While the D3200 may be Nikon’s entry-level DSLR, its 24.2 megapixel resolution sensor makes it the highest resolution cropped sensor camera in the entire Nikon fleet. With its predecessor carrying only 14.2 megapixels it’s clear that Nikon chose to go for high resolution versus high ISO performance in their current generation entry-level model. That resolution can come in handy, allowing shooters a fair amount of leeway to crop images when necessary to provide more pleasing formats, or for printing really big enlargements. The D3200 is fairly light and compact as DSLRs go, and the kit lens provides decent overall image performance. The camera is fully compatible with over 40 Nikon AF-S/AF-I lenses and tele-converters in the current Nikon catalog – lenses that range from 10mm to 600mm (with an 800mm on the way).
Auto focus acquisition time can be a little pokey if you ask the kit lens to go from near focus to infinity (and vice versa), but otherwise the D3200 kit seems on a par with other entry-level DSLRs and shutter lag is negligible. Still and video image quality is very good, but even with the dedicated video button the process of initiating video recording requires first switching into live view and then acquiring focus before proceeding with capture. The continuous shooting rate of 4 fps is in the ballpark with other entry-level DSLRs and the continuous autofocus performance when shooting bursts of moving subjects is pretty good. All available shooting modes are quickly and easily accessed via the mode dial atop the camera body, and guide mode can be a big help in leading novice photographers through the steps needed to accomplish their particular image capture goals. If you’re in the market for your first DSLR the Nikon D3200 is a worthy consideration.
- Good video and still image quality
- Good shutter lag
- 24.2 MP sensor permits aggressive cropping or very large prints
- On the light/compact end of the scale for DSLRs
- AF acquisition time with kit lens can be a bit slower than average in some instances
- 24.2 MP sensor produces somewhat noisier high ISO images than lower resolution sensors
- Video capture is advertised as “one touch,” but only after switching to live view and acquiring focus first