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Nikon D3300 Review

April 2014 | By Allison Johnson
Buy on GearShopFrom $596.95

One of the biggest camera announcements at 2014's Consumer Electronics Show may well have been the little Nikon D3300 and its collapsible 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR II lens. It may not shoot 4K video or offer a curved LCD (those shows are all about the tech trends) but it does represent the next generation of Nikon's very popular entry-level DSLR line, and that in itself is noteworthy.

The D3300 sits at the bottom of Nikon's entry-level series, positioned as the friendliest of beginner-friendly DSLRs, just below the D5300. Don't be fooled by their class bearing though, both cameras use a powerful 24MP APS-C sensor. Opting for the D3300 rather than the D5300 means living with a fixed 3.0-inch LCD, rather than one that's fully articulated, and no built-in Wi-Fi.

Nikon D3300 key features

  • 24.2 MP DX format (APS-C) sensor
  • Expeed 4 processor
  • Fixed 3.0" 921k-dot LCD
  • 1080/60p HD video
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 700 shot battery life

The D3300's Expeed 4 branded processor is responsible for many of its gains over the previous model, the D3200. This model gets an upgrade to 1080/60p video recording, an extra frame per second in burst mode, and a higher ISO range up to 12800 (25600 with expansion).

Specs comparison

The table below illustrates the differences between this model, its predecessor, and the step-up model. It should be noted that the D3300 appears to give better battery performance than the D5300, but actually they use the same EN-EL14a battery. The D5300's lower claimed battery life reflects a calculation for use of the camera's built-in Wi-Fi and GPS. By any measure, the D3300 is well above its peers in terms of battery capacity.

  Nikon D3300 Nikon D3200 Nikon D5300
Sensor 24.2 MP DX format CMOS (23.5 x 15.6 mm) 24.2 MP DX format CMOS (23.2 x 15.4 mm) 24.2 MP DX format CMOS (23.5 x 15.6 mm)
Image processing Expeed 4 Expeed 3 Expeed 4
LCD Fixed 3.0" 921k-dot LCD Fixed 3.0" 921k-dot LCD Vari-angle 3.2" 1037k-dot LCD
AF system 11-point (1 cross-type) 11-point (1 cross-type) 39-point (9 cross-type)
Viewfinder 0.85x (95% coverage) 0.80x (95% coverage) 0.82x (95% coverage)
ISO range 100-12800 (expansion to 25600) 100-6400 (expansion to 12800) 100-12800 (expansion to 25600)
Connectivity With optional WU-1a Mobile Adapter With optional WU-1a Mobile Adapter Built-in
Video capture max. resolution 1080 60p 1080 30p 1080 60p
Continuous shooting 5 fps 4 fps 5 fps
Battery life 700 shots 540 shots 600 shots
Dimensions 124 x 98 x 76 mm (4.88 x 3.86 x 2.99″) 125 x 96 x 77 mm (4.92 x 3.78 x 3.03″) 125 x 98 x 76 mm (4.92 x 3.86 x 2.99″)
Weight 460 g (16.23 oz) 505 g (17.81 oz) 530 g (18.70 oz)

Moving up the chain of Nikon's crop-frame DSLR line AF systems get increasingly sophisticated. The D3300 sits at the very bottom with an 11-point system and a single cross-type sensor at the middle - nothing that would tempt a sports photographer, but perfectly capable for its class. Outside of this, Wi-Fi and a vari-angle screen are the only other clear hardware advantages to the D5300 over the entry-level model.

The comparison paints a picture of a nicely specified entry-level model with excellent battery life, a new processor and a whole lot of resolution. Aside from the lack of Wi-Fi, there's not much to complain about here and we don't feel that there's anything that this camera is seriously lacking feature-wise.

However, the days when an entry-level Nikon only really had to worry about its latest rival from Canon have gone. So, although the D3300's specs are very impressive - especially in terms of battery life - it also has to hold its own against the smaller mirrorless cameras that match it for image quality and offer a more compact-camera-like live view shooting experience.

Though a little long in the tooth, the Panasonic Lumix GF6 offers a tilting touch screen, and the Olympus E-PM2 provides a fixed touch screen (and is a steal price-wise compared to the rest of the class). Elsewhere in the category the Pentax K-500 offers a 100% coverage optical viewfinder and 6 fps burst shooting, while the Fujifilm X-A1 offers twin command dials and built-in Wi-Fi.

Kit options and pricing

The Nikon D3300 is available in black, grey and red variants, kitted in the US and UK with a collapsible 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR II lens with list prices of $649.95 and £599.99, respectively. In the UK there's also a £499.99 body-only option, not offered in the US.

Without the D5300's built-in Wi-Fi, D3300 owners will need to add Nikon's WU-1a mobile adapter for connectivity features. The adapter dangles from the camera's AV port, making it possible to wirelessly transfer images to an Android or iOS device. Read more about it in our review of the Nikon D3200. It's available separately for $59.95/£54.99.

Nikon's DSLRs aren't by any means the cheapest in their respective classes, and that's true of the D3300. It's about $100 US more than a comparable Canon kit, and costs well over twice as much as the (very aggresively priced) Sony a3000. For that premium, you get one of the highest resolution APS-C sensors on the market, a very good 1080/60p video spec, and exceptional battery life among other things. It's slightly pricier, but does the feature set justify the tag? Or would your entry-level dollars be better spent elsewhere?


If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read the Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / Recommendation / Ratings are based on the opinion of the reviewer, you should read the ENTIRE review before coming to your own conclusions.

We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally A,B and C.

This article is Copyright 2014 and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

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Comments

Total comments: 232
12
locke_fc
By locke_fc (4 months ago)

Sorry, but... yawn

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
4 upvotes
MiraShootsNikon
By MiraShootsNikon (4 months ago)

24MP crop sensor + secondary mirror phase-detect autofocus with no fine tuning = recipe for disappointment.

0 upvotes
Timbukto
By Timbukto (4 months ago)

The 35mm 1.8G shots did not look to be in critical focus for even the lower ISO shots.

0 upvotes
retro76
By retro76 (4 months ago)

People who complain + never have used the product = annoying.

4 upvotes
dynaxx
By dynaxx (4 months ago)

please, oh please!, can we ban these comments that revolve around the idea that you must not have an opinion about a camera that you have not held in your own hands ? If this comment had any validity whatsoever it would render this website pointless. Who has the time and access necessary ( I live in the provinces and the nearest camera shop is 3 hours away by car/train) to try out every new camera/lens ?

2 upvotes
pacnwhobbyist
By pacnwhobbyist (4 months ago)

Maybe if you don't know what you're doing it is.

0 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (4 months ago)

No one is shooting this camera at f1.4, so no worries. Although we can certainly look forward to the usual number of "my D3300 backfocuses/frontfocuses" posts as well as the requisite rows of batteries, deodorant cans, etc. That will never change.

1 upvote
brendon1000
By brendon1000 (4 months ago)

^^ I would wager there would be plenty of people using this type of cameras with a 50mm f1.4 as its a pretty inexpensive lens.

0 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

Well depth of field with the 50mm f1.8g is rather small as well. And that lens is an perfect starter lens for portrait work.
Excellent for beginners experimenting with dof.
And that lens will be hard to use on this camera when compared to the d5200/5300. This is a good con worth mentioning.

0 upvotes
chris_j_l
By chris_j_l (4 months ago)

I liked the Pro: Customizable Fn button allows for direct access to ISO or white balance.

Ahahahaha.

I'm struggling to think of a DSLR that doesn't have direct access to these quite important functions as separate buttons and not as a "will I be wanting to change ISO or WB today?" fn button.

Any other camera and this would be a Con.

14 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 months ago)

Why do they list (above) "kits" containing third-rate, slow SD cards, junk tripod, ridiculous (you REALLY going to put one of those on a 24mp DSLR???!) tele/wide adapters and no-name camera cases? The SD card alone is a disservice to a modern, fast DSLR.

1 upvote
chlamchowder
By chlamchowder (4 months ago)

I agree about the tele/wide adapters.
However, slow SD cards don't matter if you aren't shooting sports (because you won't be shooting bursts). And even flimsy looking tripods can be made to work if you don't extend them and use a light lens (which most people will do anyways - few people take landscape or group pictures with a 300/2.8).

0 upvotes
justmeMN
By justmeMN (4 months ago)

This may be the only DSLR made that doesn't include Automatic Exposure Bracketing. Even my 2003 Canon G5 compact camera had AEB.

2 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

With your canon 1 out of a dozen 18mp sensor you need 3 exposures to get the exact same dynamic range that the d3300 captures in 1 shot.

11 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (4 months ago)

Yep. With a Nikon late model sensor and Lightroom, you're about done bracketing anyway.

10 upvotes
Timbukto
By Timbukto (4 months ago)

Basing too much on reputation. Just because the Nikon sensors in the D6x0, D800, D5100, and D7000 are the tops in shadow pulls does not mean *every* sensor afterwards will be better at shadow pulls. Carefully examining and looking at this review would have made that point obvious. The slight exposure pull and +100 shadows is something the D5100/D7000 class of sensors would have done with no visible noise really. The Sony A6000 and this sensor are very good, but not necessarily exactly the same. I've compared the Sony A6000 RAWs and did not find it much different from my Canon 6D. I look forward to doing a exposure pull comparison later with the D3300.

1 upvote
justmeMN
By justmeMN (4 months ago)

@BarnET: The Nikon D5300 (etc.) has Automatic Exposure Bracketing. By your logic, the D3300 has Nikon's best sensor, and all of Nikon's more expensive DSLRs all have inferior sensors. I don't think so....

1 upvote
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

No justmmn that ain't my logic.
The fullframe Nikon's have better sensors with less noise.
However it's miles better as the current canon's and among the best in apsc world. It's dynamic range is more then enough for it's user base. Just teach the beginners to shoot raw and to use a raw editor.

1 upvote
Retzius
By Retzius (4 months ago)

The D3300 is a tidy little camera but I don't think they can keep offering the same thing over and over again anymore. My guess is the D3400 is where we will see the EVF/OVF jump.

At this size and form factor mirrorless is really the best option. The target buyer for this camera really has nothing to gain by purchasing a OVF Dslr. 90% of the folks who buy this camera never even change the lens or print an image. For all the boasting about APS sensor performance and OLPF filter removal these things don't even pertain to most of the images these cameras will ever make.

At this price point, $650, you can get much much more for your money. Heck, you can get the Pentax K500 with lens for $399 and it actually has useful features like a large 100% viewfinder with a high eye point and the ability to use AA batteries if you run out of batteries at Disneyland. 16mp images may actually be better for this target segment as the files are a bit smaller and take up less room on the card.

9 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

I agree that pentax is offering more camera for less money. However there is no denying that the d3300 is vastly superior then the canon counterpart in image quality.

6 upvotes
PerL
By PerL (4 months ago)

I think its perfect as a complement to a high end Nikon DSLR. Its small, light and cheap but with great IQ. Perfect for travels, something of an updated Nikon D40.

5 upvotes
Reilly Diefenbach
By Reilly Diefenbach (4 months ago)

The Pentax is 16MP, which is yesterday's APSC news as far as I'm concerned. The D3300 has one of the best APSC sensors available, second only to the A6000 according to my raw conversions, and by a slim margin.

2 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

Reilley the problem is that the Pentax is offering many features of the d7100 in an entry level. Even though the sensor is from
Yesterday it's still good in both dynamic range and high iso performance.

The k500 has
Interval built in
Auto bracket
Ibis
100% prism finder
Dual dials
Aa battery option
9 cross type points.

These all add up to a better total package with unfortunately the wrong lens mount.

3 upvotes
Heie2
By Heie2 (4 months ago)

As someone that uses both 16 and 24 mpx (K-3 and K-5 IIs/K-30, the latter is identical to the K-50), there are inherent benefits to the 16 mpx sensor over the 24 for those that do not need it (i.e. beginners).

16 is not "yesterday's APS-C news" you fool. Especially when this segment is just looking for a better camera than their iPhone to put on facebook (which, in case you didn't know, is 1.5 mpx at MAX).

Also, don't forget the K-50's offering over the K-500 - full weather sealing.

All canikon entry/mid-entry level cameras are a pathetic joke compared to the K-50/K-500's features. 24 mpx is apparently the only thing 'better' and that's a con imo for this segment.

And what do you mean the wrong mount? You can keep your behemoth lenses and I'll keep my Limiteds and weather sealed lenses ;)

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 5 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

If you have those limiteds it's a fine mount.
I have a k30 and I can't get myself spending so much for so little. Even though they are little gems. Then 3rd party support is getting scarce. You don't have access to a good ultrawide nor to the good 70-300 vc tamron.

An optical stabilised lens is much easier to use on longer focal lengths. Then the nikon 1.8g primes are good and rather cheap. And there is a dirt cheap 40mm macro. Or the 60mm tamron f2 which is not available for pentax as well.

Therefore pentax bodies are great value unfortunately they have the wrong mount.

1 upvote
Retzius
By Retzius (4 months ago)

First, I think it is rather laughable to determine if a mount is good based on access to Tamron lenses.
Second, Pentax bodies have image stabilization in the body so you don't need it in the lens... You get image stabilization in EVERY lens.
Third, the limited are actually a good value, especially on the second hand market. There performance is amazing relative to their size and weight.

1 upvote
Heie2
By Heie2 (4 months ago)

BarnET - the HD 55-300 is much better than the 70-300, while being smaller, much wider (55 vs 70mm), and weather sealed - the only consumer telezoom on the market be sealed. And as Retzius mentioned - every lens is stabilized on your Pentax.

There are some missing lenses, sure. Every mount could argue that. But I entirely disagree with you that the bodies have the wrong mount. The K mount offers the best value for money on the market presently for the beginner through advanced amateur. Only when niche needs are paramount (tilt-shift, super fast tele, both prime and zoom, extreme macro, and FF DOF control) does it presently fall short, and I won't argue that. But I wouldn't trade my K mount (bodies/lenses) for anything Canikon offers because for my needs (travel and documentary photography in lightweight and cost effective manner) the Pentax system as it stands today trumps the hell out of Canikon's offerings. And that's without focusing on features like IBIS and weather sealing.

1 upvote
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

The 70-300mm vc is sharper as 55-300 da that I used. Especially in the corners. The vc on that lens is outstanding. It makes composing at 300mm a LOT easier.
So I really miss that lens in pentax.

Then there is the tokina 11-16mm ultrawide. By far the sharpest UW lens on crop DSLRs. Which is available on all mounts besides Pentax.

Then give me 1 good native macro lens made by Pentax themselves. They all suck every single one of them. And again missing a lot of good 3rd party options.

The 60-250mm f4 is an fantastic lens though. The 50-135 has a better alternative from sigma these days.

Then you go to wildlife. The 150-600mm seems to be awesome. And again no access. Nor does Pentax make anything close themselves. The sigma 150-500 is older and softer.

The limiters are overpriced the 77mm is good but actually not as sharp as the 85mm f1.8g which costs half.
The 35mm and 50mm from Nikon are also cheaper (a bit) as the Pentax counterparts.

0 upvotes
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 months ago)

Well, Nikon needs to do something with the sensors that test on the bottom. Be sure to check for dead pixels, as always Nikonians.

0 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

Well at least the nikonians can get some details out of the shadows. And correcting pixels is probably the easiest thing to do in post. And can even be automated.

1 upvote
RichRMA
By RichRMA (4 months ago)

Olympus, I believe preserves more shadow detail (DR) than any current small format sensor cameras. At least that's what the tests here look like.

1 upvote
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

Uhm no the smaller m43 Sony sensor found in most current olympus is good but not that good. The second gen 16mp found in the k5ii seems best in apsc in this regard.

2 upvotes
brycesteiner
By brycesteiner (4 months ago)

@BarnET
>>Uhm no the smaller m43 Sony sensor found in most current olympus is good but not that good. <<
You're a generation behind.
Olympus' latest models (E-M1, E-M10) use a Panasonic mfg sensor. Only the E-M5 used the Sony, which I actually prefer. Both are good though. And Olympus does have the widest DR on the list that I can see.

0 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

The em10 is confirmed Sony.
Your right about the em1 though which is why I said most.
The latest Panasonic from the gx7 and the sony are to close to tell apart anyway.

0 upvotes
brycesteiner
By brycesteiner (4 months ago)

I can't believe they are still putting this out? Mirrorless is so far ahead of the game. Nikon, where is your innovation?

4 upvotes
PerL
By PerL (4 months ago)

Hm, lets see. This camera takes better photos than all m43 cameras. It has better battery life than all m43 cameras. It can take many more native lenses than all m43 cameras. It costs less than most m43 cameras with viewfinder. The AF-C is better than most, maybe all, m43 cameras. It is more comfortable to hold than most m43 cameras.

28 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

Perl it's also larger as most m43 camera's and has less features and less direct controls. Image quality difference is very small but in favour of the d3300.

You can mount more lenses on the d3300 but most are made for fx which means they are much larger as they could be.

Panasonic video literally wipes the floor with Nikon. So it's about your preferences. Both are great options for different needs.

10 upvotes
retro76
By retro76 (4 months ago)

Stick this same sensor in a Olympus body with tiny buttons, horrible grip, poor battery life and people will say it's the best thing ever, funny how marketing works on gear heads.

8 upvotes
brycesteiner
By brycesteiner (4 months ago)

@ WetCoast
>>Hm, lets see. This camera takes better photos than all m43 cameras. << No it doesn't. Look at the details and you how soft the sensor is in this.
>>It has better battery life than all m43 cameras. << I regularly get over 700 pictures out of a charge on the E-M5 or E-M1. Same as what's rated for this. Of course, I don't spend my time chimping all the time, which will drain the batter quickly.

>>It can take many more native lenses than all m43 cameras. <<
This would be a valid argument if you were referring to the very nice Sony A7, since they are so few lenses. Having 10 different 50mm lenses between 1.2 and 1.8 isn't necessarily a plus. The m4/3 system has more than enough lenses to cover everything.

>>It is more comfortable to hold than most m43 cameras.<< That is all in the person holding it. Many of us love smaller sizes and weight, that give the top quality and still being able to put in a small bag or pocket. I switched because I don't care for the weight.

1 upvote
WetCoast
By WetCoast (4 months ago)

@brycesteiner, you were talking to PerL above, not me. :)

0 upvotes
Bhima78
By Bhima78 (4 months ago)

@PerL
I was about to agree with your statement regarding this camera having better image quality than m4/3. Then I actually decided to look at the image comparison. By your statement, you obviously did not.

0 upvotes
PerL
By PerL (4 months ago)

@Bhima,
I trust DxO Marks more.

2 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (4 months ago)

Mirrorless is still lacking in focusing speed, startup speed and battery life.

0 upvotes
rccasgar
By rccasgar (4 months ago)

Battery life is normally better in Reflex mainly due to 3 things:
- Reflex have more space for a bigger battery
- Reflex have no powerzooms
- Battery duration in a reflex is measured without using live view, so LCD only showing white letters over black background
Those 3 things are some of the consequence/drivers when deciding which camera to go with... so for an EVIL this battle is always lost... but that's part of the deal right? People buy EVIL because they normally like to have smaller cameras, to compose using the LCD and sometimes to have powerzooms (smoother for video).

0 upvotes
Bhima78
By Bhima78 (4 months ago)

@PerL
Fair enough if you choose to look at an arbitrary number on chart for image quality vs. an apples to apples image comparison.

0 upvotes
WetCoast
By WetCoast (4 months ago)

Quick correction. The Pentax K500, as mentioned earlier, is not weather-sealed, but the K50 is. :)

0 upvotes
Allison Johnson
By Allison Johnson (4 months ago)

Fixed, thanks!

2 upvotes
jaykumarr
By jaykumarr (4 months ago)

Half of the 'conclusions - cons' can be addressed by firmware updates.

1 upvote
techmine
By techmine (4 months ago)

Except that Nikon does not believe in firmware updates that address usability improvements. They would only update firmware to fix "real"flaws.

12 upvotes
fakuryu
By fakuryu (4 months ago)

Or expect a D3310 then

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (4 months ago)

Despite all the mirrorless Evangelicalism on DPR, the DSLR form-factor is still preferred by most people in the world, with notable exceptions like Japan, where even the Nikon 1 sells well.

14 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

In most parts of the world ignorance is a blessing.

A lot of salesman in large electronic warehouses know nothing of mirrorless camera's. Nor do they have a good stock here in Europe. Some Sony's and a lost panasonic entry-level at best.

For a lot of people mirrorless is a great option. Yet they don't know what it is.

13 upvotes
Richard Murdey
By Richard Murdey (4 months ago)

"with notable exceptions like Japan, where even the Nikon 1 sells well."

Yeah, we smartened up and ditched entry-level dSLRs some years ago. The rationale is simple: if you are in, you are in: most likely FX these days. It's your hobby, size and cost are hardly serious concerns. If you aren't in, you might as well be using a Olympus PEN / Nikon 1 / Sony RX100 / Fuji X: more casual, more fashionable, easier to carry around, easier for the non-enthusiast to use, and great results.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 4 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
aandeg
By aandeg (4 months ago)

Not enough shutter shake for a gold?

3 upvotes
Siobhan A
By Siobhan A (4 months ago)

What timing! I went the camera store to look at an a6000 and found the D3300 to have snappier focus on people walking around, and the Nikon was a lot more confortable with big lenses. Nikon has a better selection of lenses that autofocus too I found. Now it is down to the D3300 or D5300.

10 upvotes
Cane
By Cane (4 months ago)

'if it's a dslr shaped thing you need'....

Well that pretty much sums up the marketing.

1 upvote
crashpc
By crashpc (4 months ago)

Whut is that? LOL banding and noise? Sheesh.
Good review anyway. Pushed my Canon ego higher once again :-P

0 upvotes
Albino_BlacMan
By Albino_BlacMan (4 months ago)

Silver awards don't mean anything if everyone gets one...

0 upvotes
bluevellet
By bluevellet (4 months ago)

Not the Nikon DF...

7 upvotes
BarnET
By BarnET (4 months ago)

Ow the digital frustration.
At least Nikon has the Excellent d610 to cover that gap

0 upvotes
justin23
By justin23 (4 months ago)

Maybe , but its not a gold award either, and most dSLRs are good cameras and only start to look deficient when compared to another camera. Reality is any beginner buying a beginners dSLR is going to be overwhelmed initially and not use half the features anyway.

5 upvotes
Zuchov
By Zuchov (4 months ago)

A lot of talks from people reading a review. I have the D3300, and with 2900 shots with three different lenses, I KNOW what the camera is like: Shooting only RAW, I get the pictures I want, and even underexosure of 2 EV I can get almost fully recovered pictures(!). Easy handling, fast operations, amazing battery life, all the buttons I want/need, lightweight, no wi-fi/gps (thanks! I hate it, drains battery & adds weight). I am actually stunned by the quality of the images. At ISO 6400, using a 50mm 1.8 in very low light, the output is fantastic. Compared to 5D Mark II, the IQ up to ISO 800 is on pair. And don't argue, if You don't have the experience with theese cameras - I have. 'Nuf said!

1 upvote
Total comments: 232
12