Nikon D3300 Review: More Power, More Features, Less Control

nikon d3300 photo

The D3300 continues Nikon's trend of beginner DSLRs, packing more power and features into a newbie-friendly package. Featuring a 24.2 megapixel camera, wide ISO sensitiviy range, half second start to shoot time, and lightweight body, the D3300 is ready to take stunning images at a moment's notice.

The Good

  • Super-high resolution 24.2 megapixel sensor
  • Lightweight DX-format sensor
  • Very good light sensitivity with an ISO range from 100-12800 and expandable to 25600
  • Expeed 4 processor provides higher video frame rate and improved autofocus while using less power than Expeed 3
  • Generous 700 photo battery life

The Bad

  • Aperture can't be changed while in Live View
  • Slow shutter speed when using auto mode without flash
  • Auto focus in Live View is still slow
  • Sacrifices features to appeal to beginners

The Verdict

Beginners will find no fault with this DSLR, although experienced photographers will find it lacking. The D3300 is a DSLR designed for newcomers to the DSLR world, and Nikon caters to that demographic exceptionally well.


Tech Specs

Image Quality

24.2 MP, max 1080p @ 60fps

Audio Quality

Average

Battery Life

700 photos (approx)

Wifi and Bluetooth

Not Enabled


Design and Hardware

The D3300 is a compact DSLR, measuring in at 4.9 x 3.9 x 3 inches and weighing only paltry 14.5 ounces. It's portability makes it easy to carry around and reposition for angled shots without feeling cheap. The intuitive control scheme remains mostly the same from Nikon's previous offerings including Guide mode, which is designed to help new photographers take better photos. Professional photographers may feel short-changed by limited manual controls, though the 3" LCD on the rear of the camera offers a detailed menu with expanded options.


Image and Video Quality

The D3300 takes sharper images than the D3200 while greatly reducing noise. Images are sharp, clear, and maintain accurate colors and lighting. The D3300 has a wide ISO range, though the quality tends to drop off at ISO 6400. The D3300 supports video of 60 frames per second (fps) at 1080p, meaning you'll be able to take smooth high resolution video easily. Continuous autofocus means your videos will always appear sharp and focused even with quickly moving subjects.


Battery Life and Performance

The D3300 takes only a half second to power on and shoot. Focusing takes 0.4 to 0.6 seconds depending on lighting conditions, while the shutter can take two consecutive photos in as little as 0.2 seconds. The D3300 can also take continuous images up to 5 fps. However, performance suffers when using Live View mode, with the D3300 taking upwards of 2 seconds to focus and shoot.

The D3300's battery is rated for 700 photos, which is better than most competing DSLRs. The built-in microphone supports mono audio, although an external microphone can be plugged into an optional 3.5mm jack. The D3300 even lets you adjust microphone sensitivity.


Conclusion

The D3300 may be a powerful DSLR, but it's still limited by its focus on beginner friendliness and ease-of-use. It may be simple to use, but it's missing many features that are becoming standard across DSLRs such as Wi-Fi, fast focus in Live View, and greater manual control. Newbies who want to take awesome images will feel right at home, though anyone with a more advanced skill set will quickly begin to feel limited.

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