Nikon D3300 + 18-55mm VR II
The same but different, the D3300 looks almost identical to the older D3200, but offers some worthwhile upgrades
DX-format D-SLR £350, $500 www.nikon.com
You need to get up close and personal to spot any differences between the D3200 and D3300, at least from the outside. The biggest news around the back is that the right-hand buttons and multi-selector sit a bit lower, enabling a larger thumb grip area. Up on top, an additional Effects position on the shooting mode dial gives access to trickery such as Toy Camera effect, Colour Sketch and Night Vision. However, it’s what’s under the skin that’s more interesting. Nearly two years newer than the D3200, the D3300 has a more powerful EXPEED 4 image processor, which helps enable higher standard and expanded ISOs (12800 and 25600 respectively), and a faster continuous drive rate of five frames per second (compared to four for the D3200). While both cameras boast a 24.2 megapixel sensor, the D3300 omits the optical low-pass filter, giving potential for greater retention of fine detail in images. The flipside of that though, is that the buffer can only accommodate 11 shots in RAW mode, rather than the D3200’s 18. Both cameras offer 12-bit colour depth for RAW quality mode, whereas the D5300 and D5500 offer the option of either 12-bit or 14-bit capture.
The D3300 does superbly well to capture fine levels of detail at low to medium ISO settings, and it still performs well at higher sensitivity values. As such, it manages to deliver cleaner, less noisy images at high ISOs than both the D3200 and J5.
In tests, metering proved more accurate and consistent than on the D3200