Nikon D3200 (with 18-55mm VR lens)

The Good With reasonably fast performance and very good photo quality, the Nikon D3200 delivers what you expect from a dSLR.

The Bad The camera's lackluster feature set, some underwhelming design changes, and photos that don't necessarily surpass its predecessor may disappoint.

The Bottom Line A solid if unexceptional entry-level dSLR, the Nikon D3200 should still please most folks looking for an upgrade from their point-and-shoots.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 7.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Image quality 7.0
7.0 Overall

Compare

Nikon D3200 (with 18-55mm VR lens, Black)
Nikon D3200 (with 18-55mm VR lens)
Nikon D3300 (with 18-55mm & 55-200mm VR II Lenses, Red)
Nikon D3300
Nikon D3300 (with 18-55mm II Lens, Red)
Nikon D3300
Nikon D3300 (Body Only, Black)
Nikon D3300
Canon EOS Rebel T4i (with 18-135mm STM lens)
Canon EOS Rebel T4i
Price $450 MSRP $450 MSRP $308 Amazon.com $340 Amazon Marketplace $549 Amazon.com
Design
7
7
7
7
8
Features
7
7
7
7
7
Performance
7
8
8
8
8
Image quality
7
8
8
8
8

Review

Nikon D3200 with 18-55mm VR lens

The Nikon D3200 has a lot of the same or similar components to the D3100, including the same autofocus system (bolstered by Nikon's newer scene-recognition technology) and viewfinder, it's got a newer, higher resolution sensor coupled with Nikon's updated Expeed 3 imaging engine, a higher-resolution LCD, and 1080/30p video with a supporting microphone jack and HDMI connector. But the D3200 may be a case of newer not necessarily being better; it's a solid camera, but one that doesn't particularly stand out from the crowd.

Image quality
Compared with its competitors, the D3200 matches their photo quality but doesn't surpass them; in fact, I think the D3100 has better photos overall, and by the numbers has a better noise profile at all levels up to ISO 12800 (which is immaterial since it's unusable on most cameras under at least $1,800). In general, JPEG photos look clean up through ISO 400 with increasing noise and loss of detail through ISO 3200, the highest I'd probably use and even then only scaled down. You don't gain any unambiguous advantages shooting raw until about ISO 1600; it still gives you some headroom for image manipulation, but you can't easily produce a cleaner image without some trade-offs.

In other respects -- color, exposure, sharpness, tonal range -- the camera fares very well. JPEGs are sharp without being oversharpened, it conserves a good amount of highlight and shadow detail for recovery during raw processing, and it delivers relatively accurate color. One thing to watch out for is that the default Standard Picture Control settings bump up contrast enough that you can lose some shadow detail.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $450
  • Brand Nikon Inc.
  • Digital Camera Type Entry-level dSLR
  • Weight 16.05 oz
  • Sensor Resolution 24.2 pixels
  • Optical Sensor Size (metric) 15.4 x 23.2 mm
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
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