Being an entry-entry-level model, the D3300 has a seemingly plastic shell that's not exactly sturdy-feeling, but doesn't seem overly cheap. It sports a sculpted handgrip on the front and a wide thumb rest on the back, both coated in a pleasantly resistive textured leather-like finish. Like the D3200, its twin infrared sensors are positioned in the front of the hand-grip and on the top rear left of the camera. Buttons for drive mode and image delete are now stacked side-by-side below the compass switch on the camera's back panel but, aside from this re-arrangement, everything else is in step with the model before it.
The camera feels well balanced, thanks in most part to a deep, sculpted hand grip. The rear command dial is easily within reach of the right thumb. The grip is somewhat slim, and can be uncomfortable to hold for an extended amount of time.
The thumb rest on the back panel is wide and raised slightly on the outer edge, making it easier to support the camera in the right hand. The body isn't very tall, so there's every chance that users with large hands will find their little fingers extend below the bottom of the camera. We've not found this to be a problem, but it's worth being aware of if you're put-off by such things.
The D3300's viewfinder offers 95% coverage, and with 0.85x magnification it's slightly larger than the D5300's 0.82x viewfinder, and larger still than the D3200's 0.80x viewfinder. The Pentax K-500 leads the class in terms of coverage with an uncharacteristic 100% OVF and 0.92x magnification. The diagram below shows the D3300 to be average for the class.
The D3300's ports are ranged down its left flank, behind two separate rubber covers. From the top, these are: a GPS/remote socket, a mic port (still relatively rare in a product at this level), the USB/AV port and an HDMI connector.
The use of two separate port doors makes use of the optional WU-1a Wi-Fi adapter a little more practical. It pushes into the USB/AV port, requiring the door to remain wedged open while in use.
On the rear of the D3300 is the second of two IR receivers on the camera - back again after being omitted from the D3100 and re-introduced in this camera's predecessor.
The D3300's hotshoe is compatible with all of the flashes in Nikon's current Speedlight range. Not only does this allow you to get more power than the built-in flash but it also opens up the opportunity to create and control a group of flashes wirelessly (something that the D3300 cannot do on its own).
The card slot is located on the side of the camera rather than with the battery compartment. This makes working in a tripod more pleasant and is something that often gets missed off entry-level cameras, in the name of downsizing or cost-saving.
The D3300's battery compartment is neatly slotted inside its handgrip, and is accessible via a hinged door on the base of the camera.
The D3300 uses the EN-EL14a battery, that offers up to 8.9Wh of energy and is rated at 700 shots-per-charge, using CIPA standard testing.
A tripod socket sits in line with the lens axis, and far enough away from the battery compartment door that changing the battery when the camera is mounted on a tripod shouldn't be a problem.