Here we go–the yearly refresh that Nikon does to its entry level DSLR. This year, we’ve got the D3300–a camera that has some minor upgrades and borrows heavily from its bigger brothers. But at its heart, the camera has a new EXPEED 4 engine, which helps it to do a lot more.
At CES 2014, we were able to take a quick look at a pre-production unit.
Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the camera.
- 24.2 Mp DX-Format CMOS Sensor
- EXPEED 4 Image Processor
- No Optical Low-Pass Filter
- 3.0″ 921k-Dot LCD Monitor
- Full HD 1080p Video Recording
- 11-Point Multi-CAM 1000 AF Sensor
- Expandable ISO 25600 and 5 fps Shooting
- Easy Panorama Mode and Guide Mode
- Compatible with WU-1a Wireless Adapter
- DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II Lens
For the most part, the Nikon DSLRs in the entry world haven’t received any major upgrades in the past couple of years. If anything, they’ve all just been minor. These improvements also have to do with the ergonomics of the cameras. And as before, the only real control on the front of the camera is the lens release.
Nikon’s D3300 has an on/off switch around the shutter release, video record button, info, mode dial, and the AF assist lamp. For the most part, this will be the control deck once you take command of the ship.
The back of the D3300 has really just the most basic of controls. In addition to that, there is the LCD screen and the viewfinder. Nikon decided to place controls like live view, playback, the menu, and the exposure dial control here.
The lens that comes standard with the camera is the new collapsible 18-55mm lens–which the company is saying has better image quality than the previous version did. For what it’s worth, the previous version also broke on me when I owned an Nikon D5100.
Being one of Nikon’s entry level DSLRs, don’t expect the most stellar build quality. In fact, consider the camera to be a piece of plastic around a sensor. In actuality, it’s a bit tougher than that, but it feels nothing like the company’s D7100 and above. For the more advanced crowd, you’ll probably complain about this camera’s lack of dials.
Ease of Use
For the folks that will buy the camera and use it in auto (which is most of the world,) you won’t worry a single bit about the camera. All you’ll really ponder over is where the playback button is and maybe a couple of other tidbits. Experienced Nikon users will feel right at home with the D3300’s layout with the exception of the new retouch menu. To that end though, we doubt the experienced crowd will care about the retouch menu.
The D3300’s autofocus doesn’t seem to be noticeably faster than the D3200. With that said, the previous version of this camera wasn’t a slouch. In fact, we think that consumers will be very happy with the camera’s performance and the 11 focusing points. We didn’t get a chance to test the pre-production unit that we handled in low light–but we think that might be the deciding factor.
Since this camera was a pre-production unit, we couldn’t put a card in the camera to bring home images. Though the sensor is essentially the same as some of the others in Nikon’s lineup, the big difference comes from its pairing with the EXPEED 4 processor. The new processor is said to not only boost the high ISO performance, but also power many of the camera’s improvements like the increased shutter frame rate and 60P HD video amongst many other features.
We’re in the process of calling in a Nikon D3300 review unit, but so far it seems like very much of the same with the company only slightly improving their formula for success in order to keep sales going. For years, we haven’t seen anything really exciting or cool with the entry level line, but we think that the D3000 series of cameras are seriously due for some sort of update.
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