PROS / The D3200 provides great image quality at a good price.
CONS / The camera lacks many of the connectivity features of its competitors.
VERDICT / Despite its missing features, the Nikon D3200 is a good choice for an entry-level DSLR. By omitting these features, this camera can offer impressive image quality at a decent price.
Image quality is the most important factor when deciding on an entry-level DSLR camera. Although it's missing premium features, like an articulating display, Wi-Fi and a touchscreen, the Nikon D3200 boasts outstanding image quality. It manages this via an APS-C imaging sensor that provides good dynamic range, color depth and low-light performance.
The D3200 has excellent dynamic range, so it preserves details and performs well in unpredictable lighting situations. Dynamic range refers to a camera's ability to capture detail across the exposure range of a photo, from the brightest highlights to the darkest shadows. Cameras with poor dynamic range will often produce images with the brightest points "blown out" and completely white, with no detail.
The D3200 is capable of producing images with vibrant and accurate colors. Its color depth is comparable to the best entry-level DSLRs. Color depth is the measure of a camera's ability to discern minute changes in color. Recognizing subtle differences allows your camera to accurately replicate the colors of a particular subject.
Low-light performance is determined by the level of clarity in images when you're shooting with limited light. Whether you shoot on auto or manual, low light requires you to increase the ISO sensitivity. While this increases the brightness of your photos, it also makes them grainier. Cameras with good low-light performance, like the D3200, can produce clear images at higher ISOs than low-end cameras.
A high-quality sensor makes for great image quality, but in most other respects, the D3200 is average. The battery life is average for the cameras we reviewed, at 540 shots per charge. Video recording options are also mediocre, though with a top resolution of 1080p at up to 30 frames per second.
Connectivity and viewing features come up short on the D3200. There's no GPS or Wi-Fi functionality, and you won't find an articulating display or touchscreen either. While these aren't deal breakers, these features are something to consider as you look for a beginner DSLR.
You can find support information for this camera, such as FAQs, how-tos and manuals, on Nikon's website. A one-year warranty covers the D3200 against any manufacturer defects. For further questions, Nikon also offer support via phone and email.
The Nikon D3200 is a fairly basic DSLR. There are some drawbacks to not having features like an articulating screen and W-Fi connectivity. However, in dropping those features, Nikon has put great image quality within reach for budget-oriented shooters.