Nikon D3300: Image Quality
The D3300 produces great images, and this is thanks in no small part to its excellent metering system. Wherever we went with the camera we found the evaluative metering system making sensible judgements.
We only really felt the need to correct it to preserve detail in highlights or shadow in high-contrast situations. It does tend to favour the highlights a little, sometimes leading to shadow areas looking a little dark, but this is easy to rescue in editing due to the camera’s impressive dynamic range (12.98EV at ISO 100, great for a camera at this level).
1/250 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 125, 1 EV, Manual WB, Click here to enlarge
Colour-wise, the camera performs as well as we’ve come to expect from Nikon. The Auto White Balance is a good all-rounder, safe and reliable. We would recommend taking control when shooting in woodland to avoid it over-neutralising the colours.
In terms of image noise, the D3300 is a little disappointing. The colour noise in shadow areas at ISO 400 surprised us; you really shouldn’t expect such noise to be creeping in until ISO 800. Once you do get to ISO 800 colour noise is visible in the midtones as well as more deeply in shadows. The D3300 does have an in-built noise reduction system to combat this, but this comes at the cost of sharpness if you do choose to turn it on.
1/500 sec @ f/5.6, ISO 100, Manual WB, Click here to enlarge
At the maximum native ISO of 12,800 luminance noise runs rampant and you really start to lose a lot of detail. At extended ISO 25,600 it’s worse and very hard to control. Shooting in Raw format can help, but it’s still prudent to be cautious. It’s worth remembering that the high resolution of the D3300 can allow you to reduce noise by downsampling your images.
Should I buy the Nikon D3300?
There are two big plus points stacked behind the Nikon D3300 – the high resolution and the competitive price.
Getting 24.2MP of resolution for £500 is a really rather attractive proposition for any photographer, especially given the removed low-pass filter that ensures maximum detail. The straightforward control design and useful help features mean it’s difficult to fault the D3300 for entry-level users.
For someone looking to enter the world of DSLRs, the D3300 is a great buy. You’ll produce great images in most situations and the instructional features make it a great way to learn the ropes of advanced photography.
A straightforward but powerful camera, the Nikon D3300 strikes an excellent balance between the entry-level needs of quality and simplicity. It’s not without its issues, most notably that it struggles to keep images clean at high sensitivities. However, the price is hard to knock, and the D3300 really does do a lot of things right. A very worthy first DSLR.
Next, check our 10 best cameras round-up
Score in detail
Image Quality 8