced up, however, with a new graphical UI that is significantly more mature and easier on the eyes than the company's previous look.
Doesn't compete with the D7000, but grabs a couple of its core features
Turning to the internal upgrades, the D5200 debuts an all-new 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, which is Nikon-designed, but most probably manufactured by Sony, as per usual. The new sensor has an ISO range between 100 and 6400, extensible to ISO 25600 using the company's Hi2 mode. It's combined with the company's Expeed 3 processor, achieving a 5fps burst mode and up to 60fps when shooting 1080i video. There are stereo microphones embedded above the pentaprism, just behind the flash, and there's an external microphone input as well, taking care of the basics for audio recording.
The Nikon D5200 will go on sale across the globe in December, with three color options to choose from: matte black, a glossy bronze, and a super-shiny candy red. Pricing at launch in Europe will be £719.99 / €899 for the body by itself or £819.99 / €1,029 when paired with the standard 18-55mm VR kit lens.