Choosing the right DSLR can be tricky, especially when there are large price differences between cameras that seem on the surface to be similar. This Nikon D90 vs D3300 guide should help you determine which is better suited to meet your needs.
One is over five years newer. However, both have strengths and weaknesses.
However, they lack the extra bells and whistles that make other models attractive to more serious photographers. Both of these beginner level DSLR camera bodies can be a great option depending on what you plan to use your camera for.
|Nikon D90||Nikon D3300|
|Best For||Portrait||Sports and Daily|
|Announcement Date||Oct. 13, 2008||Apr. 21, 2014|
|ISO Range||200 - 3200||100 - 12800|
|LCD Screen||3" Fixed Type||3" Fixed Type|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||4.5 fps||5 fps|
|Video Resolution||1280 x 720||1920 x 1080|
|Weight||703 g||430 g|
|Battery Life||850 shots||700 shots|
|Top LCD Screen||Yes||No|
|AF Motor Built-In||Yes||No|
Here’s what we cover in the review:
The D90 and D3300 are only slightly dissimilar when it comes to dimensions. However, with the D90 measuring at 132mm x 103mm x 77mm and the D3300 measuring at 124mm x 98mm x 76mm, there is a considerable difference in weight.
The Nikon D90 weighs about 40% more than the D3300, at 703g vs 430g. This is a big difference, especially when compared to the fact that it is only 11% larger than the smaller model.
There are several things that can account for the drastic difference in weight. The D90 has an EN-EL3 battery. That allows photographers to capture 850 shots on a single battery life.
The D3300 has an EN EL 14a power pack that only captures 700 images per charge. The D90 also has a pentaprism viewfinder. On the other hand, the D3300 also has the lighter and less sophisticated pentamirror viewfinder.
Another thing to note is that neither body is weatherproofed. So any amount of dust or moisture could ruin your camera body.
If you are planning on shooting primarily indoors, these cameras are a great option. However, if you want to take them outside, you need to carefully consider the conditions you are shooting in.
They both also lack built-in image stabilization. So you will need to get Nikon lenses that have this feature included.
The weatherproofing is a big downside. However, you can get around the lack of image stabilization by using newer lenses.
Photographers should also note that since the D3300 sensor is five and a half years newer than the D90’s, it will be better for the simple fact that it has benefited from technology advancing during that time.
Both of these camera bodies have an APS-C sensor, but the D3300 sensor area is 2% smaller. They do have the same format factor of 1.5 though.
They also have a native aspect ration of 3:2. Despite the slight size disadvantage, the D3300 has a much higher resolution of 24 MP. The D90 only has 12.2 MP.
The D3300 has a more advanced image-processing engine, the EXPEED 4. The D90 only has an EXPEED processing engine.
This allows the D3300 to reduce noise better and provide better color accuracy. It also processes images more quickly.
It provides better video resolution than the D90. In addition, it can shoot DSLR video footage at much higher speeds.
The D3300 is the clear winner when it comes to video capabilities. It has a max video resolution at 1920 x 1080.
On the other hand, the D90 has a max video resolution of 1280 x 720. The better video resolution allows photographers to create larger file sizes and do more in post-processing than with the D90.
The D3300 also comes with a built-in external microphone port. That allows you to record better audio than the D90, which does not have it.
However, neither camera has built-in wireless capabilities. That means you can’t monitor your video feed from your phone. You also can’t change settings and start and stop recording once you set up your camera unless you are behind it.
This can be limiting for serious videographers. So if you are planning on using your camera for video frequently, we suggest considering another camera body.
The D3300 also has a slightly higher continuous shooting speed at 5 fps, compared to the D90’s speed of 4.5 fps, but it is almost inconsequential.
LCD Screen and Viewfinder
The pentaprism viewfinder in the D90 does have several advantages over the D3300’s pentamirror system, mainly that they are less likely to break and they give you a more vibrant, accurate idea of what your image will look like when you look through the viewfinder.
While the pentamirror provides a less vibrant, bright image in the viewfinder, it doesn’t affect the images the camera takes. Ultimately, while this is a nice extra, many photographers don’t notice a huge difference when it comes to using either camera since it doesn’t affect the final product.
The D90 also has an LCD screen on the top of the camera for changing the settings easily and quickly. The D3300 doesn’t come with this second screen, which can be a difficult adjustment for photographers who are used to using this feature.
Both cameras are also equipped with 3” fixed type screens. Fully articulated screens can be useful and convenient, but are obviously not necessary. Again, if you are used to using a fully articulated screen, this may be a difficult adjustment.
The D3300 can reach a lower ISO on the bottom of its range, and can stretch 300% higher than the D90, with a range of 100 – 12,800 vs the D90’s range of 200 – 3,200. While photographers are unlikely to use their cameras very far past 6,400 due to noise issues, a max ISO of 3,200 is limiting.
Both cameras also have a slow max shutter speed, at 1/4000 of a second and only have 11 focus points. The Nikon D3300 does have a much higher true resolution however, and captures about twice the detail in your photos that the D90 does.
One potentially limiting factor of the D3300 is the lack of a built-in autofocus motor, which the D90 does have. There are also no autofocus options for D3300 lenses that are compatible with the D3300, so if autofocus is an important feature for you, you should either go with the D90 or a different camera body.
As previously mentioned, neither body has built-in image stabilization, but there are about 88 Nikon compatible lenses you can purchase for Nikon’s F mount that have built-in optical image stabilization. If you already own older lenses without stabilization or you want the option to expand your lens collection with older lenses in the future, neither of these bodies is for you.
When it comes to bells and whistles, there aren’t many differences between these two camera bodies. They both have a significant startup delay, with the D3300 taking 400 ms to start and the D90 taking 300 ms.
As we mentioned before, the lack of image stabilization in the body raises the risk of blur, and neither has weather sealing. The also lack built in GPS for geo-tagging and wireless capabilities for instantly transferring photos from your camera to your smart device or controlling your camera from your phone. The LCD screens also don’t flip out or hinge.
Both bodies have less than average viewfinder coverage, with the D3300 covering 95% and the D90 barely higher at 96%. Neither is equipped with a touchscreen, meaning there are more buttons on the camera bodies. They also both come with face detection focus and RAW support, which makes them good options for shooting portraits.
While the D90 does have some distinct advantages over the D330, like a built-in AF motor, a better battery life and a pentaprism viewfinder, the D3300 is the clear choice between the two. The much better ISO range, the faster continuous shooting speed, the microphone port and the better image-processing engine make this camera body worth the extra money over the budget-friendly DSLR (D90).
That being said, there are several important features, like weatherproofing, image stabilization and extras like an articulating screen that limit both of these cameras.Back to Top