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Nikon D3300 review: Discontinued, but still a great option secondhand

Our Rating :
£339.99 from
Price when reviewed : £389
inc VAT

Outstanding photo and video quality, nippy performance and no significant drawbacks


Nikon D3300 Photo quality

2012’s D3200 was the first Nikon SLR to use a 24-megapixel sensor. Now nearly all of them do, yet while the D3300’s resolution hasn’t changed at all, this sensor definitely marks a significant upgrade. Exactly the same one that’s found in the D5300 and D7100, the noise levels were appreciably lower than from the D3200. The sensor also omits an optical low-pass filter in an effort to boost detail levels, yet I found the difference was extremely subtle. With that in mind, it’s still great to find one of the best sensors available for this type of camera in an entry-level model.

Nikon D3300 sample shot Noise levels in JPEGs at ISO 12800 are significantly lower than from the D3200 or Canon EOS 1200D

Nikon D3300 sample shot This shot at ISO 6400 tells a similar story

Nikon D3300 sample shot Shooting RAW and processing images in Lightroom brings further benefits to noise levels

Nikon D3300 sample shot It’s also worth shooting RAW to make the most of details, although the 24-megapixel JPEGs aren’t exactly lacking in this department

Nikon D3300 sample shot There’s no sign of aliasing artefacts on these diagonal lines, despite the lack of an optical low-pass filter

On the other hand, there’s very little to report regarding the image quality. Nikon SLRs’ ability to capture vivid and flattering colours in JPEGs is already well documented in past reviews, and in-camera removal of lens distortions and chromatic aberrations helps photos look their best straight out of the camera. The kit lens could be a bit better, with soft focus towards the edges of frames and a very slight lack of contrast to fine details across the entirety of the frame, yet it’s still good enough to get first-time SLR owners up and running. If and when they’re ready to upgrade, it’s reassuring that this sensor can make the most of much higher quality glass.

Nikon D3300 sample shot Crisp details and lifelike colours: most of our test shots were hard to fault

Nikon D3300 sample shot Comparing the same shot taken with the kit lens and a 35mm prime reveals how much more the sensor has to give with a good lens in front of it

Nikon D3300 – is it for you?

I think by now that we’ve made it abundantly clear that we prefer this camera over its main rival, the Canon EOS 1200D. Coming in top for photo quality, video quality, performance, viewfinder size and battery life, which makes us willing to overlook – if almost forgiving – the more frustrating aspects of its controls.

Notwithstanding, the prices of the two cameras have diverged significantly since launch with the D3300 costing around £290 at present and the equivalent Canon costing £245 but beware of the slightly cheaper kit with the non-stabilised lens, which we wouldn’t recommend to point-and-shoot beginners. Despite the clear price difference we still prefer the D3300.

These aren’t the only two contenders, though. There are various superb compact system cameras (CSCs) which often use the same-sized sensor as the D3300, with the charge currently being led by the amazing bargain that is the Samsung NX3000, currently available for as little as £250 if you shop around a bit. If you are looking for a ‘proper’ DSLR though, then the D3300 comes close to receiving our recommendation, but it needs a simple firmware update to address its annoying operational habits to tip the balance.

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Basic Specifications

CCD effective megapixels24.0 megapixels
CCD size23.5×15.6mm
Viewfinderoptical TTL
Viewfinder magnification, coverage0.85x, 95%
LCD screen size3.0in
LCD screen resolution921,000 pixels
Articulated screenNo
Live viewYes
Optical zoom3.0x
Zoom 35mm equivalent27-82.5mm
Image stabilisationoptical, in kit lens
Maximum image resolution6,000×4,000
File formatsJPEG, RAW; QuickTime (AVC)


Memory slotSDXC
Mermory suppliednone
Battery typeLi-ion
Battery Life (tested)700 shots
ConnectivityUSB, AV, mini HDMI, 3.5in microphone, wired remote
Body materialplastic
Lens mountNikon F
Focal length multiplier1.5x
Kit lens model nameAF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR II
AccessoriesUSB cable

Buying Information

Warrantytwo years RTB

Camera Controls

Exposure modesprogram, shutter priority, aperture priority, manual
Shutter speed30 to 1/4,000 seconds
Aperture rangef/3.5-22 (wide), f/5.6-36 (tele)
ISO range (at full resolution)100 to 25600
Exposure compensation+/-5 EV
White balanceauto, 12 presets with fine tuning, manual
Additional image controlscontrast, saturation, sharpening, brightness, hue, Active D-Lighting, noise reduction, auto distortion control, colour space
Manual focusYes
Closest macro focus28cm
Auto-focus modes11-point
Metering modesmulti, centre-weighted, centre, face detect
Flashauto, forced, suppressed, slow synchro, rear curtain, red-eye reduction
Drive modessingle, continuous, self-timer

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Reviews | DSLRs