Price: $700(approx street)
The way in
THE LOW-DOWN: This entry to Nikon’s DSLR range comes with a 24 megapixel sensor (also used by Sony and Pentax) and a Nikkor 18—55mm kit lens (27—82 film equivalent). The optical low pass filter has been removed to improve sharpness, as is becoming common on DSLRs. The 921k dot LCD has good brightness and contrast. The “info” panel is useful, though not as good as on mirrorless cameras. The camera will not auto-focus legacy lenses, only the newer lenses with inbuilt focus motors. Ergonomics, as on most Nikons, are excellent. The camera is small and light. There is a good 120 page printed manual.
LIKE: Nikon jpegs, straight from the camera, are always good and this is no exception, even though saturation is a little over done. That is easily corrected in camera settings. RAW image quality is second to none, helped by a decent kit lens. High ISO performance is also good.
DISLIKE: While the price is attractive, undercutting some compacts, it is up against stiff competition from mirrorless system cameras which we think offer better value for the money.
VERDICT: Assessing cheap DSLRs always comes down to the familiar bottom line: you are buying into a system, whether it is Nikon, Sony, Canon or Pentax. At this price the camera body is not expected to last a lifetime, but the lenses and accessories that you buy will. And in time you may buy a better body and go on using your lenses. Buying into the Nikon system is a smart move. If you never aspire to higher things you will still have a good camera, and if your ambition is high then you have a good equipment foundation. At the time of writing Nikon are offering a cash-back incentive on the D3300.