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Nikon D3300 vs. D3200: which is better?

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Which camera should I buy: the new Nikon D3300 or the old D3200? That's the question that a lot of photographers will be asking now that Nikon has announced its new D3300 entry-level dSLR, which is the successor to the D3200, which was announced back in April, 2012.

So, is are the extra features worth the price premium? Well, let's see!

D3300: 24Mp, no low-pass filter
D3200: 24Mp
D3300 is better in theory

Aspect ratios:
D3300: 1
D3200: 1
All square

D3300: Expeed 4
D3200: Expeed 3
New is better

White Balance Presets:
D3300: 12
D3200: 12
All square

Shutter Speed:
D3300: 30-1/4000th second
D3200: 30-1/4000th second
Dead heat

D3300: 25,600
D3200: 12,800
D3300 wins

D3300: 95%
D3200: 95%

D3300: 3” 921k dot
D3200: 3” 921k dot
Tied here

Built-in flash:
D3300: yes
D3200: yes
Same again

Continuous drive:
D3300: 5fps
D3200: 4fps
D3300 has the faster gun

Exposure Compensation:
D3300: +/- 5 stops
D3200: +/- 5 stops
Another draw

D3300: 1080p up to 60fps
D3200: 1080p up to 30fps
Finally, a difference!

Wi-fi connectivity:
D3300: yes
D3200: yes

D3300: 430g
D3200: 505g
The D3300 is trimmer

So, by looking at the above list, one can see a lot more similarities than differences. So, how about analyzing the differences?

First of all: the sensor. In theory, the lack of a low-pass filter should make the D3300 sharper right out of the box. However, by tweaking settings on the D3200, one can sharpen the images, too. Another consideration: the D3300/3200 are aimed at beginning dSLR users, who are likely not to split pixels (or even care) over which camera is fractionally sharper than the other. The same goes for the extra stop of ISO on the D3300. Bottom line: ISO 12,800 sucks on both cameras, which means that ISO 25,600 on the D3300 will suck even more.

As for other differences, they're few and far between, with the only practical one being the newer processor, which gives the D3300 1 extra frame per second. Does this matter? To most people, probably not, unless you're shooting fast action, wherein having that extra 1fps can (emphasis: can) make a difference. 30 vs. 60fps on video? It's highly doubtful that many people in the D3300's target audience would notice the difference.

Bottom line: when the D3300 hits stores next month, it will cost$650 when bundled with a redesigned (its smaller) 18-55 VR kit lens. In contrast, the D3200 can be had for about $525. So, is an extra 1fps worth $125? To me, absolutely not.

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