Body & Design
The D3200 body looks very similar to the D3100 but the control layout has been subtly rearranged in a couple of places. An infrared remote receiver can be seen in the front of the hand-grip and on the top rear left of the camera - a feature missing from the D3100. The D3200 also loses its predecessor's combined live view thumb switch and movie record button. Instead live view is now enabled with a button on the back of the camera, at which point the record button that's set just behind the shutter button becomes active.
From the top you can see the D3200's flash, shown here in its closed (stowed) position and the hotshoe which can accept any of Nikon's current range of Speedlight flashes. The left-hand side of the top plate is bare, but on the right of the pentamirror 'hump' you can see a cluster of control points, which are listed and explained further down this page.
Top of camera controls (right)
The top plate of the D3200 gains an extra button, compared to its predecessor - the movie record button. This sits alongside the rather under-utilized 'Info' button, which is essentially a display button, cycling through the three live view display options or turning the rear screen on and off. It's not to be confused with the <[i]> ('information edit') button or the ? button, which provides helpful information about menu settings for novice photographers.
Front of camera controls
The D3200 retains Nikon's multi-function flash button. This can be pressed to release the flash, or held down and used in combination with the control dial to change flash compensation. It gives a impressive level of simple and direct control over flash, which is unusual in a camera at this level. The Fn button, meanwhile, can be configured to control one of four settings (Image Quality/Size, ISO, White Balance, or Active D-Lighting), which are also controlled by holding the button and spinning the control dial.
From the back, the D3200 is again, similar to its predecessor (to the extent that someone coming from the D3100 will know their way around immediately) but not identical. The most obvious is that the D3100's large combined live view/video shooting control is gone, replaced by a simple 'Lv' button in the style of the recent D800 and D4. Unlike these higher-end cameras though, there is no modal distinction between still image and movie live view operation.
Whether this change from a unified live view/movie control to two separate buttons is good or bad depends on whether you particularly loved or hated the old-style control lever but on balance, after using the D3100 and D7000 for some time, we prefer the new approach. There was nothing wrong with the old control, but a simple button press is always going to be quicker than throwing a sprung lever. The only other change to the control points compared to the D3100 is the addition of a drive mode button, just above the delete button on the lower-left of the body.
Easily overlooked, but important, is a rear IR port on the upper left of the rear plate of the D3200 - one of two on the camera. This allows it to be remotely triggered from a position behind the camera, using an optional infra-red trigger. As we've already mentioned, the D3100 didn't offer wireless triggering, so the addition of two ports on the D3200 is very good news.