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Video

On paper the D3200 offers a very similar video mode to its predecessor, the D3100, but there are a couple of interesting improvements which make the D3200 a more serious video capturing device than the D3100 was. The new model offers manual control over both shutter speed and aperture (on the D3100 you could only fix the aperture before recording), and there is a connector for an external microphone which allows you to record stereo sound. The built-in internal microphone captures mono audio only but you can adjust its sensitivity and switch it off completely.

Other than that, the camera's movie specs are in line with its predecessor. There is a choice of three video resolutions - 1920 x 1080 Full HD, 1280 x 720 HD, and 640 x 424 SD - which all use progressive (i.e. non-interlaced) frame recording. Files are encoded in the .MOV Quicktime format using H.264 compression.

Like on the D3100 some basic video editing options are available in-camera via the retouch menu, allowing you to trim clips to selected start/end points, or extract individual frames as still images.

Video quality options

Sizes

• Frame size/frame rate
1920 x 1080p (30/25/24 fps)
1280 x 720p (60/50fps)
640 x 424 (30/25fps)

Audio Monaural sound, Linear PCM, stereo sound with external microphone
Format H.264 / MPEG-4
Max file size per clip 4.0 GB
Recordable time 20:00 minutes

Handling in Video mode

Recording a movie on the D3200 works in a very similar way to the D3100. The process is well-integrated into the user interface and you don't need to enter a specific movie mode. You engage live view by pressing the dedicated button on the camera back, then press the red movie button next to the shutter button to start recording. At this point the live view image will crop down to the 16:9 aspect ratio if you're recording HD footage, but sadly there is still no way to preview the 16:9 format for more accurate framing before you press the record button. You can record a still image while shooting a movie simply by pressing the shutter button - however this does also stop movie recording.

Shutter speed, aperture and ISO are usually set automatically, and you can press the AEL button during recording to lock the exposure. In the PAS modes you can apply exposure compensation up to +/-3 EV, either before or during filming.

The Nikon D3200 offers more control over video settings than previous generation Nikon entry-level DSLRs, including manual control over audio recording levels.

In A and M modes you can set the aperture manually before shooting but sadly this still works in the same unintuitive way as on the D3100. The camera enters live view at the currently set (or metered) aperture, but then remains there no matter what changes you make, until you either exit live view or take a picture. This means, bizarrely, that movies aren't always recorded at the currently-set aperture.

For example, if in A mode you set the camera to F5.6 and enter live view, then change the aperture to F16 and start recording, your movie will be shot at F5.6. But if you then take a still image and restart movie recording, your new clip will now be shot at F16. This is, obviously, somewhat confusing until you understand what's going on - at which point it's merely inexplicable.

In M mode you can additionally set shutter speed and ISO manually if you have activated this option in the menu - this is a new feature on the D3200. However, the display makes no attempt to reflect the currently-set exposure level at all, and there's no on-screen exposure level meter either - a serious omission in our opinion.

Video image quality

The Nikon D3200 produces video output that is very similar to its predecessor D3100 and indeed other recent Nikon entry-level and mid-range DSLRs. The camera captures good quality movie footage, with smooth motion, no visible artifacts and comparatively low image noise levels when shooting in low light. The sound quality from the built-in microphone is only good enough for casual shooting in quiet surroundings and will easily pick up noise from camera operations such as zooming, autofocus or vibration reduction. That said, you can connect an external stereo microphone and even control the recording level which is the recommended option for more serious videographers.

The D3200's APS-C sensor brings with it all the depth of field pros and cons that come with larger sensors. It allows for much easier isolation of subjects and gives you, in combination with Nikon's range of lenses, better creative flexibility than the smaller sensors of compact cameras. On the other hand this means there is a higher possibility of your subjects moving out of the focal plane while filming.

Like all DSLRs with a CMOS sensor the D3200 can suffer from 'jello' effects when panning or recording subjects that are moving fast across the frame, with vertical lines tilting to diagonals due to the use of a 'rolling' shutter. However, the effect is much less visible on the D3200 than on earlier generation cameras and you have to pan very fast to notice. In normal shooting the ‘jello’ effect is a non-issue on the Nikon.

Like on most DSLRs that offer continuous autofocus during movie recording its use is only recommendable within limits. With moving subjects in the frame the camera will almost inevitably jump in and out of focus, take a couple of seconds or fail to establish focus at all on occasions. The D3200’s mirrorless competitors such as the Sony NEXs or Panasonic G series, with their lenses which are specifically designed for improved movie shooting, do a better job. But in general the best results can be achieved by focusing manually or pre-focusing for a given scene.

Below you'll find some examples of videos taken with the Nikon D3200 for you to view, download and draw your own conclusions.

Sample video 1

This video was shot at 1080p and in good light. The motion is smooth and the vibration reduction system of the 18-55mm kit lens is doing a good job at keeping things steady, even when panning.

1920 x 1080 24 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 7 sec, 20.6 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 2

This is another 1080p video in good light. The built-in microphone is doing a good job a capturing the ambient sounds but for more serious work an external microphone is the better choice.

1920 x 1080 24 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 13 sec, 37.3 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 3

This video was captured in a very dark bar. The image gets visibly noisy at high sensitivities but the end result is in line with other cameras in this class. Due to noise reduction the footage also looks a little soft at full size.

1920 x 1080 24 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 8 sec, 22.0 MB Click here to download original .MOV file

Sample video 4

This video was shot at 720p and 60 frames per second which results in very smooth motion (when played on a compatible video player such as VLC).

1280 x 720 60 fps, H.264 .MOV file, 6 sec, 18.8 MB Click here to download original .MOV file
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Comments

Total comments: 9
ibrahimbeno
By ibrahimbeno (3 months ago)

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
0 upvotes
SUNNY PARAMUNDA
By SUNNY PARAMUNDA (3 months ago)

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

0 upvotes
dvalente
By dvalente (3 months ago)

Sunny,
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.

Dean

0 upvotes
ibrahimbeno
By ibrahimbeno (2 months ago)

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 http://nikond3200news.blogspot.com/2014/06/nikon-d3200-is-it-best-dslr-camera-for-beginner.html that compares the D3200 to the D7XXX serie,D5XXX and Canon cameras under 700$. don't make any buying decision till read it.

0 upvotes
dvalente
By dvalente (3 months ago)

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
0 upvotes
dvalente
By dvalente (3 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
gloomvision
By gloomvision (4 months ago)

i love it. im using the camera for filming.
im gonna let the camera speek for it self.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/gnkwdy4xhS8?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

0 upvotes
FuduNYC
By FuduNYC (5 months ago)

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.

0 upvotes
omarasl
By omarasl (11 months ago)

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

2 upvotes
Total comments: 9