Consumer SLR Camera Roundup (2013)
24MP APS-C CMOS Sensor | 4fps Continuous Shooting | SD Card Slot
What we like:
- High-res sensor
- Built-in distortion correction
- Compact design
What we don't like:
- Kit lens could be better
- Overexposes in bright settings
- Live view AF not as fast as mirrorless
Sporting the highest resolution of cameras in this range, the Nikon D3200 offers a 24MP sensor at a very low price. With an optical viewfinder, a high-resolution 3-inch LCD screen, and compatibility with AF-S Nikkor lenses, the Nikon D3200 is a great entry-level digital SLR. For about the same amount of money, Nikon offers their Nikon 1 system cameras, including the J3 and V2, which have a smaller sensor and body, and use smaller lenses as well.
"What stands out about the Nikon D3200 is its extremely high resolution in such a small, simple-to-use SLR design"
The Nikon D3200 comes with an 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 lens that covers a 27-83mm equivalent range, which is good for basic photographic needs. Built-in distortion correction makes up for many of the kit lens' shortcomings, making the overall package a good one. The sensor easily out-resolves the ability of the lens, however, so purchase of a better lens will improve image quality.
In good light, the Nikon D3200 will do very well, and the noise performance is good as ISO rises. The Active D-Lighting function helps create well balanced JPEGs even in high-contrast settings. We noticed a tendency to overexpose in bright, high-contrast situations, often requiring some exposure compensation to correct.
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. Compared to enthusiast-level SLRs, the D3200's viewfinder is on the small side, but it's on par with others in this roundup. If framing your images on the LCD is your thing, though, the D3200's slower contrast-detect system pales in comparison to comparably priced mirrorless cameras. Its light weight and small size give the Nikon D3200 an advantage over the larger cameras in this roundup, but many mirrorless cameras are smaller and lighter.
What stands out about the Nikon D3200 is its extremely high resolution in such a small, 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.