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back to article Hands on with the Nikon D3200 DSLR

The great and the good were out in force at Nikon’s London press launch this week of its latest entry-level DSLR, the D3200. Boasting a new 24.2Mp DX format CMOS sensor, the camera also bags an Expeed 3 processor – the same imaging engine featured on the Nikon D4, the company’s flagship shooter. Nikon D3200 DSLR camera Indeed …

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Hands on?

For about 10 seconds to take a few shots and then just write up the rest from the press release?

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Write-up schmite-up

Will be out lunchtime to search for this in one of the swathe of proper DSLR mags but it looks like I have found the replacement for my aged D50 (yes, some of us are still using them).

The red one looks pretty smart but that surface is going to take more keeping clean than a smartphone screen, colour choice is good as it is not a 'gender-specific' colour.

If this is what they are bringing out for entry level, I wonder what they have in the back-rooms ready for the Pro market?

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Re: Write-up schmite-up

Depending on which lenses you have, this may not work too well as a direct replacement of the D50. Newer entry-level Nikon bodies do not include the auto-focus motor and require the lens itself to be motorised.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Write-up schmite-up

Yep, we are still using the D50 and still love it. I've been drooling over a few of the newer Nikons but don't fancy the 'Guide' thing..

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Re: Write-up schmite-up

My D50 died recently (all appears to work, but black photos*). I've been tossing up the cost/benefits of repair, replace with 2nd hand D50 or replace with new.

There seems to be a lot of love for the D50, and as little more than a happy snapper i'm not sure I need the pixel count / video / effects / tea maker that new bodies offer. A few more ISOs may be nice.

Off to eBay, I think.

*yes, I have tried removing the lens cap

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Re: Write-up schmite-up

I breathed new life back into my D50 when I replaced it with the D90 by buying a M3 lens adapter for all my old screw-mount film lenses, and also the Holga HL-N lens when it was launched. Now I think I use it more than I do the D90 because it's significantly more fun.. So I would say - even when you do replace it, don't be selling or binning that D50 - it's got years left in it!

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So it's jsut more Mp then..

From this the specs seem very similar to the D3100, but with more Mp (and the processor required to crunch them). It'll be interesting to see if this improves image quality by any margin, or just ruins it for low light. Guide mode on the D3100 is useless, it doesn't go through any more than the scene selections on the top. I'd always hoped for a firmware update that let you take that position on the dial for a custom scene, but it's unlikely.

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Re: So it's jsut more Mp then..

The sensor is the same one in recent Sony cameras. Low light performance at print sizes will be better than the D3100.

The most improvement for this model though is the new LCD screen which is finally the same as the D300 released in 2007.

I've been after a small Nikon for a while, coupled with the 35/1.8 it makes for a very high quality device in a small package.

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Re: So it's jsut more Mp then..

I think this is the same sensor as in the Sony A77 (in a much smaller body) - in which case it will make for some great images. I've found the A77 to be a good performer in low light, but so many megapixels on what is quite a small sensor does mean visible noise creeping into images much over ISO800. It's not too obtrusive until much higher ISOs and with some good noise reduction software you can minimise the effects.

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The Sony sensors seem quite remarkable

They certainly break a lot of older assumptions as to what could be achieved with a relatively small APS-C sized sensor. For anyone who wants bigger prints and better dynamic range, or better low light performance* this is probably a worthy upgrade to any low end Nikon that came before it.

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Re: The Sony sensors seem quite remarkable

How's the bloom though? I would've thought with all those megglypixels crammed in it'd be spilling all over the shop no? It's a nightmare on the D90 in bright conditions..

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Re: The Sony sensors seem quite remarkable

Bloom????? Do you mean lens flare? That has nothing to do with the number of pixels they've stuffed into a small space. Last time I had a Nikon (had a D40 briefly and thought it was great), one problem was Nikon not supplying a lens hood (which will stop flare quite nicely) with their low end kit lens.

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Re: The Sony sensors seem quite remarkable

Bloom ain't flare. It's the airy disk effect, or bleeding light, but yeah it's a symptom of lenses not focusing perfectly.

Prime example is taking an indoor picture of a window on a sunny day - the light will bleed out over the walls. It's what HDR in gaming tries to mimic.

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Re: The Sony sensors seem quite remarkable

CCD sensors would bloom along the direction the column was read out if they were hammered with light. CMOS sensors don't behave that way but there are other funky things that can happen.

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Why doesn't Apple let some of its designers go on a sabbatical?

I'm sure the interface and body design could be done better.

I've never had a camera with a sensible GUI (as attested by the firms themselves: the follow-up model consistently had a completely different decision tree), and this looks needlessly ugly/tiring to boot.

The body & button design shows a bit more constancy (not TOO much tho) within brands, but is just off. I still sometimes accidentally press a button, then have a trial-and-error session to figure out what I did. And I had to open the manual (horror!) to find out how to format my chip (click on Setup, but only while with the dial on Review Pictures).

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Coffee/keyboard

Re: Why doesn't Apple let some of its designers go on a sabbatical?

"I'm sure the interface and body design could be done better."

Yeah, like leave out the memory card slot and the removable battery? Require iTunes to get you photos off the thing? Save the photos in a format that you can only edit on a Mac using Aperture?

They'd sell millions.

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Re: Why doesn't Apple let some of its designers go on a sabbatical?

for a start, you do not need iTunes to get pictures off you iPhone,

with iCloud they go automatically to all computer

don't know what is your problem with mac / iPhone and their image editing software..

Aperture opens/edits exports to common picture formats...

Instead of wifi adapter (and new screen) Nikon should have produced a new insert your iPhone back

to get a proper App user interface and gps tagging. iCloud(wifi connectivity)

and in app editing of the images. and lots more I guess, sky is the limit

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Re: Why doesn't Apple let some of its designers go on a sabbatical?

Apple is an awsome company they make great stuff....

But they should still go F&^% themselves

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Re: Why doesn't Apple let some of its designers go on a sabbatical?

If you let Apple design a camera you'll end up with a one button Point&Shoot camera with rounded corners.

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Anonymous Coward

The more Nikon kit I see coming out the more I want to dump my Canon 5DMk2 and go over to the other side! Nikon really seem to be trying to innovate here and there while Canon are happy sit about with their thumbs in dark places thinking their reputation alone will keep them in the game!

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Facepalm

You obviously haven't seen the 5D MK III, nor understand that Nikon ain't got a patch on the 85mm f/1.2L II nor the 50mm f/1.2L (my two most used lenses).

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Meh

I'm stuck in an annoying spot. The 5D Mark III is in every way that matters to me an improvement over my 1D Mark II but the 5D Mark III does not pack a sensor as capable as the D800. Other than the sensor though I prefer the 5D III and it is what I'm looking for. It just smarts to pay $500 extra for it which is one part of why I haven't yet (that and limited options for arca-swiss style L plates).

Image quality on the 5D3 is very good, yes, but the D800 has leapfrogged it in a couple ways. In most cases the differences aren't enormous but they're there. Of course back when I bought my 1D2 it was the other way around. I'm fairly confident we'll see the torch pass back and forth in the future but I don't really care to buy new cameras every few years, hence why I've been using the same one for almost 8 now.

I'd be a lot happier buying the 5D3 if it cost the same as the D800, but it doesn't. Hopefully the prices will drop before I actually make the jump. I'll grumble about how the D800s sensor is technically better but the 5D3 still beats my 1D2 in dynamic range, ISO, resolution, size, color, etc.

Too many lenses to jump, some which have no appropriate replacement on the Nikon side.

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affordable

in the US at $700 including a lens, seems very attractive.

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fscking exchange rates

FFS nikon, $700 != £650.

Bastards.

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Meh

Pfft

Who the hell buying an entry level body actually needs 24MP?

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Coat

Re: Pfft

People buying entry level bodies are either really, really strapped for cash, or don't really know. If they don't really know, they buy for the bigger MP number on the spec sheet.

They will only find out afterwards that they only fit 5 images per flash card and their computer is not really up to loading/editing the pictures later. Then they will either fail to email the unedited picture because it's too big, or they will upload the image resized to 0.3Mpix to Facebook :)

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FAIL

Re: Pfft

Probably none of them, this is marketing in action.

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Funny

First impression when seeing that photo of the two cameras pointing at each other?

Furbies...

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And still no built in GPS

Why is it that every cell phone and $100 compact cameras include a GPS chip, but none of the DSLRs have one. For my 5100 I had the choice, order a decent GPS device from China or spend $200 on Nikon's mediocre GP-1. I'm assuming there will be a comparable 5200 in the near future, but without an integrated GPS I don't see anything that will encourage me to upgrade. Well, I suppose the 24 mega pixel could be useful, but only if I need an extra camera body.

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mlb

Re: And still no built in GPS

When oh when will TomTom and NavMan include decent cameras with interchangeable lenses on their kit. I'm fed up of them directing me to a lovely location, only to find that I use yet another device to take some photos of it.

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Re: And still no built in GPS

I also find that I want to top up my tyres before a trip like that, but I have to have yet another device just to compress some air into them to raise their pressure. When will those idiots in the camera / GPS industries learn, and include this simple feature in their devices?

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Re: And still no built in GPS

A camera adds nothing to the function of a navigation device while a GPS device adds to the function of a camera. It's why some of use carry GPS data loggers around with us when we're ou taking photos.

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Re: And still no built in GPS

There are several reasons for this

1. Most people don't give a shit about having GPS on their camera

2. In a smartphone the GPS is provided by the SOC in a camera it has to be separate so the cost is higher

3. If it's built in Nikon can't sell people their overpriced accessory.

by the way I have both a decent GPS from China (which broke after a couple of months due to a poor socket design) and Nikon's mediocre GP-1 (which is still rock solid and reliable after 3 years heavy use)

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Re: And still no built in GPS

Some people vehemently deny the benefit of in-built GPS but I wouldn't mind it. Wouldn't use it all the time but if it was there? Yes, yes I'd have a GPS built in to my camera, please and thank you.

As long as it's not significantly jacking the price of the camera up (the external addons are absurdly expensive) and it can be turned off and not impact battery life (and location acquisition is performed promptly) it would be swell.

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mlb

Re: And still no built in GPS

Depends how you define functionality for a camera. For me, image quality and ease of access to aperture/shutter/ISO controls pretty much defines what I want in a camera.

I can sort of see the a use for GPS if you are a Surveyor, or spying on someone, as the GPS will automate a part of your reporting/evidence. Maybe also of use if you often forget where you were when you took your masterpiece.

It does not help the camera take pictures though. Now, if someone linked up the auto-scene function to the GPS, you could get a Clippy-esqe. "It looks you you are trying to climb a mountain, do you want to me to help you take a scenic picture?"

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Re: And still no built in GPS

Nikon's Coolpix P6000 includes GPS, but you're stuck with the lens that it ships with. Pentax and Panasonic include GPS in their $200 line of cameras.

Surveyors probably would like the GPS, although for spying I suspect the standard telephoto lenses available for the D5100 would be of more interest... I personally use GPS because I want to know exactly where a picture was taken. (coords, heading, altitute) Sometimes just so I know where it was, sometimes because I want to be able to go back and retake pictures at the same location; different seasons, compare change over time.

GPS would also be handy for Geo-caching. And some online picture sites will map the coordinates embedded in the picture to Google maps. That is one of the selling points of the point-and-shoot cameras that have GPS. The pictures are tagged and they include software for posting pics to various social sites. See my vacations pics?......

Another use for professional photographers would be cataloging pictures. If you're working events for a living you would know that all the pictures with the same (or similar) coordinates and date were from the same event. And apparently some news agencies are starting to request (require?) geotagging from freelance photographers.

Texas Instruments announced a GPS chip for $5 in 2007. An extra $5 on a $700 camera, that wouldn't have stopped me from buying it. But I read a discussion on the D4 earlier this year where it was indicated that the chips are now less than 50 cents. The D5100 already has support built in for geotagging, just no internal GPS.

The reason I chose Nikon over Canon (which I have used for decades) was software support for geotagging and the availability of external GPS devices. The choice to change would have been a lot easier without all the research to find a suitable external device. Note: Nikon's GPS 1 does not capture heading, which, along with it's price and inability to work indoors made it unsuitable for me.

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