Nikon D3300 review: first look

7 Jan 2014

Nikon has revamped its entry-level DSLR for 2014. The D3300 debuts a range of new features, a redesigned 18-55mm kit lens and an improved Guide mode for helping photography novices get to grips with the basics.

The hardware

Physically, the D3300 is now one of the most compact DSLRs out there. Nikon claims to have trimmed a few millimetres here and there from the D3300’s body, but the main saving comes from the new retractable lens. This allows the lens barrel to screw right back into the housing and lock into place when it’s not in use.

There have been some crucial changes inside, too. The 24.2MP CMOS sensor remains centre-stage, but the D3300 has now followed in the footsteps of Nikon’s pro-class D800E camera by removing the optical low-pass filter.

Nikon claims that this change dramatically improves clarity, sharpness and subtly improves colour balance. Previously the omission of a low-pass filter would have resulted in excessive moiré patterning, but Nikon stated that the design decision was made possible by the improved image processsing provided by the new EXPEED 4 image processing circuit.

Other improvements include the addition of a 60P video mode alongside the existing 50P mode of the D3200, and while the ISO range stretches up to 12800, it’s now extensible up to 25600. Continuous shooting has received a speed bump, too, and now hits a maximum of 5fps.

Guide mode

Those looking for a an easy way to make the leap from the user-friendliness of compact cameras to the improved image quality of a DSLR will appreciate the D3300’s Guide mode. Nikon says that it has responded to target group research to pinpoint the best ways to assist novice users, and has revamped the Guide mode layout, and added more explanation to the various features. Check out the video above for more detail.

Our verdict

With the D3300 coming in at a suggested retail price of £499 body-only, and £599 with the 18-55mm kit lens, this is still a substantially pricier option than a compact camera. But, with actual retail prices likely to be significantly less than SRP, the D3300 might yet be the budding photographer’s choice in 2014. If the removal of the low pass filter works the image quality magic which Nikon claims it does, then it could be onto a relatively affordable winner. Keep an eye on the PC Pro website for the full review.

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