The decision between the Nikon D5300 vs. the Nikon D3300 has left plenty of budding photographers scratching their heads. These two solid entry-level cameras were released just months apart and share many identical features and fixtures.
Since they’re aimed at the same audience and have the same capabilities, it’s quite difficult to make a decision between them. Should you opt for the D3300, Nikon’s most basic entry-level DSLR, or drop a bit more cash on its counterpart? Read on to learn more about their similarities and differences—and hear our final verdict.
|Nikon D3300||Nikon D5300|
|Best For||Budget-Conscious Photographers||Tech Lovers|
|Processor||EXPEED 4||EXPEED 4|
|Cross-Type AF Points||1||9|
|Weight||430 g||530 g|
|Dimensions||4.88 x 3.86 x 2.99 in||4.9 x 3.9 x 3 in.|
|Battery Life||700 shots||600 shots|
Here’s what we cover in the review:
If you’re looking for a clear winner in this battle, you won’t find it by comparing sensor size or power. Both the D3300 and the D5300 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensors rely on Expeed 4 image processors, and both come equipped with the same 18-55mm kit lens (and can be upgraded with D5300 or D3300 compatible lenses). They also lack an anti-aliasing filter, which boosts image sharpness and clarity, but can also permit some distortion
Both DSLR cameras also have the same native ISO range—ISO 100 to ISO 12,800—and both can also be extended up to ISO 25,600. Stay below ISO 2400 on either camera to keep your images clean and clear, but don’t expect to spot many differences in the way these cameras handle excess noise.
Here’s where the competition between these twin machines actually starts to heat up. The Nikon D5300 has a 39-point autofocus system that takes advantage of nine cross-type autofocus points. In contrast, the Nikon D3300 has only 11 autofocus points, only one of which is cross-type.
Both cameras have a bright, clearly marked optical viewfinder, so you won’t struggle to bring your subjects into view. The advantage of cross-type autofocus points is that they allow you to more precisely pinpoint the objects you want to bring into focus. Since the D5300 has so many more cross-type points, it locks onto subjects faster and eliminates fuzz and blur.
The D5300 and D3300 will both rattle off five photos per second, which is perfectly respectable for an entry-level camera—but unfortunately doesn’t make the decision between them any easier. If you enjoy shooting fast-paced subjects like sports or wildlife, then the additional autofocus points might be worth the splurge. For the average photographer, however, it’s unlikely to make much of a difference.
Ergonomics and Comfort
It’s easy to focus on technical specifications when choosing a new DSLR camera, but the way it looks, feels, and responds to the environment is just as critical. Will your new machine be comfortable to hold and easy to use? Will it stand up to the elements and keep trucking after a hard fall?
A seamless shell of rugged, durable polycarbonate protects both the Nikon D5300 and the D3300. This innovative construction eliminates standard weaknesses and keeps moisture, dust, and impacts from compromising their delicate inner parts.
The cameras also have nearly identical dimensions, but the D3300 is about 70g lighter than its rival. While that’s unlikely to make much of a difference when packing up your camera bag, it makes the Nikon D3300 a little easier on your neck and hands during a lengthy shoot.
Technical connectivity is one more area where the Nikon D5300 truly comes into its own. This isn’t much of a surprise, since advanced technical features tend to come standard on more expensive bodies while being left off their budget-friendly DSLR counterparts.
It’s easy to connect the Nikon D5300 to WiFi and use the Nikon Wireless Mobile Utility smartphone app to remotely control your camera. This feature might sound like a gimmick, but it’s surprisingly handy for snapping stealthy photos of wildlife, grabbing the perfect family portrait at a wedding, or even capturing a breathtaking starscape from your tripod.
If you want to access the same connectivity features on the Nikon D3300, then you’ll need to invest in a specialized adapter. While these tend to come fairly cheap, they are often a hassle to operate and an extra piece of clutter in your sling camera bag. Photographers who travel often, but hate wrangling with equipment, might want to invest a little extra in the Nikon D5300.
While the LCD viewfinder sometimes falls by the wayside in entry-level DSLRs, it can make or break your shooting experience. Screen quality is huge differentiating factor between the Nikon D5300 and the D3300. It might even be the deciding factor in some buyers’ decision.
The Nikon D5300 has a fully articulated LCD screen. At 3.2 inches and 1,037,000 dots, it’s great for setting up fun self-portraits, candid street photos, or tricky compositions in Live View. This screen still isn’t touch sensitive, but still provides a delightfully crisp and detailed view of your subject.
The D3300 lags a little further behind, but still delivers a decent frame. Its 3-inch screen boasts 921,000 dots and looks identical to its competitor. The downside? It isn’t fully articulated, which makes those bomb selfies and effortless family portraits just a little more difficult.
At first glance, it would seem that the Nikon D5300 and D3300 consume roughly the same amount of power. After all, these two DSLRs do share the same trusty EN-EL14a battery pack that comes standard on many Nikons.
However, the D3300’s streamlined feature set does give it a small advantage. The more affordable camera squeaks past its counterpart this category, managing 700 shots per charge to the D5300’s 600. While that number might seem like a small difference, it amounts to an extra one or two hours of heavy shooting.
Which of these two solid entry-level cameras would you rather buy? As with any gear purchase, the decision ultimately comes down to your motivations. Would you prefer to spend a few extra bucks for added luxuries like a fold-out LCD screen and effortless Wi-Fi connectivity? If so, then the Nikon 5300 is your best bet. Would you like to save some money and put it toward one of Nikon’s stunning DX prime lenses? Then you’re better off opting for the D3300. The bones and brains of these cameras are so similar that the decision comes down to personal preference.Back to Top