Customer Review

130 of 161 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5100 VS 3200: Good Job Nikon! (ACR7.1 & LR 4.1 support RAW), May 3, 2012
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This review is from: Nikon D3200 24.2 MP CMOS Digital SLR with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR NIKKOR Zoom Lens (Black) (Electronics)
*** Update 6/12/2012 ***
After analyzing the result more, I found that, for this kind of camera, my Sharp lens at the sharpest aperture is required to get real amazing sharp picture to the pixel. My Tamron 17-50 VC F2.8 at F5.6 is required for edge to edge sharpness.
Also, Tokina 11-16 F.8 (which is manual focus with this camera), becomes more critical. Using the range finder mode is a must to get a tack sharp picture. That's new to me. But I am glad I learn the lesson. And now I am more happy with this camera (and lenses)...

*** Update 05/31/2012***
Update lightroom 4.1 today, now support NEF. And as expected despite the high resolution (24mp) cmos chips, the noise quality of D3200 is comparable with D5200.
Meaning that D3200 has advantage of having more real estate (meaning more room for cropping),hence still have the same IQ with D3200. And thanks to Expeed 3 (which is the processor they use in D800 and D4 and D3200), D3200 is a very responsive camera. Bravo Nikon!

************************

Just received this Camera today, and this is my preliminary Review (will update progresively).
Background: I have upgraded my Nikon Digital D100->D200->D90->D5100->D3200.
Okay, seemed I downgrade every single time, but actually not. (I also use D300, D3X, but those are different class of equipment). This path, is more for daily activity platform (lightweight).
D90 -> D5100: I actually considered to buy D7000, but chose D5100 simply because the price, and the articulated LCD because I use it 50% for Video. I am glad I did! D5100 image quality is SUPERB and on par with D7000. D5100 is lot FASTER than D3000 & D3100, but a little bit slower than D7000. From D90 to D5100, it has lots of improvement in image quality, low noise in low light, much better video (with 20 minutes max per session). The only drawback I can see, is the battery coverage is not long enough (on Video mode), but it is understandable, and the solution is add another spare.

D5100 -> D3200:
Other than the obvious layout design difference, the only thing I eager to know is the Low Light Noise!
So I am glad to report that IT IS COMPARABLE!

See my attached photo (The Costco Connection image) and judge yourself (both image are taken with the same setting at ISO 6400)

So, 3200 is a clear winner!

*** Update ***
I upload an image taken at ISO 12800 (Hi1). For me the image is very usable.
Will update the review in a couple of days, once I get the whole importance difference between 5100 & 3200 ...

*** Update After 200 shots ***
1. My copy of 3200 has slightly over exposure consistently (but not much, probably 1/3 ev, but I actually like slightly under exposed)
2. I noticed a slight improvement of Dynamic range. I take a shoot at an overcast day, but surprise how it can capture the clouds, the trees and shadows
3. An improvement in response. It is slightly faster than 5100, but not in the same level as D7000.
4. Smoother Mirror, and quieter. It is noticable (but not sure if this is consistent between model, or just batch/production variance).

*** Update in Video ***
The Video is also amazing. It is comparable to D5100, especially the color rendetion is great!
The low light performance is on par with D5100.
The addition of 720p 60fps, and the Manual Audio Level control + Stereo Audio Meter is a real plus for Video Maker, making this DSLR a good choice for Serious Video taker. I wish it has a headphone Jack, but probably too much to ask for considering the price level. The focus tracking in Video mode is also improved, not substantially but good enough to be considered. I did 4 songs video clip and really satisfied with the result. Both the end result and the operational experience are great. I use the 720p 60fps mode for this project, and really like the result.
I noticed slightly longer battery time, but not sure whether this is consistent or only slight production/batch variance. (*** Update: I finally found that It is a batch variance, because the other battery I have give me noticable longer running time ***).

The additional Audio Meter view (press Info several time in the live view mode), is a really good addition for me, especially while attaching external Mic for Video mode (see my image). Also the option to set the Audio Level (Mic Input) is very useful. I took 10 Video clips already, and use the Mic Input to capture the Audio from A Mixer. The audio quality is SUPERB!

For all the test, I didnt use the kit lens, but use Tamron 17-50 F2.8 VC.
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Comments

Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 3, 2012 11:50:13 AM PDT
A. Tatarsky says:
I'm looking forward to your update on 5100 vs 3200. If low-light noise is comparable, why would you consider 3200 a winner (& an "upgrade") over the 5100. Given that they're the same price (now) and the 5100 is feature-richer why would this be an improvement for you? I recently bought a 5100 but am wondering whether in fact the 3200 is worth returning it for. So far I haven't read anything that says I made the wrong choice, though I'm not crazy about the articulating screen.

Posted on May 3, 2012 12:01:33 PM PDT
Mohammad says:
Tatarsky is asking a nice question: considering also the difference in resolution, which of d5100 vs d3200 is better ?

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2012 1:24:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 3, 2012 1:36:26 PM PDT
J Sual says:
1. 24 mp, meaning have more real estate for cropping (normally more mp means more noise)
2. Wifi option (I ordered already), unbelievable feature that I really need (with iphone IOS), now I am using the traditional RF transmitter, but lack of Video Preview!
3. I dont see any feature that 5100 have that 3200 dont have (that important to me). Yes, it has 14 bit raw compared with 12bit, but I cant really see the difference. I always work in RAW with LR 4 though.
Don't you agree that, considering they are almost the same price and same quality, it is an advantage?

And I also noticed 3200 response slightly faster than 5100. I believe thats due to the newer expeed 3. The mirror also smoother (and quieter), than my 5100 (Not as good as D7000 but still can be noticed). Also the Auto Focus is faster. I dont know if this is only due to different batch/production quality or this is consistent within the model due to the new processor.

ps.
I can feel the different immediately because I was using D5100 actively for one month and took about 4000 pictures already.

Posted on May 3, 2012 2:00:09 PM PDT
Rick/Elise says:
thanks for the quick review post. I am also interested in this camera and what the noise comparisons are. There are some test samples on dpreview.com that show some noisy results, and many folks suspect 24mp is the reason (being too packed). However there were many comments questioning the lab setup, and and whether it was consistent and accurate.

Like you I have the D90, and have been itching to get something better for video. I mainly take pictures for fun, and have a 3 yr old and 1 yr old. Can't decide between the D5100 or this D3200. One of the pluses for an articulating screen is I can put it down low (need to get low for good angle shots of the kiddies), and use the live view without bending down - have you found this useful?

One of the negative comments about nikon dslr video is that the autoexposure changes too harshly, and that Canon is better. I would be interested to see if there was any progress here, and perhaps the new *60* fps 720p mode helps. Please post when you gather more info. Thanks again!

In reply to an earlier post on May 3, 2012 3:14:18 PM PDT
J Sual says:
I dont test the D3200 for Video yet. But I was satisfied with D5100 which for me much much better than D90. The autoexposure change on D5100 is also improved. Only the autofocus is still unusable. I used the articulating screen a lot. But at he same time worried that I will break it accidentally (Due to flip it in the wrong direction or something).

Posted on May 4, 2012 10:27:26 PM PDT
Could you please add some pictures...which shows the dynamic range and with what lens...esp low light photos
Still the D3200 lacks bracketing ...i agree that the articulating screen has disadvantages ..to me it moves many button to hard to reach places...I like the buttons on my D 3100...
Do you feel the performance of D 3200 is similar to t3i...as with my kids sometimes the autofocus lags for me to miss the shot

Posted on May 5, 2012 12:57:09 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 5, 2012 12:57:53 AM PDT
thebeath says:
i do not see any image attached. However, should i consider this over the d5100 and sony slts in the same range based only on the image quality? i am a beginner so unless i am used to a swivel lcd i do not need it.. thanks

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2012 3:01:51 AM PDT
J Sual says:
I posted an image showing the higher dynamic range. It is JPG untouch. I still could not open NEF (raw) either with LR or PS. Still waiting for the new Adobe Raw plugin. Normally NEF will give better dynamic range. I never use auto braketing, because it is easily achieved using LR. I dont have t3i so cant compare. The lens I used is Tamron 17-50 F2.8 VC

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2012 3:04:40 AM PDT
J Sual says:
For me, yes! I will take this over D5100. Only for 2 reason, 24mp (more real estate for cropping), WIFI attachment. I can not comment on Sony, but for me Sony is still behind those two (Nikon & canon)

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2012 12:25:47 PM PDT
great pictures, but people has to understand these with a good fast lens with f2.8...the kit lens is not going to match...I read many reviews of d800 and d3200 recommending high quality glass to match the high resolution
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J Sual
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Location: Los Angeles, CA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 107,219