92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Possible Camera For 99.9% Of Us
I'm a full time photographer and an artist. I've been doing this for almost 2 decades. I've used a Nikon D90 for the past five years. Before that, I used a Nikon D70 for five years. As you can tell, I don't obsess over gear or gadgets. I buy a new camera when my current one is failing or falling apart. I want to spend my time making images, not shopping. No camera...
Published 3 months ago by Reverend Sparkly Picklepants
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nikon D3300 - Decent Camera, Bad Kit Lenses
This is my second-ever DSLR purchase, a first for the Nikon brand. I'm pretty much Nikon's target customer -- entry level with just enough interest in photography to spring for a DSLR. What sold me on this camera, beyond any reviews I read attesting to its merits, was a store display. The newly designed compact Nikkor VR II lenses make the overall camera + basic 18-55mm...
Published 4 months ago by NewsView
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92 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Possible Camera For 99.9% Of Us,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Zoom Lens (Black) (Electronics)
I'm a full time photographer and an artist. I've been doing this for almost 2 decades. I've used a Nikon D90 for the past five years. Before that, I used a Nikon D70 for five years. As you can tell, I don't obsess over gear or gadgets. I buy a new camera when my current one is failing or falling apart. I want to spend my time making images, not shopping. No camera takes great photographs or bad ones. Artistry, craft, knowledge, and experience (not to mention luck) is what makes a great photograph, whether you're using a Leica or a shoe box with a pin hole. If you don't understand this, than the rest of my brief review will make absolutely no sense to you, and you can go back to looking at charts and graphs on digital camera review sites.
If you can't take amazing photographs with this camera, you can't take amazing photographs period. Spending more money on a higher end camera is a waste of money for you.
If you can take amazing photographs with this camera, than spending more money on a higher end camera is (most likely) a waste of money for you. Spend the money you save on a good lens or a weekend trip to a place that would be interesting to shoot.
What it comes down to is this: this camera has the best combination of image quality, features, handling, size/weight, and price on the market right now. The kit lens is $250 when purchased separately. That means you're paying $350 for the D3300 body. That is an incredible deal.
Going from a D90 to this camera, I gave up a couple of buttons/dials, but I don't miss them in the least. The settings I change on a regular basis (aperture, shutter, exposure compensation, ISO, etc) can all be set just as quickly and easily on the D3300 as on the D90. There's a button or dial that gives you direct access to the setting in question. No menu diving required. The one difference is that in full manual exposure mode (where you're setting both aperture and shutter), you have to use a single dial for both (moving the dial changes the shutter, pressing a button while you move the dial changes the aperture). Is this a fraction of a second slower? Maybe at first, but not once you've done it a couple of times. And in any case, if you're determining exposures manually, speed is obviously not a concern.
What else did I give up? A lot of unwanted weight. That's about it. I often walk around for hours taking photographs. I appreciate that the D3300 is lighter than the D90. It's still heavy enough to hold steady. That's all that matters. If a camera is heavier than it needs to be for handling purposes, it's too heavy as far as I'm concerned. Yes, if you drop a camera with a metal frame it may do better than if it has a plastic frame. But in 20 years, I have never dropped a camera. If you're in the habit of dropping cameras, maybe photography is not for you.
Thus spake Reverend Sparkly Picklepants.
155 of 171 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nikon D3300 Reviewed and Compared to the D5200,
This review is from: Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Zoom Lens (Black) (Electronics)
I have been a fan of Nikon's Entry level DSLR cameras including specifically the D3xxx and D5xxx series. All of these cameras have great image quality, are reasonably small and light with intuitive controls. Most of these Nikons improved with each new generation.
The Nikon D3300 is smaller and lighter than its predecessors, the D3200 and D3100. It is also considerably smaller and lighter than the D5200, the somewhat more advanced entry level Nikon DSLR. The biggest physical change in this kit is the new "VRii" 18-55mm lens. This new kit lens is smaller and lighter than its predecessor and 'collapses' into about 2/3 its size when not being used. Perhaps more significantly, this lens is sharper capturing more detail than the older kit lens.
The reduced size and weight of the D3300 appears to be Nikon's response to Canon's 100D/SL1. Although the SL1 and D3300 are about the same size and weight, the D3300 has a better/larger grip and is more comfortable (to me anyway) than the SL1.
Although the D3300 is the eventual replacement for the D3200, I purchased the D3300 in anticipation of replacing my D5200 assuming that this newer camera would have improved image quality over last year's models. I was actually somewhat disappointed as I preferred the image quality of the older D5200. That is not to say that the D3300 is not an excellent camera because actually it is.
My testing was limited to still indoor shooting (it is already dark outside when I come home from work). I compared the D3300 to the D5200 shooting identical scenes using 3 different lenses under various lighting conditions.
Both cameras delivered excellent high ISO results with similar ISO performance through ISO 3200 (I really do not like shooting past ISO 3200). High ISO performance on the D3300 was better than its predecessor, the D3200. On the D3300 and D5200, ISO 800 is really indistinguishable from ISO 100. ISO 1600 is also very good on both cameras with some graininess/noise creeping in. ISO 3200 is usable but there is a definite degradation in image quality.
The reason I prefer the D5200 to the D3300 is white balance & color rendition. Both cameras have difficulties under incandescent lighting when using AWB (tip: use 'sunny' instead of AWB) especially when trying to render shades of yellow, but the D5200 did a better job. I felt the general color rendition of the D5200 was more natural especially in Caucasian skin tones. It seemed like the D3300 colors needed to be manually re-adjusted for many different lighting situations. Each of these cameras benefited from shooting raw with the JPGs of each camera being a bit too warm and under-sharpened. However, the JPGs rendered by the D5200 resulted in more pleasing colors than the D3300 (to me anyway).
The D3300 (like the D3100 & D3200) does not have some features which one would expect for a camera at this price including specifically a DOF preview; a movable LCD screen; any type of bracketing (wb bracketing could really be helpful with this camera); incremental ISO settings between stops (ie ISO 2000 which could be helpful in not using a higher than needed ISO setting). Each of the D5xxx models have all of these features.
The Menu system is familiar to anyone who has owned a Nikon DSLR in recent years. The LCD setting display/selector is similar to the one used on recent Nikons including the D5200. There is no dedicated WB or ISO button (although the FN button can be programmed for one of those or some other functions). There is no touch screen which I do not really care for anyway.
Although the D5200 has a more sophisticated autofocus system (several more AF points), I found the AF system to be similar on the D3300, that is to say very quick and accurate under all conditions. The 5 Frame per second continuous shooting capability is really fast.
The built in flash on this (and almost all cameras) is not very good. Light is unevenly distributed and can be quite harsh. An external flash with bounce capabilities (ie SB-400) greatly enhances exposure and color.
I really like the kit lens. I do not know it it is available for purchase separately. It is light and compact (especially when collapsed) and optically better than prior kit lenses.
I read about a "low pass filter" being removed in order to provide greater image detail. However, I honestly did not see any difference in the detail being captured by the D3300 over the D5200 even when using my best prime lens. In fact, it appeared that the D5200 captured slightly more detail than the D3300.
In summary, the D3300 is an excellent DSLR. Shooting raw and using an external bounce flash will enhance the quality of the photographs greatly. This camera is especially attractive for those who are seeking a small and light DSLR. Those who prefer something a bit more substantial or who place image quality above all else, may wish to consider the older (and slightly cheaper) D5200. Like all cameras, the most important component is the skill and imagination of the photographer.
78 of 85 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Picture Quality of Most DSLR's Today,
This review is from: Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Zoom Lens (Black) (Electronics)
The Nikon D3300 has some of the best low light and best picture quality of mid level DSLR cameras, in the APS-C sensor size (this is not a full size sensor, but to get a full size sensor you will need to spend about $2000 or $3000 more).
Nikon D3300 is rated 30% higher in image quality compared to the Canon 70D.
The Nikon D3300 has a slightly larger sensor than the Canon 70D.
I was torn between Canon and Nikon. If you look at all the complaints about Canon in the last 1 or 2 years, you will see that they have been going backwards or sideways, while other companies are making huge strides. The Canon 70D is a smooth fast auto-focusing camera that is silent, however if you set it to auto mode and go take pictures they don't look as good as the Nikon D3300 on auto mode.
Comparing pictures side by side with the Canon 70D, the Nikon D3300 has sharper pictures. Zooming in on the photos I took with the 70D yielded a loss of detail. At the same quality settings, same aperture, and shutter speed settings, and with the exact same scene, I am able to zoom in and get better photos from the Nikon D3300, the D3300 really captures crisp photos.
The D3300 may be the only camera that doesn't have image quality problems with the 24 Megapixels. There is a megapixel war going on, although sensor sizes aren't increasing, which means the image quality isn't getting better with many cameras, because they are simply trying to cram more pixels with even less light per pixel, which doesn't help matters. However, the D3300 pulls off the impossible and gets beautiful very sharp photos every time.
The D3300 does very good video, it's glassy smooth and has tremendously good low light video performance, although the focus noise of the lens will intrude on your videos, because you can hear the little motor churning away to maintain focus. You can alternately use manual focus which works just fine for video. Or you can just push the focus button momentarily to get focus and then maintain your distance, and that will allow the lens to stop hunting for focus, which means you won't hear any noise in your video. To eliminate video focus noise you will need an external mic. The auto focus isn't super fast in video mode but it does have video auto focus mode, and if you had an external mic you could do simple documentaries or YouTube clips just fine and have very clean, very smooth video.
For video you could also consider a Sony HX-300 1080 60P, or the HX-400 which has 24P mode too. I've tried the HX-300 and it has nowhere near the low light performance of the Nikon D3300 but it does do really good video and has smooth, fast, silent auto focus, even at up to 50x zoom, which is ridiculous.
The Nikon D3300 takes noise free pictures in any lighting conditions (I haven't tried in total darkness of course). I set it to auto on a black cloudy day, just before rain, and it takes extremely clear pictures with no noise. The same pictures in sunlight were much less sharp, on the Canon 70D. The Canon 70D may be able to match the Nikon if you manually tweak things, but the Nikon doesn't take bad pictures on Auto mode, where as, the Canon 70D on Auto mode takes very average pictures.
I noticed the Canon 70D JPG pictures looked very digitized, and not natural, some were not even usable on auto mode, but the Nikon default JPG pictures look more natural. This is probably caused by better JPG compression on the Nikon? In "Raw" shooting mode I'm sure the Canon 70D has nearly equal image quality but I never did try that.
Something to note, the Nikon D3300 does not have a low pass filter on the sensor like most current DSLR's, so in theory it should shoot sharper photos more easily. The purpose of the low pass filter is to slightly blur pixels to prevent artifacts, and moire. The Nikon figured out a way around this, so it can shoot sharper without a "blur" filter. Canon people don't seem to care about anything except loyalty to one brand, so good luck explaining this to them! hehe.
This is a very small camera, I would say it feels about 50% smaller than a Canon 70D. It is very light. The buttons are all exceptional. The shutter is very loud as most DSLR cameras probably are. Taking pictures is as easy as turning it on and snapping photos. You'll get amazing results in almost any lighting with this camera.
If you want the best quality pictures, and you want to step up to a professional camera without the professional price, here is the camera you want. Image quality is within 1 point of the Nikon D7100. The entry level Canon DSLR mid-frame cameras cannot match the image quality of the newest Nikons.
Purchase an 18-200mm lens in the future to give you wide angle room shots, or scenic shots at 18mm, or to zoom in, at 200mm. The stock lens works fine, but it doesn't zoom in very far. That is something to consider in your purchase because of the price of lenses. However, this camera will last you for years, and it is a good investment.
Edit: The low light performance of the D3300 is supposed to be very good compared to older Nikon models. I can attest that this is true. In fact, I am shocked at how good the low light performance is. With the use of a tripod, you can turn down the shutter speed so it stays open for several seconds or longer. The picture I took in a non-lighted region of my house looked identical to a normally lit room with bright crisp exposure, and I was able to use ISO 100 setting, there was NO noise. Now this is something you simply cannot do with a point and shoot camera with a smaller sensor. So exciting!
I highly recommend the Nikon D3300 because it does everything very well.
65 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent entry-level DSLR,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Having used a Canon Powershot SX100 IS for the last six years, I decided it was finally time to switch over to DSLR cameras. I considered sticking with Canon at first, but I did not want a camera with an articulating LCD screen. I just cannot justify paying the extra price for video features that I will probably never use. I also thought it was unwise to invest in Canon's advanced and professional level cameras considering I do not have much experience with DSLRs. That left me with the Canon T3 and the SL1, but in the end I decided to go with the D3300.
The first thing that caught my attention with the D3300 out of the box was how light and comfortable it feels in your hands. The camera grip is very smooth and big enough to allow enough friction for a secure grip. I also like how the lens retract, allowing the camera to be more compact and take up less space in your camera bag. The camera's menus and functions are very easy to use even when not using GUIDE Mode. I will admit that I studied the manual before using the camera, but even then I found the menus more accessible and less confusing than those of my old point-and-shoot camera.
So far I have only taken pictures indoors in low-light conditions but the results have been very impressive. I turned Auto ISO sensitivity control off and set the ISO to 800 to see how the camera would handle low light situations without relying on using high ISO settings. The images looked sharp and crisp even though the camera used very slow shutter speeds without a tripod (Note: I had VR and noise reduction enabled). Granted, if your subject will require fast shutter speeds you will have to raise the ISO anyway unless you use another lens with a wider aperture. According to Snapsort the D3300 has better image quality than the Canon 70D, T5i, and SL1. I cannot confirm this myself though since I do not have any of those DSLRs to make a side-to-side comparison.
I also tested the different release modes available but did not notice a significant difference between single frame and quiet shutter release mode. Maybe it is just me, but they sound the same to me. Continuous release mode has a maximum of 5 fps and up to 100 photographs can be taken in succession. The autofocus feature is fast and very easy to use. However, I should mention that thus far I have only taken pictures using Single-servo AF with Single-point AF.
Overall I am very satisfied with my decision to go with the D3300. It is very lightweight, user-friendly, and most importantly, takes pictures with excellent image quality.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Low Cost DSLR Camera,
I bought this Nikon D3300 as a replacement for my seven year old Nikon D40X and I have not been disapointed. There have been a number of improvments in the past few years that make this new camera a better fit for some of the photos I wish to take. First this camera looks and feels and to a large measure behaves almost the same as my earlier model which still functions as well as the day I bought it, attesting to the quality probably built into this newer model (at least I hope so). But this new model also has two and a half times as many pixels for better cropping, assuming I have lenses to support this. Also this newer model is in fact lighter while having a liveview mode and the ability to take movies, something I don't really plan on using it for all that much. But I really bought the camera for its low light capabilities and it seems that it has at least 2 stops better performance over my D40x which has proven useful in my now getting non blurred shots of the grandchildren in various theater functions where the light is never really good. I've noticed also that there is less likelihood of the highlights being blown so the metering is better in the D3300. Hitting the "i" button also brings up a screen that allows one to quickly change ISO, metering mode and focusing so I am not really bothered by the need for diving into memus all that often. I've mapped the Fn button to ISO but I have AUTO ISO on so I don't use this all that often. I'm looking at alternative mappings but none of the options (WB, quality,D-lighting) seem really good especially since I shoot RAW + JPG fine and can adjust WB later if desired. The kit lens is noticeably smaller and lighter than the one it replaced in the D3200 and is collapsable. The entire package (camera plus kit lens) is still too big to fit in a normal pants or jacket pocket, however. I'm presently using a wrist grip for those times when the camera and lens don't weigh too much. This includes the kit lens and my Nikon 35mm F1.8G. I have the Nikon 18-200 mm VR lens also and this is a relatively heavy lens that makes this camera front heavy and a bit awkward to use with the wrist grip and even with the standard neck strap. For the most part, I find that my photos don't require 200 mm all that often and for 4x6" snapshots I can simulate a 35mm effective 100 mm via cropping photos taken with the 35mm f1.8 G (a factor of two crop still produces a 6 Mpixel image, remembering, of course, to up the shutter speed to match since this lens does not have VR. For light travel I also have a Nikon 55-200 mm VR lens which worked on my D40x on whale watches and other "subjects at a distance" events. Now this camera is missing some features that the more expensive "cropped sensor" cameras such as the D5300 and D7100 have. The D5300 has a fold out screen, and the other cameras allow for easier bracketing, HDR, more external flash possibilities and they may be built more ruggedly with a better viewfinder and perhaps a Depth of Field preview - although I just take the picture and see what's in focus and adjust accordingly. But with respect to image quality (pixels and ISO sensitivity) one really has to go to full frame (the Nikon D610, D800 and the Df among others) to achieve a noticeable improvement. And this requires a huge stepup in cost that one of my daughters can justify with a BS in photojournalism, but I cannot. For the rest of us, this is a light, easy to use DSLR that will take great pictures and will allow even experienced individuals to easily change any of the important factors in photography to get properly explosed, in focus shots. But then again the my daughter's Nikon Df and other full frame cameras are about 2 stops better in sensitivity at the expense of cost and weight. There are always better cameras and even my daughter says she has eyes on a better lens.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Newbie review for people who have zero experience.,
I'm a beginner and this review is from a beginner perspective. I am interested in photography as a hobby, but don't know whether or not it will be a long term hobby. With that in mind, I spent a month researching whether to buy a used DSLR or new and which model. I settled on the Nikon D3300. It has the same processor, image sensor, and kit lens as the D5300. It also has the easy panorama mode. Another enticing feature for a newbie is the guide feature. I've owned mine for close to a month, and the D3300 has been a great learning platform.
The D3300 is light. It's easy to shoot one handed. The control pictographs are easy to understand. Control placement is convenient. Auto focus is relatively fast. Battery life is good. The kit lens isn't the best, but it is a good all-round lens for learning. Nikon removed an optical low-pass filter on the D3300. A friend has a D3200, and there is a noticeable difference with the D3300 images being sharper.
The lower price point of the D3300 does come at the expense of some features found in the D5300. The D3300:
• Has fewer auto-focus points than the D5300
• Has a polymer body that is not weather sealed
• Does not have the bracketing feature for easy HDR photo composition in imaging software
• The built in flash does not have the capability to command other flashes
• Has a slower continuous burst speed
While this is not a detriment to me now, it may be in another year or two if I decide to try to get to the next level. A D5300 might have let me hold out longer. Either way, my next camera will be a Nikon D-series. I've already purchased a couple Nikkor DX lenses and a Nikon Speedlight which I can use with the next D-series Nikon I purchase.
A tip for any newbies out there, my choices came down to Nikon or Canon. Whichever one you choose, accessories will hook you into one manufacturer's ecosystem. I also highly recommend buying a Delkin SnugIt Protective skin for the D3300 instead of a traditional camera holster. The skin protects my camera yet allows me to keep it on and at the ready.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Potential Nikon Buyers,
Previously I owned Sony DSC F717 which was best in class back then and it still performs well, within its limits. So I would be making few comparisons along the way when necessary.
Let me cover the points which matters to me the most in this camera
Focus - I use spot focusing 99% of the time and its very accurate and rarely misses a shot. It can even lock on a subject with ease in challenging backgrounds.
View finder - While the focus is great, the view finder isn't the best i've seen. For most part of my shooting, I find it sufficient but on some situations its not so great.
For example, when I trying to shoot a grey & black striped dragon fly sitting on a fungus infested wall, I could see where it was with my naked eye but through the view finder it was very hard to locate it. But then I was just barely able to see it with naked eye.
Also when shooting very bright subject, when shutter is half pressed the Red focus spot lighting up is barely visible but I work around this by checking the green spot which confirms focus which is clearly visible in the view finder.
OVF vs EVF - My previous camera had EVF which is very handy in direct sun light to check for focus on the images I just shot. So I will miss it in bright sunny conditions but I think I can manage by increasing lcd screen brightness in Nikon.
Focus points - I just use the center spot metering most of the time, so I dont really care much about 11 points vs 36 points etc.
Kit Lens - The kit lens is pretty good. It can do superb macro @55mm and is sharp at that focal length. The VRll is really effective in low light conditions where the shutter speed drops below 1/30.
I bought 35/1.8, assuming it will perform significantly better than the kit lens and the difference wasn't that big as the kit lens held its own which I never expected to happen.
I tested by setting the 18-55 lens to 35mm and shot few pics of some flowers, distant objects etc. I did the same with the 35 mm/1.8 @ same aperture values and then compared them. The first thing to notice is the 18-55 gives you more in-focus shots which I believe is due to the VRll. The 35/1.8 looked ok on normal viewing but when looked at 100%, its just not so great and 18-55 won more times.
Even in low light situations, where the 1.8 aperture was supposed to perform better than the kit lens, it could not match what the VRll function could do at much slower shutter speeds.
There were photos where 35/1.8 had lesser noise in the out of focus areas but the kit lens had more in focus shots which I think matters the most.
Not to mention the chromatic aberration when wide open in high contrast scenes which is not so with the kit lens, probably due to the smaller aperture than the 35mm lens.
However when I can get higher shutter speeds (good light), the 35/1.8 gets better and with small apertures (over 5) it gets sharper than kit lens and picks up more finer details than the kit lens.
For portraits, I found 35mm @2.8 was sharp enough with pleasing results.
In low light, using a tripod gave impressive results with 35/1.8, which proved the kit lens's VR function gives it the edge in low light for hand held shots.
Also the kit lens allowed for a much closer distance with the subject than the 35/1.8
The 35/1.8 was much better than kit lens for indoor video, where it has no noticeable noise indoors while you can see some noise with the 18-55 lens. The clarity also seemed better in video with the 35/1.8.
But then I may have very few situations where I go to the extent of switching the lens for a short video clip.
Just buy with the 18-55 kit lens which makes it super light and comfortable to use. If you want to upgrade, go for 18-140mm which will give better range with very similar image quality and doesn't cost much. Get the 35/1.8 for price/performance and it can get some great shots in good light and some good ones in low light.
White Balance - This camera has the standard options for its class and the auto white balance is good enough to cover most situations. However when I did want to preset manually, I noticed it took about 10 seconds or so to get it done via the menus. The same could be done in 3to 4 seconds on my 8 year old Sony camera (DSC F717) as it has a direct button to set white balance manually. I just have to find anything that's white and big enough to cover most of the frame and press that button and its set for that light. But with Nikon the same process takes much longer which discourages me to use that option often. However the auto white balance on Nikon is far superior to the old Sony I have.
Strangely the auto mode on Nikon seems to be more accurate than the manual setting in it.
ISO performance - For viewing pictures at normal size, even ISO 6400 is easily usable. But if you are going to crop at 100%, then better to stay around 800 and less. Overall I'm impressed with the ISO performance. Combined with the VRll of the kit lens, it covers you for most situations except long range.
Shutter Lag - For moving subjects it was a bit of hit or miss as I found tracking birds, sqirrils etc (at close range) in moderate light was hard. Every time I locked focus and clicked on, only some shots were in focus, the rest were like the subject is blurred or the nearest background was in focus. I found this odd to happen when using spot focusing. As for the shutter lag, I did find the subjects were little off the center off the frame in the picture. So I may need to lock focus and guess ahead on where the subject is going to move and click. I may need more time to find the best way to do this on this camera. However when there was ample light, the focusing was as fast as I need it to be to get birds in flight.
Direct controls - After reading tons of reviews, I was worried I may be taking too much risk on the direct controls not being available. That was not the case for my shooting style. I shoot Aperture mode, manual mode or no-flash mode 90% of the time, so I need shutter speed, aperture and ISO control to be adjusted fast and this camera allows me to do just that. However for exposure setting,
I have to press the "i" and adjust it in the shooting menu which may be more easily accessible in expensive models. But I seldom use the exposure compensation as adjusting shutter and aperture gives me the exposure I need. The 'Fn' button can be reassigned and its assigned for ISO function by default which I use the most when in Aperture or Manual mode.
Video: Good video clarity which maxes at 50fps@1080p but it picks up the lens sound. So adding a external mic will solve that. I use an old mic which came with the Home theater receiver for room calibration which works in mono mode but does the job.
Memory cards - I have tried using three of them so far (Sandisk extreme pro, Sandisk extreme plus, Lexar Platinum ll SDHC Class 10). For normal uses all of them seemed to do their job but when I shot continuous shots with RAW+Jpeg output, I could notice lag with the Lexar by 3 to 4 seconds but barely noticeable with the Sandisk cards.
Battery - Lasted more than 3 days in one charge for moderate use everyday (1-2 hrs with heavy LCD use for reviewing every picture shot). But the indicator icon is not accurate in showing the exact status. When it showed around 25% (approx) remaining, I just switched to live view to do a video clip and comes the message to charge battery and it wont let me shoot anything. The battery was still showing around 25% available.
RAW vs JPEG - Raw converted using view NX2 has slightly better quality than the JEPG fine.
In camera Raw conversion - This is just a gimmick. It does not offer any better quality than the JPEG fine setting output. Use View NX2 for better result which comes free with the camera. There are lot more applications out there which specialize in photo editing but I have not spent my time on those yet (except photoshop)
View NX2 - This is bundled with the camera and does RAW conversion and some basic editing. This suits my need just fine and doesnt need a very powerful computer to run. I'm using it on my 6 year old computer.
Image quality - The default settings on the camera suits my needs just fine. Dynamic range is impressive for a camera in its class. Surely its better than canon rebel series.
I set the picture type to Neutral which seems to have more accurate colors.
Compared to Canon - Canon may have better video and cheaper lenses but when its comes to ultimate IQ and dynamic range, Nikon wins (in respective category). I have used Canon EOS 550D, 1100d and briefly the 70D (which is another class)
Compared to Pentax - Pentax may offer penta prism view finder and more direct controls but it increases the weight of the camera. Also the lens collection sucks in India for Pentax. So I went with Nikon and no regrets so far.
Compared to other mirrorless cameras - They may do better video but when it comes to lens collection to choose from, overall cost etc. Nikon seemed to be a better choice.
My choice was largely influenced by the sensor performance plus the lens range in offering.
One more thing I do miss big time compared to mirrorless is the live rendering of the actual output before we shoot. This makes is so easy to adjust the exposure and to adjust all I need to do it point the focus point into a darker area in the scene to over expose and if I focus on a brighter area it will underexpose to compensate. All this is done in few seconds without messing around with buttons.
Live view shooting is too slow, so I dont bother with it.
3300 does hunt in very low light for focus. For example, I tried to shoot an owl that was about 10 meters away (which ive never seen around my home until then) in moon light and the camera just would not focus. I'm sure this could be the case with many SLRs. So which other camera is capable of getting a focus on this situation ?
My 8 year old Sony which fires a laser pattern when shutter is half pressed, that allows the camera to get enough contrast to lock focus and then fires the flash to get the right exposure on the shot.
With the nikon, I had to use manual focusing which took few trial and error. But this is a very rare situation to be in.
Some mirrorless options may offer much better shooting experience with wifi, touch screen etc which may be more important for some but for me the end output matters the most, which Nikon delivers in spades.
Updates as of 7 July 2014
The flash Performance is quite uneven. Some shots casts a slight shadow around 1/3 of the area covered in the frame (tested on a indoor b'day party). I believe one of the other reviewers mentioned this too.
The kit lens sometimes struggles to hit the correct focus in very bright and direct sunlight @55mm. I tried some macro shots more than once in such conditions and almost all shots had the subject a bit too soft for my liking. I will continue to try this and update my findings.
Overall, I continue to find the VR on the kit lens to be very effective when compared to the non VR 35/1.8 lens. This allows me to get more successful shots when lighting isnt very optimal.
Using the lenses in their effective range will yield excellent results. For example, the 35/1.8 is super sharp above f4.5. It also has better contrast compared to the kit lens.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smaller and a good camera,
I am new to the SLR world. I was looking for a camera that would be a big upgrade from my point and shoot but not be too complicated. I also did not want to lug a huge camera around. I have a little child and having a large camera and lens is just not practical. This camera is GREAT! Is it a great starter camera for someone like me but will allow me to grow in my photography. The new VR II is smaller than other 55mm lenses but with the same quality. I can fit the camera and camera back on top of my large purse, it does not require a huge case. I took some photos of my black cats to share with everyone - I took the pictures on Auto with and without the flash. Very easy to use in auto but will allow me to grow in my camera usage and knowledge.
31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nikon D3300 - Decent Camera, Bad Kit Lenses,
This is my second-ever DSLR purchase, a first for the Nikon brand. I'm pretty much Nikon's target customer -- entry level with just enough interest in photography to spring for a DSLR. What sold me on this camera, beyond any reviews I read attesting to its merits, was a store display. The newly designed compact Nikkor VR II lenses make the overall camera + basic 18-55mm kit lens lighter and less bulky than the smallest counterpart from Canon. Compact and easier to carry means I am inclined to use my Nikon D3300 more often, whereas my former DSLR felt like lugging around a rock.
In a nutshell, this camera captures pleasantly sharp images outdoors but relatively soft high ISO images indoors under average light. Menus are easy to figure out with or without reading the manual, although I did find it odd in that it is necessary to hold down the "i" button to navigate on-screen menus. It would be nice if the scroll wheel could assist in menu access (it doesn't).
My first use of the camera produced outstanding battery performance, some 650 pictures (using the viewfinder, not the "live view"). Subsequent charges, however, haven't held up. In spending more time familiarizing myself with the menus and functions, the battery drain occurs that much faster -- only about 200 shots were captured before I had to charge the battery a second time. There is no GPS or WIFI functionality included with this camera, which suits me because those features can also drain the battery faster.
There are a slew of in-camera image retouching options, ranging from red-eye reduction to alterations in perspective. Personally, I don't care for making image quality adjustments on a small LCD screen -- I prefer Photoshop for that -- but the Retouch options could be handy in a pinch.
As a first-time Nikon DSLR owner, my experience customizing menu options runs counterintuitive to what I might otherwise expect. Too many parameters are grayed out in the menu except in the PSAM modes. And yet even in a mode that allows the user to set his/her preference, it's not always clear whether or not the defaults are overridden. Take ISO. If I set the ISO to 400, picture info nonetheless indicates ISO 3200 (in red lettering). On other cameras, picture review info indicates what is actually captured (rightly or wrongly), not what the camera thought should have been captured. Here's another example: First time out with the camera at an event, unfamiliar with how the AF would perform and unwilling to take chances, I moved through several modes to select Single Point as the AF prior to my arrival. Upon scrolling the dial to a position I previously set, I found the AF selection reset to factory defaults.
Color capture defaults to a setting that is too contrasty for my liking, particularly outdoors under full sun. The good news? Dynamic range is impressive. I found very little evidence of highlight clipping, even under harsh sunlight. The bad news? When the initial batch of pictures I shot were viewed at home, "off camera" as it were, skin tones took on a yellow/red (orange) cast under full sun and a cyan/magenta (purple) cast under shadow (images shot with Auto WB, viewed on color calibrated display). On another day, portrait photos taken outdoors under similar conditions produced decidedly different results -- images under full sun took on a notably cooler tone, characterized by a bluish haze (after that I purchased UV filters for the kit lenses in hopes of obtaining more accurate color). Whatever the cause may be, one downside is that in the scene/auto modes you can't change the default color capture settings. The upshot? I found it necessary to gamma correct images in Photoshop more so than I typically find necessary with JPEG output from other cameras. In contrast -- no pun intended -- Program, Shutter, Aperture and Manual modes allow for the menu selection of Standard, Neutral, Vivid and Monochrome, among other JPEG color choices. I wish Nikon would allow for more menu access throughout the range but in general most manufacturers have an annoying habit of limiting what settings will give you access to additional options and what modes will not. (My biggest gripe is that some modes appear to omit a force-on option for flash, restricting quick access to fill flash.)
I haven't tested out the video function yet and I don't own other Nikkor lenses for comparison's sake, so I'll speak to the kit lens performance next. Nikkor kit lenses for the D3300 include an 18-55MM and a 55-200MM telephoto featuring the latest collapsable, space-saving design. Right off the bat I had to change out the zoom lens because it had multiple specs of dust inside the lens, some of them not particularly small or insignificant. (I thought they assembled these things in clean rooms, but I could be wrong.) Dust, however, was not the worst of it.
A major fault with the 18-55mm kit lens pertains to geometric performance. Images are sharp but architectural elements are skewed to the point of bordering on comical. Even casual indoor shots are marred by a near fun-house effect induced by the geometrically challenged lens (in spite of "Distortion Control" set to "On" in the camera menu). From what I understand, lens distortion is something you can fix in post processing but with over 600 pictures in my first event -- all of which were taken against architectural backdrops -- straightening images after the fact has consumed far too much time. If you buy this camera, my advice is to completely replace the lenses, particularly if you intend to do a lot of urban/architectural shooting. Unfortunately, if replacing the kit lenses isn't in budget -- or you don't already have a collection of lenses from prior Nikon DSLR purchases -- this may very well be THE deal breaker.
On my second trip out with this camera I shot some landscapes with excellent results. But when I paused to grab my D3300 to shoot a historic building at a street fair that same day, I thought twice and put my D3300 away, wary of how distorted the geometric elements of the scene would appear. Sure, I could replace the kit lens. But given that I own two of them, it's disappointing. In short, the reason I can only rate the Nikon D3300 camera "ok" has to do with two things: 1) unpredictable color/WB accuracy 2) inadequate compensation for lens-related geometric errors. Nikon either needs to improve on the VR II lens engineering or improve upon the in-camera processing (via firmware). If not, I cannot recommend the Nikon D3300 as it is typically sold -- to entry-level buyers in kit form.
JULY 2014 UPDATE
If you've made it this far in my review you know that my chief complaint pertains to lens distortion. Images depicting architectural elements were a severe disappointment, prompting me to seek out help on photo forums and even send sample images to a tech magazine editor who had written a review on this model. The general consensus was that at wide angle DSLR lenses tend to distort; it's pretty much a fact of life with DSLR photography. (Notably, however, this isn't my first DSLR purchase, and I had no such complaint with respect to my previous camera make.) In spite of the reassurances, I had a sense that the distortion I was seeing was beyond the pale, even for wide angle, so I decided to do some tests. Using the 18-55mm kit lens and a scene from my backyard, I shot a covered patio with a large, multi-paned window as a backdrop, with supporting beams as the foreground in the subject. Experts had cautioned that at 18mm -- wide angle on this lens -- distortion may occur if the camera and the subject matter are essentially on top of one another and/or the subject is shot from an odd angle (as opposed to dead-on/level). Optical distortion is reproducible at wide-angle focal lengths but the question was whether or not I could get the issue to resolve by zooming in a bit. On my kit lens, the magic focal length turned out to be 24mm. That left the range between 18-22mm relatively unusable, even for indoor photography.
I'm no pro, but 24mm seemed a bit excessive of a zoom to tamp down on the "geometric distortion" I had observed previously. So I went with my gut and exchanged the camera. (Incidentally, I had a secondary reason for changing out my camera. A series of photos I took on the timer setting using a tripod were partially dated a week ahead, only to return within the same series of photos to the correct date. I'm not sure if this is a firmware bug Nikon needs to fix vs. evidence that my camera was faulty to begin with.) After charging up the battery on my replacement camera, I re-staged the same test subject and duplicated the shots through the 18-24mm range. And this time? No more "fun house" effect. Were images distortion-free at 18mm? No. The experts are right to a point: You will see some barrel distortion at wide angle. But on my replacement Nikon D3300 with 18-55mm kit lens only the horizontal line of the patio roof, which ran very close to the upper edge of the frame, exhibited notable barrel distortion. The chief difference between the two cameras at the same focal lengths appeared to be improved accuracy of vertical lines within a picture. On the replacement camera, the window frame/panes did not suffer overt pincushion distortion and the columns supporting the patio did not appear to be tilted in/out. Consequently, the image quality at 18mm on the new camera is comparable to what I was seeing only as I approached 24mm on the old.
In the past month, I have put my replacement Nikon D3300 through its paces, and I find that JPEG colors are rendered truer, too. I have yet to see a pronounced orange cast on fair-skinned people in bright sun or a prominent purple tone on fair-skinned people who happen to be standing in shadow. This suggests that the auto white balance functions are performing better, too, which was an entirely unexpected improvement.
Some who posted comments in response to my original review questioned whether the lens and/or camera might be defective. I think those readers were on to something the "experts" led me to second guess. Was the first camera a complete dud? No. It powered on. It took photos. And it took sharp photos, too. But my experience suggests that even within the same product or model variations in assembly or manufacturing can make for a "no two are exactly alike" experience. Whereas I could not, in good conscience, recommend the camera I originally purchased, I can recommend the D3300 I own now.
In conclusion, I am still frustrated that Nikon restores many of the user-configurable settings to defaults just as soon as I switch to another scene mode -- prompting me to to reset auto-focus preferences, among other things, between shots -- but I'm no longer experiencing the severity of lens distortion I did on the first unit. Lesson learned? When in doubt, go with your gut!
34 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Love This Camera!,
Here is a good (but slightly expensive) digital SLR camera with one of the highest mega-pixel available today (February) in the market for the semi-professional hobbyist. By semi-professional hobbyist I mean those for whom photography is not their means of income, but who share their pictures in professional fora as a hobby.
*** The WU-1a wireless mobile adapter gives you control of the camera shutter from a smartphone or a tablet, and lets you share your photos to friends and family via your mobile device
*** To match the camera's extreme portability, the ISO range has been extended (100 -12800), so whether shooting at home or trekking through a mountain, you will always capture exceptional images with superb noise-suppression
*** 7.5 centimeters (3-inch), approx. 921k-dot (VGA) TFT LCD
*** 5 frames per second (fps) shooting speed
Other import plus points for me are:
*** Reduced weight compared to its predessesors D3100 and D3200
*** A smaller lens with lesser weight, but with increased clarity
The pictures, as is expected from Nikon DSLRs, are exceptional clear.
If clarity is your concern, here is the camera for you. However, if zoom/magnification is your primary concern, you will have to buy additional zoom lenses because the standard lens (18-55mm) gives you a maximum of 4x equivalent optical zoom. Zoom lenses can be expensive and you should be ready to spend at least half of what you pay for the camera for your first zoom lens, with progressively more for longer focal lengths (= greater zoom values).
Overall this is a good, though a bit expensive, machine from the the D series of Nikon DSLRs
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Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Zoom Lens (Grey) by Nikon