Nikon’s smart-looking new DSLR, the D3200 DX-format camera, slots into place above its entry-level D3100 and below the D5000. Nikon has upped the entry-level game by equipping this camera with qualities sought after in the professional range while making a much lighter, more portable camera than a pro model yet still capable of producing great photographs. It pushes entry-level pixel boundaries with images of 24.2 megapixels and uses the Expeed 3 image-processing engine also found in Nikon’s D4 and D800/D800E.
At 455 grams (body only) the camera is durable and its weight gives it a serious feel without dragging your arms down. It is easy to place in a small bag and the battery slots directly into a wall charger for easy portability. The camera I trialled was a limited edition deep shiny red, but most will be the standard black affair. Its size and layout make the D3200 ergonomically pleasant and nothing seemed out of place, though a dedicated button to adjust ISO would have been nice. The clunky shutter button is a bit disconcerting but the ‘noise reduction’ menu option quietens it to a ‘normal’ click sound. The lens attached was an 18–55mm f/3.5–5.6 G VR — a good all-round starting-out lens.
Making adjustments while in manual mode was simple. The display screen, which crisply displays camera settings, automatically repositions when the camera is rotated from landscape style to portrait style so you can easily keep a check on them.
I also like the ‘recent settings mode’ option, which displays a number of your most recent changes and by highlighting them you can easily readjust them again. There are a number of ways to access menu functions, the most innovative being through Guide Mode, located on the mode dial. It offers very clear help and predesigned camera settings for beginners like ’soften background’ and ‘capture red in sunsets’.
In movie mode the D3200 has full HD capabilities activated by its own on/off button found near the shutter button. It also has full-time servo to track subjects automatically and new in-camera editing options.
In keeping up with the times, a WU-1a wireless mobile adapter transfers images to Android smart devices and tablets with Nikon apps. It’s also possible to stream the camera’s live view into the devices, though camera settings can’t be adjusted from here. Unfortunately we did not have a unit to trial but it would be interesting to see how efficiently it works and if its positioning (sticking out from the side of the camera) is a hindrance.
It is close in specs to Canon’s new 650D, each slightly nudging ahead of the other in different aspects. The D3200 has three autofocus options, four metering options and a built-in flash as well as hot shoe for external units. It also has 11 focusing points and shoots four frames per second, making it a good all-round option. The price is higher than your usual entry-level camera, but you do get a lot for your buck.
This is a smart entry-level camera that doesn’t feel like one — it has lots of attractive features that will keep those starting out with a DSLR content for some time to come.
This review is from D-Photo issue 50. Get your copy here.
- Image sensor: 23.2×15.4mm CMOS sensor
- Shutter speed: 1/4000–30sec
- Metering: 3D colour matrix, centre-weighted, spot metering
- Focus points: 11
- Continuous shooting: 4fps
- ISO: 200–6400 (6400–12800 equivalent)
- Viewfinder: 95 per cent frame coverage
- Monitor: 7.5cm approx. 921k-dot (VGA) TFT LCD
- Video: 1920×1080/30p
- Dimensions (WxHxD): 125x96x76.5mm
- Weight: 455g (body only)