It’s time to look at the D3300 vs Nikon D3100. Nikon’s D3000 series is stacked with great cameras, but that doesn’t mean they’re all equally impressive. Discover which of these beauties best lines up with you and your shooting style.
Both these entry-level DSLR cameras use a DX format but with different resolutions. They also look similar despite having some distinct specifications. This down-to-earth comparison reveals all.
My simple format breaks these reviews down into the following:
Nikon D3300 Advantages
- Longer battery life
- Lighter body
- Microphone port
- Superior high ISO performance
- Higher color depth
A camera’s battery life depends on shooting modes, photographic styles, and temperatures. You can expect up to 700 shots on a single charge with the Nikon D3300. That beats the D3100 by 150 frames.
Another advantage of the D3300 is its lighter weight. Its body weighs 75g less than the Nikon D3100. It’s something to consider if you wear a camera around your neck for long periods at a time.
Another advantage the D3300 has over the D3100 is its superior high ISO performance. The benefit of higher ISO settings is that the photographer needs less light to capture low-light images.
In photographic terms, a higher ISO offers more flexibility. The option to choose a wider DOF is one, or you could opt for faster shutter speeds. Nikon’s D3300 has an ISO 1385 to the D3100’s ISO 919.
Higher color depth is another buying factor for photographers with a keen eye for detail. Recording or displaying richer colors can bring photos to life. The D3300 sports 24.3 to the D3100’s 22.5.
The higher max sensor resolution of the D3300 gives it 71% more megapixels. Its 24MP over the D3100’s 14MP is no small detail and improves linear resolution by up to 30%.
The LCD display resolution is also superior by 300% or 921k dots to 230k dots. Other points worth plugging are the D3300’s 2fps faster continuous shooting mode, the great D3300 lenses available, and its better dynamic range.
There are some significant differences between these two cameras, but don’t make a decision just yet. Just about every good Nikon DSLR has a little bad in there somewhere. The D3300 is no exception.
Nikon D3300 Disadvantages
- Detailed menu drains power fast
- No flash sync port
- No built-in Wi-Fi
- No articulating screen
- Doesn’t have environmental sealing
Skilled photographers know a thing or two about getting the most life out of a single charge. It may surprise all new users of the D3300 just how much power its detailed menu screen eats up.
There is some good news. The camera offers more simplified screen options that aren’t as power hungry. Most of us don’t need a detailed menu all the time, so basic screens are a welcome alternative.
Another disadvantage with the Nikon D3300 is the absence of a flash sync port. These ports are important if you need a straightforward way to connect a camera to external flash units.
This camera doesn’t have built-in WiFi, either. You can, however, get an official WiFi Adapter for the Nikon D3300, or opt for a third-party option at your own risk.
Articulating screens are becoming more common with quality DLSRs. Well, you’re not going to get one with this puppy, and that’s a shame. Adjustable LCD screens provide some interesting shooting angles.
The final gripe is the absence of environmental sealing. When the weather gets tough, photographers go into hiding. That’s not much of a selling point for all-weather shutterbugs.
Nikon D3100 Advantages
- Larger sensor pixel area
- Flash sync port
- Anti-aliasing filter
- Older model, more chance of discounts
The D3100 has a sensor pixel area 64% bigger than our D3300 (25.12µm2 vs 15.28µm2) but which is better? Well, although the D3300 sports a higher 24MP resolution, it has smaller individual pixels.
BIGGER pixels = BETTER pictures.
There’s a flash sync port with this Nikon digital-SLR camera. It’s instrumental for anyone who needs to get creative with lighting. You can connect to studio strobe flashes and small flash units, for example.
There’s a built-in flash too—handy for low-light situations. Not all DLSRs include an integrated flash, though. I like them for those spur-of-the-moment shooting opportunities after dark.
The Nikon D3100 has an anti-aliasing filter to help reduce unsightly moiré in photos. The moiré effect can certainly mess with image quality sometimes. The D3300 doesn’t have this filter.
The other key advantage this camera has over the D3300 is its cheaper price tag. Prices can fluctuate, as with all older Nikon DSLRs. You should be able to save in the neighborhood of $150+ on this model.
The D3100 has been with us now since August 19, 2010. That means it has some attractive kits and hefty discounts compared to the D3300, which first hit the shelves on January 7, 2014.
Other pros for the D3100 include an optical viewfinder and RAW support for enhanced image quality. There’s face detection focus, too, which is a bonus when it comes to portrait photography.
Nikon D3100 Disadvantages
- No external mic jack
- Average resolution sensor
- No image stabilization
- Slow continuous shooting
- Pentamirror viewfinder
You won’t find an external mic jack on the D3100. There are ways to record better audio than the inbuilt sound, but it’s a chore. Think about this if high-quality audio is an important feature for you.
The max 14 MP sensor resolution is average, and falls short vs the D3300 with its fewer pixels. It’s beyond the scope of this comparison guide to expand on sensor technicalities in any detail.
Image stabilization is a demand in modern photography. Some argue that generic in-body stabilization is the best. There are plenty of Nikon native lenses with optical image stabilization (OIS), though.
Some argue that optically-stabilized lenses are the most effective. The reason is that the photographer has an option to fine-tune and tweak each lens. This is most likely true on long telephotos.
At 3.0fps, our D3100 is 2.0fps slower in continuous shooting mode. Again, this is either something that matters to you and your photographic style, or it doesn’t. Only you can check those boxes.
The final downside with the D3100 is its pentamirror viewfinder. Although there’s no major drawback per se, it’s not as clear or as bright as a pentaprism – hence my mention of it.
If your budget won’t stretch to the costlier D3300, then stick the D3100 onto your shortlist. It was around 17% cheaper at its launch. That said, the D3100 is still selling well.
Personally, I think the D3300 is a no-brainer if it checks enough boxes. It sports more features per dollar, is slightly more compact, and just beats the D3100 on overall image quality.Back to Top