Ease of Use: 4 / 5
Pricing: 4 / 5
Video Quality: 4 / 5
Photo Quality: 4 / 5
Features: 3.5 / 100
The D3200 replaces the D3100 and is in all aspects a much better camera. The big talking point must be the pixel count. It boasts a monstrous 24MP, which is only bested by the D800 and matches the megapixel king of the Canon line-up, the 5D MK3. The D3200 is, for all intents and purposes, the new entry-level model from Nikon. I say “for all intents and purposes” because the actual specs of this camera outperforms a few models in the current line-up that sit above it. One would be hard pressed to choose the D7000 or D5100 over this model, going on specs alone.
Make no mistake though; megapixel count alone does not make a good camera. Luckily the D3200 isn’t just about the megapixel count. The D3200 is feature packed. It has settings and modes that will appease those who are new to photography and also the manual modes for the more advanced photographers.
It is immediately evident that this model sits lower down in the Nikon ranks when you look at the body. There is no LCD on the top, as per pro Nikon models, and the mode dial has more beginner type settings. It is also small for a DSLR – even smaller than the D7000, which I already consider tiny for a DSLR. Although small, the body never felt flimsy and fit into my hand quite well. The ergonomics, for an entry-level camera is top-notch. All the regularly used functions appear as physical buttons on the body, with the lesser used functions found through the Menu interface. If you are used to the more professional models from Nikon, having to dig through the menu for many of the functions might prove frustrating though.
For me, the big revelation of this camera is the high-resolution LCD screen. Having also used the D3100, the main short-coming of the D3100 was the lack-lustre LCD screen. It simply wasn’t sharp enough to properly check focus, and whilst also shooting with a D7000 at the time, the screen just looked even more out-of-place. But the D3200 remedies this very admirably. The screen is sharp, clear and the colour reproduction very accurate. It is so good, in fact, that it outguns other entry-level cameras from every other manufacturer.
The good news doesn’t stop there. The D3200 is very responsive with a fast auto focus. And even when shooting in RAW at 24MP the camera was quick and there was no real lag between shots. Buttons were responsive and I found the autofocus points very easy to move around to where I wanted them. The other good thing about this camera’s autofocus points are that there are so many. The D3200 boasts an impressive 11 autofocus points. The only real negative, as with other entry-level Nikon cameras, is the lack of an auto focus drive mechanism. This means that legacy lenses without an internal autofocus motor cannot be autofocused and has to be used manually. This shouldn’t be an issue for 99% of lenses out there though.
The camera also features Live view mode on the LCD screen and the video function has its own dedicated button. Using the VR (Vibration Reduction) of the lens attached as the time, the video produced was decently stabilised and quite pleasing.
But what do the photos look like? The problem with having such a huge megapixel count is how it handled noise. I’ll admit, with the technical challenge such immense photos posed to the camera’s sensor, I was sceptical. I will also concede that I was pleasantly surprised. Although not the best I have seen yet, the camera is very capable. Most of the photos in the gallery are shot at ISO 800 or higher. The results are still clean and crisp and full of detail. The noise only starts to become a problem at ISO 6400 and higher. At ISO 3200 you’d still be able to salvage quite a few shots.
Video was the other surprise. DSLR video used to be ruled by Canon, but Nikon has been doing some serious damage with very high quality video capabilities in their latest range of DSLRs. And the D3200 is in on the act. The videos produced have a very healthy data–rate, between 24 and 28MBps. The videos are sharp and richly detailed. Artefacting also seems to be kept to an absolute minimum. Colour looks very natural. Overall the video seems of good quality.
The D3200 is a well-made, high quality camera. It is a monster of an entry-level camera that blows every other competitor’s effort right out of the water. Somehow Nikon slipped this one past all its competitors. It punches well above its weight and I would definitely crown it my current king of the entry-level DSLRs.