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Nikon D3200 Comparison Review

The Nikon D3200 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was officially introduced in April 2012 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 24.1 megapixel.

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Is the Nikon D3200 a good camera? The D3200 has a Camera Elo of 1639. This rating puts the D3200 among the top 50 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the D3200 ranks below average. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 3-star performance rating.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3200
Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses
24.1 MP, APS-C Sensor
1080/30p Video
ISO 100 - 6 400 (100 - 12 800)
Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 921k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second
540 shots per battery charge
125 x 96 x 77 mm, 505 g


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Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.

Body comparison with a credit card

The physical dimensions of the Nikon D3200 relative to a credit card are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are presented. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Nikon D3200 vs credit card front
D3200 versus credit card top view
D3200 and credit card rear side

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon D3200 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D3200 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599i
 
Nikon D5600 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D3400 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.7 oz 1200 n Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D5500 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 14.8 oz 820 n Jan 2015 899i
 
Nikon D3300 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 15.2 oz 700 n Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D5300 4.9 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 16.9 oz 600 n Oct 2013 799i
 
Nikon D5200 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 500 n Nov 2012 749i
 
Nikon D5100 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749i
 
Nikon D3100 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D3000 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599i
 
Sony A58 5.1 in 3.7 in 3.1 in 17.4 oz 690 n Feb 2013 599i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

The listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon D3200 was launched in the US market at a price of $599. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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.

Nikon D3200:
Check Ebay offers

Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide

The imaging sensor is at the core of digital cameras and its size is one of the main determining factors of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels 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 tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

The Nikon D3200 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon D3200 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.

Nikon D3200 sensor measures

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
 
Nikon D3400 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.813.9119286
 
Nikon D5500 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0143884
 
Nikon D3300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.312.8138582
 
Nikon D5300 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.013.9133883
 
Nikon D5200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
 
Sony A58 APS-C 19.8 5456 36321080/60i23.312.575374

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D3200 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the D3200 can use is 1080/30p.

Feature comparison

Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the D3200 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 95% and a magnification of 0.53x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D3200 and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3400optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5500optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3300optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5300optical n 3.2 1037 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5200optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Sony A581440 n 2.7 460 tilting n 1/4000s 5.0 Y Y

One convenient feature of the D3200 is the presence of an on-board flash. While this built-in flash is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light to brighten deep shadow areas.

Connection comparison

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 Nikon D3200 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Nikon D3400Ymonomono--mini2.0--Y
 
Nikon D5500YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D3300YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5300YstereomonoY-mini2.0Y--
 
Nikon D5200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
 
Sony A58YstereomonoY-mini2.0---

It is notable that the D3200 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.

Expert reviews

While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says nothing about, for example, the handling, responsiveness, and overall imaging quality of the D3200 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599i
 
Nikon D5600..79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D3400+76/1004/54.5/54.5/5 Aug 2016 499i
 
Nikon D5500+79/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Jan 2015 899i
 
Nikon D3300+77/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jan 2014 499i
 
Nikon D5300+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 799i
 
Nikon D5200+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749i
 
Nikon D5100+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749i
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
 
Sony A58....4.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2013 599i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Nikon D3200 FAQ

Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the D3200.

What is the technology behind the imaging sensor in the D3200?

The camera is build around a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor.

Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?

Nikon equipped the D3200 with the EXPEED 3 image processor.

What is the ISO sensitivity range of the D3200?

The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400.

What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon D3200?

Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 100 000 actuations for the D3200. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the D3200 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 100 pictures each and every day.

How do I find the shutter count on my Nikon D3200?

Nikon embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your D3200 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.

Does the Nikon D3200 feature an autofocus assist light?

Yes, the camera has a lamp built-in that can illuminate the subject and improve autofocus in low-light settings.

What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?

The D3200's flash sync speed is 1/200 sec.

Does the Nikon D3200 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?

Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-I cards (data transfer speed of up to 104 MB/s).

Which battery does the D3200 use?

The camera gets its power from the EN-EL14 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.

Is there a vertical grip available for the D3200?

Nikon does not offer an optional battery grip, but third party suppliers do (see here on eBay).

Camera to camera comparisons

If you would like to see a side-by-side review of this and another camera, just use the search menu below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.

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    Specifications Summary
    Camera Model Nikon D3200
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date April 2012
    Launch Price USD 599
    Sensor Specs
    Sensor Technology CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.2 x 15.4 mm
    Sensor Area 357 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 27.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 24.1 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 6 016 x 4 000 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 3.85 μm
    Pixel Density 6.74 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/30p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6 400 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12 800 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED 3
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 81
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 24.1
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 13.2
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 1131
    Screen Specs
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    LCD Size 921k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs
    Focus System Phase-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking Feature
    Maximum Shutter Speed 1/4000s
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations
    Silent Shootingno E-Shutter
    Time Lapse Photographyno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot
    UHS card support UHS-I
    Connectivity Specs
    External Flash Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI
    Microphone Port External MIC port
    Wifi Support no Wifi
    Body Specs
    Battery Type EN-EL14 power pack
    Battery Life (CIPA)540 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 125 x 96 x 77 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 505 g (17.8 oz)

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