Contax N Digital vs Nikon D3200
The Contax N Digital and the Nikon D3200 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2002 and April 2012. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (N Digital) and an APS-C (D3200) sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24.1 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their sensors, their features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
|Contax N Digital||Nikon D3200|
|Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Contax N mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|6.1 MP, Full Frame Sensor||24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO 50-1600||ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|2.0" LCD, 200k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|4 shutter flaps per second||4 shutter flaps per second|
|100 shots per battery charge||540 shots per battery charge|
|152 x 138 x 80 mm, 990 g||125 x 96 x 77 mm, 505 g|
Body comparison: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D3200
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D3200. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3200 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the N Digital is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3200 is considerably smaller (43 percent) than the Contax N Digital. Moreover, the D3200 is substantially lighter (49 percent) than the N Digital. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the N Digital nor the D3200 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the D3200, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on eBay).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Contax N Digital»||6.0 in||5.4 in||3.1 in||34.9 oz||100||n||Feb 2002||7,399||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D3200«||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||540||n||Apr 2012||599||-||Nikon D3200|
|Canon 10D« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.0 oz||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||5.6 in||3.9 in||2.8 in||22.9 oz||400||n||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||44.6 oz||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||5.9 in||4.2 in||3.0 in||30.2 oz||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||n||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||23.3 oz||210||n||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||5.8 in||4.1 in||1.5 in||29.9 oz||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||5.5 in||3.1 in||1.5 in||20.6 oz||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D5600« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||2.8 in||16.4 oz||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.7 oz||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||15.2 oz||700||n||Jan 2014||499||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||4.9 in||3.9 in||3.0 in||16.9 oz||600||n||Oct 2013||799||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3100« »||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D100« »||5.7 in||4.6 in||3.2 in||27.5 oz||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||6.2 in||6.0 in||3.3 in||38.8 oz||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999||-||Nikon D1X|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The D3200 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 92 percent) than the N Digital, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
Sensor comparison: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D3200
The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D3200 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D3200 is 59 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the D3200 offers a higher resolution of 24.1 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.85μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the D3200 is much more recent (by 10 years and 1 month) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600 The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3200 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800..
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|Contax N Digital»||Full Frame||6.1||3040||2008||-||-||-||-||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D3200«||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81||Nikon D3200|
|Canon 10D« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.1||10.9||571||57||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||21.0||10.8||544||55||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||-||21.8||11.0||954||63||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||APS-C||6.3||3072||2048||-||-||-||-||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||-||-||-||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||-||24.4||13.2||2133||86||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||-||22.5||11.7||884||69||Leica M9|
|Nikon D5600« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.0||13.9||1338||83||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3100« »||APS-C||14.2||4608||3072||1080/24p||22.5||11.3||919||67||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D100« »||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||APS-C||5.9||3008||1960||-||-||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D3200 indeed provides for movie recording, while the N Digital does not. The highest resolution format that the D3200 can use is 1080/30p.
Feature comparison: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D3200
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The N Digital and the D3200 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the N Digital has a higher magnification than the one of the D3200 (0.73x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Contax N Digital, the Nikon D3200, and comparable cameras.
|Contax N Digital»||optical||Y||2.0||200||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D3200«||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D3200|
|Canon 10D« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||optical||n||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||optical||Y||1.8||114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||optical||n||3.0||1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||4400||Y||3.0||1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n||Leica M9|
|Nikon D5600« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3100« »||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D100« »||optical||Y||1.8||118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||optical||Y||2.0||120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0||n||n||Nikon D1X|
One feature that is present on the N Digital, but is missing on the D3200 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
The N Digital writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D3200 uses SDXC cards.
Connectivity comparison: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D3200
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Contax N Digital and Nikon D3200 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Contax N Digital»||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D3200«||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3200|
|Canon 10D« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D5600« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3100« »||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D100« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||Y||-||-||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-||Nikon D1X|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Contax N Digital (unlike the D3200) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the N Digital and the D3200 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3200 was replaced by the Nikon D3300, while the N Digital does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras, as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Contax and Nikon websites.
Review summary: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D3200
So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Contax N Digital or the Nikon D3200 – has the upper hand? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Contax N Digital:
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.53x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3200:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24.1 vs 6.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 98%.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/30p video.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 200k dots).
- More compact: Is smaller (125x96mm vs 152x138mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 485g or 49 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (540 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (92 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 1 month of technical progress since the N Digital launch.
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D3200 is the clear winner of the contest (10 : 6 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision.
Do the specifications of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D3200 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing.In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the N Digital or the D3200 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
Expert reviews: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D3200
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Contax N Digital»||-||-||-||-||-||Feb 2002||7,399||-||Contax N Digital|
|Nikon D3200«||++||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599||-||Nikon D3200|
|Canon 10D« »||-||++||-||o||-||Feb 2003||1,999||-||Canon 10D|
|Canon Rebel« »||-||++||-||o||-||Aug 2003||899||-||Canon Rebel|
|Canon 1Ds« »||-||++||-||-||-||Sep 2002||8,999||-||Canon 1Ds|
|Canon D60« »||-||++||o||-||-||Feb 2002||2,999||-||Canon D60|
|Leica M10-P« »||-||-||-||-||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995||Leica M10-P|
|Leica M10« »||-||-||4/5||-||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595||Leica M10|
|Leica SL« »||-||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450||Leica SL|
|Leica M9« »||-||-||4.5/5||4.5/5||-||Sep 2009||7,999||-||Leica M9|
|Nikon D5600« »||-||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||+||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499||-||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||+||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D5300« »||++||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||799||-||Nikon D5300|
|Nikon D3100« »||++||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon D100« »||-||++||o||o||-||Feb 2002||1,999||-||Nikon D100|
|Nikon D1X« »||-||++||-||o||-||Feb 2001||5,999||-||Nikon D1X|
|Notes: ++) highly recommended; +) recommended; o) reviewed; -) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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Specifications: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D3200
|Camera Model||Contax N Digital||Nikon D3200|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Contax N mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2002||April 2012|
|Launch Price||USD 7399||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D3200|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.2 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||357.28 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.1 Megapixels||24.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3040 x 2008 pixels||6016 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.90 μm||3.85 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||6.74 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||50-1600 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||100-12800 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||81|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1131|
|Screen Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D3200|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||200k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D3200|
|Autofocus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D3200|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D3200|
|Battery Type||4xAA power pack||EN-EL14 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||100 shots per charge||540 shots per charge|
152 x 138 x 80 mm
(6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
125 x 96 x 77 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||990 g (34.9 oz)||505 g (17.8 oz)|
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