Nikon D3300 (16.0 oz./455g with battery and SD card) with included new 18-55mm VR II lens (about $600 with lens; also comes in gray and comes in red for the same price). enlarge. I got mine from Adorama; getting it from Amazon is also a great idea.
My biggest source of support for this free website is when you use those or any of these links to approved sources when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get your things through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. Thanks for your support! Ken.
Back, Nikon D3300. enlarge.
Sample Images (more throughout the review)
Sago Palm, 11 AM, 14 April 2015. Nikon D3300, Nikon 18-55mm VR II, f/11 at 1/125 at ISO 100. Camera-Original © LARGE BASIC JPG file. Remember that the bottom of the image is closer to the camera and therefore not in focus.
Crop from above 24MP image at 100%. If this is 6" (15cm) wide on your monitor, the entire image printed this size would be 40 x 60" (100 x 150 cm). Is this sharp enough for you for huge prints? Camera-Original © LARGE BASIC JPG file.
The Nikon D3300 is Nikon's most advanced inexpensive super-compact DSLR ever. It comes included with an excellent 18-55mm VR II lens as shown.
The Nikon D3300 packs ultra-high image quality into a small and light package that you'll want to carry everywhere.
The new D3300 is the lightest Nikon SLR or DSLR in in all of history at just 16.2 oz. (460g) with battery and SD card.
The D3300 is also very quiet and refined, which is a huge bonus compared to Nikon's pro cameras when shooting candidly.
While not as fast or as distracting as Nikon's professional cameras, the D3300 has as much or more resolution than any Nikon professional DSLR ever! The D3300 also has more resolution than any current Nikon professional DSLR; it has 24 MP compared to the $6,500 Nikon D4s' mere 16 MP. (The D800 and D800E have more pixels, but are merely consumer cameras.)
The D3300 has the same 24 MP resolution of the $7,000 LEICA M typ 240 in a much smaller and more flexible package.
The Nikon D3300 is a wonderful camera for anything.
The D3300 has more than enough speed for chasing kids, school sports and theatre, and far more pixels than anyone will ever need.
You need a real DSLR like this to capture still photos of motion, sports, kids and action. Smaller non-DSLR cameras like micro 4/3, cell phones and point-and-shoots just can't focus as fast to follow all the action.
The D3300 is for people who want great pictures. More expensive cameras are for people who want fancier cameras.
While I cover all the more expensive Nikons which are of interest to hard-core photographers, when my normal friends ask what camera to get, it's always this inexpensive D3300. The only reason I often shoot a fancier camera is that I have to go into menus to set the advanced features of the D3300, while my bigger cameras usually have dedicated knobs or buttons to let me make those adjustments more quickly. No worries, most people don't even know what these adjustments do, which is why the D3300 does away with the extra buttons to save us all money — and all the features are still there in the menu system.
The D3300 sees in the dark. Its ISO 12,800 shots look great. I love my 35mm f/1.8 DX lens, but even with the included kit lens there's no problem photographing in very dim light without flash.
Nikon D3300. enlarge.
The D3300 replaces the D3200 of 2012.
The D3300 is 1.6 oz. (45 grams) lighter than the old D3200.
There's slightly higher finder magnification than the D3200 — but the finder is still smaller than Nikon's larger DSLRs like the D7100.
The frame rate has climbed to 5 FPS from the 4 FPS of the D3200.
The ISO now runs to ISO 12,800 over the ISO 6,400 of the D3200.
There's a new swept Panorama mode. You get to it from Live View.
Among the ways Nikon saves costs to keep the price down is to minimize the number of buttons that most D3300 users would never use anyway.
Compared to a professional $6,500 Nikon D4s, the things missing are things most people won't miss:
No one-click playback zoom (pressing (+) only zooms in a little, not all the way).
No depth-of-field preview button.
No voice notes (used by reporters to record spoken notes with the images)
No battery percentage number, just a three-bar battery icon.
No auto LCD brightness control, but I never missed it.
No easy way to set Auto ISO ON/OFF or image size etc. directly; you have to stop and look at the menus or control panels.
The D3300's built-in flash can't work as a commander for wireless flash, but the D4s doesn't even have a flash.
No automatic exposure bracketing (simply use the Exposure Compensation control and make sequential shots yourself).
No HDR or multiple exposure modes, thank goodness.
There is a Recent Settings Menu, but it doesn't have the My Menu option.
No second memory card slot.
Lens Compatibility top
Nikon D3300. enlarge.
With no built-in AF motor or aperture feeler for manual-focus lenses, it only autofocuses with AF-S and older professional AF-I lenses, same as Nikon's other cheap DSLRs.
Older screw-type AF and AF-D (non AF-S) lenses expose and work perfectly otherwise, but you'll have to focus them by hand.
More at Nikon Lens Compatibility.
24 MP DX (23.2 x 15.4 mm) CMOS.
6,000 × 4,000 pixels native (LARGE, 24MP).
4,496 x 3,000 (MEDIUM, 13.5MP).
2,992 x 2,000 (SMALL, 6MP).
Normal (horizontal pan) 4,800 x 1,080.
Normal (vertical pan) 1,632 x 4,800.
Wide (horizontal pan) 9,600 x 1,080.
Wide (vertical pan) 1,632 x 9,600.
White Balance modes: Auto, incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual, all except preset manual with fine-tuning.
No crop modes.
100 ~ 12,800, expandable to ISO 25,600 (HI+1).
11 points: Single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, auto-area AF, 3D-tracking (11 points).
AF-S (focus and lock), AF-C (continuous AF) and AF-A (automatic selection depending on if subject moves or not.)
0.85x magnification with 50mm lens (smaller than FX cameras because it's 80% of a smaller area).
18 mm eyepoint.
-1.7 to + 0.5 diopters.
Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VII screen.
3D Color Matrix Meter II, 420 RGB pixels.
Spot on any of the 11 AF points.
Built-in Flash top
GN 39/12 (Feet/meters at ISO 100).
Does not control wireless flash, you'll have to buy the SU-800 to work as commander.
1/4,000 ~ 30 seconds in third-stop steps.
Time exposures with optional ML-L3 remote control.
Front and rear receivers for use with the optional ML-L3 remote control.
Flash Sync: 1/200.
Frame Rates top
5 FPS, in manual focus and at 1/250 second or faster.
Slower shutter speeds or expecting autofocus to focus for each frame will slow it down.
Picture Controls top
You can modify them.
1080p video with claimed full time AF, but DSLR video AF systems never work well. DSLR video AF can't track motion.
ISO 100 - 12,800.
Fine or Normal compression schemes.
Manual exposure control and mono microphone. (Stereo microphone input jack.)
1,920 x 1,080 at 59.94p, 50p, 29.97p, 25p and 23.976p.
1,280 x 720 at 59.94p and 50p (no 29.97p or 25p).
640 × 424 @ 29.97p or 25p.
H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding.
Linear PCM audio.
.MOV file format.
HDMI (type C) and analog outputs.
Built-in mono mic.
3.5mm stereo mic jack.
Manual or auto recording gain control.
Linear PCM only as part of video recording.
File Formats top
JPG, NEF, or NEF+JPG.
NEF (raw) in 12-bit compressed.
JPG in BASIC, NORMAL or FINE.
File Sizes top
20.4 MB NEF.
11.9 MB LARGE JPG FINE.
6.2 MB LARGE JPG NORMAL.
3.0 MB LARGE JPG BASIC.
1.9 MB MEDIUM JPG BASIC.
1.0 MB MEDIUM JPG BASIC.
Data Storage top
One SD, SDHC or SDXC card, 2 GB to at least 64 GB.
Exquisite 3," 921,000 dots.
4:3 aspect ratio.
Data Communication top
HDMI, type-C connector.
EN-EL14a Li-ion battery: 7.4V 1,030 mAh, 7.7Wh.
Rated 540 shots, CIPA, which is 50% with flash.
MH-24 Battery Charger.
3.9 x 4.9 × 3.0 inches, HWD.
98 × 124 x 75.5 millimeters, HWD.
16.045 oz. (454.9g), actual measured with battery and card.
Nikon rates it at 16.2 oz. (460g) with battery and SD card.
Nikon rates it at 14.5 oz. (410g) stripped.
Gray version version of the Nikon D3300.
Red version of the Nikon D3300.
Bottom, Nikon D3300. enlarge.
Made in Thailand (camera and lens).
Battery cells made in China, and then assembled into batteries in Indonesia.
Charger made in China.
0 - 40ºC (32-104ºF) operating.
< 85% RH, no condensation.
EN-EL14a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
MH-24 Battery Charger
DK-5 Eyepiece Cap
DK-20 Rubber Eyecup
UC-E17 USB Cable
EG-CP14 Audio Video Cable
AN-DC3 Camera Strap
BF-1B Body Cap
BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cover
Nikon ViewNX 2 software CD-ROM
07 January 2014.
GP-1A GPS ($280).
ML-L3 remote control.
Optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter ($52):
Nikon D3300 with WU-1a sticking out the side.
If you get it to go, the WU-1a claims to send images wirelessly to wi-fi doo-dads, and remotely monitor and shoot images for surveillance and unattended hidden operation.
Price, USA top
Box, Nikon D3300.
Getting a legal USA Version (applies in USA only) top
In the USA, be sure your box has a "(U)" after "D3300" above the UPC bar code on the lower right. If it's another letter, you got ripped off with a gray market version from another country. That's why I never buy anyplace other than from my Approved Sources. You just can't take the chance of buying elsewhere, like at retail, because non-USA versions have no warranty in the USA, and you won't even be able to get new firmware or service for it — even if you're willing to pay out-of-pocket for it when you need it! Always be sure to check your box while you can still return it, or just don't buy from unapproved sources, so you'll be able to have your camera serviced as or if needed.
Box end, USA version Nikon D3300. enlarge.
The D3300 works fantastically. The D3300 can make extraordinary images in the hands of someone who knows what they're doing, and has loads of internal processing power to accomplish everything it does very quickly. It's ergonomically very well thought out and handles and operates marvelously, and even its LCD is brilliant.
Technically it's unbeaten, and ergonomically it's as good as a camera with as few real buttons in this price range gets.
Used properly, the images look great at any ISO, and auto white balance is wonderful under almost any light.
The D3300's finder is bright and sharp, specially with the slow kit lenses for which it is optimized. It has a very precisely etched screen showing the location of the AF areas, a nice touch.
Better than the D800 and D800E, the AF zones are indicated with light-up LED spots that don't interfere much with the subject you're trying to see. (The D800 and D800E use ugly, obstructive black LCD squares that turn on and off instead.)
Its matte field won't properly show the restricted depth-of-field with lenses faster than f/4, but that's OK because this is how Nikon got the finder so bright.
The finder certainly isn't as huge as an FX camera or as big as the D7000 because the D3300 uses a hollow, lightweight pentamirror instead of a solid glass pentaprism, which is exactly how I'd want a lightweight camera to work.
Better than the D800 and D800E, the D3300 shows exposure compensation to thirds of a stop on its in-finder bar graph. The D800 and D800E only show half-stops, so they don't show when you've only got ±0.3 stops compensation set, which the D3300 does!
Autofocus is fast, silent and accurate. Of course it's limited by your lens; the included 18-55mm VR II isn't as lighting fast as some of Nikon's professional lenses.
Set to its default AF-A and Auto-Area select modes, the D3300 figures out where and how to focus, and just does it.
The selected points are shown with little LED dots. They aren't that bright, but bright enough.
The auto-area select function is smart, but not as smart as in the D800 or D4. The more exotic cameras can find a subject's eye and focus on it directly and instantly almost 100% of the time, while the D3300 usually, but not always, finds the subject in your frame.
If the D3300 isn't finding your subject behind distractions, you'll have to stop and go into menus to reset it to use just one AF area. Once you've selected to select which AF area is used manually, it's easy to use the rear selector to select them.
The rear selector moves incrementally between areas with each click; a click does not slam the selected AF point al the way to one spot or the next.
The D3300 has AF-S (single and lock), AF-C (continuous), and AF-A (automatic selection between the previous two modes) autofocus. This is better than the D5300, D800 and D4, which no longer have the brilliant. AF-A mode.
Exposure is superb.
It's almost always perfect.
The built-in flash is excellent, but it often takes several seconds too long to recycle, which can result in lost photos. The D3300 locks-up and won't fire while it waits for its built-in flash to recycle.
I'd suggest getting a used Nikon SB-400, which will recycle so fast that you won't miss anything, or just learn to be patient and shoot carefully.
Flash exposure is also superb. Fill flash always comes out right on the first try.
Daytime fill-flash exposures, indoors or out, are always lovely.
Likewise, flash exposure indoors is always right-on.
Fill-flash exposures indoors at night give the usual black backgrounds with little ambient light and overpowering flash, as expected.
Technically, image quality is fantastic.
Color rendition is superb; the D3300 uses all the same picture controls, with matching results, to all the other current Nikon cameras.
Auto White Balance continues to get better with every generation of Nikon camera. With the D3300, AWB usually gets exactly the results I want under any light.
ISO 12,800 looks great. There is very little noise and no mottling or blotching; the biggest artifact is a softer image from all the noise reduction.
New in the D3300, a swept panorama mode lets us hand-hold and swipe the D3300 in any of four directions to make a 180º panorama.
Of course if had held the camera more square the images would have been straighter. Using a pan head on a tripod would be ideal, and as I've shown, casual hand holding works swell as well.
Look for yourself; I see only a typical amount of stitching artifacts.
The Panorama mode also works fine if the camera is pointed somewhat higher or lower as you sweep to cover a higher or lower view.
These are in the NORMAL Panorama mode with the camera held vertically and panned to the right. A camera defect rotated my panoramas 90º, so I had to rotate these back to what you see here in Media Pro, the software I use for lossless rotations.
The WIDE mode didn't work. It stopped recording after 180º and filled the rest of the longer image with dark grey. I will presume that Nikon will fix these in newer firmware; my brand-new D3300 is still at version C 1.00 and L 2.002.
I only tried at the 18mm end of the included lens' range. I didn't try with other lenses.
Auto ISO works great. When you use this feature (I always do), the D3300 will shoot at your selected ISO, and when the light starts to get dark, will automatically increase its ISO to maintain the slowest shutter speed you've previously programmed.
The D3300 can select the slowest shutter speed based on zoom setting or lens focal length. One cannot select an offset from the auto-selected slowest shutter speed as one can in the D4 and D800, but just like all other Nikons with this feature, you always can set the slowest Auto ISO speed manually wherever you like.
The auto-selected slowest shutter speed isn't smart enough to set itself differently based on whether or not you have VR on or off.
Auto Distortion Correction
Better than my Canon 5D Mark III, my Nikon D3300 can correct lens distortion automatically as I shoot, and even better, we never have to load any lens profiles. So long as you're using an AF-D or G lens, you 're good to go right out of the box.
To get this automatic as-you-shoot correction, just set MENU > SHOOTING MENU (camera icon) > Auto distortion control > On. (default is off.)
Nikon does a great job with its inexpensive DSLRs — better than it does with its professional cameras today!
Press the exposure compensation button and the rear LCD lights magically so you can see to set it before you bring the camera to your eye. The D3300 even highlights the value to make it obvious.
The PLAY button is still on the wrong side, demanding a second hand to hit PLAY.
With MENU and most of the buttons on the right, you'll always need two hands to work the D3300.
If I choose to set my Fn button to set white balance, I can't navigate down to the other info screen settings.
Setting Fn button to select image size and Quality is pointless because you've got only one dial. Therefore with this option, you have to spin past all the options, and usually will get something wrong. On bigger cameras, this option allows you to use two dials, one for size and one for quality, but with only one dial, forget it.
To set the Fn and other controls, these settings are all hiding in the menus under "buttons."
The quiet mode isn't really. All it does it disconnect the cycle of the camera from charging the shutter until after you've removed your finger from the shutter button.
All this does is split the shutter sound into two parts, presumably so you could hide the camera under a jacket when you take your finger off the button, but in actual use, all it does is make the D3300 work more slowly and make the finder stay black after each photo — and it's not really any quieter than the regular mode.
The good news is that the D3300 is a very quiet camera in its regular mode anyway, much quieter than Nikon's loud professional cameras.
Audio is mono.
Autofocus for movies is slow, as are most DSLRs. It also makes audible clicking as it tries to focus.
Movie AF may be slow, but it doesn't hunt or get lost. It focuses, but slowly.
The D3300 is mostly plastic, with a metal lens mount and tripod socket.
This is perfect: it's light weight, and the durable parts are still metal.
When formatted, cards are correctly titled "NIKON D3300."
SMALL BASIC JPG files (2,992 x 2,000 pixels), the way I shoot my D3300, have a median file size of 700 kB, and can be printed at any size. Depending on the subject, they'll range from 480kB to 1.1 MB.
LARGE BASIC JPG files (6,000x 4,000 pixels) have a median size of about 2.2 MB, ranging from 1.8 to 3.5 MB.
Panoramas run from 1.0 MB in Normal to 1.8 MB in Wide Panorama.
The clock is reasonably accurate, running a third of a second slow per day.
Playback is fast and clear, as we expect from Nikon.
You can activate and deactivate different playback screen options in the menus.
If you're always in as much of a hurry as I am, I find that the continuous scroll takes a moment too long to start scrolling as you hold the directional control.
The Play and Zoom buttons on wrong side, requiring a second hand to control.
If you zoom-in with the YRGB histogram screen active, the histogram shows the values only for the area to which you've zoomed.
The D3300 has a superb LCD!
The D3300's LCD is big, bright, sharp and color-accurate. You couldn't really put a bigger or better screen on a camera this small.
The LCD is covered with uncoated clear plastic, not heavy anti-reflection coated glass as on some much fancier cameras.
I love the LCD of my D3300!
Power and Battery
The USA MH-24 charger has a folding plug for travel.
The light blinks amber while charging, and is steady when done.
Unlike fancier cameras, the battery gauge is only a 3-segment indicator that gives not much warning when the battery gets low.
Like most DSLRs, the battery lasts forever. The biggest worry you should have is being lulled into forgetting to bring your charger on a long trip.
I recommend the Nikon D3300 to everyone who asks what camera to buy for great photos of family, friends, sports, concerts, theater and action.
Got kids and want great action, low-light and long-distance photos? The D3300 is the camera to get. Paying more won't get you much more other than a lot more weight to have to carry around.
The only reason to pay more for a D5300 is to get a flipping rear LCD and better (faster recycling) built-in flash, and the only reason to pay more for a D7100 is if you know what all the buttons do and prefer the extra buttons of the D7100 over having to fool around in menus with the less expensive cameras.
As of April 2014, this D3300 is brand new and not discounted. Avoid the awful old D3000 at any price, while the older D3200 and even older D3100 are also almost as good for less money if you can find them left over. For instance, you can get the older D3100 for only $349, with lens, refurbished, which is almost the same camera as the D3300, for half the price.
The built-in flash is excellent. You probably don't need a separate flash unless you're trying to shoot action or kids which demand a fast recycle time.
Only if you need faster recycling time between photos or more range for daylight fill-flash do you need an external flash. If you do want an external flash, Nikon's best is the discontinued SB-400; get a used one at the links in its review. Nikon's newest SB-300 isn't as good as the older SB-400.
The included 18-55mm VR II is probably all you need for everything. If you're new to photography, the strongest advice I can give you from 45 years of experience is that it's far more important to learn how to use what you've got, instead of confusing the issue by buying more lenses, as you're starting out.
If you're counting every one of your 24 megapixels, you're most likely a computer hobbyist as opposed to a photographer, but if you are counting, the included 18-55mm lens isn't as sharp as the D3300 can be at 24 MP; you'll want the sharper 35mm f/1.8 DX instead.
See also the DX Dream Team.
I use only SanDisk or Lexar SD cards. Anything else is asking for trouble.
Where to get it
Only buy from approved online sources; don't take a chance with other online sources and especially never buy at retail. Nikon doesn't seal its boxes, so if bought at retail you have no idea if it's been used or not.
If you find all the time and expense I incur sharing all this information for free, this free website's biggest source of support is when you use these links, especially these to it at Adorama in black with lens or in gray or in red, when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live.
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