Nikon is well known for incrementally improving their existing cameras rather than doing a complete overhaul with each new launch. This is something that is easily seen with the D3300. When comparing the Nikon D3300 vs Nikon D3200 the differences are subtle but noticeable.
Compared to the D3200, the D3300 comes with more than a few new improvements. As to which is better? That certainly goes to the D3300. But, if you’re on a budget, the D3200 is still a worthy camera for the beginner photographer.
To explain why we’ll be breaking down the differences between each camera and comparing the advantages and disadvantages of each. As you’ll see they may look and seem very similar at first, but as they say the devil is in the details.
Nikon D3300: Advantages
- In-camera panoramas
- Higher ISO tolerance
- Faster JPEG and RAW shooting
- Sharper photos
On first comparing the specs between the D3300 and D3200 you’ll see that they both have the same 24.2MP APC-C sensor and the same 11-point AF setup. It’s easy to assume, then, that photos would come out the same with both – but the D3300 comes with one important difference.
With the 3300, Nikon has removed the optical anti-aliasing filter. This filter is installed in DSLR cameras to reduce optical aberrations – unwanted objects appearing on images that feature repetitive detail patterns. While anti-aliasing filters can reduce this effect, the downside is a loss in sharpness. It’s now common for most manufacturers to remove this filters in favor of optimal sharpness, relying instead on a higher megapixel count to cope with unwanted effects.
The improvements don’t stop there. The D3300 also comes with a new Expeed 4 image processing engine, which allows for a higher ISO sensitivity and faster shooting rate. While the D3200 featured a maximum ISO of 6400, the D3300 goes up to 12,800. The DSLR also comes with a few new automatic flash modes
Other new features include the option to attach the Nikon GP-1 module to a socket on the side of the camera so you can geotag your images. You also get a few new shooting modes such as Rangefinder mode, Mirror Lockup (though only for sensor cleaning, not when shooting) and Panorama mode which easily stitches several images together for one sweeping panorama.
Other than all that, most of the camera remains the same from the D3200. An 11-point AF setup, a 3-inch 921K-dot rear screen, and a 420-pixel RGB sensor metering system. All features that previous owners of the D3200 will find very familiar.
Nikon D3300: Disadvantages
- No built-in Wi-Fi
- No tilt-swivel screen
- High levels of image noise
- Awkward manual focusing with kit lens
A slight difference that previous owners of the D3200 will notice with the D3300 is the kit lens. It’s been redesigned to reduce the size and make it more compact. Nikon claims that the new lens is 30% smaller and 25% lighter than its predecessor. This is certainly a good thing, but the fact that they’ve chosen to keep the 11-point AF system means it still carries some of the disadvantages of the D3200.
When you’ve got plenty of light it doesn’t present a problem, but in low light it can be tricky to work with. If you’re shooting landscape and want the focus point on the edge of the screen, you’ll need to switch to manual focusing. The ring on the kit lens is quite small and fiddly, so if you tend to use manual focus a lot you’d be better getting a different lens.
In terms of image quality, the D3300 is a little disappointing. At ISO 400, color noise begins to creep into the shadow areas, which is surprising since you shouldn’t really notice noise until ISO 800. Once you do reach ISO 800, noise becomes quite noticeable in the midtones and even more in the shadow areas. The D3300 does come with a noise reduction system to combat this, but that comes at the cost of reduced sharpness.
Nikon 3200: Advantages
- Anti-aliasing filter
- Bigger RAW buffer
- Excellent image quality
- Noise well controlled throughout the ISO range
The Nikon D3200 may be aging, but it still holds up as a great entry level DSLR. Previous users of the D3100 will see a drastic improvement in its sensor, 24.2MP compared to 14.2MP, and its image processor, Expeed 3 compared to Expeed 2. This puts it in the same league at the D3300 with the exception of the image processor (Expeed 4 on the D3300).
For those who are new to DSLR’s, the D3200 comes with some very helpful features to get you started. An improved ‘Guide mode’ provides illustrative advice on what settings to choose along with shooting advice, all posted on the side of the screen. The idea is to give beginner DSLR users practical advice on how to get the most out of every situation.
While this is no substitute for some training on technique, the Guide mode does present some helpful advice for those who’ve never handled a DSLR before. Once you got the hang of its basic settings you can then make the switch to its more advanced modes like aperture priority, shutter priority or even full manual.
For a DSLR, the D3200 is not especially heavy and the build quality in on par with other DSLR’s in the same price range. However, the seals do not have weather or dust proofing so care needs to be taken when using it in adverse conditions.
The high image quality means you can print big or crop small without much loss in detail. Its light metering is exceptionally accurate and thanks to its large APS-C sensor you can capture a wider dynamic range than with previous models.
Where the D3200 really shines against the D3300 is in noise control. Between ISO 100 and 800 images come out especially clean. Noise does start to creep in between ISO 1600 and 3200, especially at the shadow areas, but you can still get good results. After ISO 3200 things start to go downhill fast which can only be expected with an entry-level DSLR.
Nikon D3200: Disadvantages
- Guide mode will only ever take you so far
- No internal AF motor
- Some minor issues with monitor control
Both the D3300 and D3200 are quite similar in some of their disadvantages such as no Wi-Fi connectivity, no image stabilization, no top-deck display and no tilt-swivel screen. The D3200 also has a lower Expeed of 3 compared to 4, meaning a slightly reduced ISO sensitivity and shooting rate.
The Guide mode is also quite limited in what it can do which is both a strength and a weakness. Meaning that it’s easy to follow and helpful in basic situations, but won’t be much help in more difficult lighting or shooting styles.
This is also the case with the menu layout, easy to use but basic. First time DSLR users will have no trouble finding their way around, but it’s lacking in customizable features that are found in more sophisticated DSLRs.
Usually, when one camera model follows another it’s expected to be an improvement over its predecessor. That is certainly the case between the D3200 and D3300, but not on every point. The higher image processor of the D3300 means you have a far higher range of ISO usage and a faster 5fps on continuous shooting mode. Couple this with sharper photos and extra settings, such as panorama mode, and it’s a nice step up from its predecessor.
However, despite having more ISO sensitivity and sharper photos, it’s the D3200 which has better noise reduction. If you often shoot on a high ISO this is worth taking into account as the D3300 was surprisingly noisy past ISO 800.
All taken together though, the D3300 is the better camera. If you can afford the extra cash it’s well worth it, but the D3200 is still a worthy DSLR in its own right.Back to Top