637 of 666 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nikon D3200, Nikon's best value camera yet.
I've used Nikon cameras since the Nikon F back in the 60s. I used Nikon cameras as a professional photographer right up to the F4S when I retired. I sold all my film stuff and bought a D70 and soon changed to a D90 which I used up to yesterday.
Then the D3200 arrived and, for the price, it is awesome. You can cut a small piece out of the centre of a photo...
Published 16 months ago by Mr. Robert W. Rosamond
165 of 210 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 24mp sounds great but the devil is in the details.
Bought one of these a month ago. Have since sold it as I found the camera to be lacking in quite a few areas.
I find it hard to imagine a entry level DSLR with 24mp but this comes at a cost for the end user.
The camera is by no means poor though a little cheap feeling in the hand. One does not expect the more robust build of higher priced bodies in such a...
Published 17 months ago by Mr Baz
Most Helpful First | Newest First
637 of 666 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nikon D3200, Nikon's best value camera yet.,
This review is from: Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera Body Only - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)I've used Nikon cameras since the Nikon F back in the 60s. I used Nikon cameras as a professional photographer right up to the F4S when I retired. I sold all my film stuff and bought a D70 and soon changed to a D90 which I used up to yesterday.
Then the D3200 arrived and, for the price, it is awesome. You can cut a small piece out of the centre of a photo and enlarge it and it looks like full frame. That is where this camera comes into its own. With its 24 Megapixel CMOS sensor it leaves everything except the D800 (£2900.00) way behind.
I've heard it said that anything over 12 Megapixels doesn't really matter. Well this camera gives the lie to the statement. It makes a hell of a difference.
It also takes superb 1080p videos and will auto focus while doing so, something the the D90 wouldn't do. Another improvement on the D90 is the fact that it has infra red remote release windows on the back as well as the front. I thought it was a bit silly for the D90 to only have one on the front which is where you are least likely to use it.
A word of warning though. If you already have a Nikon digital camera, then you probably have the Nikon View NX2 software. This camera comes with the latest View NX2 software but do not overwrite the old software. I did and then found that I couldn't open the RAW (NEF) files from the D3200. The way to do it is to uninstall the old software before you install the new. Then it works perfectly.
If you purchase this camera get yourself a big SDHD card as the file sizes are huge. Shooting in RAW (which I always do) you'll get 259 exposures on an 8 Gig card. So my next purchase will be a 32 Gig card. Amazon do a Sandisc Ultra 32 Gig card at £17.77; a very good price.
It's a pity there are only five stars as I would like to have given this camera 10.
I've now used this camera for a few weeks and it is amazing. Having read some of the bad reviews, I've come to the conclusion that the reviewers don't have the camera. I did a series of test shots today from ISO100 to ISDO12800 and the results were staggering. You can see the shots here: [...]
268 of 285 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FIRST CLASS CAMERA,
This review is from: Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD
I normally use a Canon 5D mark II but since using the Nikon 3200 with kit lens it is the one I am carrying around more and more. Much lighter to carry yet quality build. Great value for £459 from Amazon. It is extremely well thought out with buttons on the outside to easily access ISO, white balance, exposure compensation etc without having to go through time consuming menu systems. I have used the sports mode one of the many scene modes available. One flick of the wheel, I was taking photographs of a cocker spaniel going at full speed after a ball. I didn't expect the camera to cope but it did and I ended up with very sharp images. I also used Shutter Priority and put the camera on continuous shooting and was very impressed with the speed and quality. I often take landscape photographs and maybe they weren't quite as contrasty as my Canon but soon fixed in Photoshop. However I was very impressed with the detail especially from a kit lens. I was able to shoot in Raw and Jpeg and was surprised that an entry level camera like this one even had spot metering. It even has 11 auto focus points in contrast to my 5D mark II which only has 9! As someone who always has wonky horizons, I found that I could straighten up my image having taken the shot in camera and it was extremely easy to do so. I could also trim my shot in camera to crop out any distracting elements and with 24.2 megapixels, I knew my image would still be of very good quality. I liked the playback system especially when I could playback up to 72 images which showed up on the rear screen like a contact sheet. To get the best out of the camera I used SDHC class 10 cards and it is great that this camera takes SD cards because they are so much cheaper than Compact Flash. For a beginner, this camera is very easy use and to help even further there is a mode called 'Guide' and this is a great help to anyone starting out in photography. There is just so much built into this camera and for someone who has been interested in photography for the past 7 years, I can't fault it. The user manual comes as a hard copy and is very easy to understand. One thing I am surprised with is that the rear screen does not swivel but this is a minor point.
This camera is absolutely brilliant and I wish it had been around when I first started photography. I have no hesitation in recommending the Nikon 3200 and anyone buying it will not only be able to produce great images but also have a lot of fun with it and that is what photography is all about.
316 of 347 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sensor sensibility...,
This review is from: Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera Body Only - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)This first part is a preliminary review, intended to convey my initial impressions of the camera.
1) BUILD QUALITY AND FUNCTIONALITY
The camera is assembled in Thailand. Its exterior bodywork looks to be made from some form of reinforced polycarbonate resin; the inner chassis is made of steel. The camera doesn't appear to bend or creak - even with a heavy lens attached - and the various switches and buttons all work positively enough. You will need to take a little extra care when operating the pop-up flash, or when opening and closing the covers to the battery compartment and accessory ports (in other words, with all the usual suspects); but in this respect, the D3200 is no better or worse than many of its rivals. Amateurs/enthusiasts need have no worries about the overall build quality, I believe. As for some of the ancillary bits and pieces...read my later update!
2) THE VIEWFINDER
The D3200 is a smaller camera, overall, than you initially expect it to be. Understandably, then, its mirror, its pentamirror (a simpler and cheaper alternative to the D7100's pentaprism), and its viewfinder eyepiece are, altogether, a little bit more compact than might otherwise be desired - covering only 95% (horizontal and vertical) of the sensor's imaging area. On the other hand, the installation does benefit from a degree of built-in dioptric correction: a godsend for those of us with less than perfect sight! As a visual aid to composition, the viewfinder image is perfectly acceptable with the F2.8 lens that I use (more later); but I suspect that - on dull days, with a slower lens - the image directed to the eye might well become a little too dark. I have some reservations about the information display, too: the characters are small and seem quite poorly illuminated, becoming increasingly harder to read in bright conditions; and unfortunately, there is no reminder of the manually selected ISO (light sensitivity) setting.
3) THE TFT LCD MONITOR SCREEN
With its 921K dot display, the D3200's rear screen provides bright and detailed images most of the time - except in spells of the brightest sunshine, as you might expect: bright, but not necessarily an accurate indicator of exposure levels when reviewing your shots... It doesn't articulate, either, which is a disadvantage when it comes to tackling those awkward high and low level shots, or for those wanting to use the D3200 as a video camera; but I suppose adding this feature would only have bumped up the price and stolen sales from the D5200 (which has this useful feature.) You need to understand, however, that the screen being used here is of a type that's bonded directly to the camera (as it is with the D610 and D800.) Should you accidentally damage or somehow permanently disable the screen, the only available remedy would be for Nikon to replace the entire camera backplate - and that sounds expensive to me! It would therefore be a sensible precaution to fit a sturdy screen protector at the earliest opportunity!
4) THE ABSENCE OF CERTAIN 'ESSENTIAL' CONTROLS/FUNCTIONS
Well, some things are missing from the camera's general specification, that's true - for example, auto-bracketing. I'm getting on a bit now, and I learned my photography using 35mm film SLRs: I find that I can manage perfectly well without AB (it's easy enough to bracket exposures manually, after all); but I suspect that some will grumble at its absence, and others will consider its omission quite unforgiveable! As a landscape photographer, I find that I really miss having the means of previewing Depth of Field... But remember this: Nikon intends the D3200 to be an entry-level DSLR, pitched to the market at a certain price. Was Nikon wrong to dispense with a few of the 'bells and whistles' in order to deliver a camera, at this price, with the performance promised by that 24MP sensor...?
5) THE SIZE OF THE IMAGE FILES
They will be large. The handbook suggests the following averages:
JPEG (Fine/Large): 11.9MB (up to 509 images on an 8GB SDHC card)
RAW(NEF)*: 20.4MB (up to 259 images on an 8GB SDHC card)
JPEG (Fine/Large) + RAW (NEF)*: 31.9MB (up to 171 combined images on an 8GB SDHC card)
[* Adobe patrons will require at least ACR (RAW) 7.1 to read and process the D3200's NEF files]
Keen photographers are going to need a 16GB or 32GB SDHC card (the camera will also accept SDXC cards up to 64GB); and a UHS-1 version would be advisable, if you intend to indulge in sustained shooting bursts of 4 frames per second!
One final word on file sizes. If you intend to develop and convert copies of the proprietary RAW (NEF) files into uncompressed 8-bit (or even 16-bit) TIFF files, then you need to be aware that the resulting files will be very much larger than their originators - in fact, about 69MB and 133MB, respectively!!
6) THE SENSOR AND THE LENS
This is where things start to get a little bit tricky!
Every major media review or report you care to read will say the same thing: the Nikkor 18-55mm F3.5 - F5.6G VR is a reasonably good performer as far as kit zooms go, but it's not nearly good enough to bring the best out of the D3200's sensor. This statement isn't intended to deprecate those who may already own this lens, and nor should it be taken for an arbitrary piece of 'lens snobbery'; it's merely an objective reiteration of the general consensus, nothing more.
If you're only looking to buy a fairly uncomplicated camera, complete with its standard zoom lens, that's able to deliver reasonable JPEG images - and if you never want to take your photography any further than this - then I would suggest that a Canon 1100D or a Nikon D3100 would probably serve you just as well: the capabilities of their sensors are likely to be more on a par with the performance characteristics of these types of general-purpose lenses. Furthermore, I'm not one of those people who subscribes to the idea that you buy a basic kit lens to 'learn the ropes', then grow out of it and move on to something better: if you understand - from the outset - that a particular lens is ultimately not going to deliver the goods, then why buy it in the first place...? Let me put it this way: owning a D3200 is analogous to having a Ford Fiesta with a spectacular V8 engine under its bonnet. Restricting yourself, solely, to the use of that kit zoom lens would be like never getting the blessed thing out of third gear and finding out what it can really do!
As I'm a landscape-cum-opportunist kind of photographer, the lack of non-fisheye prime (fixed focal length) lenses of less than 20mm meant that I had to consider the alternative of a quality zoom lens (message to Nikon: we DX users are crying out for a decent 18mm F2 or F2.8 wide-angle lens - so how about it?) Having set my budget, I eventually narrowed my choice to the Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Lens and the Sigma 17-50mm f2.8 EX DC HSM Optical Stabilised lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras with APS-C Sensors, and luckily was able to try both of them beforehand. The Nikkor lens, I thought, probably had a very slight advantage at the edges and corners of the frame (although the Sigma had better central resolution), and it obviously had a longer zoom range; but I just felt that the Nikkor's maximum aperture of F5.6 (at the telephoto end) was just a bit too restrictive for me - taking into account that lenses on these APS-C sensor cameras tend to perform best between apertures of F2 and F5, and considering that bright sunny days can be few and far between in rainy old Britain! It must also be said that Nikon had already informed me (because I asked them) that - with a 'perfect lens' attached - diffraction could theoretically begin to impair this camera's ability to resolve the finest details in a scene with apertures smaller than F6.3 (because light interference leads to a deterioration in the quality of the image as it emerges through the aperture opening deep inside the lens, until it degrades to the point where it becomes inferior to the absolute resolution of the sensor). However...
Even in JPEG shooting mode, the resolution of the D3200's sensor is going to be around 3000 Lines per Picture Height (it's quite a bit higher than this, if you select RAW mode), and in practice there are very few quality DX zoom lenses on the market that can equal these figures - if, indeed, there are any at all! In reality, choosing any kind of a zoom lens for this camera is always going to involve some degree of compromise, and there will need to be other mitigating factors that inform and dictate the decision - such as convenience, versatility, or a relatively fast maximum aperture...
Taking all this into account, I decided to plump for the Sigma lens - and it seems to be a very capable performer. Yes - it's just a tad soft wide open at the 17mm end; but things improve markedly as you stop the lens down a little, and having a constant F2.8 maximum aperture throughtout the zoom range is something that certainly proves its worth very quickly! Even better - Sigma lenses come with an extended three year warranty in the UK; Nikon provides two year warranty cover on its DSLR kit lenses, but only one year's cover on Nikkor 'solus' lenses bought thereafter... (Incidentally, my D3200 - with the Sigma lens attached - fits very snugly into a Kata Camera Holster for DSLR with 16-35 Lens - Black.
The bottom line for anyone considering the D3200 has to be this: if you really must have a standard zoom lens, you may well be facing the prospect of paying (additionally) upwards of £300 to get something that's at least worthy of the sensor in this camera - because you're going to need a lens that's sharp, and because you're going to need a lens with a large enough maximum aperture to give you some useful leeway before diffraction becomes an issue. It's a dilemma, I know; but there it is...
And so, for now:
These, then, are my provisional observations and conclusions. My initial (RAW) test shots look very promising indeed. The gnawing question of whether this Nikon camera offers quite the same degree of image quality you would get with a Sony Nex 7 is open to debate (the D3200 basically shares the Sony's sensor, whereas the D5300 and D7100 both use a slightly more advanced Toshiba-sourced chip); but the developed images appear to be very sharp indeed with masses of detail, and with colours that are pleasantly bright and naturalistic. The potential is clearly there, and I look forward to updating my review in due course.
NB. Some of my own humble efforts with a D3200 can now be viewed on Flickr. Clicking on my user-name ('Peterfacts') will bring you to my Amazon Profile Page, where you will find the web link clearly displayed.
++++ UPDATE 31/10/12 ++++
The story so far...
In my opinion, the D3200 just doesn't seem to deliver the high standard of out-of-camera JPEG images I would have expected of a 24MP DSLR - the problem being that the version of Nikon's JPEG Processing Engine being used here produces images that are quite perceptibly under-sharpened and with colours a little awry. If you want the very best JPEGs (indeed - if you want the very best images, full stop), a combination of shooting RAW (NEF), using a really good lens, and some diligent processing at the PC really is the only way to go if you want to extract the maximum performance from this otherwise excellent little camera. That also means getting yourself some efficient photo-editing software (read on), and committing yourself to a fair bit of additional time and effort after the shutter has been pressed...
The following comments summarise my own thoughts and experiences of using the D3200 so far:
1) COLO(U)R SPACE (accessed from the Shooting Menu)
This is something reviewers rarely mention, but it fundamentally dictates the way in which the camera receives and records its sensor's chromatic data; and this, too, has clear implications for the tonality of later monochrome conversions. The D3200 has two selectable colour mode settings:
i) sRGB: This is the most widely adopted colour mode, ideal for those who predominately use the JPEG format and don't want to indulge in too much post-production editing of their pictures. In my opinion, it delivers vivid if sometimes unnatural-looking colours.
ii) ADOBE RGB: This mode enables the camera to respond to an expanded range of colours (the gamut) and is the one to choose if you shoot RAW and intend to re-edit your pictures extensively. This is the mode I use because it produces subtler, more naturalistic colours. However, the images can look a little flat if viewed in a medium that does not support this particular mode...
This is an important point. You must ensure that the colour profiles being run by your computer (monitor display), and by your software (picture editor), are unified and compatible and correctly calibrated - otherwise, you won't be seeing any of your images as they truly are! More information on colour and colour profiles can be found at 'color.org' and 'tftcentral.co.uk'.
2) EXPOSURE METERING AND DYNAMIC RANGE
I'll admit it: I'm quite a lazy photographer, at heart! I prefer to use the camera in Aperture Priority mode (I find it's easier to use the D3200 in either the 'A' or 'S' mode settings, because then I only have to bother with the rear Command Dial for altering the Aperture or Shutter values); and I'm not averse to using the standard Matrix/Evaluative Metering option, either - letting the camera do the job of working out the right exposure level (which it mostly does reasonably well) while I get on with the job of actually composing the photograph. However... In high contrast scenes, you need to be aware that the D3200 seems a little too keen to 'throw in the towel' and will often over-expose the scene - leaving the highlights much too intense and 'washed out'. When you know it's likely to happen, it's easy enough to dial in some negative exposure compensation (minus 0.7 of an EV will usually be sufficient, but sometimes you will need quite a bit more - although this is likely to leave the shadow areas severely 'clipped'); or you can even take a meter reading from a different part of the scene (such as a representitive midtone) and use the AE-L button. I believe the likely suspect is the measley 420-pixel RGB sensor that Nikon has chosen to use here* - presumably, for reasons of cost - although the sensor's limited dynamic range in the Highlights part of the scale(only 3.5EV, out of a total span of 13.2EV) certainly doesn't help matters! I really think Nikon ought to review its exposure calculating algorithms and see whether it can do anything to improve this counter-intuitive tendency (by means of a timely firmware update, for example), as I feel that this is one aspect of the camera's functionality that a company of Nikon's great experience and reputation should have down to a fine art by now!
*Update 10/04/13: I have just read a review of the new Nikon D7100 in 'Amateur Photographer' - another DX camera which seems to be exhibiting exactly the same inclination to over-expose when using the Evaluative Metering option, requiring minus 0.7EV compensation. As the D7100 uses an entirely different metering module to the D3200, I am now persuaded that the problem must lie with the exposure algorithms in the firmware. As such, Nikon ought to be able to instigate a fix relatively swiftly. But will it...?
3) WHITE BALANCE
When AWB (Auto White Balance) used to be selected, the original firmware version shipped with my D3200 (unsurprisingly, version 1.0) had an annoying tendency to produce photographs with a noticeable magenta bias in situations where green tones predominated in the foreground - a characteristic shared with several other Nikon DX cameras, if the numerous reviews are to be believed! Now - I may be imagining it, but since downloading and installing the first updated version of its firmware to be released (version C 1.01, from the Nikon website), I've noticed that this seems to have become a less frequent occurrence than it used to be. So my advice is this: check your D3200's firmware version (press MENU, then select the SETUP sub-menu) and if it DOESN'T display at least v.1.01, then go to 'europe-nikon.com' > Services & Support, and download it asap. Just take care to select D3200 - C 1.01, not one of the other software upgrades!
The D3200 provides the user with a central grid comprising 11 separate focusing points - any one of which can be manually selected as the primary focus targeter.
i) AF (AUTOFOCUS): Focusing Mode can be set to AF-S (single-shot servo), AF-C (continuous servo), or AF-A (automatic servo, where the camera determines whether to engage single or continuous servo modes, according to the subject); AF-Area Modes are Single Point AF, Dynamic Area AF*, 3D Tracking*, and Auto Area AF (* these are only usable with the AF-A and AF-C Focusing Modes.)
I mainly use AF-S with Single Point AF because I'm mostly photographing stationary subjects. With this arrangement, focusing seems to be swift and decisive - but you shouldn't really expect anything less of a modern DSLR. I usually leave the central focusing point selected and set because, when the subject is off-centre, I just find it that much easier (and quicker) to use the focus lock and then recompose the shot. The real test of any AF system, however, is how it manages to keep moving subjects in focus...and it's here, I'm afraid, that the camera doesn't do quite so well. Those 11 reference points are not really sufficient to quickly provide and update the D3200 with the volume of focusing data required by its 'brain' to calculate in which direction a fast-moving subject is heading (or how fast!), and hence - to predict where the lens will need to be focused in real time. The system is certainly up to the task of keeping tight focus on kids playing or running about the garden; but ask it to tackle something more ambitious (motorsports, for example) and you may well find that the camera struggles to keep up. If this type of action photography is your preference, then the D5200 or the new D5300 - with their 39 AF target points - might be more suitable choices; or better still, maybe even a top of the (DX) range D7100 - if your pockets are deep enough, that is!
ii) MF (MANUAL FOCUS): I find that I'm switching to manual focus, more and more. Using the D3200 in Electronic Rangefinder Mode, it provides me with an indication of whether the lens is focused nearside or farside of the subject (not always easy to judge, by eye, with the Type B Briteview Clear Matte Mk VII focusing screen used in this camera); it also shows me in which direction I need to turn the focusing ring, and it all concludes with an audio-visual confirmation of when focus has been achieved. It's brilliantly simple and a complete joy to use!
5) NOISE REDUCTION AND SHARPENING
The D3200 has 24.2 million pixels crammed on to a compact APS-C sensor chip: the surface area of the invidual light-sensitive diodes (pixels) is innevitably very small, and their light gathering capacity reduced. It should come as no surprise, then, that noise soon makes its presence felt - and at relatively modest ISO settings, too!
Learning how to use noise reduction techniques inteligently - and sparingly - is really crucial for preserving the finest image details that manage to survive the D3200's low-pass filter. First of all, you need to understand that NR systems primarily work by introducing targeted blur effects to mask the occurrences of noise - rather than by reducing or extracting them directly from the image, as you might suppose: this process predictably leads to some loss of surrounding/background detail in certain key areas - and the more heavy-handed the implementation is, the more detail you are likely to lose in those parts of your photos. My recommendations, therefore, in respect of noise and how to deal with it on the D3200 are as follows:
1) Always set the ISO sensitivity manually, and at the lowest levels the shooting conditions will allow you to get away with. This will help to minimise noise levels at all times.
2) If you habitually shoot in the ISO 100 to ISO 800 range (like me), it's more advantageous to leave the D3200's automated in-camera noise reduction system turned OFF. This is because - in the lower parts of its ISO range - the D3200's built-in NR system has a tendency to mis-identify the very finest image details as noise and will often 'smooth' some of them clean out of the picture! If you consider the resulting noise levels too conspicuous, you will discover that applying small amounts of noise reduction circumspectly, in post-production - using photo-editing software on your computer - will enable you to achieve far better outcomes than simply relying on the competence of the camera's own firmware to manage it for you. That said...
The supplied Nikon View NX2 software won't be of any use in this regard because it doesn't allow you to make independent adjustments to the noise content of your images: you will either need to upgrade to Nikon's own 'Capture NX2' (good, but expensive - and only offering Nikon-specific camera and lens correction profiles), or to more affordable third party picture editors - such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 (PC/Mac) (perhaps with DxO ViewPoint 2 - Photo perspective and volume deformation correction software, installed as a 'plug-in'...?), Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 (Mac/PC), or maybe even DxO Optics Pro 9 Standard Edition - Image-processing software.
3) If your preference is likely to be for low light photography, and you will regularly be using ISOs greater than ISO 800, then it would probably be better to leave the D3200's NR system switched ON - otherwise noise might well overwhelm your pictures.
It's also worth noting that these small high megapixel sensors can and do suffer from a surprising lack of contrast - sometimes making the images they produce look 'soft': applying additional sharpening in post-production (and adjusting the Contrast and/or Clarity settings, if available) should be considered essential for improving the perceived 'crispness' of the photographs you take with this camera - especially if you use something like Adobe's excellent Unsharp Mask, which can address the sharpness in certain defined areas of an image without making the boundaries look too jagged or 'artificial', and without introducing random artefacts.
Of course, you will always achieve the best technical results by shooting and editing RAW files (that is - provided the lenses you are using have the necessary resolving power to make a difference); but getting that critical balance between noise reduction and sharpness is what you need to aim for in order to make this camera really shine! And whichever method or editor you use, remember: only make the adjustments you really need to make - don't be tempted to over-process!
(If you go to 'europe-nikon.com', click the 'Services & Support' tab, then 'Support and Downloads', you will find a very instructive article (no 55047, posted 13/02/13) entitled: 'Considerations when taking photos with high resolution D-SLR cameras.')
6) ACTIVE D-LIGHTING
This is directed to users of any Nikon camera with this facility who may also be using Adobe Lightroom 4. There's not a problem if you're shooting JPEG; but if you're shooting RAW, this facility should ideally be switched OFF. Lightroom 4 cannot read any Active D-Lighting settings held in the image's RAW data file when imported, which can lead to the program miscalculating the exposure settings when it 'builds' its own RAW preview - even though the JPEG preview embedded in the RAW file might look perfectly well exposed, in-camera (credit for this piece of advice must go to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 - The Missing FAQ - Real Answers to Real Questions Asked by Lightroom Users.)
7) THE VIEWFINDER
The limitations of the 'pentamirror' design are becoming more obvious: looking through the eyepiece at an off-axis angle, there can be quite a bit of distortion present at the edges of the frame - which is a shame. And very occasionally - for example, when I have the camera pointed at a relatively bright subject of uniform colouration, such as a nice blue sky - I can see a faint pattern of 'rings' through the eyepiece, overlaying part of the image. I'm guessing that this is being caused by the fine Fresnel ridges of the focusing screen suddenly becoming accentuated and noticeable when the light strikes its surface at a particular angle, or possibly it's a genuine interference pattern - something akin to Newton's Rings. It's far more a distraction than a problem; but I've used many different kinds of SLRs over the years, and I can honestly say that I've never encountered this phenomenon before!
8) 'CAMERA SHAKE'
I'm beginning to realise just how susceptible this sensor is to blurring as a result of involuntary camera movement, even at normally quite respectable shutter speeds. I think it would be prudent to heed Nikon's own advice and always activate the lens's image stabilisation system, where this facility is offered (doing so will drain the battery a little more quickly, but that really can't be helped!)
If you're using fixed focal length lenses that don't have VR/IS/OS (and the majority will not have it), then you may well find yourself shooting at higher ISO sensitivities than you would ideally like - in order to guarantee a higher shutter speed* - unless, that is, you're prepared to resort to a monopod or tripod...
(* As a rough guide, I would suggest doubling the focal length of the lens you're using to establish the minimum shutter speed to use. For example - if you're using a 50mm prime lens (without image stabilisation), the minimum safe shutter speed for handheld shots would be about 1/100th second.)
9) THE BATTERY AND BATTERY CHARGER
The D3200 uses a small 7.4V/1030mAh lithium-ion rechargeable battery*, which also sees service in some of Nikon's Coolpix cameras. It's questionable whether this battery pack is up to the demands made by a DSLR. The handbook optimistically suggests that a fully charged battery should power its way through about 540 photos in single-shot AF mode. Well... I'm obviously using the brand new battery that came supplied with my D3200, so it's currently operating at peak performance - or should be; but even so, and with the battery charged to overflowing, I'm lucky to better 350 shots when shooting RAW (Fine) with my Sigma zoom, notwithstanding infrequent use of the monitor screen and flash. As always, it's the TFT LCD monitor screen that really draws the 'juice': try using it only when you really need to, and with the brightness set to a minimum comfort level. It should also be remembered that bigger, heavier lenses will draw considerably more power to drive their AF motors (and their IS systems, if they have them.
You will definitely need to buy a spare battery at some stage; and on that note, please take heed of the following advice:
i) A genuine Nikon battery: A pukka battery will have a small holographic Nikon logo displayed on the reverse. I would strongly recommend that you source these directly from Nikon or from one of its designated dealers. I know that it will cost you more, but at least you'll be sure of getting the real thing - not a counterfeit. Remember - if an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Nikon appears to be employing some kind of electronic identifier/inhibitor chip these days, which enables its latest cameras to determine whether a genuine battery has been installed (in which case, the camera will operate), or whether the battery is non-genuine (in which case, it most likely will not work at all.) This is good in the sense that the system is protecting your camera (and you) from a potentially hazardous fake battery cell; but it's bad if you were contemplating a cheaper non-Nikon alternative. If you are unlucky enough to buy (and attempt to charge) a counterfeit battery and it malfunctions - damaging the charger - then Nikon would NOT be obliged to honour its committments, under the terms of its warranty, and replace the unit...
ii) A third party alternative battery: I know that so-called 'decoded' batteries are now beginning to appear in the marketplace, and that their low prices can seem very enticing; but I would strongly urge you to contact Nikon before you commit to buying any non-Nikon brands of batteries. Why...? This is what Nikon has told me, specifically:
"Using a battery pack that has not been recommended by Nikon will invalidate your warranty."
That couldn't be clearer! We all know that the camera manufacturers overcharge for their own batteries, and we may wish it wasn't so; but why, when you have spent hundreds of pounds on your new camera, would you put all that at risk for the sake of saving a few tens of pounds on a battery...?
!! Addendum 13/11/12: Did I say that my battery was operating at peak performance...? Well, I tried recharging it this morning and after 30 minutes the charging status light (on the charger) started flashing rapidly. The handbook warns that this is indicative of a fault. After contacting Nikon, both battery and charger will shortly be on their way to Nikon's service department for inspection, leaving me with an out-of-action camera for up to 4 weeks. To say that I am unimpressed with this apparent failure, after only 2 months of ownership, would be quite an understatement! I will keep you posted...
(Supplementary update 21/11/12: Nikon has replaced the MH-24 charger under warranty, though the actual fault hasn't been specified; the battery itself has got a clean bill of health. I should applaud Nikon for its quick turnaround, but I find it hard to forgive them for supplying such a flimsily-designed type of charger unit in the first place! Be warned: the MH-24 needs to be handled very carefully if you want it to last!)
* 17/10/13: Some good news! Nikon is releasing a revised version of this battery, with greater staying power - to be called the EN-EL14a - and which I understand can be safely recharged using the original MH-24 charger. However, any owners of the original EN-EL14 who are tempted to buy the new battery as a replacement or as a spare should NOT attempt to use it in their cameras until the appropriate software upgrade (D3200 - C 1.02) has first been downloaded and installed. For more information, go to 'europe-nikon.com' > Support and downloads, and read article 58678. And the downside...? Some users have reported that certain third party batteries will no longer work with their D3200s!
Once you get to grips with its quirks and limitations, the D3200 can deliver amazingly detailed images that are usually portrayed in pleasantly controled and well-defined colours...although I would prefer the dynamic range to be wider than it is. I still find it difficult to believe that it's possible to buy such a capable camera for so comparatively little! However, this approbation is not unconditional and must come with the following provisos:
i) In order to do justice to that 24MP sensor, you really do need to have a decent piece of glass mounted in front of it: if you intend to rely exclusively on that standard 18-55mm kit zoom lens, you won't be using this camera at anywhere near its full capabilities. Buying a higher quality zoom lens will certainly help; but you really need to invest in a decent set of prime lenses to have any chance of getting the maximum potential from that sensor. I have just bought a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8G Lens, and the performance difference between it and my zoom lens at 50mm is quite amazing! Fixed focal length lenses are still the only realistic proposition if you want to produce photographs of the highest technical quality...
ii) The very best results will come from processing the images yourself - and that means 'grasping the nettle' and shooting in the RAW (NEF) format. Developing RAW images can seem a daunting prospect, at first, but it isn't any more involved than editing JPEGs and you will be delighted with the results if you persevere. Having said this, you are going to need the right kind of picture editing software - something that at least allows you to precisely control Noise Reduction and Sharpening.
192 of 212 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but seriously flawed,
This review is from: Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)I've owned a Canon EOS550D for about two years and couldn't resist buying a D3200 out of intellectual curiosity. Would it really give better results or was the increase in pixels a mere marketing ploy by Nikon designed to bolster sales? Here is my summing up.
* Records noticeably more detail than a 550D, even with kit-zoom.
*Subjectively, colour rendition is better than the 550D for greens and reds.
* Virtually no noise up to ISO400. At ISO800, noise is clearly evident, but still acceptable and fine detail smearing is a lot better than with a 550D.
* Excellent dynamic range (better than 550D) and no noise penalty with 'Active D'.
* Well built and extremely compact, yet controls are easy to operate. With a standard lens, you'd think it was a 'bridge'-camera.
* colour fringing due to chromatic aberration noticeable with V.R. 18-55mm kit-zoom (major problem with I.S. 18-55mm kit-zoom on the 550D).
* 11 A.F. points (550D has 9).
* Will follow-focus in video mode (no A.F. available during video with 550D).
* NO METERING WHATSOEVER, with non-AF, manual Nikkor lenses. You have no indication what the correct exposure should be. Not so with the 550D, which retains metering even with stop-down, manual, non-AF lenses used via an adaptor.
*Auto-focusing not available on the D3200 when used with most Nikkor AF-D lenses; only with the majority of G-type Nikkors. For A.F. to work, the lenses must have a built-in motor. With the 550D, all genuine Canon EOS lenses autofocus and give the full range of metering modes, even those EF lenses manufactured prior to 1990.
* Clumsy menu system and viewfinder info. could be more comprehensive (better on the 550D).
* No depth-of-field preview available (the 550D has this).
* I.S. 18-55mm kit-zoom supplied with the 550D gives sharper results.
* Small viewfinder (as with all DX-format DSLRs).
You can not fail to be totally blown away by the quality of the images. For I.Q. this has to be the best value-for-money camera on the market. For those trading up from a 12- megapixel APS-C sensor (or even an 18-megapixel sensor) the difference in quality is substantial. Even with kit zoom 18-55mm V.R., compared to results with a decent prime lens on the Canon, a lot more detail is visible. In short, no contest. I doubt there's a better DX-sensor out there, apart from the Fovean used in the SD1 and nice though it is, the camera is much more expensive and doesn't feature built-in video!
This camera has the potential to make a lot of photographers on a low budget, very, very happy as long as they choose their lenses with care. It represents yet another milestone in the evolution of digital photography to the masses, in terms of I.Q. From a personal perspective, this camera is a godsend enabling me to take action photographs at ISO800 with definition comparable to a slow slide film in years gone by, but with the better depth-of-field that APS-C allows. I just wish Nikon had remained loyal to all those film devotees, with non-AF, non-cpu, lenses. The idea of carrying around a handheld exposure meter,like a Western Euromaster, is just riduculous. On the 550D, you can meter with any lens attached; Nikon really should have designed this to do the same. Brilliant but seriously flawed in my opinion!
Finally, a few words of warning over where not to buy:
Give Simply Electronics a miss; customer service means nothing to them. If you're in any doubt over this, just check them out and read the many tales of woe. Completely untrustworthy from my perspective. Repeated e-mails are largely ignored (or your questions unanswered) and trying to get through by phone is a fruitless exercise, no matter how hard you try (nice little earner?).
Once they've got your money, they intend keeping it and if the item wasn't in stock at the time, then you'll be in for a very long wait. Don't be fooled by their 30-day money back guarantee. On your invoice, it states 14 days and the item must be unused (not entirely clear from their advert). The clock starts ticking from the time your order is placed, not from when the goods are received. Being based in Hong Kong, compliance with E.U. / U.K. trading rules could be difficult to enforce, if you're hoping to use Distance Trading Regulations. If they do agree to a refund, you'll be kept waiting at least a month. In short avoid: go elsewhere to a U.K. based firm you can trust. Beware of Value Basket (they may well be the same organisation). Either way, their reputation is almost as poor.
Give Ebay a miss, because there are too many drawbacks, such as: being sold a poor-quality product, not getting adequate compensation for return postage to China and ending up paying import duties a week after your camera arrives. You may also find that the user's manual is in Japanese, rather than English and that the manufacturer's warranty is invalid.
After 45 days, Ebay wont be held responsible and you can't even leave negative feedback against the scum that sold you duff goods. It's then you versus the integrity of a trader that may be thousands of miles away, whose already let you down (risky)! Sending your camera back for repair using 'signed-for'-mail to China is expensive, but without it you may never see your camera again. Ah but it wont go wrong thinks you. Wrong! Often the items are badly packed and faults may show up a few months later. You'll then see the wisdom of buying from a U.K. trader.
Customer service really is important when spending hundreds on a DSLR. Try using Trust Pilot to guage customer satisfaction. Also,the current Nikon UK cash-back offer (expiring 21st January, 2013) means that grey-imports are no longer worth considering on the grounds of cost saving.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed at first,
This review is from: Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera Body Only - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)I was disappointed at first withthe D3200. All the photos seemed just a touch off focus. Amazon were brilliant. They gave me the option of return for refund or replacement or I could even send it to Nikon for calibration and return it to amazon if I wasnt happy after that.
I chose to send to Nikon for calibration as I though I had noting to lose. Parcel went out free on parcelforce 48 hr service. Camera was booked in, recalibrated and sent ny 24 hour courier all in 1 day. Total turn around 7 days including a weekend and a bank holiday.
Camera cam back perfect. Focus razor sharp now. If anyone buys one and isnt happy Id recommed sending to Nikon (Kingston) centre for recalibration.
57 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too good!,
This review is from: Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD (Electronics)This is an odd camera. It has what is quite possibly the world's best DX sensor, yet it is a "low end of the range" camera. Not only is the resolution far higher than its predecessor the D3100, the dynamic range is wider, and the low light level performance slightly better. Observers thought it was impossible to achieve all those improvements (most "experts" were sure higher resolution meant worse low light performance), yet here it is. Notice the respected DxO labs have placed the D3200 in their top ten highest quality camera list of all time (all the other top ten cameras cost thousand of Pounds, even tens of thousands of Pounds!) You can't get better independent proof of this little camera's picture quality than that.
So is the D3200 a low end camera or a high end camera? I feel it is a high end camera - it offers higher picture quality and more advanced features than the world's most expensive film cameras ever did. Most of the world's greatest photographs were taken on far cruder cameras than this.
Yet realistically, most buyers will never need so much quality. With the affordable DX lenses that buyers use with this camera, the results are somewhat lens limited and often not easy to tell apart from the D3100 at the print sizes most people use. (I have both the D3100 and D3200 and have compared "real world" results carefully). The D3100 is much cheaper at the moment and so it represents better value for money. Yet, if you want something extraordinary, the D3200 is it. Definitely a game changer.
125 of 142 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great Amazon buy !,
By all means, pay the £2800 for the D800 or £1800 for the D700, but you won't get a more technically advanced processor and sensor than on the D3200. So unless you need to use the camera as a professional - huindreds of shots a day and heavy manual use in hard working situations - spend less on this camera! All electronic products are poor investments anyway! Some years ago I paid £1400 for a new Nikon F4 body. Six months alter, the same technical spec. came out in the F300 - 400 series, but in less 'durable' bodies for £300 ! Learn the lesson the easy way!
NOTE : THIS CAMERA CAN BE PURCHASED THROUGH AMAZON De. FOR £460 ! Post & packing are £5, delivery is 3 - 4 days. That's where I got mine. The camera has the same Nikon Eu guarrantee as if it had been purchased in the UK.
67 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good bit of Kit,
The Movie Feature is also good it will use a lot of Memory so have plenty on standby. It is easy to move from stills to movie mode, one of the feautres I was after so I don't have to take two types of camera out.
The only Issue is that some of the older lenes will ony work in manual focus. The Auto focus system on the D3200 is controlled by the lenes so will need to have a Motor drive in the lenes this can be identifed by af/m switch on the lenes.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great little camera if a little pricey,
I looked long and hard at two other alternatives, one being the Canon Powershot G1x and the other being the Sony NEX-7. Out of the three the Sony is without question the one to have if you are looking for amazing image quality in a small package and the Canon, whilst being a lovely piece of kit just required too many performance compromises from my side, so the Nikon was the obvious choice for me. So why didn't I go for the Sony? Well it is just too expensive. The body is around £1,000 plus lenses and that is beyond my budget for a back-up. The Nikon suits me as I am well invested in Nikon pro equipment and I have plenty of old lenses I can put on the front.
So what about the camera? Well as I have already alluded to I use it as a back up to my pro Nikon kit but it would be unfair to compare it to equipment costing 5/6 times as much although the comparisons are there to be made. I have shot several projects with this camera and I really like it. There are of course elements from my pro kit that I miss but overall the camera performs really well, especially in low light and the most important thing for me is that the image quality is pretty good whatever the situation. I have had photographs from this camera used by a lot of press agencies and never have I had a negative comment in respect to image quality. I do get the occasional strange look from my fellow journo photographers when they compare their large cameras to my little Nikon but this often works in my favour as I make easier progress through check points and security inspections as this camera doesn't stand out as `journalist' equipment. With an old DX 18-200mm VR lens on the front this camera is good to go and I am happy with the results although the images are a little soft when compared to my D800 or D3x, but this it isn't anything that the computer can't deal with in post-processing. If you are familiar with Nikon kit then you won't have to look twice before you are using it like you have had it all your life.
The video function suffers from the same issues that the D800 & D4 do, namely that it relies on contrast detection which means the camera will focus hunt, especially when panning so a more planned approach requiring manual focus is normally required. The output quality is fine though for this level of camera. If you are after a camera with lots of extra functions and special effects then there are probably better options out there for you, however if you are after a robust, simple to use, quality camera then look no further. It's a cracking little photographic tool. In many ways it reminds me of my first Nikon which was a Nikon FM2. I have had that one for over 30 years now, so I can really can't say any more than that!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic entry level DSLR,
The choice of entry level cameras between Nikon and Canon at this price range would likely lead you to the same show down between the Canon 650D and the D3200. The D650 does win out in several areas such as:
a built in auto focus motor (rather than Nikons being in the lenses)
slightly faster shooting rate (5fps vs 4fps)
more cross type focus points
Where as the Nikon would win in several other areas such as:
Better image quality (both higher resolution and colour depth)
More lenses available
More standard focus points
Lighter and Smaller (my dad has the 650D and it is a significantly larger camera needing a more robust, and therefore expensive, tripod to keep it held steady)
There are is a lot of information about both brands/products all over the web and many books directed specifically at getting the most out of both specific cameras. I have had some fantastic results straight away and have had some fun playing with things like light painting (keeping the shutter open and using torches etc to highlight areas of the image). The standard battery will easily last 500 photos so 1 battery should be enough for most peoples days shooting (depending how much you review using the rear screen of course).
If you were to purchase this fantastic camera I would also recommend at least these extras to keep your camera safe and help get most from it:
Extra battery (just in case you're trigger happy)
A good carry case
A wireless remote control
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