There are good reasons to compare the Nikon D3300 vs Nikon D3200. After all, the D3200 was the company’s leading entry-level DSLR. So, the question is this: is the D3300 worthy of the upgrade?
This no-nonsense guide pits the two capable cameras against each other. Keep reading to discover the key differences between them and why one might work better for you than the other.
Many of the distinctions are subtle and not primary buying considerations for a lot of photographers. There are, however, a few characteristics that are sure to sway the decisions of some.
The list below looks at the critical areas for evaluation in the order they appear in this guide:
|Nikon D3300||Nikon D3200|
|Best For||Entry-level user who wants a smaller, lighter DSLR experience||Entry-level user who wants a little more creative control|
|Weight||17.8 oz.||19.4 oz.|
|Continuous Shooting||5.0 fps||4.0 fps|
|Battery Life||700 shots||540 shots|
|Flash Sync Port||NO||YES|
|Low Light ISO||1385||1131|
|Sensor Pixel Area||15.28µm2||14.85µm2|
|Support U-HS Memory Cards||None||YES (UHS-I)|
Here’s what we cover in the review:
Nikon D3300 and D3200 Shared Features
Nikon isn’t oblivious to demands, so they kept some of the D3200’s key features with the D3300. They both have built-in flash for one. Popup flash enables fast shooting in failing light conditions.
Both cameras have external hot shoes. These are useful if you want to attach a larger external flash unit—Speedlight—for more creative lighting control. There’s also the max 1/4000s shutter speeds.
The D3300 and D3200 also have optical viewfinders (OVF). The benefits of bright OVFs is that you get to see what the lens sees as you compose the shot. The term is ‘Through the Lens’ or TTL for short.
These cameras support unprocessed RAW image files. RAW file data lets photographers produce higher quality images. You don’t have to shoot RAW, but it’s good to know it’s there for those who do.
Face detection focusing is another shared trait between the D3300 and D3200. It’s not a critical feature for photography, but it’s still handy for portraiture.
Camera Body Comparison
The size disparities between Nikon’s D3300 and D3200 are barely noticeable. From the front, the D3300 is slightly smaller at 1mm thinner and 1mm narrower. The D3200 is a tad taller by 2mm.
The physical characteristics from the back of the cameras are similar. The layout of the buttons to the right are slightly different but still occupy the same area.
At the side are the various concealed ports. There’s a single door to cover these on the D3200 and two doors on the D3300. It’s only a simple style change and nothing that’s better or worse either way.
The weight of any DSLR is a balancing act between features and heft. The weight difference here is significant. The D3300’s body is 430g, that’s 75g lighter than the D3200. It’s a difference of 9%.
Okay, so 9% may not sound much, but an extra 75g is noticeable over long periods. Lenses also play a part in the total weight of a camera, but both camera mounts support the same glass.
However, it’s worth mentioning the kit lenses. The one with the D3300 is slightly smaller and lighter than the one that comes with the D3200. It’s around 30% smaller and 25% lighter.
Why Consider the Nikon D3300 over the D3200?
OK, let’s look at the reasons why you may want to consider the D3300 over the D3200. To recap the body comparison, the D3300 is 75g lighter than the D3200 and has a smaller, lighter kit lens.
Another substantial advantage is the longer battery life. You can expect around 700 shots compared to the D3200’s 540. An extra 160 frames on a single charge is no small detail.
Nikon has done away with the optical low pass filter (OLPF) on the D3300. Why does that matter? Well, it’s because optical low pass filters tend to have a negative effect on image quality.
In theory, images should be sharper and display more detail without the OLPF. This is a considerable upgrade for a Nikon entry-level DSLR. There are drawbacks, though (see next section).
There’s a bump in the ISO capability too. I’d say the highest settings are unusable and unnecessary. Even so, you still get to use a higher ISO than the D3200 without exploiting the extreme end.
The Nikon D3300 has a faster continuous shooting mode too, at 5.0fps vs. the D3200’s 4.0fps. It also boasts a larger (2%) sensor pixel area and slightly higher color depth than its predecessor.
Why consider the Nikon D3200 over the D3300?
There are reasons why you might want to opt for the older Nikon D3200. To start with, it’s the cheaper model, and it’s not much different in specs and features than its costlier successor.
The D3200 has a flash sync port, and the D3300 doesn’t. This port is something that you either need or you don’t. It’s a significant plus for anyone who does use—or intends to use—off-camera flash.
Another significant advantage of the D3200 is that it supports Ultra-High-Speed (UHS) Memory Cards. That means it has the potential to read and write data much faster than the newer D3300.
At 13.2 vs. 12.8, the D3200 has a slightly higher dynamic range (HDR) than the D3300. That results in better contrast ratio, i.e., the highlight and shadow details in photos.
Nikon’s D3200 has better moiré control (odd patterns and stripes) on images. That’s because it still has an optical low pass filter (OLPF) also called an anti-alias filter (AAF) to prevent these artificial patterns.
The D3300 should produce sharper images with better details as it doesn’t have an AAF. But it’s more susceptible to the moiré effect because of this. Moiré is less of an issue with modern sensors, though.
The Nikon D3300 and the Nikon D3200 share some drawbacks. It’s important to remember that these are entry-level DSLRs, so they can’t have it all. There are a few disappointments all the same.
Neither of these camera bodies has built-in sensor-based image stabilization (IS). If you want IS, then you must buy D3200 or D3300 lenses that have optical stabilization. There are around 90 of these for Nikon’s F mount.
The absence of articulating LCD screens is sure to disappoint some people. Adjustable displays are invaluable for creative composure, e.g., shooting at unusual and otherwise impossible angles.
None of these cameras have environmental or weather sealing. It’s not a feature that’s typical of most Digital-SLRs, but that doesn’t make it any less of a drawback.
AE Bracketing (AEB) is another missing feature on these Nikon DSLRs. AEB takes shots at slightly different exposures to ensure one image gets the right result. AEB is priceless in challenging light.
Each camera has a pentamirror viewfinder. There’s no major issue here, it’s just that the pentaprism is a better option. That’s because a pentaprism is brighter than a pentamirror.
The final shared weakness is the lack of AF fine-tuning also called autofocus micro adjustment (AFMA). Having the option to fine-tune slight AF errors in front or back focusing can be handy at times.
What the Reviewers Say
Nikon launched the D3300 on January 7, 2014, as a predecessor to the popular entry-level D3200. It hasn’t been around that long in camera terms, but users already knew many of its features and specs.
It ranks well and enjoys plenty of favorable support from real user feedback. Some of the shared favorite aspects include the ergonomic design and the excellent stills and video quality.
One of the things that separates it from the D3200—in reviewer’s eyes—is the superior kit lens. They appreciate the NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II zoom for its lightweight, compact design, and IS.
The camera’s battery life also gets a thumbs-up as a marked improvement on the older Nikon D3200. Nikon launched the D3200 on April 19, 2012, so it has more reviews and has stood the test of time.
User feedback, though, is akin to the younger D3300. It’s hard to find any major criticism—at least not shared gripes—for either camera. The D3200 continues to sell well despite being the older model.
It sells because—as an entry-level Nikon DSLR—it offers fantastic value. It also shares many of the D3300 key specs and benefits at a lesser cost. Personal opinion ultimately determines which is better.
There are plenty of minor gripes for the D3200. Most of these are wishes and would-likes rather than actual complaints. These include things like no image stabilization and lack of weather sealing.
The user feedback for both models is about as good as it can get for Nikon entry-level DSLRs.
The verdict is simple, and the D3300 wins easily if any of the following apply: you want a lighter body, slightly better image quality, a superior kit lens, and 160 more frames from a single charge.
There are a few other benefits (see review), but these are the ones that influence most decisions.
The Nikon D3200 wins hands down if you’re on a tighter budget. It’s also a no-brainer if you’re not concerned about the few D3300 advantages above.Back to Top