Being a keen diver, the Maldives have been on my travel wish list for a while now and I recently spent a relaxing week on a small island resort located in the North Male Atoll. Although there would be limited above-water photo opportunities, I took along the small Nikon D5600 to capture some holiday memories and see how it compared to some of it's more expensive siblings.
To accompany the D5600 body I chose the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR (205 grams) that came in the kit and the Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G VR (415 grams) for telephoto. This covered a wide focal length (effectively 27mm to 450mm taking into account the 1.5x DX crop factor) for a small amount of weight. All together the camera body and lenses weighed just over 1kg which was great for a trip where photography was not the main focus.
Compared to the larger D500 DX body I am used to using, the D5600 felt tiny in my hands, almost toy-like. Together with the lightweight plastic lenses meant that it was never a burden to carry, especially in the hot and humid conditions. Being a Nikon, everything was familiar except certain buttons and wheels that I have become used to using where no longer where I expected them to be!
As far as image quality goes I cannot tell any real differences between the results from the D5600 and it's more expensive siblings that I have used D7100, D500. The 24mp resolution sensor captures a large amount of detail, even with the basic kit lens attached, and allows scope for cropping too if required. Low light performance was pretty good too and I was not worried about using higher ISO settings. Sensor technology these days is pretty fantastic, even with lower end models.
The fully articulated touch screen was also something new for me and was using for moving focus points and even as a shutter trigger. Battery life was great as well with a single charge giving well over 1000 shots. So what didn't I like? I did miss the additional wheels and buttons found on the bigger bodies and although equivalent actions can be replicated via combinations and in the menus, I found myself struggling with functionality at times. Maybe this is just muscle memory though and I'm sure this would change with time.
The other part of the kit that I was impressed with was the small, lightweight and budget-friendly (around £300) Nikon AF-P DX Nikkor 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G VR. With an equivalent focal length of 105-450 on this DX sensor, I managed to use this to capture some nice shots of the local wildlife without carrying my bigger glass.
In summary, I would recommend this kit for anyone looking for a small and budget friendly set-up. It works great for travelling produces very nice images. The user experience is slightly more difficult but unless you are doing critical paid work this package would serve most hobbyists very well.