Nikon D3300 Review
The 1080p/60p video spec adopted by the D5300 trickles down to the D3300. Maximum clip record time is 20 minutes, and H.264/MPEG-4 compression is used.
|Audio||Linear PCM (Mono with internal mic, stereo via 3.5mm input)|
The most obvious thing missing here for video shooters is an articulated LCD, a feature reserved for the step-up model above this one. For those who want them, the camera offers access to exposure controls for video, but getting there is a little tricky. By enabling 'Manual Movie Mode' and entering full manual mode in live view, you'll gain access to some exposure controls. Without this mode enabled, all exposure modes in live view are essentially auto modes once you start recording video.
Full-time servo AF is available while recording video, as are face detection and subject tracking. The D3300 provides an input for external microphone by way of a 3.5mm stereo jack. There's a built-in monaural microphone with 20 levels of manually adjustable sensitivity settings.
Recording video on the D3300 first requires you to engage live view via the 'Lv' button on the rear panel. You can then initiate a recording by pressing the red movie record button sitting just behind the shutter release. To prevent accidental operation, the record button is disabled when live view is turned off.
Like other Nikon APS-C cameras, aperture can't be adjusted in live view shooting. You can change the aperture value displayed on the screen, but the aperture itself won't move until you've fired the shutter. This gets confusing when you start recording video in manual mode, since although you can change the aperture value that appears on the screen, you'll really be using whatever aperture was set when you entered live view.
For this, Nikon engineers present 'Manual Movie Mode' as a workaround. Picking this option from the shooting menu imposes a minimum shutter speed of 1/60sec in full Manual live view mode, and prevents the displayed aperture value from changing - thus, the aperture it says you're using in live view is the one you're actually using when you hit 'record.' It's possible to change the aperture in a roundabout way - switching to aperture priority mode or and taking a still, or leaving live view and adjusting the aperture. 'Manual Movie Mode' also enables live exposure preview in live view manual shooting.
At its highest resolution and 60p framerate, the D3300 produces very good, detailed video. At this framerate action is quite smooth, so it might be ideal for things like casual video of kids' sporting events. As in still shooting, as light levels drop fine detail tends to become smudged, and grain in shadow areas is kept under control. There's a fair amount of moiré where you'd expect to see it pop up, but it's not enough to worry about for casual shooting.
Auto focus modes available in live view (and consequently video mode) include AF-S single-servo and full-time 'AF-F.' Tracking, face detect, normal and wide AF area modes are available. Provided your subject has a high contrast edge and doesn't move too erratically, subject tracking with full-time AF works well enough. There's the risk though that the focus will jump off into the distance and ruin your footage, so it's not your best bet for critical video recording, though. The camera's microphone picks up the sound of the AF system at work, at least with the 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 VR II kit lens, producing footage with bursts of slightly annoying electronic sounds sprinkled throughout. This sound isn't limited to continuous focus; it will be present anytime the AF system acquires focus while recording video.
We did see some rolling shutter, but only with very quick subjects or rapid panning from side to side. In most use cases, the camera's readout is fast enough to mitigate the effect.
The sample below was recorded with sunset well underway, so light level is less than ideal. The overall scene is slightly soft, but considering the dim conditions the results are more than acceptable.
|1920x1080 60p, 14 sec, 66.6 MB Click here to download original file|
This sample demonstrates the D3300's ability to capture motion smoothly at its highest 1080/60p resolution and framerate. For the best results, download the original video file.
|1920x1080 60p, 14 sec, 66.6 MB Click here to download original file|
The D3300 turns in decent low light video, with a bit of noise in the shadows and slightly softer details than we'd like.
|1920x1080 60p, 9 sec, 42.3 MB Click here to download original file|
Turning the D3300's video capabilities on our studio test scene revealed a good deal of moiré in the tightly patterned areas. This kind of harsh red distortion didn't crop up in real-world shooting, likely due to the inherent softness of the kit zoom as compared to the 50mm lens used for studio testing.
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