Nikon D3300 HD-SLR Review

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Review posted 04/09/2014

Quick Take
Pros
  • Good image quality versus other entry-level DSLRs
  • Performance in low light is good with minimal noise in images
  • 24 megapixels of resolution surpasses most entry-level DSLRs
  • Fast performance in Viewfinder mode versus similarly priced interchangeable lens cameras
  • Nikon included its latest image processor, EXPEED 4
  • Plenty of help options for inexperienced photographers, including useful Guide mode
  • Good option as a first DSLR
  • Many special effect options
  • D3300 works equally well as an automatic camera or with full manual controls, depending on your experience level
  • Camera is a lightweight model and is slightly smaller than its predecessor
  • Offers a good value in entry-level DSLR market
Cons
  • Only a basic list of features for a DSLR
  • No touchscreen or articulated LCD
  • No built-in Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Camera's performance slows significantly in Live View mode
  • Would be nice to have more choices of resolutions than three
  • Camera's popup flash doesn't open automatically when its needed; must be opened manually
  • Camera doesn't automatically switch from Live View mode to Viewfinder mode when camera is lifted to your eye
  • Movie's manual controls are limited and aren't easily accessed
  • Experienced photographers will want more advanced control options
  • Battery life could be better
Bottom Line
The Nikon D3300 will serve the entry-level DSLR market extremely well, offering a good value to inexperienced photographers looking to take a step forward from point-n-shoot cameras to more advanced models. The D3300 creates high-quality images and performs fast versus others in its class. It's unfortunate this camera's Live View mode performance is so sluggish, and it'd be nice if Nikon had given the D3300 touchscreen LCD capabilities, two areas that would appeal to less experienced photographers. Still the D3300 is a very easy-to-use DSLR camera, and it has enough advanced features to continue to give you good performance as your experience level grows. Read more in our Full Conclusion.
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At CES 2014, Nikon announced the D3300, an entry-level "HD-SLR" packed with features and technologies from the company's more professional models. The D3000 includes a 24.2 megapixel DX-format (APS-C) CMOS image sensor that does have an optical low pass filter (OLPF). Removing the OLPF boosts resolution and image sharpness. The EXPEED 4 image processor is also onboard, allowing up to 5 frames-per-second continuous shooting, helping capture more accurate colors, and improving image quality even at higher ISOs. Speaking of which, the D3300 has a pretty wide ISO range, from 100 to 12800.

The Nikon D3300 boasts Full 1080p HD video recording at up to 60p, along with full-time 11-point AF (autofocus). It is also the first Nikon HD-SLR to feature Easy Panorama Mode, one of four new Effects Modes that also include Photo Illustration, Super Vivid, and Pop. The official press release lists 13 In-camera Effects as well, but it's not clear as to whether or not that includes, or is in addition to, the four mentioned above.

By the way, are you nervous about making the jump from point-and-shoot to an DSLR? 

Nikon's got you covered with Guide Mode, which helps beginners learn the basic functions of the D3300. In Guide Mode, you have access to four options: 1) Shoot photos using example images, to help you learn framing; 2) View/Delete; 3) Setup; and 4) Retouch, to fix images in-camera.

If you need Wi-Fi compatibility, the D3300 will work, but only if you purchase the optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter. From there, and with a free app, it's easy to use smartphones and tablet devices as a remote control shutter button, or as an external "Live View" monitor display.

Nikon D3300 HD-SLR Features:
  • 24.2-megapixel DX-format (APS-C) CMOS image sensor
    • no optical low pass filter (OLPF)
  • EXPEED 4 image processor
  • Full 1080/60p HD Video Recording
    • with Full-time AF (autofocus)
  • 3.0-inch Display
  • 100 - 12800 ISO
  • 11-point Autofocus System
  • 5 frames-per-second Continuous Shooting
  • Wi-Fi Capable (with OPTIONAL WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter)
  • 13 In-Camera Effects
  • 4 New Effects Modes
    • Photo Illustration
    • Super Vivid
    • Pop
    • Easy Panorama Mode
  • Guide Mode
    • Shoot Photos Using Example Images
    • View/Delete
    • Setup
    • Retouch (images in-camera)
  • Compact Body (4.9" x 3.8" x 2.9")

The Nikon D3300 HD-SLR is available -- in black, red, or grey -- as part of a $649.95 kit that includes the AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens. The kit lens will also be available separately for $249.95. And, finally, the newly introduced prime lens -- the AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G -- will sell for $599.95. To see the most current pricing online for the D3300, click our Lowest Price button at the top right of this page.

What's in the box?:
  • D3300 Camera Body
  • EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
  • MH-24 Battery Charger
  • EG-CP14 Audio/Video Cable
  • UC-E17 USB Cable
  • DK-25 Rubber Eyecup
  • AN-DC3 Camera Strap
  • BF-1B Body Cap
  • Nikon ViewNX 2 CD-ROM



Additional Product Views
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(above includes OPTIONAL WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter)

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.