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After almost two years of its launch and even after the launch of it’s successor D3300 in India which was done just 15 days before, we have finally got our hands-on the Nikon D3200 DSLR camera which has been in Indian markets since late 2012.

Nikon D3200 is an entry level DSLR camera featuring a huge 24.2MP DX format APS-C sensor with the high end EXPEED 3 processing engine along as seen on the flagship Nikon D4 and the newly launched Nikon D4S. It comes with a 921k-dot LCD display, full HD 1080p video recording with autofocus, quick access Live View, high ISO range from 100-12800, 11-point autofocus system and 4fps continuous shooting.

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Design

The Nikon D3200 though have not changed much as compared to its successor, D3100. Being an entry level DSLR it is expected not to be as big and heavy as the professional ones and so it has been. The camera body is itself made of plastic with a chunky rubber grip on the right hand which even makes it suitable for hand-held shooting. The camera might not feel as robust as the some of its high end model because it’s not an high end camera but is definitely comparable to what competitors are offering. The rubber coating grip as mentioned above also acts as a thumb rest on the back of the camera making the design ergonomic overall.

The external control placements have not changed since the D3100. The D3200 features IR controls so there are two sensors on the body, one in the grip and other in the rear of the camera. Following the conventional design, it has a shooting dial on the top which allows to select different shooting modes. Just next to the shooting dial, there is a small red button along with main shutter release button. The red button activates the video recording when the camera is Live View. There is also an exposure compensation button along with a small info button which have been carefully placed to make up for a single control wheel to adjust focal length and aperture in Manual mode. The info key have a very important function to display vital shooting information making up for the monochromatic status LCD which is present on high end.

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The 3-inch LCD screen is for recording videos and Live View shooting. There is a button on the back of the camera which toggles between Live View and optical view finder. There is a AF/AE lock button just above the LV button with rest of the buttons including zoom, menu, delete, 4-way directional pad all placed conventionally.

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Key Features

  • ISO 100-6400 (plus ISO 12,800-equivalent Hi1 setting)
  • EXPEED 3 processing engine
  • 3.0-inch, 921k dot screen
  • Full HD 1080p video (with 25p and 24p options)
  • Microphone socket
  • Twin IR remote receivers
  • 4 frame-per-second continuous shooting
  • Guide mode

Performance

The Nikon D3200 does not have a focus motor built within just like its other entry level products. The AF-S and AF-I lens which comes with the AutoFocus feature which means not all lenses can work with Auto Focus. The 18-55mm and the 18-105mm Nikkor lens Kit which comes in bundled with the D3200, both feature autofocus and VR reduction. Nikon bodies don’t offer any specific control to handle in-camera stabilization. Therefore they have vibration reduction feature build within the lens to overcome this issue.

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D3200 DSLR camera offers 1080p full HD ‘D-Movie’ mode with full time auto-focus in movie mode, which you can turn off. If you ask me, it’s better off because the noise of the rotating motor is captured by the microphone which tends to get into your video. Adding to this, during our testing period we found that our subject which was in focus by the camera suddenly goes out of focus and then the motor keeps rotating to get it back in focus. A better alternative to this is keep the autofocus off, adjust the focus manually and stop down the lens to enough depth-of-field to work with.

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The optical viewfinder has pre-defined 11 AF sensors marked on the screen. In single AF mode, the photographer can choose a region from these 11 focus points via the directional pad and the active AF points light up in red upon half press of the shutter release. Other available AF area modes include Auto Area, Dynamic Area and 3D Tracking.

The images captured can be edited to some extent from the camera itself using the built-in tools which are post-capture D-lighting (useful if you forgot to turn on Active D-lighting before capture), red-eye correction, trimming, monochrome conversion, different filter effects, color balancing, image resizing, image overlay, in-camera raw processing, distortion correction, and a miniature effect.

The Nikon D3200 comes powered by a proprietary Lithium-ion battery and comes with a cordless charger that plugs directly into a mains socket. The camera uses SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards for storage. There are A/V Out, mini HDMI and USB terminals, a proprietary connector for an optional cable release or GPS unit, and an external microphone socket to handle all the connectivity woes.

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Conclusion

Nikon made a significant upgrade for the entry level with the launch of their D3200 in 2012. That time it had the biggest sensor of 24.2MP with high resolution APS-C DX format. Comparing with D3100, Nikon managed to increase the sensor size by almost 10MP which is huge. There are still some noticeable bugs in the Live View but the expanded Guide Mode, more connectivity options, much-improved movie should make up for it.

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With the bigger sensor and more features, a price push up was inevitably expected. The body only comes for 27,250 but there are two more options for the users to choose from. The D3200 comes with a AF-S 18-55mm VR kit lens for 32,950 and AF-S 18-105mm VR kit lens for 43,950. This might look heavy so you should get back to the D3100 or maybe look out for Canon 1100D or the newly announced Canon 1200D which have less features and a lower price.

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