Nikon D3200 review
- Helpful Guide Mode
- Full HD vid with external mic
- Excellent picture quality
- Slightly pricey
- Flash can pop up needlessly
- LCD screen could be better
The Nikon D3200 is the brand's latest entry-level DSLR camera and is set to sit alongside the existing the popular Nikon D3100, rather than replacing it. There's plenty of new tech on board, not least the brand's third-generation Guide Mode, which takes newbies through the basics so that they can get the best out of their new toy.
The camera also sports a 24.2-megapixel CMOS sensor along with the new powerful EXPEED 3 image processor, as found on the brand's top-of-the-range Nikon D4.
The D3200 tips the scales at 505g so it feels relatively light in the hand compared to some of its rivals, even with a zoom lens attached. Measuring 125 x 99 x 76.5mm it's also relatively compact so it should prove too cumbersome when you're out shooting for the day.
The body work is similar to that of the D3100, and the new model will be available in black as well as red, in case you fancy a snapper with russet tones.
Nikon D3200: Controls
The controls aren't too different to those on the D3100, with the most frequently used functions, such as Live View, getting their own buttons. There's also a dedicated control for firing up the video capture so that you don't have to scroll through any menus to get to the recording mode. Once again, the handy Guide Mode has it's own spot on the top dial so it's always at hand.
Nikon D3200: Screen
The 3-inch (7.5cm) LCD screen has been given up a spruce up since the D3100, bringing with it a improved 921k-dot resolution. It was certainly bright and clear, although we haven't had the chance to see it action in bright daylight just yet, as we were confined to the rather dimly lit product demo room.
Nikon D3200: Battery
The D3200 sports the same EN-EL14 battery as the D3100 which should offer around 550 shots per charge. Obviously we didn't have the camera long enough to check out the battery but that's something we'll be looking at in more detail in our full review.
Nikon D3200: Picture quality
While a relatively high megapixel count, such as the whopping 24.2 on show here, is no guarantee of quality, it does ensure that there's plenty of scope for cropping and zooming with minimal loss in detail or sharpness.
While the performance upgrades, such as the inclusion of the new EXPEED 3 processor should help to boost the image quality, the third-gen Guide Mode should also go some way to improving your snaps.
This nifty piece of technical wizardry has been given a makeover since the D3000 and D3100, taking you through the best photo capture processes step-by-step with accompanying images. For example, one of the tutorials shows you how to get the best picture of a sunset, by tweaking the white balance.
Nikon has also expanded the range of effects which includes many of the usual suspects such as minature, selection colour and monochrome. There are also a series of built-in retouch options so that you can carry on swift, in-camera tweaks on your images.
Nikon D3200: Video
The D3200 has been designed to offer top-notch video as well as pictures, with full HD video capture on board at a maximum rate of 30fps. There's a built-in mono mic for your audio, while the camera also offers the added bonus of a external stereo mic input, something that's often missing from rival models.
Nikon D3200: WU-1a wireless mobile adaptor
Nikon has also launched the WU-1a wireless mobile adaptor which can be paired up with an Android device to wirelessly transmit your snaps from your D3200 (it won't work with any other models just yet).
The gadget also enables you to remotely view the live screen and trigger the shutter, effectively working as a remote control. Nikon tells us that iOS support is due in Autumn 2012. We didn't get to see the adaptor in action but we'll bring you more info as soon as we can get our hands on one.
Nikon D3200: Verdict
The D3200 certainly has plenty of compelling upgrades on board, not least that massive 24.2-megapixel sensor, along with the friendly Guide Mode and powerful processing engine.
We'll have to reserve judgement on Whether the Nikon D3200 represents a significant step-up from the D3100 until we can get our grubby mitts on a full review model, but the added extras could well help to justify the higher price. Stay tuned...
Nikon D3200 availability: Mid-May 2012
Nikon D3200 price: £559.99 (body only), £649.99 (with 18-55 VRmm lens)