Nikon D3200 first look – a DSLR that’s easy to use? [Video]
What is the Nikon D3200?
This is the latest camera to join Nikon’s DSLR ranks. It’s an addition to the range, rather than a replacement, and sits between the Nikon D3100 and the D5100 in Nikon’s entry-level DSLR category. It’s designed to be easier to use for beginners thanks to an ‘enhanced guide mode’ that walks users through the main features.
It will go on sale in black from mid-May with an RRP of £549.99 for just the camera body, or £649.99 with the 18-55mm kit lens included. A red version will be available at a future date. See it in action in the video below.
How do the Nikon D3100 and D3200 compare?
On the outside, a few buttons have moved, but the chassis remains largely unchanged from the D3100.
However, behind the lens the sensor has been upgraded to a 24.2 Mp DX-format CMOS sensor from 14.2Mp on the D3100 – so you should be able to blow up prints really big and retain plenty of detail.
The image processor has been upgraded from the Expeed 2 to Expeed 3 engine which should see improvements in processing speed and picture quality.
Nikon claims the D3200 can take continuous shots at 4fps and the ISO range spans from 100 to 6400 ISO – this can be extended to 12,800 in the camera’s Hi 1 setting.
Like the D3100 it has 11 auto focus points, a pop-up flash, hot-shoe, and optical viewfinder, but the resolution of the screen has been improved from 461K dot to a 921K dot resolution – a common area of improvement for manufacturers with their latest cameras, as with Panasonic Lumix GF5. More dots means sharper, more accurate previews of images taken on the camera.
The D3200 can shoot HD video at 1080p, with 20 minutes being the maximum length per recording. Although it’s only equipped with a mono microphone, the D3200 has the added benefit of an external mic input if you want to improve the sound quality of videos – something that was lacking on the D3100.
Are there any unique features?
One unusual feature can be added by buying an optional wi-fi dongle for around £55. With this dongle and an Android smartphone, you can use a downloadable app to remotely control the camera – previewing and setting up shots on the camera’s screen, or transferring photos between the two.
Nikon told us an app for the iPhone is being worked on now, but didn’t say when it would be available.
What’s it like to use? – Katie’s first impressions
I wasn’t able to get any shots from the camera at the launch, but I found D3200 an intuitive camera to use. The buttons and dials are easy to get to grips with and although it’s a big camera compared with a compact system camera, it’s easy to hold and not particularly heavy with the standard lens supplied.
One of its key features is the guide mode. As you adjust settings in the guide mode you can see your adjustments played out on a pre-loaded example image on the screen – you’ll only see the effect on the shot you’re actually taking once you’ve pressed the shutter release, though. There are also ‘retouch’ options you can apply to images you’ve already taken, for example, to correct a wonky horizon line and make it perfectly horizontal.
This is a neat feature and one I liked very much. DSLRs are great for creative photography, but that’s not much use if you understand all the things it can do. I’m also intrigued by the idea of using a phone to control the camera remotely. It’s a clever and innovative idea, though as the wi-fi dongle is an optional extra it’s not one a lot of people are likely to use.
When we review the Nikon D3200…
These is just our first impression of the Nikon D3200. When it goes on sale, we’ll be sending it to our labs where we’ll test it for:
- Picture quality - In our lab-based reviews we look at a number of aspects of picture quality, and put each camera through a series of challenging tests that reflect everyday use – such as taking photos on sunny days or indoors.
- Speed - Shutter delay is measured precisely using a sophisticated timing method, so we can see how long the delay is between pressing the shutter and capturing the image. We also measure start-up time, time between shots and the speed of the camera’s burst mode.
That’s not all we test for, however. See our full how we test DSLRs page for more details on our in-depth lab testing of DSLRs and compact system cameras.
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