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Nikon D3300 Review: Features, Pros and Cons

One of the most lauded beginner DSLRs is the Nikon D3300, a budget-friendly step up from its predecessor, the D3200. Despite many similarities, a single change has made all the difference in terms of image quality. The D3300 has no optical low-pass filter, which essentially allows the high-resolution sensor to capture every little detail with maximum sharpness. Check out our Nikon D3300 review to get a handle on the top features, pros, and cons.

Nikon D3300 product photo

Nikon D3300 Pros

  • Compact and light.
  • Amazing high-ISO performance.
  • High resolution for such an affordable price.
  • Easy to use Guide Mode.

Nikon D3300 Cons

  • Not a major upgrade from the Nikon D3200.
  • Battery drains easily due to the detailed menu screen.
  • No built-in Wi-Fi.
  • The manual focusing with the kit lens is not that great.

Nikon D3300 Features

  • 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS Sensor;
  • EXPEED 4 Image Processor;
  • No Optical Low-Pass Filter;
  • 3.0-inch 921k-Dot LCD Monitor;
  • Pentamirror Viewfinder with 0.85x Magnification and 95% Screen Coverage;
  • Full HD 1080p Video Recording at 60 frames per second;
  • Multi-CAM 1000 11-Point Autofocus Sensor;
  • Full Resolution Continuous Shooting at 5 frames per second;
  • ISO Range of 100-12800 (Auto) / 100-25600 (Extended);
  • Built-in Flash;
  • External Microphone Input;
  • Wi-Fi Compatibility with WU-1a Wireless Adapter;
  • SD / SDHC / SDXC Memory Card Compatibility;
  • Dimensions of 4.9 by 3.9 by 3.0 inches;
  • Weighs 15.2 ounces.

How Much Does It Cost?

At the moment of writing, the Nikon D3300 is available in four lens configurations: 18-55mm lens, costing $447; 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses, priced at $569; 18-55mm and 50mm lenses, costing $664; and 18-55mm and 55-300mm lenses, priced at $697.

All About the Nikon D3300

How It Looks and Feels

Housed in a plastic-like monocoque construction with a generous textured handgrip and thumb rest, the Nikon D3300 is lightweight and easy to handle. While its sturdiness isn’t at the caliber of more high-end models, it nevertheless stands up to the test. Although featuring a rather small body in comparison to similar units, the handgrip is pretty chunky with a nice-sized lip at the top, making for an easy grasp. However, note that those with larger hands may need to adjust, maybe having to tuck their little finger underneath the camera body.

In terms of controls, simplicity is the goal for this unit. The top of the camera features a mode dial for switching between exposure modes, an exposure compensation button, and an info button. On the back of the camera, the controls are just as simple; to the left of the LCD monitor are menu and playback buttons, while navigation controls sit on the right side.

The “i” button also sits on the back of the camera, allowing access to a quick menu displayed on the LCD monitor. Lastly, found on the front of the camera near the lens mount is a customizable function button that allows you to adjust certain shoot settings with a single tap. The function is set to ISO by default; however, it can be changed to adjust white balance, JPEG quality, or Active D-Lighting.

How It Displays

Nikon D3300 DSLR

The Nikon D3300 offers up a quality 3.0-inch 921k-Dot LCD monitor, providing a good amount of contrast with a nice amount of detail. However, what the LCD monitor lacks is the touchscreen ability that has become standard on many competing cameras — not mention that the monitor is non-articulating, sitting flush to the body. The pentamirror viewfinder is a nice touch, offering up 0.85x magnification and 95-percent screen coverage. Although it doesn’t quite compare to professional-level units, it can certainly hold its own in terms of manual focusing. The highlight here is the focus indicator. It lights up within the viewfinder once the photographer has achieved proper focus. Note that this is an especially nice feature for beginners looking to get a handle on the complex art of manual focus.

How It Performs

The Nikon D3300 is a great choice for any beginning photographe. It features a 24.2MP DX-Format CMOS sensor and EXPEED 4 image processor. Both the sensor and image processor work together to capture high quality images with extreme detail and clarity. High-resolution images can be captured continuously at 5 frames per second. With an excellent metering system, solid autofocus, and speedy shooting, users of the D3300 have little to complain about.

Further, this camera’s ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 12800 and is expandable from 100 to 25600. Best quality images are often shot between ISO 400 and ISO 1600. Quality can be salvaged on photos taken at ISO 6400. However, any higher will likely result in an image that is less than pleasing to the eye. In terms of capturing color, the D3300 does a superb job of this. Although you may sometimes benefit from adjusting the settings when shooting under certain conditions, such as some exterior shots, the auto white balance feature is generally reliable for capturing the best all-around color in each image.

kid photographed with a Nikon D3300

Nikon D3300 + AF-S DX NIKKOR (Image Source: Cameraegg)

In this Nikon D3300 review, we can’t skimp on pointing out the incredible 11-point autofocus. The system is solid for cameras at this price point and is speedy. It works well in good lighting conditions and especially when shooting with the viewfinder. There is a noticeable lag when capturing images in Live View or in darker conditions but it’s only under the poorest of lighting that the camera actually struggles to focus.

Does It Record Video?

As mentioned above in this Nikon D3300 review, this unit lacks an articulating LCD monitor, which could prove to be slightly problematic for those looking to use this most often for video. That being said, the D3300 still offers some nice features pertinent to video. These include exposure controls, a built-in monaural microphone with adjustable sensitivity settings, and an external microphone input.

Various modes of autofocus are readily available while recording in Live View, including full-time servo, face detection, subject tracking, and more. Once users get past the static LCD monitor, the D3300 actually proves to be quite a viable option for shooting movies, capable of filming full-resolution 1080p at 60 frames per second. This is a competitive feature for an entry-level camera.

Lastly, we must note in this Nikon D3300 review that although the connectivity capabilities are lacking and somewhat outdated, transferring images from your camera to a mobile device is made simple with the optional WU-1a wireless adapter.

The Bottom Line

As you have seen in this Nikon D3300 review, this particular unit serves beginners quite well, striking a balance between performance and ease of use. It offers up quality images in point-and-shoot mode while also providing some control for those who want more freedom to explore. Guide Mode is another major draw, making this camera especially appealing to novices. We hope this Nikon D3300 review has been helpful – leave us a comment below to share your thoughts on this camera.