Consumer SLR Camera Roundup (2014)
24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor | 5fps Continuous Shooting | 1080/60p video
What we like:
- High-res sensor
- Compact design
- 1080/60p video
What we don't like:
- Heavy JPEG noise reduction
- Kit lens can't keep up with sensor
- Live view AF not as fast as mirrorless
While not a huge upgrade over its predecessor, the Nikon D3300 improves some important features and continues to be a well-specified entry-level DSLR. It retains the 24MP CMOS sensor but adds a faster image processor, larger optical viewfinder, and 1080/60p video. Battery life has also improved considerably.
"What stands out about the Nikon D3300 is its extremely high resolution in such a small, simple-to-use SLR design"
The first thing to mention about image quality is that kit lenses like the bundled 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 can't keep up with high resolution of the camera, so you'll need to attach a higher quality lens to see the best results. JPEGs can be a bit heavy on the noise reduction, but shooting Raw gives you a lot more latitude. Something else about Raw is that you can pull up a lot of detail from the shadows, thanks to the D3300's impressive sensor.
Its simplified interface will be familiar to any Nikon user, and will be easy to grasp for anyone stepping up from a simple point-and-shoot camera. The more experienced photographer may resent the amount of button-pressing required to change settings, though. The viewfinder size has been bumped up nicely compared to the D3200, making the D3300 more competitive in its class. If framing your images on the LCD is your thing, though, the D3300's slower contrast-detect system pales in comparison to comparably priced mirrorless cameras. Video recording has also been improved upon, now with the ability to record 1080/60p video, though manual controls are very limited.
What stands out about the Nikon D3300 is its extremely high resolution in such a small, light, and simple-to-use SLR design. It's a great choice as a family camera or a backup camera, as it's easy to pack along.