Active D-Lighting

Active D-Lighting is Nikon's dynamic range expansion option, which can be activated in the shooting menu. It is designed to maintain shadow detail without blowing the highlights in high contrast scenes. On the D3200 this feature has only two settings - On or Off - but when switched on ADL essentially operates in an Auto mode that adapts the intensity of the effect to a specific scene, so the results differ depending on the scene.

In the sample scene the effects of ADL are more obvious in the shadow areas of the frame which have visibly lifted than in the highlights. The blown white areas on the boat only show very marginally more detail with ADLS activated, but the light blue sky has turned a little darker, giving the image an overall more pleasant look.

ADL off
ADL on

Digital filters

The Nikon D3200 is one of the few entry-level DSLRs that does not offer any digital filters or effect at the point of capture. However, the camera's Retouch menu is fairly comprehensive and there are a few good effect options that you can apply to images on your memory card that you have already taken. In the 'Filter Effects' sub-menu you find a number of 'traditional' filters. In the pre-digital era the same effects could have been achieved with a physical filter screwed in front of your lens. This includes the Skylight, Warm, Red, Green, Blue, Cross Screen (Star) and Soft filters.

Additionally there is a range of 'digital' filters which are similar to the ones we have seen on other current entry-level DSLRs and mirrorless system cameras. These include the Color outline, Color sketch, Fisheye, Miniature effect and Selective color options. The majority of these filters don't allow for any customization but some, such as the Fisheye, Miniature and Sketch filters let you modify the intensity of the effect. Below you can see all these filters applies to a real-life image.

No filter

Picture Control

The Nikon D3200 offers six Picture Control color response presets, shown in the table below.


These presets can be applied prior to image capture via the Q-menu or the Picture Style button, or when converting a raw file in-camera. There is also an 'Auto' setting which automatically picks the best style for a given scene and three user definable settings.

The D3200 offers the same Picture Control settings that we've seen on most Nikon DSLRs in the last few years. Once you pick a setting you can then fine-tune a number o parameters such as sharpening and contrast.

Distortion correction

On the Nikon D3200 you have the option to enable distortion correction in the shooting menu. As you can see in the images below, the feature does a good job at keeping the image from showing the barrel distortion caused by the lens. This shot was taken with the 18-55mm kit lens at its widest focal length.

Overall the distortion correction is doing an excellent job, eliminating a large portion of distortion with only a minimal loss of quality at the edge of the frame. You also loose a small portion of the frame around the edges to the correction.

Distortion Correction On
Distortion Correction Off