If you have used the D3100 before you might want to know that the new D3200 borrows a lot of the components from its predecessor, as it has an identical autofocus system which benefits from the company’s recently introduced scene-recognition technology. In addition, the viewfinder has remained the same, while other goodies include an updated Expeed 3 imaging engine, 1080p 30 FPS video, a high-res LCD, HDMI connector and a supporting microphone jack as well. It is indeed new but this doesn’t automatically make it better.
When put side by side with its rivals, the Nikon D3200 offers just about the same photo quality, while some may consider that the previous D3100 takes better pictures. We should mention that the JPEG photos are going to look clean up to ISO 400 while moving upwards to ISO 3200 will result into loss of detail and increasing noise as well. The real advantages of shooting raw will be noticed once you reach about ISO 1600. When it comes down to sharpness, exposure, tonal range and color, the D3200 performs quite nice as the JPEGs appear sharp without being too sharpened, while the color accuracy is high.
While some people will not be convinced that the photo quality is better on the D3200 in comparison to the model it replaces, you might want to know that the performance provided by the new model is considerably greater, but it’s still not as fast as the SLT-A37, for example. You will notice though that it is quite fast when you power it on and also when taking a picture as it takes less than 0.3 seconds. When taking two sequential shots it will take approximately 0.5 – 0.6 second, depending on if you are shooting JPEG or raw. It gets up to 0.9 seconds if the flash is fired. You might want to know that the continuous shooting will run at approximately 3.9 fps, which we consider as being enough for most of the people who practice photography only as a hobby.
The bad news is that the autofocus will feel quite sluggish from time to time, despite the fact that the numbers are showing something else. It is adequate when there’s a good light, but when trying to take a photo in suboptimal conditions you will notice that it is kind of slow, while the Live View autofocus is slow, just like other models from this class.
Basically, the D3200 uses the body of the D3100 so it remains light and small, but at the same time some will consider it to be quite plasticky. The same small and dim viewfinder can be found on the new model, while the extremely small focus points which light up only when you perform a half press of the shutter are almost impossible to read when there’s only a dim light available.
Under your left thumb there is an Fn button which can be programmed for ISO sensitivity, image quality, Active D-Lightning menus and also for white balance. The exposure compensation as well as the info buttons are located behind the shutter button which is circumscribed by the D3200’s power switch.
The new model has the record button to the left of the aforementioned buttons which some will probably consider to be a rather awkward position. If you did not know, the D3100 model features a combination of Live View switch / record key which sits just under the right thumb. Now on the new model there is an independent Live View button sitting on the back which has to be invoked before you can start recording, while the record button sits on top so you will have to stretch a little bit in order to reach it.
As you would expect, the top mode dial of the Nikon D3200 is segregated into the manual, semimanual and automatic modes. It continues to have the Guide mode which can give you step-by-step help for several of the usual shooting scenarios. Also on board is Easy operation which grants you access to a bunch of options, along with an Advanced mode which is going to offer a description of the suitable settings for the selected scenario and it also allows the user to modify the settings. You might want to know that the options available are not specific to the scenario, which would have been extremely useful for novice photographers.
The Nikon D3200 has a 24.2 mp CMOS 23.2 x 15.4mm sensor while the focal length multiplier is of 1.5x. As far as the sensitivity range is concerned, it offers ISO 100 (expanded) / 200 – ISO 6400 / 12800 (expanded). Regarding the metering, it offers 420-pixel 3D color matrix metering II while the metering sensitivity is between 0 to 20 EV. It can record videos in full HD resolution at 30 fps, 25 fps or 24 fps, while 720p clips can be recorded at 60 fps or 50 hp. The image stabilization is optical while the LCD has a 3-inch size with 921,000 dots.
There’s one SDXC memory slot available, a wireless flash, while the battery has a CIPA rating of up to 540 shots. The D3200 measures 5.0 x 3.8 x 3.1 inches (W x H x D) while the body weighs 17.6 ounces. Released in April this year, it costs about $700 with 18-55mm VR lens.
You will certainly appreciate that Nikon has decided to install the SD card slot on the grip-side location which is considerably more accessible. Aside from featuring a USB connector, HDMI out and composite connectors, the D3200 comes with the company’s own GPS module as well as an external microphone. However, we still notice the absence of some important features that other models in this segment come with, such as flash exposure bracketing.
All things considered, the Nikon D3200 is simply an evolution of the D3100 rather than a revolution. It has a better LCD and can recorded better video in comparison to the model that it replaces, but when it comes down to photo quality, the higher resolution sensor doesn’t really increase the quality of the pictures. Even so, it is a very good solution for those of you who are amateur shooters.