on December 9, 2015
This day-and-age there are literally hundreds of cameras to choose from. The easy choice is to go out and buy what your professor or your friends have, or just get what's advertised the best or what looks cool. Honestly, if you are an amateur photog then you're going to take perfectly fine pictures with any DSLR in the mid-range level. My question is, do you need to spend 200, or 300 more on a camera that you can get exactly the same specs or perhaps better quality out of a DSLR that is cheaper?
I found this site justafax.com/dslr and what's great about it is that it literally does a side-by-side comparison of the top 12 cameras in this category, based on all of the factors that should affect your purchasing decision.
I found the information on justafax.com/dslr extremely helpful, especially in comparing the types of desires and features I was getting for my $. I think you owe it to yourself to check it out, the info is very concise and easy to read and should help inform your purchase. It's not a cheap purchase, so do your homework!
Good luck guys, I hope you find the camera of your dreams.
Like many folks, I pre-ordered the D800 the same day it was available. Alas, Nikon totally blew the market analysis vs production vs. supply chain formula. After waiting 2 months, I had to leave the country before Nikon got it's D800 act together. I needed a beat-up D90 replacement camera, and the D3200 seemed like a decent place-holder. I quickly ordered one before they were back-ordered too! Sure, the D3200 is DX, not FX. Sure, it is not nearly as flexible. Sure, it can only AF with newer lenses. BUT, you can buy about 4-D3200's for the price of a D800, AND it comes with a decent kit lens for $699!
The tutoring graphical-based menu system is geared more to beginners, which I am not, so I find it maddening. Most will love it, since it is somewhat educational, and offers a great variety of pre-sets to take creative shots easily.
It is amazingly light weight - lighter than most lenses! It is very quiet. The AF could be faster, but it's plenty fast enough. When you dig deeper, you shockingly find that the D3200 has many advanced internal features from the highest-end cameras (D800 & F4). The high-res LCD rear screen, the EXPEED 3 image processing engine, and a new 24MP sensor. The EXPEED 3 image processing engine allows the D3200 to perform at an altitude unheard of for a so-called entry level camera. Nikon's Active-D dynamic range enhancement at 24MP at 4 frames per second requires substantial in-camera processing power.
I bought this camera primarily for still photography. With the proper lenses & technique, the results are stunning. Low-light/high ISO performance is far beyond what you should expect at this level camera. Candle-lit face images are noise-free, and look great. Still life's on a tripod at ISO 100, have more resolution that ANY DSLR I have ever used, with very little shadow noise. In short, I might not accept my D800 when it becomes available. I might use the D3200 longer than I thought, (waiting for the 24MP FX D600 for $1999 later this year -- my guesses on price & stats & date)...or, just keep using the D3200. If it breaks (I'm hard on cameras), I'll just buy a new one.
Bottom line -- the D3200: super light-weight, very quiet, super high resolution (& low noise, high dynamic range, superb colors), incredible HD video with slow motion. It is no doubt THE most amazing DSLR value on the planet!
5/14/12 UPDATE: I've now shot 100s of images, using lenses from 11 mm to 600 mm. I've learned a lot. Super-high resolution cameras are a new arena for most of us. On the surface, one automatically thinks you will get images with twice the resolution (12MP vs 24MP). Not so. MP resolution is measured linearly, so the increase while significant, is less than doubled. More importantly, when you enter the hi-res camera stratosphere, photographic technique & lens choice are critical. While these high MP cameras are capable of amazing results, you have to work to get absolutely ALL the MP's this camera has to offer. Do not blame the camera if your initial results are less dramatically sharper than your old 6-8-12MP Nikon. It's probably you...
BTW, the Nikon 18-55mm is a decent lens, but it doesn't do this imager justice. You can get better results, with better glass. The excellent f1.8 35mm DX Nikon on this camera makes a super-light weight compact package you can carry all day long, producing super images. A 60 year-old Nikkor Q 200mm f4, $70 or so on eBay, produces stunning results if carefully used on Manual, on a tripod.
Set-up a table with clean background and a few artifacts on it. Use the sharpest lens you have, at f 8, on a sturdy tripod, perpendicular to the table, Shoot the scene with the in-camera flash on both old & new camera bodies. You will see the difference easily when images from both cameras are compared side by side, enlarged to 100%.
How does this translate to everyday casual shooting? Not easily. Sub-par technique still results in sub-par images no matter what camera is used. If you are a beginner looking for the best entry-level DSLR ever made, all of this won't matter -- grab a D3200 and shoot away! Just note that the D3200 is capable of world-class imagery. If it takes more effort to take photographs of this caliber, it's a good thing -- the D3200 forces you to up your game to get there!
5/5/13 UPDATE. It's been a year. I have a D800 and a D3200. Yes, there are many differences between the two. One is at the high end of the spectrum, the other, entry level. When I'm shooting commercially, or seriously in any way, it's the D800. It is a superb camera, if you own glass that can fully exploit the 36MP sensor, and your technique is solid. For everything else, I use the D3200. Why? It's light and compact. You can easily carry it around all day, with the f1.8 35mm, and hardly know it's there. If that lens isn't wide enough, shoot a 3-frame series and stitch them together in Photoshop. Again, with good glass and technique, the results are very, very good. D800 territory? No, but few would notice. The D3200 is a pleasure to use, and handles fast enough for most kinds of photography. You can use old manual Nikkor lenses easily, albeit with a bit more effort. With the focus confirmation dot in the viewfinder, manual focusing is easy. Exposure can be guessed and adjusted using the great hi-res LCD. I recently had to shoot an emergency-rush job covering a politician's speech. All I had in the car was the D3200, the 35mm f1.8, and an old, sharp 100mm f2.8 E Nikkor -- my normal in-car-at all-times stash. The setting was indoors, in a bright garden area -- no flash allowed. I was surrounded by folks with Nikon D4's and $1500 lenses. I got a few looks....LOL. I boosted the ISO to 1600, used the $50 100mm @ f4 @1/125th, and the results were great, published in several places. The D3200 is a great camera for the money, I like it more now than when I first bought it!
on April 14, 2015
La la llaaovveee this camera!! Just to start this review I'm super ocd with my purchases. Definitely more lenient with purchases worth less I'll admit, but not for a piece worth almost 400$. I reaseched on different websites and even visited a few stores for the best deal. Long story short this was it after about a week or two or hunting the best deal . It does not get better than this folks. The camera came brand spanking new. It came with original accessories like neck strap, battery, cap for camera, Lense cap, and battery charger, also a Manuel, and cd for the camera, oh and cords for the camera. Of course the camera also came with a brand new Lense too, AF-S DX NIKKOR18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens. Yeah this Lense alone is worth 250. Also the standard Lense for the d3200 is the AF-S DX NIKKOR18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR not VR II.. So think this was a added bonus for buying the refurbished item and having faith in nikon. I'm transitioning from a SLR a FE2 to be exact. I love the functionality and all the capabilities of this camera thus far. The resolution on the screen really helps make bold adjustments too. This is the perfect camera for the aspiring beginner photographer. I'll post pics, hopes this helps anyone trying to make a decision. Please like if it has thanks
on May 12, 2012
I had no plans to buy this camera, but eventually had to find a solution while waiting for my D800 to be delivered. I kind of felt, I could get some training by shooting high megapixel images on this entry level camera.
My first outing after the camera arrived was to some birdpark with absolutely no prior preparation. The manual is still in the box, only charged the battery overnight and brought a selection of lenses in addition to the kit lens.
First surprise, even the kit "plastic" lens performs really nicely on this camera. Due to the nature of the objects of interest, the remaining shoots were done on a 28-300mm.
I was accompanied by an experienced bird photographer and we took turns with the camera. Both made the following observations: From the angle of experienced Nikon users, this camera offers everything in terms of menus and dials to set the camera up the way one is used to from D90, D7000, D300s level cameras. This came as a surprise, as the D3200 does not have the front dial that we both were used to and familiar with. Nikon has done an surprisingly good job in making the menus very easy to access and after a short while, we where entirely concentrated on the shoot and only occasionally reminding ourself that this was "only" an entry-level DSLR.
At the same time, we were impressed how nice the software is tailored to the needs of a potential beginner, gently guiding him towards to goal of making better photos along the way.
The LCD screen on the back is a huge step forward from previous models, as it allowed to effortless pre-screen the shots taken. I was even carrying a laptop computer to better inspect the initial images, but after a short while we only resorted the the built-in screen.
The biggest surprise was however the image quality after we analyzed our initial >350 photos on a large monitor. The yield of usable photos was right out of the box very high, which reiterates the ease of use of this camera and the great auto-focus system (despite only 11 sensors). Also the smallish size of the body turned out to be less problematic, even with a bigger lens attached to it.
We found the image quality obtained to be absolutely stunning, the sharpness of the images was "picture perfect". Colors just the way one would expect them, as is the hall mark of any Nikon camera. Even small birds could be cropped from the 24 MP resulting in usable 7 MP images. Post-processing was a thrill and resulted in a substantial number of images clearly qualifying as publication quality.
Having seen both, the best and the worst in Nikon cameras, I can verify that this entry level DSLR is a keeper. Even though never planned, it will stay in the collection as a second body and now serves as the main camera until the D800 arrives.
If an entry level camera already is this good, what may be expected of the upcoming updates of the other DX models, the likes of D5100, D7000 and the D300s?
on July 3, 2014
I am amazed at this little bundle. If you are new and want a nice, inexpensive DSLR but are drowning/hesitating among all the options and prices, don't. Just buy this, you will not regret it. I picked up this refurb kit a month ago for $365, and I did a double take because I couldn't believe everything I was getting. I personally shoot with my trusty old D90 still, but this was for a specific project that needed a dedicated camera. I have to admit that this shoots way more reliably than my D90. It's focus is incredibly fast and the metering is Nikon perfect. It's amazing what half a decade in technology leads to both in quality and in price.
This D3200 bundle is the ideal camera for someone who is looking to step up from point-and-shoot cameras and phone snapshots and get started with digital photography. It is pretty full-featured and has amazing picture quality for a fraction of the cost of the more expensive models. Basically, this is a way to get into the hobby or dramatically improve the quality of your pictures without breaking the bank. I couldn't even tell that it was refurbished. It looked brand new to me. Not a scratch or a nick anywhere, and the LCD was bright and crystal clear. With this, you can produce stunning photos (and videos) without being reduced to tears if you drop it on accident or be too afraid to hand it to a friend/relative to take a picture for you. As is often said, having the best (read: most expensive) camera in the world is useless if you're too afraid to take it outside and take pictures.
The lens on this is a perfect first lens. It's 18-55mm, which means it's a zoom lens (you spin a ring on the lens to select the region you are capturing, zooming in one way and zooming out the other). It's sharp, fast, and handles low light decently. I'd of course recommend the spectacular fixed 35mm for its tack sharpness and to shine in low-light as well as the 55-200mm to give you some telephoto (serious distance zoom) coverage, but these lenses each cost half the price of this camera kit! You can see how photography can become a very expensive hobby very quickly. I'd hold off on those as a first purchase and wait to see how things go.
But this is why this kit in particular is a great starter package. You get an entry level, but still very solid camera body and a decent zoom lens. Don't let the term "entry level" make you feel cheap, this is still a Nikon camera with a legitimate Nikkor lens. It is categorically different and more capable than any point and shoot or pinhole phone camera. Period. End of discussion. If you find that you want/need more, Nikon will be more than happy to sell you more lenses or step up to a more expensive camera body later. For the first step though, this is ideal.
I should note that in addition to taking ridiculously high quality photos, this also does quite well with video. It can do 1080p video at up to 30 fps or 720p at 60 fps. I'd have loved to have seen 1080p at 60fps, but you don't get that unless you go to the D3300 or D5300 which cost tons more than this D3200 kit. That's just not worth the extra cost.
In practice, I've been amazed. Even under terrible lighting conditions (e.g. indoor low light under coiled fluorescent lights with completely mismatched color temperatures and an LCD as an intended capture target) I can get remarkable photo and video quality with perfect color reproduction. Nikon's white balance settings do sheer magic where even a prosumer camcorder just fails miserably (I'm looking at you Sony). Sure, some of the knobs and dials are tucked away in menus and not as easily accessible as on the more pro-level cameras, but for the price, I'll deal with fiddling with the menus on the few times that I need them (honestly, my D90 was overwhelming for months when I first got it). For the vast majority of the time, I just set it to program or manual mode and fire away. It's beautiful.
on May 10, 2012
I only really purchased this as a studio cam. Don't need AF performance for that, nor high ISO's, but do need great resolution. So, with trepidation and reserve, I decided to try this one. I am coming from D700's, D3's, D7k's and other as my point of reference. I shoot for a living.
Resolution is excellent, especially when coupled with the 40mm macro from Nikon. I have shot a few hundred shots now and am very happy in that regard. The menus are simple enough that you can work them out if you already know Nikon's systems for menus. AF performance is great for this kind of body. Using my 17-55 with it, I could acquire focus only slightly slower that with the D7000. I tried in lower light to see how that worked, and while you could tell it was slower, it was not too bad. Every shot I have taken bar one (black dog in a dark room), was in focus as intended. So, AF is good for this kind of body. I like the layout of the controls too, everything was where it was expected to be.
Small body means uncomfortable grip. However, that is what was expected, so I don't really think this is a "bad" for this camera. I expect a person with smaller hands will thoroughly enjoy that aspect. Lenses (all but smaller ones) are front heavy and fell off balance. Pop a 70-200 VR on this and it is silly unless you carry/hold it by the lens primarily. Lastly, there is no AF fine tune, but.... I have not found the need on even one of the lenses I will use it with to make any adjustments, so not too bad a thing.
Get one if you want it for landscape, low speed portraits (esp families) or for product/architecture. I highly recommend it.
on March 13, 2014
This is my first DSLR camera, I'm amazed by its quality. 10/10 with Roberts LP and AMAZON! I did a LOT of research (about 3 months of it) since I wanted to make sure that I will be buying the best out of the best according to my money range, and I'm pleased to say that I made the BEST decision. The User Manual is great, tells you everything that you need to know, it's like your wingman for the camera. You gotta love what Nikon did with this product, it has an amazing resolution (I'm talking about the 18-55 lens) and for a beginner like me, it's perfect. I will buy better lenses in the future. Oh by the way, YOU NEED TO TRY THE VIDEO OPTION, the recordings are incredible, If you have an independent band, know how to work with Adobe programs, know a little about lighting and setting a good background, this is the camera for your first professional video. Cheers!
on November 24, 2014
I gave this camera to my girlfriend as an anniversary gift. I've never owned a DSLR camera before - heck, my only camera for the past decade has been a cell phone. She had dabbled in SLR film photography prior to this, though, and had a much better idea of what she was doing.
My first impression of this camera was more or less "wow... I can actually take pictures in low light without a flash." The ability to actually capture what one sees naturally is a pretty huge deal. This may seem pretty stupid to more experienced photographers, but it was a brave new world to me.
The instructions which come with the camera are very clear, and seem definitely written for someone who has never played with a "real" camera before. There is not only a good explanation of the mechanical features of the camera (ie, which buttons do what) but also contain a decent crash course on manual photography. They explain the basics - aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and how each of the different settings configure these settings to produce a different quality of image. Starting with zero background information, I was able to develop a decent intuition based on these descriptions and some trial and error (ie - just taking a lot of pictures). Coming from a film background, my girlfriend had the same reaction - "It's nice to just be able to practice with the camera, get instant feedback, and not have to worry about film."
One of the complaints I've seen about this camera compared to the slightly more expensive models, is that the single thumb wheel is limiting, and slows down the photography workflow. I sort of disagree - at least for a beginner. First of all, the camera has a number of well placed modifier buttons - so if you set the camera to "manual aperture" mode, the thumb wheel will control the aperture by default and use the magic of DSP to set the shutter speed, exposure compensation and ISO. However, if you need to override one of those settings, all you need to do is press the correct modifier button, and the thumb wheel will then control the corresponding setting until the modifier button is released. It works the same way in full manual mode, except then it then turns off all the automatic compensation features as well. I sort of like this mechanic, as each partial-manual mode provides a single dimension of control (for simplicity), but still allows the user to easily and quickly override the other settings if necessary, without turning the mode dial to a different position. I think it is a great mechanic for beginners since it provides a clear and easy to understand distinction between the various shooting modes, while still providing quick access to the rest of the settings. In that sense, I don't see it as a limitation, as much as I see it as a somewhat simpler way to learn the camera while also learning the finer points of photography. However, if you are already an expert, and understand the ins and outs of the Nikon hardware and software, then I could see it being a bit frustrating. I haven't had to play around inside the menus to control basic settings at all though, as some have suggested in other reviews.
In terms of build quality, what more can I say which has not already been covered? You definitely are not sacrificing mechanical or ergonomic quality when buying this camera over some of the more expensive ones. It feels solid, but light in the hand. All the buttons have a nice, firm, satisfying snappiness to them with no softness or ambiguity, and they are all placed in a way which makes sense. The action on the lenses feels like butter, and even though they are plastic - they feel sturdy and high quality. From what I understand, one's ability to shoot at low shutter speeds and small aperture is directly related to one's ability to balance and control the weight of the entire kit, so the attention to weight reduction which Nikon has put into this body and the lenses should directly translate to better pictures. Even the Nikon branded bag which comes with the bundle demonstrates an incredible attention to detail, as the interior is completely modular through clever use of velcro dividers, which allows the user to easily move and re-size the various compartments.
The photographs themselves are stunning. It's really difficult to put the experience into words. Just the ability to reliably capture and record what one sees opens a whole world of possibilities in terms of shooting. It is liberating in a way. Even if your goal is not to have your photographs published in National Geographic, and you just want to document your vacation for posterity, being able to do so simply and reliably makes casual photography much more enjoyable.
In conclusion - this is a great camera for a beginner, and has a ton of room to grow with the user. Sure, there are better sensors out there, and more feature-rich cameras, but for someone who's primary interest is to learn the basics, take fantastic pictures, and develop the hobby beyond what is possible with a point-and-shoot camera, it really seems like this would be difficult to beat in terms of price, quality and performance.
on September 26, 2013
I am a professional photographer, trained by the military to shoot under the worst conditions and get a usable image.
Comfort, lightweight and reliability are the top requirement meant for me in a camera. Image quality is of course the top priority.
The D3200 has each of these and then some.
My equipment that I own range from 35mm Pentax K1000 to the Nikon F1.
I shoot anything that moves and everything that doesn't, with abundant light or none at all.
I usually carry around $4000 in equipment wherever I go.
I saw the D3200 and it's features and took a chance buying it, not knowing the quality I would get but if worse came to worse, one of my daughters would get it if it failed to meet my standards.
I still have it.
As a matter of fact, I gave my D7000 to my daughter and kept the D3200.
I recently started shooting the high school football games for the newspaper as I always do in the fall and brought the D3200 with me for a test run on a scrimmage game.
The stadium lights were a joke and I eventually moved my ISO up to 3200 with a 2.8 70-200mm.
I uploaded the images later and I just could not believe my eyes.
Every shot was razor sharp
, color corrected perfectly and noise free.
I continued shooting football with the 3200 and when homecoming came around I was able to capture beautiful shots of both the game and court.
While I am not willing the relinquish the rest of my collection, I can say that I haven't picked up anything else since purchasing the D3200.
I can't believe this is considered an entry level camera.
If I have to put a complaint in my review, it would be the fact that the LCD screen is stationary. I never use the swivel screens on my other models but it would be nice knowing that I could if I had to.
Do yourself a favor. Take my word as a pro since 1980 and get the less expensive D3200 and spend the savings on a faster tele-lens.
This is a no-brainer.
on February 26, 2014
After all these years of being a Canon and Pentax fan, my refurbished Nikon is here and it works great. Might be small for some people, might be missing some features, but for someone who just wants a camera with a good sensor (it's an incredible sensor, well worth the money, by the way) and would settle for no auto focus and would just as soon shoot using manual controls for exposure rather than auto, I can't complain at all. Going to get my wife to move from Canon to Nikon now.
If you are just taking snapshots, 13 megapixel setting ought to suffice, so you don't use up way too much space on your sd card.
If you want more detail, of course, use 24 mp, but for serious shots, go full tilt and go 24 mp and raw.
Hope this helps anyone who is trying to decide whether to get this camera.