Mini-Review: Nikon D3300

4 months ago comradetao Comments Off on Mini-Review: Nikon D3300

Anyone with deep pockets can be a gear snob. What really matters is what you get out of the things you buy. A good digital camera can be an expensive toy or a profitable tool. If you’re in the toy category, something like the D3300 here can get you some high-class images for 1/10th of the price of the high-end equipment.

Handling

The D3300 is a basic camera, and if you’ve handled equipment closer to professional grade level, you’ll know it right away. There are fewer dials than those models, but you get more buttons an controls than your average point and shoot camera. It’s not all that bad though. By turning the one control dial while holding down certain buttons, you gain command of functions that, on more expensive cameras, you would have extra dials for. This camera, though, is way smaller and lighter than those. It’s very compact and pretty light for a digital SLR camera. Compared to the beefier cameras I have used, especially the likes of Pentax, which are built like tanks but often very heavy, this one handles very easily. The downsides to being a no-frills model is that you don’t have a flip-out screen, touch screen, or top LCD screen to help you change settings quickly or find certain camera angles more conveniently. That being said (Chris Niccolls @ thecamerastoretv TM) it’s not any harder to maneuver than some professional cameras.

 

Image Quality

I only use it with the kit lens. Lets face it; the lens is good enough and higher grade lenses can cost more than the whole camera kit. I’m pleased with the images though. From a practical standpoint, the colors look great. I found that they were true to my eyes in most cases. The low light sensitivity is excellent and even the noise pattern is pleasing. I can go for some image noise in my photographs rather than the mush of noise suppression. The graininess of a low light picture give context to a photograph; signaling that, even though it looks bright, it was a darker environment. Still, this camera does well to avoid noise. I’m not going to get into the technical aspects of it. There are plenty of review sites that will bore you with minutia like that. In my experience, this cameras pictures outperform my Panasonic G7 and the various Canon APS-C DSLRs that I have owned. It’s similar to Sony or Pentax in overall quality.

 

Performance

This camera isn’t very fast. You can shoot at about 5FPS and it seems like less with continuous autofocus enabled. Autofocus also isn’t very fast, but it tracks well. It would probably be good enough for kids, pets, and even some sports in good lighting. You mostly are going to use the center point, and the camera isn’t going to do much to keep your subject in focus for you, so you’ll be learning some workarounds for that.

 

Video

Heck, it’s 1080p. The quality is pretty good. you can shoot in 24p 30p and 60p. The camera maxes out at 10 minutes for 60p and 29:59 for 30p (I think). I have heard some people say their model suggested only 20 minutes tops.  You can’t change the aperture while recording and the camera does not have focus peaking. You’ll be depending on your eyes and the rear screen to nail focus. You can hook it up to an HDMI monitor though by using a mini HDMI to HDMI cable. That might help you out in live view. Autofocus in video is pretty poor. You’ll only be able to use it to set up a mostly static shot. For action with lots of motion and changing focus, stick to manual.

Speaking of which, I tried to see how long this camera can run in live view on an AC adapter and it maxes out at 30 minutes. The camera’s firmware holds the camera to that duration; probably to keep the sensor from overheating. That’s just a guess.

 

Conclusion  

 

I know that was a short review, but I really don’t think there’s a lot to say here. The camera takes a pleasant image and is pretty easy to use. Honestly, all the attention to buttons, dials, handling and things that people regularly make a fuss over don’t matter too much unless there’s some serious deal breaker for you. I haven’t picked up a camera yet that I couldn’t adapt to using. I recommend this camera to anyone that wants the image quality of cameras 2-4 times the cost and doesn’t need the bells and whistles of the fanciest new toys. You can also buy the updated version, the D3400. It’s rated for a longer battery life and has built-in wifi, but you get a less powerful flash and no ultrasonic sensor cleaning (designed to shake dust from the sensor). From what I’ve seen, image quality on the two cameras is similar.

If you want to buy one, please consider using my Amazon affiliate links below. I also included a sample gallery of images I took in the local park.

 

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