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Nikon D3300 Review

Nikon D3300 Review
0
Review / 09/03/2014
Author: Photoleet avatarPhotoleet
recommendations 1, rating 4


 

 

 

TIMELINE

 

The summer collection is ready”… Like advertisements in the fashion industry, marketing campaigns in the photo industry more and more tend to remind one of items of clothing instead of a gadget produced with the purpose of running a particular business or having a hobby. Even the most ambitious companies are caught in a daring game of repeating the same products with only cosmetic differences between generations, and since the profit in no way points to the mistakes during the entire process, it is evident that these manufacturers will change little in such business tactics in the near future.

The Nikon D3300, a camera that we dedicate this article to, in some key segments offers something more than just cosmetics nevertheless, but in a way that radiates the need for a breather – relentless pursuit of the highest resolutions that the today’s technology can support without excessive quality degradations in other spheres produced such a result that now it is not entirely clear where we will betake ourselves next year, not to mention a period of several years from now on. In this way, we are faced with a slightly paradoxical situation in which a much greater number of cameras shares one and the same resolution than it used to be the case a few years ago, when Nikon was criticized entirely justifiably owing to its insisting on the policy “12 MP for everyone”, mostly because of technological limitations. Now, luckily, this is not the case, but it is somewhat unusual that almost the whole Nikon gamut (aside from the D800(E)) shares the same resolution, and thus some of them differ solely regarding whether the sensor was produced by Sony or by Toshiba. Until only recently, it has been possible to spot differences between models/categories with regard to the presence of the AA/LP (Anti-Aliasing / Low-Pass) filters in front of the sensor, and now neither this is possible since even the cheapest and the most modest DSLR that Nikon has to offer has lost that tiny element. We used to ask ourselves “what would photographs look like if there wasn’t for the AA filter on sensors?”, but now we can see it in practice with our own eyes.

The answer is here, before our eyes. After a shy introduction with the D800E, which had joined the game only as an alternative to the original model, and wishing to avoid the risk of potential technical problems in real exploitation (due to negative consequences of removing the AA filter with the Bayer sensors), Nikon discontinued the AA filter in all the categories without a second thought. Right after the D800E, the same happened with the D7100, but this time without playing it ‘safe’ by means of introducing two parallel models, and afterwards the same practice was followed with the D5300 as well. In this respect, it was only a matter of time when the smallest Nikon DSLR from the series D3xxx would lose the AA filter. Perhaps we did not expect it just now, but it seems that Nikon is determined to lay all the cards on the table and in that way even further humiliate its direct competitor, which did not even manage to ward off the previous several blows that it had received in the direct technological (although not market) match.

Concerning this lowest segment, an unwritten rule appeared a long time ago that states that investing only in every other generation of cameras pays off, so according to this principle, this should be an ideal choice for the D3100 owners. Of course, we do not include here new owners of DSLRs, for whom this will be the first camera. Models of this category have been produced for a couple of years now, so it is almost impossible that a layman misses anything or that they are thwarted in their attempt to photograph. The heralds of summer are already here, and we have nothing else to do but enjoy… with a new model into a new season!

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS

 

The routine that we got dragged into unilaterally by big companies boiled down to poking around for details that make a tangible difference between models of adjacent generations. If we leave out the sensor whose potentials we are going to see in action later on during the review, the majority of the key systems have remained unchanged. There are only a few trifles that make a difference, so that perfectly portrays the accuracy of the last sentence of the introductory part:

  

 

Nikon D3300

Nikon D3200

Announced January 7, 2014 April 9, 2012
Type DSLR (Digital Single-Lens Reflex)
Sensor 24 MP Toshiba CMOS, no AA filter, 3:2 aspect ratio;
APS-C 23.5 x 15.6mm (3.66 cm²)
Pixel density 6.58 MP/cm²;
Pixel size 3.91 µm
24 MP Toshiba CMOS, 3:2 aspect ratio;
APS-C 23.2 x 15.4mm (3.57 cm²)
Pixel density 6.77 MP/cm²;
Pixel size 3.86 µm
Formats RAW (NEF), TIFF and JPEG
Resolution RAW

6000 x 4000 (24MP)

6016 x 4000 (24MP)
Resolution JPEG 6000 x 4000 (24MP); 4496 x 3000 (13.5MP); 2992 x 2000 (6MP) 6016 x 4000 (24MP); 4512 x 3000 (13.5MP); 3008 x 2000 (6MP)
FOV (crop factor) 1.5x
Mount

Nikon F with AF contacts; no in-body screwdriver; fully-functional with AF-S and AF-I lenses; lenses without motor; no AF on D lenses without motor

Kit Lens

AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II

AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR

ISO range 100 - 12800 in 1 EV increments,
extended - H1 (25600)

100 – 6400 in 1 EV increments,

extended - H(12800)

Processor Expeed 4 Expeed 3
A/D Convertor 12-bit
Color Space Adobe RGB, sRGB
In-body Stabilization N/A
Electronic Level System N/A
Dust Reduction

Image Sensor Cleaning;

Airflow control system;

Image DustOff reference data (Capture NX2 licenced software required)

AF System

Nikon Multi-CAM 1000;

11 AF points, central cross-type;

operational range -1 to +19 EV

AF Modes

Single-servo AF (AF-S);

Continuous-servo AF (AF-C);

Auto AF (AF-A)

AF Methods

Single point; Dynamic Area; Auto area;

3D-Tracking (11 points)

AF-Assist Integrated illuminator; flashgun
AF Micro Adjustment N/A
Internal flash Yes, GN12 at ISO 100 Yes, GN12 at ISO 100 (GN13 in Manual mode)
Wireless Flash Control N/A
Flashgun

ISO-518 Hot-shoe, i-TTL compatible or manual flashgun;

sync 1/200; -3 - +1 EV compensation

Light Metering

420-pixel RGB sensor;

Operational range 0 – 20 EV

Light Metering Modes Matrix: 3D color Matrix Metering II;
Center-weighted;
Spot (~2.5% frame connected to the selected AF point);
Min Shutter Speed 30 seconds, bulb
Max Shutter Speed 1/4000 s
Drive Modes

Single; Continuous; Self-Timer; Delayed Remote; Quick-Response Remote; Quiet Shutter Release

Burst 5 fps 4 fps
Shutter Mechanical: 100,000 actuations
Buffer 11 RAW, 100 JPEG or 6 RAW+JPEG 18 RAW, 80 JPEG or 10 RAW+JPEG
Exposure Compensation -5 to +5 EV in 1/3 EV increments
Viewfinder

Optical, Pentamirror, 95% frame coverage; 0.85x magnification factor; eyepoint 18mm;

Type B BriteView clear matte screen Mark VII fixed focus screen

Optical, Pentamirror, 95% frame coverage; 0.8x magnification factor; eyepoint 18mm;

Type B BriteView clear matte screen Mark VII fixed focus screen

Internal Processing

Active D-Lighting; effects; RAW developing, vignette removal; chromatic abberations removal, geometric distorsion reduction

Display

3“ TFT; 4:3 aspect ratio,

921,000 pixel resolution; 170̊ viewangle

3“ TFT; 4:3 aspect ratio,

921,000 pixel resolution; 160̊ viewangle

Live View

Yes, 100% coverage;

Image sensor metering

Live View AF

Single-servo AF (AF-S) and Full-time servo AF (AF-F) modes; Face Priority; Normal Area; Wide Area; Subject Tracking

Video

Yes, AVCHD/H.264;

1920 x 1080 progressive @ 24/25/30/50/60 fps;

1280 x 720 @ 50/60 fps;

640 x 424 @ 25/30 fps;

Linear PCM mono or stereo audio

Yes, AVCHD/H.264;

1920 x 1080 progressive @ 24/25/30 fps;

1280 x 720 @ 50/60 fps;

640 x 424 @ 25/30 fps;

Linear PCM mono or stereo audio

Remote Control Yes, wired MC-DC2 and wireless WR-1 or WR-R10 Yes, wired MC-DC2
Wi-Fi

N/A

(optional WU-1a)

GPS N/A;
(optional GP-1/GP-1A receiver)

N/A;

(optional GP-1 receiver)

Storage Secure Digital (SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I, EyeFi)
Interface

Combined USB/AV-out; HDMI Type-C; 3.5mm microphone input; Accesory terminal

Weather and Dust Sealing N/A
Battery Nikon EN-EL14a, 7.2V, 1230mAh, 49g Nikon EN-EL14, 7.4V, 1030mAh, 48g
Battery Endurance (CIPA) ~700 ~540
Grip N/A
Body

Plastic body, reinforced with metal structure;

124 x 98 x 75 mm; 460 g;

Black, gray or red color

Plastic body, reinforced with metal structure;

125 x 96 x 75 mm; 505 g;

Black, gray or red color

 Technical characteristics: Nikon D3300 in comparison to D3200

 

As it has just been mentioned, the majority of the subsystems on the D3300 were taken from the previous model, and only some subtle changes make this new camera somewhat different. Of course, unlike its direct competitor, the D3300 at least has to offer the sensor improvement (and that is not just any improvement!), yet it does no harm to feel the improvement of this new camera on more levels, which is not exactly the case at the moment. What is more, one particular thing indicates serious degradation, which unavoidably brings up a question whether the ‘improvements’ really lead to something useful, or only a different redistribution of positive and negative points is being organized on some imaginary scales.

A sharp eye will also notice the suffix II under the subheading Kit lenses, which points to a hoped-for change under the domain of kit optics. The old AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR finally retires and gives way to a newer and more modern model. A better one? We will not leap to any hasty conclusions, but we do have justifiable reasons to believe that the optical improvement is evident as well, since we have learned over the past few years that Nikon always holds some kind of improvement in store, as it has been the case with practically all older models. Let’s move on…

 

PACKAGE

 

The Nikon D3300 is available in three colors, and one can choose between black, gray and/or red. The kit lens, on the other hand, cannot be chosen, so the only solution is to choose only the body or the kit set with the new AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II:

 

Nikon D3300, the content of the package with a new AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens

 

The kit set, which we also had during the review, consists of the following: the body with a mount cover and a hot-shoe cover, the kit lens with a front and a rear cover, an EN-EL14a battery and a corresponding MH-24 charger, a fork of the charger to plug it in, a wide shoulder strap, a viewfinder cover, a USB cable to connect the camera to a computer, an audio/video cable to connect the camera to an external display, a short and detailed manual, discs with a Nikon ViewNX2 software for Windows and Mac OS, as well as an electronic manual. The basic set differs from the kit set only because the AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II kit lens is missing.