Nikon D3300 Hands-On

Nikon D3300

Nikon announced its new entry-level DSLR, the D3300, last week at CES 2014.

The D3300 features a 24.2MP DX format sensor, which is the same as the D3200; however, the D3300 takes a cue from the Nikon D7100 and has no optical low pass filter.

Nikon D3300-4

The D3300 also steps up to 5fps continuous shooting speed (compared to 4fps on the D3200) and sensitivity expands to ISO 25,600 (up from 12,800).

The camera is also equipped with the new Nikon AF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II lens. The new lens features a locking mechanism that allows the lens to retract to a much short length than its predecessor. Of course, you have to unlock and extend the lens to shoot. The resulting combo, however, is significantly smaller and lighter than the D3200. The D3300 is almost shockingly lightweight.

Even so, the D3300 has a nice grip with decent clearance between the grip and lens barrel. It has that great feel we’ve come to expect from Nikon DSLRs.

Nikon D3300-5

Nikon also added the EXPEED 4 image processor to the D3300, which improves the speed of the camera as evidenced by the bump in still image continuous shooting to 5fps (no slouch for a low-end DSLR). Additionally, the EXPEED 4 image processor allows the D3300 to capture 1080/60p HD video – making it the second DSLR in Nikon’s lineup to do so. The other 1080/60p shooter is the D5300, which is also equipped with the EXPEED 4 processor.

Given that the two lower-end DSLRs in Nikon’s line feature the latest and greatest processing power, it’s safe to assume we should see speed jumps in the higher-end Nikon DSLRs sooner rather than later.

Nikon D3300-3

Back to the D3300 though… It remains a very basic camera and is still not far removed from its predecessor. There are notable advantages in speed, outlined above, which justify the camera’s existence more so than what we have seen from, say, Canon’s Rebel T* series lately. However, there is still a whole lot of old baggage the D3300 carries with it – most notably, the functional, but slow as molasses live view autofocus.

Additionally, the D3300 is plagued by the hiccup in Nikon’s HDSLR system that prevents you from changing the aperture without coming out of your live view shooting mode. While it is not a fatal flaw to the camera – certainly considering the big jump to 1080/60p capture – it remains a huge annoyance to the Nikon HDSLR shooters out there.

Nikon D3300-2

The D3300 remains a solid entry-level camera at a bargain price. The lightweight and compact body will make it an attractive option for anyone looking to step up from more basic point and shoot cameras and get their first “real” camera.

The Nikon D3300 retails for $649.95 with the aforementioned 18-55mm kit lens. Check it out here at B&H Photo (also in grey or red). The new 18-55mm lens is also available separately for $249.95. Check it out here at B&H Photo.