Nikon D3200 review

June 16, 2012

Overall Rating:


Nikon D3200

  • Metering:
  • Features:
  • AWB Colour:
  • LCD viewfinder:
  • Dynamic Range:
  • Build/Handling:
  • Autofocus:
  • Noise/resolution:



Price as Reviewed:


It may be an entry-level camera, but the Nikon D3200 features a 24.2-million-pixel sensor that could provide the sort of image quality demanded by enthusiasts. Can the Nikon D3200 cater for all? The Nikon D3200 review find out.

Build and handling

Image: The small, discreet body of the D3200 is ideal for street photography

As an entry-level camera, the D3200 is built to be compact, lightweight and simple to use. Indeed, at 505g including card and battery, the camera equals the D3100 as the lightest in the Nikon DSLR line-up. Its dimensions are also virtually the same.

Lightweight does not mean poor quality, however, as the D3200’s body is a sturdy, plastic construction with faux leather hand and thumbgrips, just like the D5100, which is the next model up in the range. The D3200 also uses the same EN-EL14 battery as the D3100 and D5100.

With a smaller body and simpler layout, the D3200 gives less space to external controls. One dial is designed for adjusting exposure, namely shutter speed and aperture. In manual mode, holding down the exposure-compensation button switches the dial to aperture control rather than shutter speed. One function button is placed near the lens and is set by default to control ISO, but this can be changed to control white balance, image quality/size or Active D-Lighting.

With little direct access to key controls on the body, most (including white balance, autofocus and metering) are instead found via the ‘i’ button in the quick menu. Interestingly, though, other regularly used controls do get a direct-access button, including drive mode, for which high-speed shooting and quiet shutter are available. Another direct control activates live view, which handily allows magnification to aid precise focusing.

For those who do not own editing software – which could be a good many who buy this camera – there are a number of edits that can be made in-camera, with miniature effect, color sketch and filter effects making their way over from the D5100. By default, auto image rotation is deactivated, and portrait-format images must be rotated manually.

Image: This image is taken with the fully compatible 50mm f/1.4G lens, enabling a shallower depth of field than the kit lens and giving crisp detail 

Like all Nikon DSLRs, the D3200 uses the standard Nikon F mount, so it is compatible with a host of lenses. It is not fully compatible with older lenses, however, including the AF-D type. I used both the Nikon 135mm f/2 DC AF-D and the Sigma 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens (with which we usually shoot our resolution charts) with the camera, and autofocus is not available. (Consequently, the resolution charts for this test have been recorded using the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VC lens.)

The pop-up flash has an output of GN 12m @ ISO 100 and can be manually adjusted from +1EV to -3EV, while the hotshoe provides compatibility with all Nikon flash units, of which the SB-400 is the most suitably sized.

  • External mic: Yes
  • Video: 1920 x 1080 pixels (at 30, 25 or 24fps), 1280 x 720 pixels (at 60 or 50fps), 640 x 424 pixels (at 30 or 25fps), MOV files with MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 compression
  • Built-in Flash: Yes – GN 13m @ ISO 100
  • Dioptre Adjustment: -1.7 to +0.5 dioptre, 18mm eye point
  • White Balance: Auto, 6 presets (with fine-tuning), plus custom setting
  • Shutter Type: Electronically controlled focal-plane shutter
  • Memory Card: SD and UHS-I compliant SDHC/ SDXC
  • Output Size: 6016 x 4000 pixels
  • Viewfinder Type: Pentaprism
  • LCD: 3in LCD with 921,000 dots
  • Field of View: Approx 95%
  • AF Points: Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 AF, 11 focus points (one cross-type), individually selectable AF points
  • Max Flash Sync: 1/200sec
  • Sensor: 24.2-million-effective-pixel CMOS sensor
  • White Balance Bracket: No
  • Focal Length Mag: 1.5x
  • Exposure Modes: Auto, program, aperture priority, shutter priority, manual and 6 scene modes
  • Weight: 505g approx, including battery or card/s
  • Power: Rechargeable Li-Ion EN-EL14 battery
  • File Format: Raw, JPEG, raw + JPEG simultaneously
  • Shutter Speeds: 30-1/4000sec in 1⁄3EV steps plus bulb
  • Drive Mode: 4fps
  • Colour Space: Adobe RGB, sRGB
  • Compression: 3-stage JPEG
  • Exposure Comp: ±5EV in 1⁄3EV steps
  • RRP: £559.99 (body only)
  • Lens Mount: Nikon F mount (with AF contacts)
  • ISO: ISO 100-6400 (Hi mode 12,800)
  • Focusing Modes: Manual, single-shot AF, automatic AF, continuous AF, predictive tracking AF
  • DoF Preview: Yes
  • Dimensions: 125 x 96 x 76.5mm
  • Metering System: 3D Color Matrix metering (evaluative), centreweighted (75% in centre of frame) and spot (2.5% on focus point)
  • Connectivity / Interface: USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
  • Tested as: Entry-level DSLR

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