Nikon D3300 Review

Nikon D3300 Review

The Nikon D3200 caused a sensation as a beginner SLR with the highest megapixel count to date of 24. Despite the high resolution she revealed some weaknesses her successor D3300 is supposed to clean up now. The resolution was retained, but the low pass filter was omitted. This promises better, sharper images, to which the new Expeed 4 processor should also contribute its part. Nikon has also worked on the lens and is sending the AF-S Nikkor 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 DX VR G II, an even more compact set lens, into the race. Whether all this helps to make the D3300 a beginner SLR, which can also convince in terms of image quality, is clarified by the editorial test.

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Potent battery with capacity for about 700 recordings (without Live-View)
  • Use of the new 24-megapixel sensor without low-pass filter improves imaging performance
  • Super compact camera with small dimensions and low weight
  • Easy-to-understand operation and guide mode to help beginners with the right camera settings

Cons

  • The colour fidelity leaves much to be desired
  • Strong barrel distortion of the set lens in the wide-angle range
  • Autofocus doesn’t get into gear in LiveView and also hinders video filming
  • No bracketing possible.

In the new entry-level DSLR D3300, Nikon wants to combine simple operation with high image quality. Even in the smallest DSLR, a 24 megapixel CMOS sensor without a low-pass filter is used, which speaks for an even higher usable resolution. A special guide mode takes newcomers by the hand and guides them step-by-step to the correct settings for each subject. The DSLR is very handy, and the new, more compact set lens plays its part.

The innovations of the D3300 compared to the almost two-year-old predecessor model D3200 are not only cosmetic in nature. The new 24 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor (DX format) has nominally the same number of pixels as the D3200, but the new sensor does not need a low-pass filter, which in practice means sharper photos and about ten percent higher resolution. The faster image processor Expeed 4 also contributes to the higher image quality. The maximum sensitivity is now ISO 12,800 and can be extended to ISO 25,600. The continuous shooting rate reaches five frames per second, and the eleven-point autofocus should always be able to focus reliably on the subject. The exposure meter, which uses a 420-pixel RGB sensor, provides reliable exposure metering and autofocus support for subject tracking.

The D3300 has not only one automatic and six scene modes, but can also be controlled semi-automatically or completely manually by the advanced user, including optional storage in raw format. The 13 filter effects also invite you to experiment. Thanks to Live View on the 920,000 pixel fine 7.5cm screen, the effects can be viewed even before recording. In the Live View, the photographer even has a panorama function at his disposal. The Nikon records videos at full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) with fast 60 frames per second, fast enough to capture fast movements or for subsequent slow motion effects. For film recording, Nikon has not only thought of the integrated stereo microphone, but also of an external microphone connection, for example for the Nikon ME-1.

As a special feature, the Nikon D3300 offers a guide mode. This explains the correct camera settings for the respective subject to the user step by step. In this way, the photographer not only gets to know the camera, but also the influence of the settings on photography – completely without studying the manual. The Guide mode also explains how to display, edit and delete images. Optionally, the D3300 can be retrofitted with the inexpensive WU-1a wireless adapter with WLAN. This can be used to connect to a smartphone or tablet (iOS or Android, each with its own app) to remotely control the camera or transfer images and publish them on the Internet.

The Nikon D3300 is extremely compact and lightweight, weighing only 460 grams including battery and memory card. The new, significantly slimmer set lens AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR II contributes significantly to the compactness.

 

 

 

Ergonomics and workmanship

The very first contact with the D3300 reveals one of its greatest advantages. With only 615 grams including battery, memory card and set lens AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II, gravity misses its usual downward pull. Much of the manageability and weight saving is due to the very compact lens, which is consistently made of plastic. The workmanship looks solid, but is not comparable with a high-quality professional lens. The locking knob with pull-in mechanism for the lens barrel proves to be very practical because it is so beautifully large. Many lenses have locks that break the fingernails when actuated. The autofocus/manual focus switches and image stabilizer switches fall more into this category. The case of the D3300 is, of course, also a “plastic bomber”, but looks well processed. The battery door could close a little tighter and the plastic threads housing the remote release, microphone and connectivity doors seem a little windy. But the handle is very solid and handy. Especially the bulge under the trigger makes it really comfortable for the supporting ring finger and the thumb can easily reach the dial at the back.

Nikon has made the support for the thumb on the back bigger than on the D3200. Nikon has attached the stainless steel tripod thread to the optical axis in a very exemplary way. The battery door can be opened when the camera is mounted on a tripod. If one does not use the LiveView mode, the power dispenser can withstand up to 700 recordings (according to CIPA).

Since the D3300 is explicitly designed for beginners, Nikon has also tailored the operation exactly to this target group. The busy mode dial provides access to all important scene modes, effects games, intelligent automatic, program automatic, time and aperture preselection and manual control. A so-called guide program provides information on the four topics of photography, displaying/deleting, image processing and system. By pressing the question mark you get the necessary theoretical explanations and the camera is automatically adjusted to the desired topic. But even if you don’t need this support, the D3300 will get you there quickly. The buttons are relatively self-explanatory and with the i-button you can reach all settings relevant parameters like ISO, exposure correction, image size etc. without having to go to the main menu. What could give the operation even more spurs would be a second setting wheel or – especially with regard to SLR beginners – a touch screen. You are already tempted to tap the four large icons on the screen in Guide mode. The display has a resolution of 921,000 pixels, which is quite good, as was the case with the D3200, and offers a high level of detail. The size of three inches in the diagonal is sufficient, but could offer a bit more especially in the LiveView.

Equipment

When it comes to the equipment of the D3300, Nikon takes tried and tested paths and retains the concept of the D3200. The D3300 is designed for newcomers to the world of SLRs. The best example of this is the already mentioned guide mode. Of course, the intelligent automatic and the motif programs are also part of the game. The latter all fit on Nikon’s mode dial – there is no more than the six most necessary ones like portrait, sport, landscape or macro. But the selector wheel with the Effects option has grown. Now you can directly select the way you want to distort your image during the recording. You still have to do without HDR shots and exposure series. A positive feature is the swivel panorama, which can be executed in all directions and is also available as a wide panorama. The image processing options in the camera are also exemplary. What you sometimes can’t do when recording can often be achieved here. In addition to the usual manual settings, experienced photographers will find plenty of options for fine adjustment, even though the very large mirror reflex equipment such as a dipping button is still missing.

For continuous shooting, the D3300 has increased by one frame per second thanks to the new processor. The camera can almost fulfil this requirement and it is very pleasing that there are hardly any pauses for reflection and that the given 100 pictures are taken in almost 22 seconds. This results in an average of 4.6 frames per second – a decent performance. However, the buffer memory is then at its limit and stores a good minute until it has all the recordings on the memory card. Even in raw format you can take 100 pictures in a row, but here the speed drops after only seven shots. The full workload is completed in about 46 seconds, which gives an average of 2.15 frames per second.

The D3300 has also increased in filming. It still records in full HD resolution (1,920 x 1,080), but can now offer a frame rate of 60 frames per second. This makes it easier, for example, to use it later for slow-motion videos and the shots are definitely smooth. You can’t say that from the autofocus. Especially in video mode, i.e. LiveView mode, he is totally overwhelmed and can neither follow motifs nor adjust the focus properly. If you help him to jump by tapping the trigger, you will hear this clearly audible in the recording. The sound recorded in mono can be levelled manually, a separate 3.5mm stereo jack socket allows the connection of an optional stereo microphone, such as the Nikon ME-1.

Image quality

The CMOS sensor in DX format (APS-C) continues to provide a nominal resolution of 24 megapixels, but does not require a low-pass filter. This gives hope for a higher usable resolution and therefore a better image quality. The new Expeed 4 processor also allows you to anticipate faster series and faster autofocus behavior. Whether these two innovations, together with the shrinking cure of the new set lens, have actually resulted in significant improvements, is not evidenced in our testing.

And the sensor is actually doing something. The measured resolution of the D3200, which was partly in regions that were not worthy of an SLR, shows a clear improvement. Values of up to 48.1 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm, in 35mm equivalent) at F3.5 are already measured in the wide-angle range. For comparison: the D3200 only had 28.5. This improvement runs like a red thread through all the results. With the open apertures, the loss of resolution from the center of the image to the edge is still quite clear, from F8 the result is more balanced. Generally, the D3300 achieves the best values in the range from F8 to F16 with a top result of 57.4 lp/mm in the center of the picture at F11 and 48 mm small-image equivalent focal length. At the edge of the picture there are still 50.9 lp/mm. The curve of the signal-to-noise ratio, on the other hand, has hardly changed. The D3300 enters very low at 40 decibels and falls below the critical limit of 35 decibels at ISO 800. The noise signal then overlays the image signal and noise becomes visible. In practice, images with ISO 1.600 are still OK.

Nikon delivers a hardly sharpened result, so there are no really measurable sharpness artifacts. The texture sharpness curve at ISO 800 exceeds the visible blur limit. It is pleasant to note that the grain size always remains quite small, and thus never

is unpleasantly noticeable. Brightness noise can become visible from ISO 3,200, but color noise is more reserved. The D3300 doesn’t take it too seriously when it comes to color fidelity.Here, in all ISO ranges and almost all 24 colours measured in the Lab colour space, strong deviations occur which are clearly visible in the maximum range. If that bothers you, all you have left is the raw recording format and your own image editing. After all, white balance is usually not a problem. The tonal value curves for JPEGs are divided, but somewhat more restrained than for many other models and manufacturers. As with re-sharpening, Nikon holds back here. In terms of input dynamics, the D3300 benefits from the new sensor. It processes over ten f-stops (EV) in contrast range up to ISO 1,600 and scores well at ISO 3,200 with 9.7 EV. With the output tonal range up to ISO 1.600, it can still reproduce half of the gray levels that can be displayed.

If you look at the lens whose predecessor did not convince in the test, there are hardly any changes at the beginning. The drop in sharpness from the centre of the image to the edge of the image remains within invisible limits. Only with the closed apertures of F32 and F36 the image becomes slightly blurred due to diffraction. The edge darkening is somewhat stronger with the open apertures than with the old set lens, but is also negligible. The strong barrel distortion in the wide-angle range, which Nikon can’t control, still has a disturbing effect. When improving the colour fringes, on the other hand, you have to take off your hat. Whereas the values used to be high in the highly visible range, they now usually remain exemplary in the only easily visible range and, on average, are hardly perceptible any more. This improvement alone is one reason to give up the old lens and replace it with the new compact AF-S Nikkor 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 DX VR G II.

The Expeed 4 image processor is supposed to make the camera legs. With the release delay, he manages this, but not as strongly as one might have wished. With 0.47 seconds at 27 mm and 0.55 seconds at 83 mm, the D3300 is not one of the fastest models. In LiveView mode, the values even worsened frighteningly, although the D3200 was already slow. At 83 mm (KB), the D3300 allows two seconds to focus. LiveView is therefore clearly not suitable for moving motifs.

Conclusion

The Nikon D3300 is a successful entry-level DSLR that takes the inexperienced photographer by the hand and explains the most important photo situations, image processing, etc. in simple words. For advanced users it offers the complete manual mode and thus full self-control. The new sensor improves the resolution and up to ISO 800 very good image results can be achieved. The strong color deviations and the barrel distortion of the lens are disturbing. The new processor makes the D3300 faster than its predecessor, but Nikon still has to work on the autofocus especially in LiveView and video mode. The equipment of the D3300 is adequate with a great panorama mode, but lacks for example some bracketing.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Nikon
Model D3300
Price approx. 600 EUR at its release in 2014. Can be bought now used for much less.
Sensor Resolution 24.2 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 6.000 x 4.000
(aspect ratio) (3:2)
Lens AF-S Nikkor 18-55 mm 3.5-5.6 DX VR G II
Filter threads 52 mm
Viewfinder Pentas mirrors
Diopter compensation -1.7 to +0.5 dpt
Disbandment
Enlargement 0.85 times
Field coverage 95 %
LCD monitor 3″
Disbandment 921.000
rotatable
swivelling
as seeker yes
Video output AV and HDMI (each PAL/NTSC)
Program automation yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long-term exposure yes
Motif programmes
Portrait yes
Children/Babies yes
Countryside yes
Macro yes
Sports/Action yes
more 1
Exposure metering Multi-field, Centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Flash connection System flash shoe
Remote release Cable, Infrared
Interval shooting
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode
Size MOV
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
Frame rate (max.) 60 images/s
Sensitivity
automatic ISO 100-12.800
extended ISO 100-25.600
manually ISO 100-25.600
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Light bulb yes
Other Flash, Shadow
Manual yes
Autofocus
Number of measuring fields 11
AF auxiliary light whitely
Speed approx. 0.5-0.6 s
Languages Yes
more 25
Weight
(ready)
420 g (housing only
)615 g (with lens*)
Zoom
Zoom adjustment at lens
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
Triggering during storage possible. yes
Battery life approx. 700 (according to CIPA)
– = “not applicable” or “not available
“* with lens AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55 mm 1:3.5-5.6 G II VR

Short evaluation

Pros

  • Potent battery with capacity for about 700 recordings (without Live-View)
  • Use of the new 24-megapixel sensor without low-pass filter improves imaging performance
  • Super compact camera with small dimensions and low weight
  • Easy-to-understand operation and guide mode to help beginners with the right camera settings

Cons

  • The colour fidelity leaves much to be desired
  • Strong barrel distortion of the set lens in the wide-angle range
  • Autofocus doesn’t get into gear in LiveView and also hinders video filming
  • No exposure bracketing possible

Nikon D3300 Datasheet

Electronics

Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (crop factor 1.5
)24.8 megapixels (physical) and 24.2 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 3.9 µm
Photo resolution
4.496 x 3.000 pixels (3:2)
4.240 x 2.832 pixels (3:2)
2.992 x 2.000 pixels (3:2)
Panorama Swivel panorama
4.800 x 1.080 pixels
1.632 x 4.800 pixels
9.600 x 1.080 pixels
1.632 x 9.600 pixels
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth 36 bits (12 bits per color channel)
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 50 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 30 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 25 p
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 24 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 60 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 60 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 50 p
1.280 x 720 (16:9) 30 p
640 x 424 (3:2) 60 p
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) PCM

Lens

Lens mount
Nikon F

Focusing

Autofocus mode Phase comparison autofocus with one cross sensor, autofocus working range from -1 EV to 19 EV
Autofocus Functions Single autofocus, Continuous autofocus, Tracking autofocus, Manual, AFL function, AF Assist Light

Viewfinder and Monitor

Reflex viewfinder Reflex viewfinder (95 % image coverage), 18 mm eye relief with 0.85 x magnification, diopter compensation (-1.7 to +0.5 dpt), replaceable focusing screens
Monitor 3.0″ TFT LCD monitor with 921,000 pixels, viewing angle 170°, brightness adjustable

Exposure

Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 420 fields, spot measurement (measurement over 3% of the image field)
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 30 s (automatic
) bulb function
Exposure control Fully automatic, Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Exposure compensation -5.0 to +5.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 100 to ISO 1.600 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 12.800 (manual)
Remote access Remote release, cable release
Motives Flowers, twilight, various motif programs, HDR, candlelight, children, landscape, night landscape, night portrait, close-up, party, portrait, sunset, food, sports/action, beach/snow, animals, fully automatic, 1 more motif programs
Picture effects HDR effects, miniature effect, blue tint, color drawing, high/lowkey, pop, selective color, skylight, tone separation, warm tone
White balance Clouds, Sun, Fine tuning, Shadows, Flash, Fluorescent lamp with 7 presets, Incandescent lamp, Kelvin input, Manual
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting 5.0 frames/s at highest resolution
Self-timer Self-timer with intervals of 2 or 20 s, special features: (manually adjustable)
Shooting functions AEL function, AFL function, live histogram

Flashgun

Flash built-in flash (hinged
)flash shoe: Nikon, standard center contact
Flash range Flash sync time 1/200 s
Flash number Guide number 12 (ISO 100)
Flash functions Auto, Fill Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Flash On Second Shutter Curtain, Red-Eye Reduction, Flash Exposure Compensation from -3.0 EV to +1.0 EV

Equipment

Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Memory
SD (SDHC, SDXC)
GPS function GPS external (wired or plug-on receiver)
Microphone Mono
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Nikon EN-EL14a (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 7.3 V, 1,230 mAh
)700 images according to CIPA standard
Playback Functions Red eye retouching, crop images, image rotation, protect image, highlight / shadow warning, playback histogram, playback magnifier, image index, slide show function, zoom out
Voice memo Voice memo (PCM format)
Face recognition Face recognition
Picture parameters Sharpness, Contrast, Saturation, Noise Reduction
Special functions Orientation sensor, Live View
Ports Data interfaces: USBUSB type
:USB 2.0 High Speed
AV connectors AV output: HDMI output Micro (Type D
)Audio input: yes (3.5 mm stereo microphone jack)
Audio output: no
Supported direct printing methods DPOF, PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″
Features and Miscellaneous Real-time noise reductionIn
NTSC video mode, 30p and 60p frame rates are available simultaneous
recording of JPEG and RAW/NEF image files is possibleD-Lighting technology
for camera-internal compensation between bright and dark image areasImage parameter presetsGuide functionexplains the optimum shooting settingsISO
100-25,600 for film shooting

Size and weight

Dimensions W x H x D 124 x 98 x 76 mm
Weight 460 g (ready for operation)

Other

included accessories Nikon AN-DC3 Storage AccessoriesNikon
BF-1B (Case Cover)
Nikon BS-1 (Shoe Cover)
Nikon Capture NX SoftwareNikon
DK-21 (Eyecup)NikonDK-24 (Eyecup)
Nikon EG-CP14 Audio / Video CableNikon
EG-D100 Video HeadNikon
EN-

E

L14 Special BatteryNikon
MH-24 Charger for Special BatteriesNikon
UC-E17 USB CableNikon
UC-E4 USB CableEN-EL14a-Lithium Ion BatteryLi-Ion

EN-EL14a BatteryChargerCase Cover

BF-1AShells
DK-5Shoulder Strap
AN-DC2Camera Software
Nikon Picture Project

optional accessory Nikon EH-5B power supply unitNikon
EN-EL14 special batteryLi-Ion
EN-EL14a-batterychangeable memory cardelectriccable remote control MC-DC2; GPS receiver GP-1
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Peter Dench
I am Peter Dench. Digital Photographer, born in London 1972, currently living in Deerfield, near Chicago. I have numerous photography expositions and also working in model photography. In this website, PhotoPoint, I usually review cameras provided by local dealers in Illinois and by the manufacturers. Sometimes I, Peter Dench, review lenses too, but only when I have a suitable camera for them. Please let me know in the comments if I can improve any of these articles.