On my recent trip to India, I decided to take a camera along just in case I got the chance to see some of the country. Nikon hooked me up with their D3300 digital SLR. This camera has a bunch of things going for it:
- It’s small and light. I was able to pack it easily and carrying it when I went out to see the Taj Mahal wasn’t a chore.
- It does 1080P video at 60 frames per second with stereo sound. I recored a bunch of videos and the video and audio quality was very good.
- Stills are taken at 24 megapixels and there was no noise that I could find in the hundreds of pictures that I took.
- It has an amazing auto focus system. It uses 11 points of reference to focus, and it works really well.
- I didn’t use it, but there’s an easy Panorama Mode that allows you to pan across the scene and get some really cool shots.
- It is easy to hold and all the controls are clear.
- It has the ability to do some basic picture editing. While it is not Photoshop by any means, you can do some basic work on photos without having to whip out a computer to do it.
- For those who don’t know much about how to use a digital SLR, there’s a guide mode that describes the appropriate settings for the chosen scenario and then allows you to change the settings yourself. It’s seperate from the auto mode and can really help a novice to use this camera. It also means that someone who is familar with a digital SLR can buy this camera and you both can use it.
There’s also the ability to use WiFi with this camera, but you have to use an external dongle that is sold seperately. The point of having WiFi is that it allows you to send photos to your smartphone or tablet in almost real time. You can then Tweet, Instagram, or Facebook them. I didn’t test that feature on this trip. But I wish that I could have as this feature sounds useful.
I took a 55 – 200mm lens from Nikkor with me. While that didn’t help me when I went to Canada Residence as I found it difficult to get the shots that I wanted to, it really came into it’s own when I went to the Taj Mahal as I was able to get some really cool shots. But I really should have also taken an 18 – 55mm lens as well. All things considered, I can’t complain with the quality of the shots that I got on this trip. Ditto for the videos. The audio quality was great and so was the video quality based on the videos that I took on the way to the Taj Mahal. The automatic mode worked really well for the most part, but it’s not perfect. That was best illustrated when I tried to take a picture of the Taj Mahal through the north gate, which from where I was standing went from light to dark back to light, it coudn’t do it on automatic mode and I had to go to manual mode and set the ISO myself to make it happen. Low light performance was really good based on the photos that I took at the Cyber Hub.
You can frame your shots through the viewfinder or through an LCD screen which is viewable in all lighting conditons. However it affects your battery life. One thing that I should note is that it takes a few seconds for the camera to recycle when you’re using the LCD. You get much faster recycling when you use the viewfinder. When it comes to battery life, I was able to get more than a day’s usage out of the rechargable battery that the camera comes with every day that I used it except one. The day that I went to the Taj Mahal, it barely lasted the tour of the Taj Mahal. I chalk that up to almost exclusive usage of the LCD and taking lots of videos.
I really liked having the D3300 this week and except for the choice in lens hampering my ablity to use the camera (which by the way is totally on me), the pictures and videos came out very good. The camera retails for $469 CDN for the body or $599 CDN for the body and 18 – 55 mm lens. You get a choice of three colors as well. Personally, I would take black. But you get red and grey as color choices. If you want your first digital SLR, or you just want a digital SLR at a low price point, I would take a good hard look at the Nikon D3300. One you try it, I think you’ll be walking out of the store with one.