New Nikon DSLR Adds to Affordable Line-up
Nikon D3200 Packs New Powerful Features For Entry-Level Beginners
Nikon made the year 2011 a great year for beginning photographers by releasing the D3100 entry-level DSLR camera. However this year, their new camera, the Nikon D3200, is designed to bridge a perceived gap between the D3100 and the D5100 Cameras. The D3200 is going to be offered as something of a more inexpensive entry-level DSLR then the D5100 however it will be more expensive than D3100. Some of the improvements in the D3200 over the D3100 include in Expeed 3 processing engine which promises to deliver faster processing, less noise, a frame rate of 30fps for full HD video recording. Some of the other improvements include economic upgrades as well as newly added buttons and an enhanced rear LCD screen. However, the biggest new feature in the Nikon D3200 is the 24.2 million pixel sensor, upgraded from being a 14.2MP sensor in the D3100.
Nikon explains one of the reasons why they gave their new camera a 24.2 million pixel count was for increased cropping potential basically this allows the user to zoom in on the images they take while retaining a large portion of the higher-quality the camera offers.
New Guided Mode
As expected the new camera offers an improved guide mode with improved guide mode settings menu. New settings include reds and sunsets in addition to all the original settings which are designed to help beginning photographers take the best possible images without having to be experts in photography.
The new guided mode includes an expanded library of reference images. the reference images change as the settings are adjusted, to show there impact. It’s like having a preview image of the picture you are about to take based on the settings you’ve select.
The camera allows for some basic editing after you’ve taken your photo,in the form a couple of digital art filters. You can also straighten or crop your photos in the camera’s built-in software.
You will be, of course, relieved to hear that the guide mode does include manual and semi-manual exposure settings for you to explore as your photography skills improve.
There’s something else about the Nikon D3200, something which we’ve not seen before in a DSLR, it has an additional Wi-Fi adapter to connect to a smart phone or tablet to upload your photos straight to your social networking profiles. If it seems tacky it’s only because Kodak has done it for so long. Kodak has always been really good about allowing you to share your crappy photos with all of your friends and family.
Features that grow as you do
One good thing about a camera like this is that, with the mix between automatic and manual modes, you don’t need to scrap it just as soon as you gain some iota of what you’re doing; walking around with a photographic apparatus on your face, pointing it at things.
The D3200 comes with an 11 point AutoFocus system. It’s not as fast as some of the more professional models, but it’s fast enough for someone who’s still learning. The AF does get a bit slower when viewing in Live Mode using the LCD Viewer, and when I say slower I mean, a bit slower than most compact cameras.
The camera is usually able to choose the correct white balance on its own, however on an extremely sunny day the auto-white-balance feature tends to error on the side of too cool looking. Too cool, that means closer to blue, not awesome, awesome is what you will get when you’ve got some more experience under your belt. Fortunately, if this turns out to be a problem for you, there’s a manually white balance setting you can use.
One, unfortunate disadvantage with the rear LCD viewer is that, while many of your daylight shots may look fine in the viewer, upon transferring them to your computer you’re likely to find the images are actually overly warm looking; closer to red/orange. If this happens, it’s not the end of the world, since you can always do color correction afterward to fix any issues. However, if you were hoping to be able to get the images you wanted without any need for editing, it could be frustrating. Perhaps another way you could compensate is by simply making the image appear a little too close to blue in the rear LCD.
In regards to the 24.2MP sensor, and how that affects the noise level of your photos, it appears that the D3200 outperforms the D3100, at least most of the time. The images are largely noise-free up to ISO 1600 (which is a pretty extreme setting if you ask me). Bear in mind though, that, with a camera such as this, there’s an assumption being made here that the user does not intend to print on anything larger than size A4 paper. Also note, that if you were to do a 100% corp of the image, it would exaggerate any amount of noise present. You can shoot with the noise reduction feature on, or off, however, if you switch the feature off, you will get more detail and more noise at higher ISO rates. If you so desire, you could shoot with the noise reduction switched to off, and then do all your noise reduction in post-editing in Adobe Photoshop.
Probably the feature sets that will be most used will be the ability to crop photos and the ability to straight the horizon line. It does have 24.2MP sensor, so cropping your photos should look fine up to about 100%, in most instances.
Probably the only real negative, is the price. While $700 is a really good price for an entry-level DSLR, it’s just a bit more expensive than the D5100, which, arguably takes photos just as good, and comes with a LCD viewfinder that does mess the colors up so much. Though perhaps it’s a double-edged sword, since the D5100 has a few problems of its own, mostly with crummy effects filters and a lack of manual control over the exposure settings.
Have a look at this quick chart to see how the D3200 compares to the D3100 and the D5100.
|Nikon D5100||Nikon D3200||Nikon D3100|
|Announced||April, 2011||April, 2012||August, 2010|
|Size||APS-C 23.6×15.6mm||APS-C 23.2×15.4mm||APS-C 23.1×15.4mm|
|Megapixels||16.1 MP||24.1 MP||14.2 MP|
|Light sensitivity||6,400 ISO||6,400 ISO||3,200 ISO|
|Light sensitivity (boost)||25,600 ISO||12,800 ISO||12,800 ISO|
|True resolution||16.1 MP||24.1 MP||14.2 MP|
|Native resolution||4928 x 3264||6016 x 4000||4608 x 3072|
|Pixel size||22.9 µm²||14.8 µm²||25.1 µm²|
|Resolution||920k dots||921k dots||230k dots|
|Lens availability||169 lenses||169 lenses||169 lenses|
|Lens focus motor||No||No||No|
|Lens mount||Nikon F||Nikon F||Nikon F|
|Size||127x96x78 mm||125x96x76 mm||124x96x73 mm|
|Weight||560 g||455 g||505 g|
|Format||1080p @ 30fps||1080p @ 30fps||1080p @ 24fps|
|External mic jack||Yes||Yes||No|
|Autofocus||Contrast detection||Contrast detection||Contrast detection|
|All formats||1080p @ 24fps
1080p @ 30fps
720p @ 24fps
720p @ 30fps
640 x 424 @ 24fps
|640 x 424 @ 30fps
720p @ 60fps
1080p @ 30fps
1080p @ 24fps
720p @ 50fps
640 x 424 @ 25fps
1080p @ 25fps
|720p @ 24fps
720p @ 25fps
720p @ 30fps
640 x 424 @ 24fps
1080p @ 24fps
|Startup delay||100 ms||Unknown||400 ms|
|Shutter lag||273 ms||Unknown||279 ms|
|Battery life||660 shots||540 shots||550 shots|
|Continuous shooting||4 fps||4 fps||3 fps|
|Autofocus||Phase detection||Phase detection||Phase detection|
|Cross type focus points||Unknown||1||1|
DXO Mark Scores
|Color depth||23.5 bits||Unknown||22.5 bits|
|Dynamic range||13 EV||Unknown||11.3 EV|
|Low light performance||1,183 ISO||Unknown||919 ISO|