#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWERon 10 June 2014
The D3300 is a minor update to the D3200, it does offer most of what a new user might be looking for, or a decent choice for someone moving up from a bridge or compact camera, wanting to expand their photography knowledge
It's also easy to use and learn on.
There are a few limitations though compared to higher priced bodies, which I will go into later on. This won't matter to many users, but they are worth a mention
A quick summary of the notable strong and weaker points of the camera
+ Excellent image quality from the 24mp sensor, good dynamic range too. Nikon removed the optical low pass filter this increases the resolution a bit, you can shoot RAW and JPEG
+ 11-point AF system with central cross sensor is quite good enough at this price point
+ Nicely made and a smaller more compact size for a DSLR, quite comfy in the hand
+ Fairly well featured for an entry DSLR, has most of what you might want to start off with (bear in mind cons section)
+ Has HD video 1920 x 1080 50p which is sharp and clean. You do have autofocus (contrast) with the AF-F mode
+ 3.5mm mic input
+ "Guide mode" can be useful for some people it can help with shooting situations, but it's not perfect
+ Range of creative effect/filters to play with
+ Metering and WB are improved over the previous model quite consistent in most situations
+ Built in white light AF assist (helps the camera focus in lower light) it works, though it can be distracting for people shots inside
+ Good battery life around 600 shots
+ 5fps continuous shooting is quite fast for an entry level camera, buffer is quite small though (about 6 frames raw)
- No exposure bracketing (about time at least something was added here), no depth of field preview
- No Auto FP (High speed sync), this allows your external flash to sync at all shutter speeds with the camera, particularly useful for daylight fill in flash photography, where you will easily go over the normal 1/200 flash sync speed with faster lenses or on a bright day. Camera doesn't support it so you will have to use ND filters as a workaround (to reduce light to the camera)
- No built in AF motor in the body. This is less of an issue now that most recent Nikon lenses have motors built into them, but if you are digging around for second hand (or non AF-S)lenses it's something to consider. You can still use screw driven lenses but manual focus only
- Live view is fairly slow to focus, it's ok for non moving subjects though. Video AF-F can jump about a bit trying to focus
- No support for wireless (CLS) flash with the built in flash. You can use radio triggers though or optical slave flashes (Yongnuo etc)
Body controls wise, fairly straight forward. Menus are easy to use and navigate. There is a lack of some controls on the body, direct buttons for some important functions are not present such as ISO and WB settings. You can set the "Fn" button on the left hand side under the flash raise button can be set to (WB, ISO, image size and active D lighting) this helps quite a lot. As does using the "info" button which allows you to change settings on the rear LCD by moving around with the D pad.
Nikon probably could do with re-vamping the controls a bit on their entry models, ie more direct controls. But it's ok for this segment.
There is no vertical grip option from Nikon for the D3300. You can use the IR remote ML-L3 with the camera
Canon v Nikon:
I won't get into this major debate, both makers have large and extensive systems, in terms of lenses and bodies.
As a general guide Canon tend to be a bit more generous on entry bodies in terms of functionality (Auto FP, Wireless flash, DOF preview, bracketing) Nikon offer higher resolution sensors with better dynamic range, all their bodies have a built in AF assist light (none of Canon's do) If you are taking a photo course Canon might be a slightly better choice (those missing things might be useful for learning)
Try both (and other makers too) and see what you like best. You can't beat a real hands on with cameras some bodies might just feel right, some might not. There are no real right or wrong choices, everyone is different. But it's worth thinking about what friends/family are using you can borrow and use lenses and other items. Look at the practical elements of your choice too.
The removal of the optical low pass filter and slight increase in frames per second are the main improvements over the D3200, it is not a huge update over that model so if you have a D3200 you might want to look at the D5300 or even D7000/7100 to step up a bit to the next level.
Second body shooters:
The D3300 makes for a relatively inexpensive back up body, but the limitations on flash (esp Auto FP), less controls and no built in AF motor could be a factor. Look at what your needs are. This will do the job, but you might want to pick up something else if you need that.
Image quality is very good, but 24mp is stretching things a bit on some cheaper lenses, it's worth looking at lens choices to get the most out of the camera. 24mp is overkill for most users, including many serious photographers..though landscape shooters won't complain. Don't just buy the camera just for 24mp, it won't make you a better photographer, it can yield excellent prints if you have good optics and with good processing of images Low light is quite good but resolution drops off as it does on all 24mp APS-C cameras, you can reduce the jpeg image size if you wish.
So overall a pretty good entry level camera, it would be nice to see Nikon improve things a bit more esp in relation to the flash limitations and lack of bracketing (the last one has been a bit of a sore point for ages now) For the outlay it's capable of excellent results. It's also quite a bit cheaper than the D3200 was at launch.
Is there more to buy? Well that's down to you, one reason for DSLR's being a popular choice is you have the flexibility to get lenses you need or might want (macro, telephoto, ultra wide angle) You can spend a fortune on equipment, or just buy a few lenses that interest you. Building up a system takes time and can be very expensive. So take it easy for a while and learn the basics first.