Nikon D3200 Entry-Level Digital SLR With 24.2MP And 1080p Video

Karl Is WrightDSLR Cameras, Mobile Technology, Photography, Technology

 

New Nikon DSLR Adds to Affordable Line-up

Nikon D3200 Packs New Powerful Features For Entry-Level Beginners

 

Brief

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.

Image Resolution

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.
Nikon D3200 Front View

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.

Nikon D3200 Back View

Social

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.

Nikon D3200 alt View

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.

Negatives

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.

Comparison Specs

Have a look at this quick chart to see how the D3200 compares to the D3100 and the D5100.

General

Nikon D5100Nikon D3200Nikon D3100
BrandNikonNikonNikon
Base price$649.00$699.00$549.99
AnnouncedApril, 2011April, 2012August, 2010

Sensor

TypeCMOSCMOSCMOS
SizeAPS-C 23.6×15.6mmAPS-C 23.2×15.4mmAPS-C 23.1×15.4mm
Crop factor1.5x1.6x1.6x
Megapixels16.1 MP24.1 MP14.2 MP
Light sensitivity6,400 ISO6,400 ISO3,200 ISO
Light sensitivity (boost)25,600 ISO12,800 ISO12,800 ISO
Sensor cleaningYesYesYes

Sensor (Advanced)

True resolution16.1 MP24.1 MP14.2 MP
Native resolution4928 x 32646016 x 40004608 x 3072
Pixel size22.9 µm²14.8 µm²25.1 µm²

Screen

TypeLCDLCDLCD
Size3.0″3.0″3.0″
Resolution920k dots921k dots230k dots
Touch screenNoNoNo
Flips outYesNoNo
Live viewYesYesYes

Lenses

Lens availability169 lenses169 lenses169 lenses
Lens focus motorNoNoNo
Lens mountNikon FNikon FNikon F

Form factor

Size127x96x78 mm125x96x76 mm124x96x73 mm
Depth3.1″3″2.9″
Weight560 g455 g505 g
Interchangeable lensesYesYesYes
WaterproofNoNoNo
Weather sealedNoNoNo

Viewfinder

TypePentamirrorPentamirrorPentamirror
Viewfinder size0.51x0.50x0.51x
Coverage95%95%95%

Movies

Format1080p @ 30fps1080p @ 30fps1080p @ 24fps
Supports 24pYesYesYes
High-speed framerateNoneNoneNone
External mic jackYesYesNo
AutofocusContrast detectionContrast detectionContrast detection
Continuous focusYesYesYes
All formats1080p @ 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

Features

PanoramaNoNoNo
HDRYesNoNo
3DNoNoNo
Image stabilizationNoneNoneNone
Supports RAWYesYesYes
GPSNoNoNo

Performance

Startup delay100 msUnknown400 ms
Shutter lag273 msUnknown279 ms
Battery life660 shots540 shots550 shots
Continuous shooting4 fps4 fps3 fps

Focus system

AutofocusPhase detectionPhase detectionPhase detection
Focus points111111
Cross type focus pointsUnknown11

Shutter

Max1/4000s1/4000s1/4000s
Min30s30s30s

Flash

Built-in flashYesYesYes
PopupYesYesYes
External connectionYesYesYes

Storage

Storage slots111
Supported formatsSD
SDXC
SDHC
SD
SDXC
SDHC
SD
SDXC
SDHC

DXO Mark Scores

Image quality80.0Unknown67.0
Color depth23.5 bitsUnknown22.5 bits
Dynamic range13 EVUnknown11.3 EV
Low light performance1,183 ISOUnknown919 ISO