Nikon's D3100, has proven to be a competent offering despite being labelled an entry-level DSLR camera. We were quite impressed with its picture quality when we evaluated it in detail last year. However, the D3100 model has been in the market for more than a year old and so it didn't surprise us when Nikon today announced its successor, the D3200. So what changes or improvements have been made with the D3200?
Improved DX-Format CMOS Image Sensor and Image-Processing Engine
The D3200 sees a major bump up in resolution, with an effective pixel count of 24.2 megapixels (as we had suspected) as compared to the D3100's 14.2 megapixel sensor. The newer sensor also allows for a higher ISO sensitivity, enabling the D3200 a to achieve ISO6400, while the D3100 only managed ISO3200.
With Nikon's latest releases, the D4 and D800, sporting the new EXPEED 3 image processing engine, it would be rather unfortunate if Nikon chose to exclude the EXPEED 3 engine from the D3200. Luckily, Nikon did not forget that even entry-level cameras deserve the latest technology and processing capabilities to give them the added edge over the fast enlarging mirrorless camera space. The EXPEED 3 engine is said to enhance the D3200's sensor to produce vivid color reproduction and a dynamic range of color.
Movies and LCD Monitor
It seems every DSLR or even compact camera that has been released recently is capable of full HD video recording. So it comes as no surprise that even the D3200 manages to improve on the video recording abilities of its predecessor, the D3100. The D3200 is able to record at a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution at 30 fps, beating the D3100's 1920 x 1080 at 24 fps capability. And it seems that the LCD monitor has been greatly improved, from the predecessor's 230K dots to a whooping 921K dots pixel density found in the D3200's screen.
Wireless Control via Smart Devices
What's interesting about the D3200 is the optional accessory, the Wireless Mobile Adapter WU-1a, which allows you to take pictures and then transfer them wirelessly to a Wi-Fi enabled device smart device such as a smartphone or tablet. Not only that, it allows the smart device to act as a remote control and release the D3200's shutter. The smart device screen will also display information such as the camera's battery indicator, number of exposures remaining and shooting information on screen. All of this is possible through an Android app, with an iOS app in the works.
The Wireless Mobile Adapter is an interesting accessory, and we're hoping that new DSLR releases from Nikon will include support for this accessory. Being able to send images to a smartphone or tablet without needing an SD card slot or being tethered to the device is a very appealing and handy proposition when you want to share your photographic experiences quickly.
Availability and Price
While the price and availability for the Nikon D3200 and the mobile adapter have yet to be announced for Asia, a quick check at the US Nikon website has shown the retail price of the D3200 to be US$699.95, while the mobile adapter costs US$59.95. These prices are of course relevant only to the US market, but at least it gives you an idea of the expected final local retail prices after factoring the exchange rates and the usual mark-ups associated at the local level. Don't forget that the price doesn't include taxes yet. Even after factoring these aspects, we expect it to be in ballpark of S$1000, which is typical of an entry-level DSLR. The only difference is that the D3200's powerful specifications seem to rival semi-pro DSLRs of yesteryears and that's good progress.
Here's a table to show the main differences and similarities between the D3100 and D3200.
|Model||Effective Pixels||ISO Sensitivity||Focus Points||Video Frame Size and Frame Rate||Monitor||Battery Life||Dimensions||Weight|
|D3100||14.2MP||ISO100 - ISO3200||11||
1920 x 1080 (24p)
1280 x 720 (24p, 25p, 30p)
230k - dot
|550 shots per charge||124.46 x 96.52 x 73.66mm||445g
|D3200||24.2MP||ISO100 - ISO6400||11||
1920 x 1080 (30p, 25p, 24p)
1280 x 720 (60p, 50p)
921k - dot
|540 shots per charge||125 x 96 x 76.5mm||445g