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.
|_ERN9064 by ernesto juarez|
from Shoot yourself ! (with your camera)
|walkersons fields by George Veltchev|
from -Waiting for Autumn- (in Full Colours Only)
Nikon's Sendai factory in the Tōhoku region North of Japan has been churning out cameras and lenses since 1971. We had the opportunity recently to visit Sendai during events to mark the launch of Nikon's new Z mount.
There's no mistaking the Nikon Coolpix P1000 – with a 24-3000mm equivalent zoom, it really is in a class of its own. It's a conspicuous-looking superzoom with one main job: getting you really close to far away subjects. We've put together a gallery showing the kind of results you can expect from it.
A new report from The Verge claims Instagram is currently testing a feature that allows users to re-share posts to their own account feeds.
GoPro has announced its HERO7 camera lineup. The updated action cameras feature new HyperSmooth and TimeWarp modes, as well as improved video and photo specs.
The latest Samsung midrange smartphone offers a super-wide-angle lens in its triple-camera setup.
The Sony 24mm F1.4 is the latest lens to join the company's premium G Master lineup. We've been shooting with one for a couple of days - here's what you need to know.
Apple released iOS 12 a few days ago and some iPhone X users are less than happy with how the new operating system has made their phones look.
Camera bag manufacturer Lowepro has introduced mark II backpacks for its ProTactic AW range with models that are said to feature an improved handling experience as well as a collection of accessories that can be attached to the outside.
Canon has announced its latest superzoom camera, the PowerShot SX70 HS. Compared to the SX60 that came before it, the SX70 has the same lens but offers a higher resolution EVF, 4K video capture and support for Canon's new CR3 Raw format.
Cosina has announced its eighth lens designed specifically for Sony's E-mount system. The Voigtlander 21mm F3.5 lens is due out October 2018.
Sony has taken the wraps off of its new 24mm F1.4 GM full-frame lens, which the company claims is the lightest in its class. Despite its fast aperture, the 24mm F1.4 is remarkably light, weighing just 445 grams (15.7 ounces). The lens will set you back $1400 when it ships next month.
In this episode of DPReview TV we take a look at Sony's brand new 24mm F1.4 GM lens, a desirable focal length for many photographers. How does it perform? Chris and Jordan give us their first impressions.
We've had a little time to shoot with Sony's new wide/fast prime, both close to home and on the water in San Francisco. Check out our initial sample images.
Fujifilm released a firmware upgrade for its X-T3 mirrorless camera that addresses issues with distortion compensation and the mechanical lock on SD cards.
The app's algorithms have been trained using using 200 million cropping data points from real photographers.
Thanks to a software update, the Loupedeck+ editing console can now be used for video editing.
British photographic engineer MTF Services is claiming the world’s first third-party lens adapters for the new Nikon Z system with a collection of four units designed to allow cinema lenses to be mounted on the mirrorless full frame bodies.
Think Tank Photo has updated its line of heavy-duty rain covers and introduced a new, compact version for emergency situations.
The X-T3 is our first opportunity to analyze what's likely to be Fujifilm's next generation image sensor. Take a look at how it performs next to the competition in our studio test scene.
Canon's new normal is seriously sharp wide open. After shooting with it for a few days, we've prepared a gallery of real-world sample images.
Nikon will cease offering Brazil-based customer service and technical support, though the company stresses that it will still offer technical assistance and warranty repairs for valid warranties.
Two years ago, CatLABS of JP announced a plan to save Packfilm from the dead. Now, it's announced it's giving up its efforts to better focus its resources elsewhere.
The GoPro Fusion is designed to make it easy to capture 360-degree video and stills. We took it out recently on a typically hot Seattle summer day to see what it can do.
We've got our hands on a full-production Nikon Z7 camera and have updated our gallery with additional samples.
A new Kickstarter campaign seeks funding for Chroma Chrono, a programmable RGB camera flash that emits multiple colors during long exposures.
Think Tank Photo has launched a new lineup of six dual-access, water-resistant protective lens cases it calls Lens Case Duo.
Canon and Nikon finally entered the full-frame mirrorless market this summer with the brand-new RF and Z mounts. Now that we've had some time with the cameras, we wanted to revisit our earlier predictions and take stock.
The devices' camera specs look pretty much identical to last year's iPhone X but under the hood a number of important improvements have been made.
Blackmagic Design has announced the public beta of its new Blackmagic RAW video codec. The company says the new format combines the benefits of shooting Raw video with the ease of use and smaller file sizes usually associated with non-Raw video files.
Serif, the company behind the Affinity suite, has announced the latest update for its mobile Photoshop competitor Affinity Photo for iPad.