Customer Review

234 of 263 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant but seriously flawed, 27 Jun 2012
This review is from: Nikon D3200 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit - Black (24.2MP) 3 inch LCD (discontinued by manufacturer) (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.

The Pros:

* 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).

The Cons:

* 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).

In summary:

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.
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Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 26 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 1 Jul 2012 01:03:45 BDT
D. J. Morley says:
Autofocus is available with all AF-S and AF-I Nikkors (i.e. those with built-in focus motors), not just G-type lenses (which are the ones lacking aperture rings).

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2012 12:51:03 BDT
What I meant (thought this was obvious) was that Nikon D3200 will not autofocus with AF-Nikkor lenses unless they are type G. AF-D type Nikkor lenses do no have a built-in motor, so you will not get autofocusing. They do, however, offer full metering facilities with this camera.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2012 18:48:51 BDT
D. J. Morley says:
There are several AF Nikkor lenses with which the D3200 will autofocus that are not G-type. An example is the AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8D, which has an aperture ring and an internal focus motor and it works well with this camera, though it's rather bulky, having been designed for the full frame 135 film format. Not all AF-S lenses are G-type and not all D-type lenses lack an internal focus motor. The D designation simply means that the lens conveys distance information to the camera body. It has nothing to do with the presence or absence of a built-in focus motor. G-type Nikkors also report their focused distance to the body but they are defined by the fact that they have no aperture ring (Ken Rockwell describes them as being "gelded" because their aperture can not be controlled on older manual film bodies, such as the FM3a). Although G-type lenses tend to have built-in focus motors there are plenty of non-G lenses that also do. Therefore, as I said, autofocus is available with all AF-S and AF-I Nikkors, not just G-type lenses.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2012 23:19:08 BDT
Ok, point taken but the lens you describe is one of the exceptions (and a very expensive one at that). Anyone buying a 50mm 1.8 AF-D or 85mm AF-D expecting the autofocus to work would be disappointed. Yes, as general rule you do need G-type Nikkor for AF to work with this camera, though as you've pointed out, there are exceptions.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 00:37:23 BDT
D. J. Morley says:
This is getting a bit silly. You are incorrect when you say that the camera will only autofocus G-type lenses. It will autofocus any AF-S or AF-I Nikkor lens. The G designation doesn't come into it and by insisting that it does you are misleading potential purchasers. Incidentally, AF-D isn't a Nikon designation but a misnomer and I suspect you mean AF 50mm f/1.8D in the example you give of a popular lens that indeed won't autofocus with the D3200 due to its not having an internal focus motor. But that isn't because it is a D-type lens or because it isn't a G-type lens but because it isn't an AF-S or AF-I lens.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 22:25:50 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 Jul 2012 22:35:39 BDT
Yes, you're right it is getting silly (and too pedantic). There may well be non-G-type lenses that autofocus with the D3200 but some probably wouldn't give full metering facilities (a separate issue, I grant you). Brevity is something one strives for in writing a review. I doubt most readers would end up feeling short changed through any lack of information on my part, though they might if they ended up spending 88 on an AF 50mm F1.8D and expecting it to auto-focus.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2012 23:22:34 BDT
D. J. Morley says:
Silly, yes. Pedantic, no. I'm just striving for accuracy, really. There are indeed many non-G lenses that autofocus with the D3200 and as long as you remember to set their aperture rings to the minimum setting (not too difficult and they are generally lockable in that position) they meter normally too, in all modes supported by the camera. Accuracy is something worth striving for in writing a review. I doubt many readers would feel short changed if you advised them to buy only AF-S lenses, though they might if they thought they couldn't use any non-G AF-S lenses in their collection. I, for one, have several and they are the most compatible of all Nikkors ever made. They work with any digital Nikon body, with any AF Nikon film body, with any AI-equipped manual film body and, with the addition of a coupling prong, with any pre-AI Nikon body, to the fullest extent offered by the camera body. G-type lenses are indeed gelded in comparison.

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Aug 2012 20:35:31 BDT
No, you are confused. The previous poster was correct. This camera will only autofocus with AF-S, AF-I lenses, but it does not autofocus all G lenses (which is the designation for lenses with electronically controlled aperture only), as some of those do not have built-in focusing motor, which is what the D3200 needs to autofocus. An example of this is the cheap Nikkor AF 70-300mm f4-5.6 G lens, which is a G lens but would still not autofocus on the D3200. AF-S, AF-I lenses may be G lenses, but not all G lenses are AF-S or AF-I.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2012 06:03:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 21 Sep 2012 06:04:17 BDT
Sn Baines says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Sep 2012 15:36:16 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 26 Nov 2012 21:16:04 GMT]
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