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ISO Accuracy

The actual sensitivity of each indicated ISO is measured using the same shots as are used to measure ISO noise levels, we simply compare the exposure for each shot to the metered light level (using a calibrated Sekonic L-358), middle gray matched. We estimate the accuracy of these results to be +/- 1/6 EV (the margin of error given in the ISO specifications). In our tests we found that measured ISOs from the Nikon D3200 match the marked ISOs within 1/6 stop accuracy, meaning ISO 100 indicated = ISO 100 measured.

Noise and Noise Reduction (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Note: this page features our new interactive noise comparison widget. By default, we show you the default noise reduction settings of the camera tested, and three other models of the same class. You can select from all available NR options, and from other cameras. The 'tricolor' patches beneath the familiar gray/black/portrait images are taken from the same test chart, and show how noise impacts upon blue, green and red areas of a scene.

If you look at the noise graphs above you can see that, at default settings (NR Off), the Nikon D3200's measured noise levels are higher than some of the competition in its class, albeit pretty close to its predecessor D3100, pretty much across the entire ISO range. Noise levels increase slowly but steadily up to ISO 3200, then skyrocket at the two highest sensitivity settings. A look at the samples confirms the measured results. Image noise becomes visible at ISO 200 but stays within acceptable limits until ISO 3200. At ISO 6400 and the Hi1 setting (ISO 12800) both chroma and luminance noise levels become pretty intrusive while at the same time noise reduction is blurring most fine detail away.

There is practically no benefit to switching noise reduction on at low ISOs, a difference between the 'Off' and 'On' settings only becomes visible at ISO 1600 and higher. That said, even the 'Off' setting doesn't mean that no noise reduction at all is applied. Instead there appears to be a baseline level of mainly chroma noise reduction that cannot be disabled. The noise reduction setting controls the amount of additional noise reduction on top of this baseline level.

At higher ISOs the NR 'On' setting is the better option as it produces a visible cleaner image without a significant additional impact on fine detail. Overall up to ISO 3200 the Nikon D3200's noise levels are fairly typical for the entry-level bracket of the market albeit at the higher end of the spectrum. At the two highest settings image quality deteriorates quickly and ISO 6400 and 12800 images should be reserved for use at small output sizes only.

RAW noise (ACR 7.1, noise reduction set to zero)

With all noise reduction switched off in raw conversion the Nikon D3200's raw noise levels are on a very similar level to the competition in the entry-level bracket and its predecessor D3100. Converting high ISO raw files and applying a customized noise reduction mix can get you better results than the out-of-camera JPEGs, as we have demonstrated in the image quality sections of this review.

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Total comments: 13

It may be a new model with a few new bells and whistles but I see that the IQ is still rated at 4.5. To me that means that adding 10 megapixels is just a sales gimmick. The extra megapixels seems to be the Nikon choice of improvements to induce hobbyists to upgrade. Do they think we are such fools?

1 upvote

Great power comes with great responsibility. High quality sensor is a bonus but at this resolution, you need better lenses to make the most of it. Entry level people may not even want to spend that much for any lenses… by the time they are happy with their skill and ready for investment in better lenses… they may also want a better body… so, yes, again for those who can afford it rather than really drawing people in to their DSLR range. For many beginner, I think price is one of the main issues.

1 upvote

Hello. I have slightly unrelated question.

What is you opinion of Canon PowerShot G16? Do you think it's good enough for commercial object photography?



thank you for this useful information, i really like the Nikon D3200, it's be the door of much people to photography world and i can said that it's the best for beginners, because it's simple - low price - 24.2 MP ...i creat a post about features of Nikon D3200 and why it's the best for beginners (see my profile)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting

Its horrible to hear some bad news related with d3200 as i purchased it last week.I am a new one in SLR,and have less experience with SLR camera.Today i downloaded the update of firmware and finally decided to give up the attempt after reading the reviews related with the new update.Now i ordered for a 35 mm F1.8 prime lens.Now i think the move was totally foolish one


I am a novice DSLR user as I have only used point and shoot cameras up until last year. Two days ago, I took my camera into Kenmore camera (our local store) as they asked to look this issue. I may have had a setting incorrect after the camera came back from Nikon Service. It appears to be working acceptably now with the 35mm, F1.8 lens. I will see if I can delete my earlier post. Keep in mind, you may need to send your camera to Nikon to get the autofocus adjusted (this is free during the warranty period)to work acceptably with F1.8. The other thing I realized is the focus system can have a hard time determining what to focus on in different lighting and in low contrast conditions (this may have contributed to my problem after the camera returned from service). I am still learning the camera and each new item I get (F1.8 lens in this case) is a new learning curve.



Don't be sad, i always suggest Nikon D3200 for beginners, because it's teaches and encourages those who are new to DSLR technology.
i've created a comparison chart at that compares the D3200 to the D7XXX serie,D5XXX and Canon cameras under 700$. don't make any buying decision till read it.


I've had my D3200 for almost a year. I was happy with it until purchasing a 35mm F1.8 prime lens. I found at F1.8 the actual focus was behind the subject by about 4". I sent the camera back to the factory (warranty service) and had the autofocus adjusted. The focus is only slightly better than before. If you stick with the kit lenses, you won't notice this as you have a larger depth of field. It's possible not all D3200 cameras behave this way; mine does. If I use the prime lens, I start around F4 and don't go lower.

Comment edited 59 seconds after posting

I would like to modify or delete this post but apparently, I can't do that. The post is correct except for after the camera came back from service. By the way, Nikon service did verify my focus issue was valid. The camera focuses properly at F1.8 now. I found the camera can struggle to determine what to focus on depending on lighting and sometimes the subject itself. It's possible this is normal. I am a novice photograhper and am learning my gear and it's limitations.


Oh man, I have been having crazy issues with my auto focus on my d3200. I bought a 2.8 17-55 lens for landscape and event photography and am finding SO often that in low light, when I have to move towards an f-stop of even around f5 that my subject is OUT OF FOCUS. Even with this fancy lens! I don't think my camera is still under warranty. What is the solution here?!


i love it. im using the camera for filming.
im gonna let the camera speek for it self.
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I have been using this camera for 6 months now. Prior to this I had a D90 and I miss the LCD display and the extra control. It just takes a bit of getting used to.
The 24mp CMOS is very useful for crop-zooming. Got a good price on it in Dubai Duty Free.


thanks a lot for this huge amount of useful information
actually in digital cameras world Nikon is my only choice

Total comments: 13