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Author Topic: Michael's review of the Nikon D3200  (Read 6952 times)
John Camp
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« on: July 17, 2012, 10:28:20 AM »
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In a discussion of the D3200 in the "Camera, lenses and Shooting Gear" forum, someone wondered if there'd be a review here and on May 3, Michael said, "I just received one for testing today. Battery charging."

Is the battery charged yet?
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Colorado David
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2012, 11:40:56 AM »
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I brought the D3200 topic back form page three or four.  I am interested in the D3200 as a backup body and asked for comments from anyone with some experience with one.  I re-read parts of the thread and noticed Michael's comment and wondered the same thing.  Hopefully he will comment either there or here even if there is no full review of the camera.
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2012, 03:14:48 PM »
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It would be interesting to see a comparison between NEX7 and D3200.
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2012, 05:37:00 PM »
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Coincidences. I was walking after lunch the other day and saw this guy with a small black Nikon that semed to be fitted with what looked like either a 2.8/24 or 1.8/50 lens. The entire body appeared to be no wider than twice the lens' width, the lens almost totally on the right of the body (seen from the front). I wish I'd stopped and asked what it was: seemed to be pretty much the small, lighter camera I really want for fun, and if I have no need to buy more optics, perfect!

Assuming that's what the camera was, roll on a review!

Rob C
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Ray
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« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2012, 09:33:00 PM »
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The D3200 would seem to be the logical replacement or upgrade to the D7000 now that we have a D800 that more or less incorporates a D7000 and makes it redundant. If one already owns a D7000 then it could be useful as a back-up should one's D800 suffer an accident. However, a D3200 would seem to be a more useful back-up because of its higher resolution.

Unfortunately, the D3200 is a cheaper camera with slightly lower specs in some departments, according to the DXOMark tests. In fact, it's difficult to understand why DXO have awarded the camera a slightly higher score than the D7000.  That higher score  seems to be attributed to its slightly better low-light performance, yet I can see no point on the DXO  graphs where the D3200 has better low-light performance than the D7000.

What I see is a slightly lower ISO sensitivity for the D3200 across all ISOs, with the gap widening slightly at the higher ISOs.

I also see a lower DR for the D3200 of about 2/3rds of a stop at base ISO and 1/2 of a stop at ISO 200, at equal size prints.  A half stop of DR difference should be noticeable.

Other differences include 12 bit processing instead of the 14 bit of the D7000.  Fastest shutter speed of 1/4000th as opposed to 1/8000th for the D7000. Frame rate of 4 fps as opposed to 6 fps for the D7000, and what seems surprising to me is no Autoexposure Bracketing feature for the D3200.

Other deficiencies include no facility to attach an external microphone for video recording, although I'm not certain about this.
All in all, it seems a pity that Nikon has not offered a deluxe version of the D3200 which might include all the features of the D7000. I suspect the differences in DR are partly due to the 12 bit processing limitation.


http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-cameras-side-by-side/(appareil1)/801%7C0/(brand)/Nikon/(appareil2)/680%7C0/(brand2)/Nikon
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 12:39:42 AM »
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Quote
All in all, it seems a pity that Nikon has not offered a deluxe version of the D3200 which might include all the features of the D7000. I suspect the differences in DR are partly due to the 12 bit processing limitation.

Ray, thank you for listing the main differences.
In the near future, Nikon may introduce a more capable version of this camera under the name of D5200 or D7100. I'm curious if they will keep up all 3 series, (3000,5000,7000), I wouldn't be surprised if they drop the middle one.

BTW, the D3200 is priced about the same as the now discounted and slightly heavier D5100 that offers only 16MP instead of 24MP, but it includes other features, amongst them articulated screen. The DXOMArk gave very similar scores to both models, with D5100 showing slightly better low-light performance.


 
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Rob C
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 02:19:51 AM »
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So, after all  my initial enthusiasm at the possible discovery of a new Holy G, it turns out to be but mirage. I knew there was a reason not to read techy reviews! Just another day in life, then.

Okay, cellpix remains the name of my portable game a while longer.

;-(

Rob C
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Ray
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« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2012, 04:04:20 AM »
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On the other hand, Rob, if you are currently using a Nikon D700, which I vaguely recall you are, or used to, then the D3200 should give you better results at its lower base ISO of 100, if you are prepared to sacrifice its additional resolution, and downsample its 24mp to 12 mp.

According to the DXO test results, comparing the D3200 at ISO 100 with the D700 at its base ISO of 200, same size print, the D3200 has equal SNR at 18% grey; 1 full stop better DR;  equal tonal range and slightly better color sensitivity.

However, at ISO 200 and above, things begin to change in favour of the D700. By ISO 800, the D700 is significantly superior in every department, except resolution.

Of course, the D3200 gives you full HD video, so that in itself is an improvement on the D700. Always look on the bright side.  Grin
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Rob C
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« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2012, 10:01:00 AM »
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Still have the Ds 200 and 700 as well as an almost-still-new F3.

The D700 offers all the performance I will ever expect to want or require; that's not the problem: the problem is bulk and the fact that cameras of that size can't be comfortably carried around or slipped into pockets when, for example, you are in a restaurant or bar and want to use the loos. Not a problem for most, but as I'm almost invariably alone in such eateries now, I do have to consider whether it's worth taking a camera out of the house or not - unpleasant and dynamically unsound to wear one whilst standing at a urinal, signed or not, and leaving anything unattended is madness, anywhere. Leaving me alone and unattended is rapidly approaching the same level of high risk! Jeez, I might pat a tiger, cuddle a monkey, chat up a transvestite or say ciao to a potted palm.

Obviously, something digital, of D700 performance and of lllG or M3 mass would be just fine by me. Oh - and of D700 price ceiling.

Thinking of which, didn't that brief Epson foray into cameraland result in something near the idea being tossed around here just now?

Rob C

P.S. That's the R-D1, whose review I've just now looked at here on LuLa. It's actually larger than an M body, so not an answer to bulk and a further warning to placing too much trust in memory!
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 10:18:40 AM by Rob C » Logged

LesPalenik
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« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2012, 09:15:26 PM »
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Today, I took a few comparison shots with D3200 and D5100. It was a cloudy evening, the lens used was a 18-105mm zoom, dialed to 50mm and F5, 1/250s at ISO 100, JPG Fine setting, on both cameras.

The D5100 images seem to me slightly sharper. The 24MP image of D3200 was noticeably softer. Even downsampling the 24MP of D3200 to 16MP didn't produce better IQ than the native 16MP of D5100. Through my eyes, it seems that the 16MP produced by D5100 is actually slightly cleaner than the downsampled 16MP image by D3200. Possibly, using a 50mm prime lens, F8 aperture and RAW files would yield slightly different results, but I doubt that we would see a big difference.

In a good light, if you need to produce large prints, D3200 would be a better choice, since you don't need to upsize it (or not as much). If you intend to downsample it to 16MP or less, the D5100 gives same or even better quality. At high ISO (1600 or more), D3200's IQ is supposed to be better, at ISO100 D5100 might have a slight edge.
 
Attached are two pairs of 16MP images and 100% crops, the first taken by D3200 and the second by D5100.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2012, 10:13:15 PM by LesPalenik » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2012, 01:38:08 AM »
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Hi Les,
I didn't realise you own both of these cameras. Apart from the supposed increased resolution of the D3200, are there any other improvements over the D5100?
 
The increased pixel count of the D3200 is equivalent to that of my Canon 50D compared with the 40D, a 50% increase. I'd been using the 40D for only a few months when Canon announced the 50D. I was surprised and didn't think the increase in pixel count alone justified the upgrade. My first reaction was to skip this upgrade. However there were a couple of additional improvements which seemed to make the upgrade worthwhile. The 50D had a much higher resolution LiveView screen, 921,000 pixels as opposed to 231,000 for the 40D, which makes accurate focussing much easier. In fact the sheer amount of detail visible through a 400mm lens on the LiveView screen at 10x magnification is just amazing. It's like looking through the viewfinder with a 6,000mm lens attached (not that I've ever done that  Grin ).

The other factor was the introduction of the AF Micro-adjust feature. I'd already noticed inaccurate auto-focussing at full aperture with my Canon EF-S17-55/2.8 lens with the 40D. Despite sending the camera and lens to Canon service under warranty, hoping they could fix the problem, the problem still persisted. The AF Micro-adjust feature of the 50D therefore seemed a worthwhile advantage. I had 3 good reasons to upgrade.

I wouldn't necessarily expect the D3200 to be noticeably sharper when downsampling the file to the size of the D5100. If you were to try upsampling the D5100 image, I think you'd notice more detail in the D3200 image. Also, comparing jpegs straight out of the camera may not be reliable. I've come across posters on dpreview attempting to demonstrate that the Canon 5D3 produces better resolution or lower noise than the D800, by comparing jpegs. The cameras have different jpeg engines, and the jpeg images will likely have different sharpening and noise reduction applied.
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2012, 03:58:46 AM »
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Ray,

I tested both cameras just yesterday, courtesy of my local camera store. I've been waiting for some good review of D3200, but since none was forthcoming, finally, I did my own IQ evaluation and chose the D5100, primarily because of the better native IQ (in my view and for my needs) and the articulated screen. Similarly to you, I was using D5000 before as my small camera, and was not planning to upgrade it to D5100, but when I compared the D3200 with D5100, I changed my mind.

Physically, the D5100 sensor is even a tiny bit larger than the sensor in D3200 (1.5 crop instead of 1.6). Considering that D5100 and D7000 have about the same pixel density as D800, I felt that 16MP in DX format at this time is the most effective file size, and that the density of a 24MP sensor in DX body would create for me more problems than the 16MP. And since the D5100 is on its way out, it cost me about 10% less than the new D3200 - $540, plus tax. That's just slightly more than what I paid this week to Nikon for the calibration of my old Nikkor 105/2.8 lens. Now, I may just keep that lens permanently on the D5100 body.

I am aware that most reviewers (when comparing two different file sizes) upsample the smaller file to the size of the larger one, but in my real-world situation, that's seldom the case. Since I seldom print, but the files must pass the scrutiny of agency inspectors, more often I need to downsample those large files to increase the apparent sharpness. I had to employ this practice first, when shooting with the 18MP Canon T2i (same sensor as 60D or 7D), even when using the 50mm/1.4 lens. Quite often, the image was on the soft side, but reduction from 18MP to 12MP usually did the trick. I presume, I would have to do it also with the 24MP DX format.

But when we finally get the D600 with 24MP in FX format, that will be a different story.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2012, 04:40:16 AM by LesPalenik » Logged

Ray
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« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2012, 09:35:12 PM »
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Whatever suits your purposes, Les. No point in buying something just because it's the latest, (unless you are young and foolish  Grin ).

The D5100 sensor seems to have identical performance to the D7000. Both these cameras seem to have the DR edge over the D3200 all the way up to ISO 1600.

Since I already have a D7000, the D3200 would be the logical upgrade for me. A 50% increase in pixel count in conjunction with a few other improvements would make me feel the upgrade was worthwhile, but I'm put off by features which I consider a backward step, such as 12 bit instead of 14 bit processing, 4 fps instead of 6 fps, and 2/3rds of a stop worse DR at base ISO.

Nevertheless, if my long telephoto lens were a Nikon instead of the Canon 100-400, I just might reconsider. I might find the cropping potential of a 24mp sensor useful in the sense that it would extend the reach of my longest lens.

On the other hand, when one compares the performance of the D3200 at the pixel level with that of the D5100 and D7000, the differences in DR become even greater, and differences in SNR at 18% also begin to appear. I can't say I'm terribly excited about the D3200.
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2012, 05:27:14 AM »
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Physically, the D5100 sensor is even a tiny bit larger than the sensor in D3200 (1.5 crop instead of 1.6).

I think this is a slight exaggeration, Les. The Canon cropped-format cameras have a crop factor of 1.6x; the Nikon 1.5x. The D3200 is slightly smaller that other Nikons and has a crop factor of about 1.55x, about halfway between the traditional Nikon DX and the Canon.

Out of curiosity I just checked the comparison at the pixel level, between the Canon 50D and the Nikon D3200, on the DXOMark website. The D3200 pixel, although smaller, is better in all departments. Sometimes only marginally better, of dubious significance, but sometimes significantly better, as in DR at base ISO.

If I had a Nikkor telephoto zoom of similar or better quality than the Canon 100-400/F5.6, the D3200 would be a worthwhile upgrade to my Canon 50D.

Cropping an image from the D3200 to 15mp would convert the D3200, effectively, to a camera with a 1.97x crop factor. A 400mm lens on the Canon 15mp 50D becomes effectively a 640mm lens. A 400mm lens on the 24mp D3200, cropped to 15mp, becomes effectively a 780mm lens.

It would be interesting to compare the quality of the images from both scenarios. I would predict the D3200 image cropped to the same file size, but a narrower FoV, would be noticeably better in terms of detail, noise and DR.
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LesPalenik
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2012, 11:30:06 AM »
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I think this is a slight exaggeration, Les. The Canon cropped-format cameras have a crop factor of 1.6x; the Nikon 1.5x. The D3200 is slightly smaller that other Nikons and has a crop factor of about 1.55x, about halfway between the traditional Nikon DX and the Canon.

Out of curiosity I just checked the comparison at the pixel level, between the Canon 50D and the Nikon D3200, on the DXOMark website. The D3200 pixel, although smaller, is better in all departments. Sometimes only marginally better, of dubious significance, but sometimes significantly better, as in DR at base ISO.

If I had a Nikkor telephoto zoom of similar or better quality than the Canon 100-400/F5.6, the D3200 would be a worthwhile upgrade to my Canon 50D.

Cropping an image from the D3200 to 15mp would convert the D3200, effectively, to a camera with a 1.97x crop factor. A 400mm lens on the Canon 15mp 50D becomes effectively a 640mm lens. A 400mm lens on the 24mp D3200, cropped to 15mp, becomes effectively a 780mm lens.

It would be interesting to compare the quality of the images from both scenarios. I would predict the D3200 image cropped to the same file size, but a narrower FoV, would be noticeably better in terms of detail, noise and DR.


Exact sensor sizes - D7000/D5100 - 23.6x15.6mm, D3200 - 23.2x15.4mm
I didn't even think about a different view angle, I just liked those bigger pixels. Both cameras are great, especially for what they cost.
For that kind of money, one could buy one of each, and shoot them side by side. Fire off 4 shots with one, switch quickly to the other one, and fill that buffer, too. This way, you can overcome the limit of 4pfs, and if you are a fast shooter, you could aim for 8fps.   
 
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yslee
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2012, 08:33:37 AM »
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Since I already have a D7000, the D3200 would be the logical upgrade for me. A 50% increase in pixel count in conjunction with a few other improvements would make me feel the upgrade was worthwhile, but I'm put off by features which I consider a backward step, such as 12 bit instead of 14 bit processing, 4 fps instead of 6 fps, and 2/3rds of a stop worse DR at base ISO.

The D3200 can't really be considered an upgrade just because of the increase in megapixels. Statements like these do make me wonder if the marketing people at the camera companies have a point - when an enthusiast site has people looking at "upgrading" to a camera that is some 2.5 tiers down on the initial basis of increased megapixels, what hope does the general mass market have?
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Ray
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2012, 10:31:12 AM »
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....a camera that is some 2.5 tiers down on the initial basis of increased megapixels....

What on earth does that mean? Sounds like complete gobbledegook to me.
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Justan
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2012, 11:17:51 AM »
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I have a D3200 and have found it to produce excellent results. Itís sensitive to vibration, compared to my D80. My experience is that the sensitivity can cause images to be soft. But no problems when itís on a tripod. Overall Iím pleased by the increase of detail and capabilities of the 3200, compared to the D80.

The increased file size makes dent in the photoshop computer's performance.
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Ray
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« Reply #18 on: July 27, 2012, 01:16:07 AM »
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I notice that dpreview has recently completed its full review of the D3200. I think the point has to be stressed that this is a low-price, entry-level DSLR, so one can't expect all the features one would get on a more expensive 'prosumer' model. Nevertheless, I'm surprised that the camera doesn't appear to have auto-exposure bracketing, if this is indeed the case.

Comparing the studio shots from the D3200, with those from the D7000, it's surprising how little difference that 50% increase in pixel count makes in many parts of the studio image. However, after a bit of searching I did find a part of the image containing fine fabric which the D7000 just couldn't handle. Its pixel spacing is too coarse and color moire results. Below are equal size crop comparisons, 200% for the D3200 and 244% for the D7000. It seems that those 24 megapixels do count for something some of the time.

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