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Customer Review

350 of 367 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Picture Quality of Most DSLR's Today, March 17, 2014
This review is from: Nikon D3300 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with Auto Focus-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.
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Tracked by 3 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 21, 2014 2:09:16 PM PDT
I can't believe it when I read your review. I do the same thing; I own a Sony DSC-HX100V digital camera, (older model but basically the same thing as the 400v) which I use for video capture because it excels at that and use my Nikon D3200 for picture taking. Your review was spot on. I owned the Sony first but was not satisfied with the picture quality so I purchased the Nikon thinking I would sell my Sony but I couldn't give it up when it came to video recording. I use it like a camcorder.

Posted on Apr 27, 2014 7:41:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 27, 2014 7:47:28 PM PDT
NewsView says:
What has been your experience with the kit lenses in terms of geometry? I notice the photos are super sharp under good light but but the 18-55mm kit lens really does a number on architectural elements in a picture, be they indoors or out. The problem with skewed/exaggerated perspective is pervasive, and it's not just apparent at wide angle (although that's where it is most pronounced). My first trip out with the camera consisted of a backdrop with a lot of windows, columns, steps, railings, balconies and other elements that challenged the geometric performance of the kit lens --- an epic fail, unfortunately. I found one website review with the same complaint but other than that the professional camera review websites seemed to have missed the fact that the VR II lens is not just modestly inclined toward barrel distortion but hugely prone to geometric distortion in real-world settings --- and that's even with the benefit of the in-camera distortion control enabled. I'm hoping Nikon can release a firmware update to better manage in-camera distortion control. Otherwise it's a ~+22 in Lightroom to correct for the lens distortion. That's just unacceptable, and I'm hoping against hope my experience isn't representative. I mean I've heard that kit lenses are never top-of-the-line but this is so bad it first occurred to me that perhaps the camera was not on the level when I took the shot. But that ended up being ~500 pictures in my first batch, far too many to attribute to "user error".

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 30, 2014 6:33:57 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2014 6:34:18 AM PDT
There is a simple answer here. On all lenses, especially the non-kit lenses that have a wider zoom range, like a 55-200, you cannot use the low end or the high end of the zoom without getting distortion. The way to fix distortion is to not zoom all the way out. If you zoom in slightly, it will instantly fix the distorted aspect ratio, because generally all adjustable zoom lenses have some distortion at their "wide open" zoom setting. There is a distortion option on the camera in the menu too, it is called "Lens Distortion Correction" or something to that effect, and what it does is adjust the software to automatically fix the native distortion of the lens you have matched up to the camera.

One way to get absolutely accurate building shapes is to get a fixed lens, like a 35mm. Using a wide angle like a 20mm, or 18mm or 16mm, you will get distortion because these lenses actually reverse zoom, so they are zooming in reverse (one way to think of it.)

Posted on Aug 18, 2014 9:05:55 PM PDT
Do you find diffraction limiting on this lens since it kicks in at f5.6 due to the 24mp sensor. You said you came from a more useful D90 which does not have the issue until f9.5?

Posted on Jan 11, 2015 9:00:08 PM PST
Chippy says:
Thank you so much for the great review, Mr. Charles Seiler!
Greatly appreciate it. I am an amateur but seriously reading about and thinking of getting this camera.

Your highlighted that it is QUIET and good with LOW LIGHT or any type of lighting. This is very important for me, as I volunteer to take many photos at classical orchestra concerts in dark halls, but there can not be any noise! What about the quality without flash (which is not allowed) in catching still photos w/o blur of musicians who move very quickly in the dark concert halls?

Thanks so much in advance, and happy pics to you!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2015 8:08:25 AM PST
Mina Carson says:
Hi Chippy:
I'm butting in here because I too take a LOT of photos in venues that need to be dead quiet: church, concerts, Kirtan/yoga sessions, classrooms, plays. I use a micro 4/3 system for those assignments. With a Panasonic GX7 (or, I hear, an Olympus OM series camera) you can put the shutter onto silent mode and the already quiet shutter click disappears entirely. I don't think there is a DSLR that will do that. So no longer do I use a DSLR in those unforgiving places, with angry audience members, even when the band has requested the photos. It's been really worth it to go to the electronic shutter for this purpose. (Also, it's possible when reading these reviews to read "noise" as meaning auditory stimuli when in fact the writer means those ugly little artifacts on the photos!)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 4, 2015 10:02:49 PM PST
Chippy says:
Hello Mina,
I much appreciate your helpful reply. Since I first posted, I had gone to Best Buy a couple of weeks when they had this exact model on sale: Nikon 3300. I waited for help, and they finally paired me up with a pro guy. The first thing he said in answer to my question about having SILENT (volume off) and NO FLASH for classical concerts, he immediately said, "None of these DSLR cameras" and noted that all are loud, volume can't be turned down, click distractingly, and not for formal concerts.

What a let down that was for me! I have had CASIO Exilim cameras over the last decade and have loved them; they can be completely silent and flash turned off, but for orchestra concerts, they can never do a full shot even pre concert posed with clear faces, and during concert, most often blurred like crazy and not high enough level. Only clear ones I can get are the quick multiple shots per second, but they are lower resolution. And on top of that, I was so disappointed that all CASIO cameras were discontinued from selling in the USA. I still have one that works, Exilim H5, but want to get a higher level one for clear shots for events like we talked about.

Are the Panasonic GX7 (or, I hear, an Olympus OM series camera) models higher level than the CASIO Exilim ones in case I can purchase from Japan or international sellers, but upgraded? I must admit I do love how they can do ONLY audio recording too.

Thanks again; very much appreciate. This seems like a bit topic that should move to a FAQ or forum matter. How do all the pro photos come out so sharp and even poster size from classical concerts or theater plays, churches?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2015 11:35:55 PM PDT
Get the 35mm 1.8G lens!

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2015 6:04:29 PM PDT
LoveMy3Boys says:
omg!!! i just bought this d3300 today on amazon with the 50mm and 200mm vr2 lenses to replace my beloved sony hx100v! i LOVE my hx100v but its time to get a new one... and ive always wanted a dslr. i have 3 little kids and want to capture the best pics and video! so do you not recommend the video on this nikon??
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