The D5200 is a fantastic entry level DSLR from the house of Nikon. It is a far superior camera, in terms of features to some of the Canon models available in the same price range. However when compared to the D7100, the D5200 seems to fall a bit behind simply because the Nikon D7100 is a fantastic DSLR that has a class of its own. Let us take a look at the comparisons below.
Body and built
The most obvious difference between the two cameras is perhaps in the structure and the weight of the two. While the D5200 is a smaller camera made entirely out of plastic (plastic body), the D7100 is made of plastic and metal. The top and back portions of the D7100 are made of an alloy metal, making it a more durable camera. As a result, the D5200 is about 30% lighter than the D7100 as well.
The sensor of the D7100 comes without an AA filter. The D5200’s sensor has an AA filter which is nothing but a thin cover just outside the filter. This makes the images (very) slightly blurred. This is another significant difference between the two cameras.
The AF feature in the D5200 is far superior to most other DSLRs in the range. While most cameras, including the Canon T4i and 60D have only 9 AF points, the D5200 has 39 points of autofocus. But if you thought this was impressive, you ought to hear the AF specs of the D7100! At 51 points, the D5100 has the strongest autofocus feature among all Nikon DSLR cameras. This, though a mindboggling feature, is not a very useful one as most people will find the 39 point AF more than sufficient even if they intend to shoot sporting events primarily.
There is a small problem with the D5200 though. There is no built in AF motor in the body of the D5200 and so the older lenses from Nikon are not compatible with this particular camera. This problem is not present in the D7100 with it having an inbuilt AF motor.
The speeds of both the cameras are more or less the same and you cannot really commend the D7100 for being a lot faster than the D5200. The shutter speed of the D7100 (1/800th) is 1 F-Stop quicker than that of the D5200 (1/4000th). Then, while we get a speed of 5 FPS in the D5200, we only get a 6 FPS in the D7100. Not much to choose from, right? Finally, the D5200 scores over the D7100 when it comes to shooting burst photos as the former can shoot a maximum of 35 jpeg images (8 RAW) in one burst, the latter can only shoot 33 jpegs (7 RAW) in one burst.
The LCD screen of the D5200 can swivel and this is very useful for people especially when they click low-lying shots. The LCD screen of the D7100 is fixed and does not swivel, though it is a bit bigger than the screen of the D5200.
Final Verdict – Which Camera to Buy?
Since the difference in the price is huge between the two cameras, it would make sense for you to buy the D5200 if you want to shoot family portraits, landscapes, etc. The price of the D7100 is almost double of the D5200 so go for the D7100 if you are a professional photographer who shoots under tough conditions. Both the cameras have great sensors and so the image quality is more or less the same. Keep the above mentioned comparisons in mind and then make your choice.