Don’t be fooled by the entry-level status of the Nikon D3300. With a 24.2-million-pixel sensor and no anti-aliasing filter, the diminutive DSLR has ideas far above its station. Richard Sibley finds out just how good this £500 DSLR really is. Read the Nikon D3300 review...
Nikon has again used its Multi-CAM 1000 11-point autofocus system in the D3300, which was seen previously in both the D3100 and D3200. It features quite a small number of points compared to more advanced cameras. Each is spread out from around the centre of the frame, and goes just beyond the imaginary line where the rule of thirds intersections would be.
Generally, the positioning of the AF points is fine and most of the time I found that the subject of my scene was positioned under one of the AF points. On the odd occasions when I wanted my point of focus to be closer to the edge of the frame, it was usually when I was shooting a landscape scene and wished to have more of the foreground in focus. On these occasions the ‘focus and reframe’ technique works well, or I simply focused manually.
One word of warning: the new kit lens is not particularly great if you want to manually focus. The focusing ring is very small and light to the touch, which can make precision difficult. This is obviously lens dependent, and when using other optics there was better provision for manual focusing.
The AF works very well in bright light and, while I wouldn’t say it is the fastest I have ever used, it is snappy enough that most photographers will have no issue with it. In low light there was a noticeable decline in speed, with the AF hunting a little more before finding the correct points of focus.
Overall, I would say that the AF system is about average for this level of camera, and while demanding photographers will require better, the autofocus on the D3300 should satisfy the needs of everyone else.