“A great option for amateurs and semi-professionals”
Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years – a fact that becomes all too apparent when you look at modern cameras. When the top-of-the-line Nikon D3X came out in 2008, plenty of people were amazed at it 24.5MP sensor. Fast-forward to now, and some people are disappointed at the fact that, like its predecessor the D3200, the entry-level Nikon D3300 “only” has a 24.2MP sensor.
One of the biggest differences between the D3200 and the D3300 is that Nikon has gotten rid of the optical anti-aliasing filter in the latter model. Anti-aliasing filters are a big part of many cameras in that they help reduce the presence of optical aberrations and artifacts in pictures. The downside is that the filter reduces sharpness. With the D3300, Nikon, like plenty of other manufacturers, is betting on the large sensor to cope with any aberrations which may crop up, in order to get sharper images – and it works!
Plenty of features have remained the same, when compared to the previous models. But, there are a number of improvements too. Compared to the D3200, this camera has a better image processor, higher burst rate and an impressive ISO range which extends up to 25,600. For some inexplicable reason, Nikon has not added Wi-Fi support (something the earlier model had).
Price is $650, and it looks like we have a winner. Lets take a closer look at it.
The overall design of the D3300 signify simplicity. Like many other Nikons’ cameras, navigation buttons are on the right of the screen, whereas the menu and playback buttons are on the left. The top area has a button that can be customized according to user’s choice (ISO sensitivity is default). The overall layout of the camera reflects the fact that this DSLR is an entry-level model. Other than that, Nikon has added some nice touches to make the interface more user friendly. For example: a chief among which is a ‘?’ , a function which explains different settings options and what they do.
The Nikon D3300 is almost the same size as its predecessor, but weighs around 25g less. The new kit lens is also smaller and lighter than earlier models, which makes the camera much more compact.
The D3300 uses monocoque construction – the entire body is made out of a single material, which makes it very strong, but also very light. The material feels great, and all the plastic parts feel top-notch. Even though there is no metal in the body, it 8still feels robust.
Like the rest of the D3000 series, the D3300 also uses an 11-point AF system – which isn’t a lot, but it does manage to work efficiently. AF performance was good in bright light, but it did struggle a bit in low light. It isn’t the fastest either. I found myself switching to manual focus a bunch of times, especially when photographing landscapes, which was disappointing. The new kit lens isn’t great for manual focus as the ring is quite fiddly, but performed admirably otherwise.
The viewfinder has been improved to provide 0.85x magnification and has a focus indicator which lights up when the manual focus is proper, which is a nice feature. All things considered, I have to say the D3300 is a good performer, especially for a beginner-level model.
Image Quality and Video
The D3300 has an excellent metering system which contributes to great images. It does tend to make shadow-y areas a bit too dark, but nothing that can’t be corrected with a bit of editing. The auto white-balance is reliable and color reproduction is excellent.
Pictures taken by the D3300 looked well balanced and the 24.2MP sensor managed to capture a ton of detail. However, when it comes to noise, the camera was a bit disappointing. A small amount of noise starts creeping in to the shadow portions at the ISO 400 mark. At ISO 800, color noise is visible too. Even though the camera has a noise reduction system, using it could lead to a loss of sharpness. At 12,800, images lose a lot of detail and things become even worse at 25,600. Capturing images in RAW could combat image noise a bit.
Video quality is pretty good– it can record 1080p at 60fps – and has a built-in mic to capture audio. Nikon has also included a 3.5mm mic-in jack for videographers who want to capture sound in stereo.
- 2MP APS-C CMOS Sensor
- No optical anti-aliasing filter
- EXPEED 4 image processor
- 11-point Multi-CAM 1000 AF sensor
- Burst speed up to 5fps
- Video recording at 1080p @60fps
- ISO 100-12,800 (can be increased to to 25,600)
- Minimum shutter speed of 1/4000
- Built-in flash
- 3-inch 0.92MP LCD screen
- Good value-for-money
- Great performance for its class
- High resolution
- Easy to use for beginners
- Erratic manual focusing with kit lens
- High image noise
- No Wi-Fi
The Nikon D3300 is a powerful and versatile camera which doesn’t compromise on quality in the pursuit of simplicity. Even though it does have its share of problems, it is excellent value for money. A great option for first-time DSLR buyers.