Nikon’s new entry-level D-SLR brings no giant leaps in technology, but many useful steps, as Rod Lawton finds out
Just weeks after launching the Wi-Fi-enabled D5300 for enthusiasts, Nikon has now announced a new addition to its entry-level camera range.
The D3300 shares the same 24-megapixel resolution as the existing D3200, but boasts a series of innovations and enhancements that will make it more appealing not just to novices but to more advanced users too. Perhaps the biggest news of all is not the camera itself but what’s mounted on the front.
Brand new kit lens
Nikon’s 18-55mm VR kit lens has been a standard fixture on the company’s low-to-mid range D-SLRs for some years. It performs very well, with great optical quality and an unusually good close focusing capability. However, it’s not pretty, and it sticks out a long way from the camera body, so although Nikon’s D3000-series and D5000-series cameras are pretty compact, as soon as you add the lens this advantage is gone. This is why Nikon’s new ‘retractable’ 18-55mm kit lens is so significant. It uses a mechanism similar to the one used in the Nikon 1 range’s 10-30mm zoom to shrink the lens down to a much smaller size for storage and easy portability.
The new lens is 70g lighter than the old one, and when you combine this with the D3300’s lighter body, you get a considerable weight saving – and it becomes Nikon’s smallest D-SLR zoom kit ever.
The optical specifications of the new retracting kit lens are exactly the same as the older lens, with a maximum aperture of f/3.5-5.6 and Nikon’s VR image stabilisation system built in; we’ll bring you the results of our lab tests on this lens next issue.
Sensor and sensitivity
The D3300 has a 24-megapixel sensor, just like the existing D3200, but there are some differences. The D3300 is the latest Nikon D-SLR to The D3300 will be available in black, grey and red. Which colour would you choose? have the anti-aliasing filter removed from the sensor. These blur fine detail very slightly to prevent any moiré (interference) effects with fine fabrics and patterns, but Nikon has decided they’re no longer necessary with sensors of this resolution. As a result, the D3300 should produce slightly sharper fine detail than the D3200, even though the megapixel count is the same.
Nikon has also added a newer and more powerful version of its Expeed image processing hardware (see the box opposite). This increases the D3300’s maximum ISO by 1EV compared to the D3200.
What, no Wi-Fi?
Interestingly, Nikon has decided not incorporate Wi-Fi into the D3300, so the D5300 is still the only Nikon D-SLR with Wi-Fi (and GPS) built in. But the D3300 is compatible with the Nikon WU-1a adaptor, which is both inexpensive and easy to use – see our