Nikon D3300 Review
Operation and Controls
In the Auto and scene modes, the D3300 behaves very much as a point-and-shoot, with very little user intervention required or allowed (you get control over focus and flash modes, but that's about it). Guide mode is a middle ground - you take control of the camera's exposure settings using a 'usage scenario' logic - but it's on switching to the PASM modes that the D3300 really comes into its own.
From the top you can see the D3300'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 ('info' button, movie start/stop and exposure compensation) along with the mode dial.
The basic exposure parameters - shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation - are all handled by the well-placed rear thumbwheel in concert with the exposure compensation button. This layout makes changing these settings fairly quick and fluid, though the twin dials of the Fujifilm X-A1 are a step ahead. We also like Nikon's dedication of the four-way controller to selecting a focus point manually - combined with the 11-point AF system this makes focusing on off-center subjects a breeze, without having to always focus and recompose for every shot.
The rear dial handles either shutter speed or aperture in the semi-manual modes. In full manual mode, the dial sets shutter speed at default - pressing and holding the exposure compensation button switches it to aperture. It's still possible to apply exposure compensation in manual exposure mode (via the 'i' menu), which either applies a bias to the target shown by the meter, or adjusts the image brightness directly, if you have Auto ISO engaged.
The other shooting controls - ISO, white balance, focus mode and the like - are all set from the active control panel on the rear display, accessed by pressing the 'i' button. Likewise Live View is accessed by pressing the 'Lv' button, which you'll need to do in order to record video.
The D3300 also offers a customizable function button on the front of the camera near the lens mount, with just a handful of settings it can be tasked with accessing. The exposure lock button on the rear next to the command dial can also be customized to handle focus and/or exposure only. Here are all of your options:
|Fn Button|| Image quality/size
| AE/AF lock
AE lock only
AE lock (Hold)
AF lock only
The function button acts as a direct control to whichever setting it's assigned. Pressing and holding the Fn button makes it possible to use the command dial to change the setting. This means that the user has direct access to either shutter speed or aperture (depending on the shooting mode), exposure compensation, and another setting like ISO. For a beginner learning the basics of exposure, that's probably enough.
The D3300 features a slightly more condensed 'quick' menu than is offered in its bigger siblings like the D5300, omitting Active D-Lighting access, but all of the essentials are present. The command dial can't be used in either selecting a function or setting it. We were annoyed by this behavior in the D5300, since use of the command dial would make changing settings just a little bit quicker, but D3300 users (who we expect to be using one of the automated modes more often) may not find this as irritating. This camera is targeted more clearly toward a user moving up from a point-and-shoot, so this point-and-shoot-like interface is likely not a problem - unless that user has ambitions beyond that approach.
|The 'info' button on the top of the camera toggles this settings display on and off. Two rows of settings are stacked along the bottom of the display.|
|Pressing the 'i' button on the back panel activates the quick menu, highlighting the item that was last accessed. The four-way controller is used to navigate between settings.
Unlike many of its rivals, there's no option to then directly change the setting, though...
|..instead, pressing the 'OK' button brings up a sub-menu where the desired setting can be changed by using the directional buttons (again, the dial remains unused).|
|'Help' screens are available to explain various camera and exposure functions. Highlighting an item on the quick menu and pressing the '?' button (also the zoom out button) on the back panel will bring up this informational screen.|
Losing the shortcut to Active D-Lighting is disappointing, but doesn't feel like a huge loss since it's only available in on/off states (the D5300 offers more control over ADL modes). It can be assigned to the customizable Fn button, but that requires giving up your only means of direct access to ISO. The D3300 does not offer a touch screen, and neither do most of its entry-level DSLR peers. However, touch screens can be found among the mirrorless competition - the Olympus E-PM2 and Panasonic GF6 both offer one. We think that those moving to a more advanced camera and are accustomed to point-and-shoot or smartphone interfaces would feel at home with a touch screen.
The D3300 offers an Auto ISO system similar to what's offered in the D5300. It's accessed from the shooting menu, where you can set a baseline ISO along with a maximum sensitivity and a minimum shutter speed, which can also be set to Auto. Selecting Auto maintains a '1/equivalent focal length' rule for shutter speed in P and A modes. In the D5300 you can also choose to skew this higher or lower, depending on your faith in VR and your confidence in handholding. There's no option to do this in the D3300.
As has long been the case with Nikon, the D3300 makes it unusually awkward to engage and disengage Auto ISO - you can only do so from the main menu. In a move that risks being confusing for beginners, you can continue to manually specify an ISO, while in Auto ISO mode, but all you're doing is specifying the minimum that the camera will use.
|Diving into the camera menu is the only way to turn ISO Auto on or off. From this screen you can also set a maximum sensitivity and minimum shutter speed.|
|What's missing here? The D5300 offers the chance to customize your Auto minimum shutter speed, rather than simply following the 1/equivalent focal length rule. In the D3300, this option is not available.|
Even without the ability to adjust its behavior to your liking, this dependence on focal length is very helpful, but doesn't hold up in the very basic full Auto mode. In this mode the camera operates under the assumption that you want to use the built-in flash unit. If you override this and turn the flash off (which thankfully, you can) the camera doesn't take this into account. This means you could find yourself shooting at the long end of the zoom and the camera is happily shooting at ISO 100 and 1/60sec. Take into account the high resolution sensor here and you're likely to see some shake under these circumstances. The bottom line is that, counter-intuitively, beginners might be better served by using Program mode.
The D3300's live view mode is activated by a press of the 'Lv' button on the back panel. Four different display modes are available - they can be accessed via the 'info' button on the top panel.
|In addition to this grid view is an image-only option with the exposure parameters displayed along the bottom of the screen. The small white hash marks at the left and right of the display show the 16:9 video crop that you'll see as soon as the record button is pressed.|
|This shooting view displays stills shooting information such as white balance and drive mode along the top of the screen.|
|Video display replaces the white hash marks with light grey, transparent bars to mark the 16:9 crop. They're impossible to see when shooting with a dark background, unfortunately. To the camera's credit, it shows audio levels on this screen.|
Settings like white balance and focus mode are accessed in the same way as in viewfinder shooting - by pressing the 'i' button. In PAS shooting modes, the screen will brighten and darken to reflect any exposure compensation set. This won't happen in manual exposure mode, but the exposure meter will show exposure in 1/3EV increments on a +/-2 EV scale.
Unfortunately the D3300's live view mode still shows the same odd quirk that we saw on the D5300 and had first appeared on the D300. When you enter Live View, the camera will stop down to the currently set or metered aperture value (offering an undocumented depth-of-field preview in the process), but what it can't then do is readjust the diaphragm 'live' if you change the aperture setting.
It will honor the specified aperture when actually making an exposure, and indeed return to live view at that aperture afterwards; alternatively you can force it to readjust by exiting and re-entering live view. This can give a misleading impression of the depth of field you'll end up getting, and it further complicates manual focus as you have to remember to always initiate live view at an appropriate aperture (normally with the lens wide open).
Even more confusing is this overlap with movie recording and manual exposure mode. Enabling 'Manual Movie Mode' in the menu sets a 1/60sec minimum shutter speed when you use manual exposure mode in live view. It also prohibits the user from changing the aperture value (which the camera can't change during live view, anyway). This is designed to give a better experience for those who want to shoot video with control over all exposure parameters (more on that in the video section of this review) but is potentially confusing, especially if you've forgotten to dis-engage it after recording video some time ago.
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 23, 2015
May 26, 2015
Apr 18, 2017
|Global Reach by cjf2|
|Maligne Lake by Pete of Oz|
from - Mountain Lake - (Full Colours only + A Border)
This two-part video series takes a deep dive into the world of dynamic symmetry and geometric composition, using iconic photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson's brilliant photographs as a guide.
Award-winning photographer Jeremy Cowart tells the moving story behind this drone photograph, captured in the aftermath of the devastating wildfire in Gatlinburg, TN in 2016.
Happy 2017 World Photo Day! We asked everyone on staff at DPReview to share one photo that they took within the last year that makes them jazzed on photography. Here's what we chose.
French President Emmanuel Macron has lodged a legal complaint against a paparazzo who snuck onto the president's private vacation property to take pictures.
Ever wonder what the difference is between compressed, uncompressed and lossless compressed Raw files? Photography Life's Nasim Mansurov breaks it down for you in this informative article.
The oldest known portrait of a US president was just discovered after over a century in storage. It's going up for auction in October, where it's expected to fetch between $150,000 and $250,000.
If you're using the popular Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 Art lens with Sigma's MC-11 converter, listen up: you'll want to update your lens and converter firmware ASAP.
If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times: never check in your camera gear when flying. This shattered $11,000 lens is what can happen when you do.
Lensrentals just did its first Cine lens comparison, pitting five top-notch 35mm primes against each other: the Zeiss CP.2 35mm T2.1, Canon CN-E 35mm T1.5, Sigma 35mm T1.5 FF, Rokinon Xeen 35mm T1.5 and Schneider Xenon 35mm T2.1.
A team of Google researchers have found that slightly warping watermarks when embedding them into images can help prevent automatic removal.
You don't have to empty your savings account to take your photography to the next level. These cheap buys cost about $50 or less, and come with outsized benefits for your photography.
Joey L, Dani Diamond, Brandon Woelfel and Jessica Kobeissi go head-to-head in an episode of "4 photographers shoot the same model."
The latest flagship phone from Asus combines a 12MP 1/2.55" Sony IMX362 main sensor with a smaller Sony IMX351 chip for 2x zoom and a background-blurring portrait mode.
The company behind popular photo editor Picktorial 3 just released the X-Pack: a preset package that allows you to add Fuji's in-camera film simulation profiles to your RAF files in post.
Photoshop. GoPro. Every once in a while a product emerges that defines a category. And sometimes, it vanishes just as quickly as it arrived on the scene. This week's Throwback Thursday remembers the Flip, the pocket camcorder everyone had – until they didn't.
The Nokia 8's dual-cam combines the image data from a 13MP RGB sensor and a 13 monochrome chip for better detail, improved dynamic range and lower noise levels.
The company behind retail giant B&H Photo has agreed to pay out $3.2 million in monetary relief and back wages to settle a discrimination and harassment case from 2016.
After a popular Facebook teaser and some studio portrait samples, Godox has finally officially released the Godox A1 smartphone flash and flash trigger. Cheap, versatile and innovative, color us intrigued.
Canon’s EOS 5D Mk IV has won the European Imaging and Sound Association’s Professional DSLR of the Year award, making this the third year in a row that the brand has beaten Nikon to the top spot in the professional camera category.
A photograph and quote tweeted out by former president Barack Obama has officially become the most popular tweet of all time, receiving over 1.3 million retweets and 3.4 million likes.
Edward Weston was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, and in this episode of Advancing Your Photography we learn the extreme technique he used to capture one of his most famous still life photos.
Instagram just released a small update that will make a huge difference if you're active on the photo sharing app: threaded comment replies.
Venus Optics has announced the price and delivery date of the second lens to join its Zero-D line up: the 15mm F2 for Sony’s E mount. A lens they've dubbed, "the world's fastest 15mm rectilinear lens for full-frame."
Cinnac is a new social network for photographers that will help you separate your good photos from your great ones through a Tinder-like community-based rating system.
The Canon EF 35mm F2 IS USM is an understated jewel of a lens, and one that we've enjoyed on a variety of cameras since its release almost five years ago. Its relatively small size and image stabilization make it a versatile tool for a variety of photography - check out our sample gallery.
You don't need a fancy studio or tons of gear to capture the kind of classic product photography you see in magazines. In this video, Dustin Dolby shows you how to do it with just a couple of speedlights and some know-how.
The life-logging camera is trying to make a comeback. Say hello to FrontRow, a live-streaming enabled life-logging camera from Ubiquiti that hangs on a necklace like a pendant.
When a prospective client approaches you, don't just say "yes" right away. Here's a useful list of questions you should be asking before you decide to take the job and name your price.
Samsung just revealed a blazing-fast new Solid State Drive capable of data transfer speeds of up to 540MB/s.
DJI has developed a 'Local Data Mode' that lets pilots fly without being connected to the Internet. The mode should calm recent fears over data privacy and security when flying DJI drones.