Nikon has announced their brand new entry-level DSLR; the D3200. I’m not in the market for an entry-level as I have my eyes set on the full frame D800, but I still have some thoughts about the feature improvements it offers.
This is the low-down on the D3200*
*Please be aware, I’m writing here based on the specification and things I have read and NOT based on an actual camera review. These thoughts are meant to provoke thought in potential buyers
In general, users looking to enter the DSLR world would likely be very happy with this product. It has many of the great features that used to only be included in higher level cameras such as 11-point autofocus, facial detection, and high ISO capabilities. Of course higher end cameras have moved even further and provide even better quality but the D3200 is the most affordable way to get into the Nikon DSLR lineup. It is available for pre-order at B and H Photo for $699 and comes with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6G VR Lens.
A lot of potential buyers will look at this as a major feature. Should they? Yes and no. Megapixels are quickly getting to levels where most users won’t see a difference unless they print HUGE!
That said, the increase from a 14.2 to 24 megapixels in this product line will give the shooter a bit more leeway when it comes to cropping. Since there are more pixels, a shot that is otherwise unexciting can be cropped to bring out the detail in on small part of the frame with a greater chance of still being printable.
So is this a major improvement? My D90 is 12 megapixels and I generally find it adequte to excellent for most of my uses. What it does mean is that the user will need a larger hard drive and more powerful computer to have the performance to edit the photos efficiently. You also might need to buy a new, larger memory card. In my eyes, this “improvement” should NOT be the reason you purchase this camera.
The frame rate has gone up to 4 frames per second (fps) from 3fps. More frames per second can definitely be useful in a number of applications. Soccer moms will love that they can hold the shutter button and have a better chance of capturing “that moment”.
This improvement is a good thing for users as long as they remember that higher frame rates are usually no substitution for anticipation. If you learn how to anticipate, your photos will be better than if you just hammer away at the shutter.
The back LCD
Surprisingly, this is one feature that I think most users will enjoy and IS a major improvement on the D3100. They are both the same size, however the D3200 fits 920 000 pixels into the same space that the D3100 only fit 230 000. What this means is that the images on the screen appear sharper to the viewer. This is good for both checking whether you achieved accurate focus or if you’re showing your photos to others on that screen. I feel that it plays a major role in people being impressed by photos on the back screen on my camera since they compare it to their little point and shoots.
In the end, the actual image would be the same no matter how many pixels are included on the back screen, but I still think it is an important feature.
Twin IR remote receivers
Supposedly the D3100 didn’t have the option of using a wireless infrared (IR) remote to trigger the shutter. So it is a very welcome addition to have not one, but two sensors. One at the front and another at the back so you don’t have to worry about your arm getting in the way of the photo if you’re behind the camera when triggering. I use this function quite a bit when doing landscapes to minimize camera shake due to me pressing the shutter as well as group shots where I’m in the shot.
ASIDE: Seriously Nikon? You have the accessory remote but created a product (the D3100) that will not entice buyers to purchase? From everything I’ve heard, the margins on accessories are where the money is at!
I don’t really see myself using this feature at this point, so it wouldn’t entice me into buying the D3200. However, if you do think you might use something like this, then this would definitely impact your decision.
Full HD 1080P30 Video
This improved feature will only affect your purchasing decisions if you think you might use your DSLR for video. I have used mine on a number of occasions. My D90 is the first generation that had video and therefore only had 720P video at 24 frames per second. It also has some major rolling shutter issues.
This generation will show improvement in the rolling shutter and the increased frame rate and resolution are also welcome. It also comes with a microphone socket which can improve the quality of sound in your video.
Look like the D3200 will be available in red in addition to the usual black. Not really my thing, but if it is your thing, then I suppose it is a welcome addition.