Nikon D3300 digital SLR

A flash of burgundy adds a bit of personality to this entry-level shooter

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Nikon D3300
  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikon D3300
  • Nikon D3300
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Relatively small size
  • Useful art filters and scene modes
  • Built-in tips

Cons

  • Focusing can be slow
  • Screen has no hinge

Would you buy this?

Nikon's glossy, burgundy coloured D3300 digital SLR is for those of you who are just starting your journey into more advanced photography. It's a small unit as far as D-SLRs are concerned, and while it doesn't have the extensive manual controls of a bigger camera, there is still enough there to give you the opportunity to play with exposure settings on your own.

Even if you're not comfortable with setting your own exposure from the outset, the D3300 features a more than capable auto mode, as well as built-in art filters and scene modes that you can use to get started. It's a camera that can be fun to use because of this, and it means you can shoot confidently, even as you learn how to use the manual features.

The main mode dial resides at the top of the camera, and there is only one control dial for changing the exposure settings. Even though this is meant to be a simple camera, the fact is that you have to learn a few things before you're able to really take advantage of the manual features.

For example, if you want to change the aperture while in manual mode, then you have to hold down the +/- key while simultaneously moving the control dial. If you want to change the ISO, then you have to enter the on-screen menu and use the thumb controller to get to that setting — or you could set the shortcut button (Fn, located on the left side) to take you to the ISO directly. On more advanced cameras, there are dials and buttons dedicated to these tasks. A camera such the D3300 eases you into that sort of environment.

Look at the exposure meter in the viewfinder to make sure your photos are properly exposed when using manual mode. On cloudy days like the one in the photo, you might want to over-expose a little by opening the aperture (using a smaller number) or using a slower shutter speed.
Look at the exposure meter in the viewfinder to make sure your photos are properly exposed when using manual mode. On cloudy days like the one in the photo, you might want to over-expose a little by opening the aperture (using a smaller number) or using a slower shutter speed.

Bored? Why not try out some of the built-in filters, such as this one, which makes your photos look like a painting.
Bored? Why not try out some of the built-in filters, such as this one, which makes your photos look like a painting.

Once you get a handle on how the camera works, you will find its picture quality to be of a high standard. Photos tend to look sharp when taken with a low ISO, even when you look at them at their native size, but higher values can introduce grain; it's something to keep in mind. Meanwhile, colours turn out rich and vibrant when captured in JPEG mode. You can shoot in RAW format, too, and edit your photos afterwards on a computer.

The optical viewfinder should be your main view to framing your shots, and it almost shows you 100 per cent of what you will end up capturing. There will be times when some extra bits will get into the edges your shot if you are attempting to frame something perfectly.

We thought we framed this picture perfectly, but the 95 per cent view finder means that some unwanted content sneaked into the bottom-right corner.
We thought we framed this picture perfectly, but the 95 per cent view finder means that some unwanted content sneaked into the bottom-right corner.

A 100 per cent crop of the previous image really shows just how much image there is to play with thanks to the 24-megapixel sensor. That's taken with an ISO value of 800.
A 100 per cent crop of the previous image really shows just how much image there is to play with thanks to the 24-megapixel sensor. That's taken with an ISO value of 800.

When you want to capture shots from a different angle, you can switch on Live View mode and use the rear LCD for framing. The screen is fixed in position, but it can still be used if you want to capture a shot from a high-up or low-down angle. Using Live View can make the camera feel sluggish as it goes through the mechanics of capturing the shot, so don't use it if you plan to shoot sports or other fast-moving action where you want to fire off multiple shots in succession.

A massive 24-megapixel sensor sits behind the lens mount, and because it can capture such large images, there is plenty of scope for cropping your photos during the editing process (within reason, of course). You can install any lens that's compatible with Nikon's F Mount, and the one we used for our testing was a simple AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm 1:3.5-5.6 G II VR lens.

It's a bit of an awkward lens to use because you have to unlock it first, and it's also quite slow when it comes to focusing. It's one of the lenses that's part of the available kits for this camera at retail stores. Twin kits with that lens, plus a 55-300mm lens are also available, and the price won't go over $AU1000 (it should be well under). Pricing for the single-lens kit is about $AU650, but you can buy the body only for about $AU500 and then stock up on lenses separately.

There's not much more to say about this camera other than it can be used to teach you about photography. In addition to the regular shooting modes and settings, it also has a built-in guide that can be used to find out how to do things such as take attractive portraits or to blur the background of a shot. It isn't a full guide, but instead offers key tips, and its inclusion further reinforces that this camera is a suitable model for those of you who are novice photographers and want to learn how to take the reigns of a camera.

If you don't like the burgundy colour, it's also available in a traditional black.

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