At first disappointed with the D3300 but now appreciating it

CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
edited September 2014 in D3x00
I have gone through basically all of Nikon's 24MP DX line-up within less than a year and have found real world, meaningful differences in the IQ of each one I've owned. I started with a D7100 I bought last Thanksgiving and it currently holds the highest IQ watermark for me, but I found it cumbersome to use and carry, after all it was my first DSLR, coming straight from cell phones, point and shoots and a Nikon F3, so it was quite an intimidating camera for me as a DSLR beginner to use. I also didn't like how its JPEG engine handled artificial lighting, which tended to output greenish, making everybody in the pictures look like martians (I'm exaggerating a bit here, but you get my drift). I then got a D3200 and loved its simplicity and lightness, I also held high hopes for its purportedly in-house Nikon sensor, but in actual use I didn't like its IQ as it consistently outputs under exposed and warm, maybe because of its simple 420 pixel matrix sensor compared to the 2k one on the D7100 which should be better at nailing proper exposure and WB. Also its video output is very noisy compared to the D7100's and there was no 60 fps option when shooting 1080. So now I have a D5200, which has similar IQ to the D7100 in terms of exposure, WB and noise, but with sharpness more akin to the D3200 and, ugh, buttons all over the body and in the wrong places. So I was going to wait until the D5300's price came down lower to upgrade to 1080p60 and regain the D7100's sharpness but a great deal on the D3300 got in the way of my plan, so I couldn't resist the temptation. I was expecting the D3300 to get IQ and video noise akin to the D7100 as I previously thought that it used the same Toshiba AA-less sensor, but reading an article somewhere else (AFTER I placed my order on the D3300) lead me to Thom Hogan's reviews where he finds out that NONE of Nikon's 24MP DX cameras share the exact same sensor. Darn. So today I received my D3300 and after lifting up its mirror I see that, indeed as Thom Hogan found out, the sensor looks completely different to the one on the D5200. Different color, different size (D3300 is smaller), different etchings. I don't remember how the sensors on the D3200 and D7100 looked like, but I sure remember how noisy the D3200 was at low light/high ISO when taking videos and I am seeing almost the same noise level on my D3300.

All this means that Nikon actually goes the extra mile and spends 2 or 3 times the same resources to make sure the IQ of its cheapest DSLR isn't up to par with the next one in price. Let me rephrase that: Nikon actually spends money to make the D3*00 series' IQ worse than the D5*00's ON PURPOSE! I mean, to improve the IQ of the D7100 they had Toshiba take away the AA filter from the sensor used in the D5200 while at the same time they had Renesas making a completely different sensor for the D3200 even though all of them are 24MP and have more or less the same behavior when taking photos, but they make sure that none of them share the same behavior when taking videos. And different sensors mean different processors, data bus design, FW calibration, etc. And then Thom Hagan finds in his D5300 review that it uses yet another different sensor, this time apparently from Sony! I was mislead by almost all reviews out there and by Nikon's own posted specs that the D5300 and D3300 shared basically the same sensor as in the D7100 and thus behaved all very similarly. Caveat emptor: don't let yourself fall for it as I did. Yes, all reviews out there pretty much say that the D3300's videos look very much like D5300's, but that's REALLY NOT THE CASE! I am now just hoping that the D5300's video quality is close to the D5200's, and here's hope that Nikon will take advantage on having 3 different 24MP sensors in their DX lineup and finally give us one with on chip PD for the D7100 and Coolpix A replacements. Or maybe they should start buying Samsung's 28MP sensor as seen in Samsung's NX1.
Post edited by CaMeRaQuEsT on
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Comments

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,203Moderator
    Why would you expect the same IQ from an entry level DX as a mid range or pro-sumer DX?
    Always learning.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    Where are you judging the image quality differences of each of these cameras? On your computer monitor or the screen on the back of the camera? You do know that if you shoot raw, white balance and color shifts are irrelevant.
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    What maddens me is that Nikon does all this IQ differentiation on purpose. For comparison, Canon's 18MP sensor behaves and is exactly the same across all the cameras that have it: pro level 7D, consumer level Rebels, odd ball EOS Ms, it doesn't matter, all output the same colors, the same (lack of) dynamic range, the same crazy moiré, jaggies, false colors and noise on videos... ok, it's not the best example, but you basically get the same IQ across the range no matter what you pay, the differentiating point being the extra features each model has on top of the lower one to garner their price differences. Canon just invests once to get the sensor right (or as good as their old fab allows) and don't waste any additional money and effort into making sure the lower rung cameras using the same sensor get worse IQ than the higher up model. You might argue that Canon in doing so is stifling technological advancement, but Nikon is not giving me meaningful IQ improvement on the D3300 over the previous D3200 either. If Nikon made the decision to eliminate the AA filter on all DX bodies, they should have settled on the D7100's sensor and processor design and only make the needed changes to couple them with the D5300's different AF module or the D3300's different exposure and AF modules, they didn't need to re-invent the wheel for each DX body. Unless, of course, there is a meaningful cost difference between the Renesas, Toshiba and Sony sensors or on the EXPEED processors that drive each sensor, which I really, really doubt as it is clear that Nikon has a heavy involvement on their design. I really like the D3*00 series' handling and lightness, and I don't care much about the extra features that come with the D5*00 and D7*00 series, there is no reason why I shouldn't expect the same IQ across all series of 24MP DX cameras: Nikon didn't expect the consumer to get any difference in IQ across their film cameras before the advent of matrix metering on the FA, no matter if it was a lowly FG20 or an F3 or the FM or the FE between them, IQ was basically dictated by the lenses you coupled to the cameras, back then all Nikon cameras even shared basically the same exposure meter.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    I think it is a stretch to assume that they are doing this on purpose. You speak with a certainty that leaves no room for an alternative perspective, which might result in an equally comprehensive and certain essay that comes to an entirely different conclusion.
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    Where are you judging the image quality differences of each of these cameras? On your computer monitor or the screen on the back of the camera? You do know that if you shoot raw, white balance and color shifts are irrelevant.
    I use twin 42" monitors on my computer to browse my pictures and watch my videos. I am no photo professional, just a father looking to get the best shots of his kids with minimum fuss (I still have to work to earn money to feed them, you know), I mean, these guys spend literally a small country' annual budget on getting their JPEG engines right, so why not make the best out of this investment and use this feature? But my beef is mainly in how the D3200/D3300's video quality compares to the D7100/D5200 and hopefully the D5300, which I still plan to buy as soon as its price meets my budget, as the D3300, as it is, does not meet my IQ expectations, just like the D3200 I got rid of.
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    Why would you expect the same IQ from an entry level DX as a mid range or pro-sumer DX?
    Why not, specially when all of them use 24MP, AA-less sensors and EXPEED 4 processors? Nikon even gives you the same IQ on the prosumer Df as in the almost 3 times more expensive pro D4S. Really sir, why shouldn't I?
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    I doubt that there are any major differences between the sensors. Markings and etchings could just be there to indicate various things that go along with the camera. Dx0 Mark tested both the D7100 and the D3300 and there's only a one point difference between the cameras. There could be a couple of things going on. 1. You got a bad one. 2. There might be some problems with your focus adjustment.

    Besides... what are you so mad about? For $600 you are getting IQ that you couldn't get for $6000 just a few years ago.
    I forgot to mention that even the micro cooper wiring looks different, as the sensor on the D5200 doesn't show any on its front but the D3300 is full of them. I doubt I got a bad one, as I bought 2 D3200s, one for me and one for my in-law, and both behaved exactly the same as the D3300 in video noise and photo color and exposure, compared with my current D5200 and the D7100 I had before it.

    Actually, I could get the same or better IQ on film for less than $100 brand new on my FF Olympus Stylus soap bar 15 years ago, je je :P
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,777Member
    What you need to realize that AWB (auto white balance) is much better than 8 years ago. Nikon and Canon have improved them. BUT they do still trip once in a while, that is why you have the ability to switch to manual white balance. When I get a funny color image on the LCD view panel I switch to manual. If I still don't like it, then I put my "ExpoDisc II" over the lens and I get the color I want.

    90% to 95% of the time the AWB works fine, but there are circumstances that it doesn't get it right and using the manual WB works - shade, sunny, overcast, incandescent, fluorescent, etc.

    Don't forget that in 1995 the film SLR camera was a very mature camera. When new models came out there was very little improvement in technology, only refinements. The digital cameras are not as mature but in the last five years are gaining rapidly but still behind film SLR's. The pro models (D4S, D810) are ahead of the D3300, D610 - entry level DX and FX bodies. The D5300 and D7100 and D610 are good but are continuing to evolve.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • SamkoSamko Posts: 101Member
    Nikon runs it for $ . Everything they do is for $. If they use 200$ on make a sensor bad and make you buy the bigger better version , then its a nice profit for them. I look at the entry level dslr's as something you use for fun, with the price you pay for them and the IQ and control you get , i think its a good deal for everybody. Why should anybody pay 3000$ when they can get the same IQ and controls for 500$ ?

    The video recording on dslr's is just a bonus thing , i dont take it for anything more, because if you in for the recording part, why not get a real recording cam, end of the day its a photo device not a recording device.
    Just my view on it.
    Take care
  • tc88tc88 Posts: 386Member
    To OP, Nikon seldom makes its own sensors. It sources them from multiple companies. That way it can keep the suppliers honest and get good prices for those. Thus they will have different characteristics.

    D3200 came a year ahead of D7100. I sure also imagine they would spend more effort tweaking the firmware on the higher end model. It's like you walk into a fast food place and there are $1 burgers and there are $4 burgers. The $4 one definitely doesn't cost 4x to make, maybe only 1.5x. What you are asking is to buy the $4 burger for $1.5. It doesn't work that way. Marketing has shown many times having multi tier products is the way to go, and a lot of times differentiation is just intentional crippling and doesn't really cost much.

    You may not like these, but what you complained are really standard business practices for a lot of companies. The best you can do is walk with your money and let your money speak by buying alternative solutions and encourage competitions.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited September 2014
    @CaMeRaQuEsT: You level of understanding how to use a D-SLR has improved over the past few months. You were mistaken in returning the D7100. Stop your madness and go get it or sell all you gear and move on to a different manufacture.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I am at a loss as to what you want or expect. You want $2000+ performance from a camera kit that can be had for $400. I have a d5200 and so far am very pleased. The d3xxx line has always been the lowest model and although good I wouldn't expect the same exact performance out of it as say the d7100. The d3000 even had the old ccd sensor in it. That line of camera has come a long way. It isn't meant to compete with the prosumer cameras though. It doesn't have the newest and best autofocus I don't it has the same metering. I do the the sensor is probably the same or very similar. The d5xxx line has however always been on par with the d90/d7xxx line and besides the additional pro features they have had very close performance wise.

    We have no idea what lenses you are using or how you are shooting. There could be numerous reasons in the results you are getting. If you really have that kind of money to buy all these different bodies buy a d800 and pro glass and be happy. Highest iq out there.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,203Moderator
    Twin 42" monitors to view the images from your entry level body? Don't you think you're spending the bigger money on the less important items?
    Always learning.
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    The whole idea of me posting this was to let people shopping the D3300 know that what almost all reviewers out there are saying is not true: the D3300 does not have the same IQ for photos of the D5300, close maybe, but not the same, and that for videos the D3300 is very noisy at low light and high ISO, just as it is in the D3200, whereas the D5200, D7100 and hopefully the D5300 are very low noise in the same shooting conditions; I also wanted to stir a little controversy on how Nikon handles development of 3 similar specd cameras, to see what people think about Nikon's business practices in this regard, which to me seem counterproductive, wasteful and runs counter to improving the customer's experience, a little shady even. It's like the D3*00 series were the Cinderellas of Nikon's DSLR lineup: they are hated by their makers but do all the dirty and hard work of bringing in new customers/believers to the fold. They are still great cameras for the money, mind you, might even be the best bang for the buck, but why go the extra mile to make them lesser on purpose?
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 6,203Moderator
    If somebody with similar skill levels as me could use a D3300 to get the same shots in the same time frame as I could with my D7100 I would be gutted and pretty fed-up with Nikon. The D3300 is damn good for the price though.

    Biggest difference is lack of facilities which does affect how easy it is to get the shots.
    Always learning.
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    The 42"s predate any DSRLs: one is mainly for business surveillance and the other is for general PC use. Well, my wife watches a lot of soap opera online, and my eyesight is getting old, also they are not monitors per se, just plain 1080 LED TVs I got cheap (back then, anyways, they are even cheaper nowadays) and use them only as PC monitors. Also they were the natural progression in size of the twin monitor setup I've been using since WinXP came out with the feature: I started with 4:3 14"s, then 15"s, 19"s, 16:9 32"s and now 42"s. I won't recommend anything bigger than that, though: you'll start to have to move your head and neck to be able to read from one corner to the diagonally opposite one, instead of just moving your eyes. Really! ;)
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    Yeah, cameras, shcameras, the D3300 works just fine for photography, and I really like it more than the D7100 because of its simplicity and light weight: try chasing 4 kids with all your gear on: you'll have your work cut out for you in no time. But yes, I do kind of miss all the D7100's capabilities and ease of adjustment, I just couldn't justify paying so much for a camera that I don't use for making money, and the D3300 is not a toy either: it's got a shutter with a life expectancy of l50,000 actuations, same as my F3, it can fire up 5fps, again same as my F3 if I had a motor drive on it, it uses an AF sensor as good or better than the one on the F6, its body is made of carbon fiber for crying out loud, can't get any tougher than that! It would have been the perfect camera for me if its video noise was on par with my D5200's at low light and high ISO. I'll still use it this weekend with my kids, as we will be playing under bright sunlight, which I hope the D3300 will be able to handle with no problems.
  • BesoBeso Posts: 464Member
    If I read the original poster's comments correctly he is looking for a point and shoot that provides D4s/D810 IQ for stills, and stellar video under all lighting conditions, and he wants all this for a few hundred dollars. Hmmm, I would like to have a Ferrari F12 Berlinetta for the price of a Kia Optima, too. ;)
    Occasionally a decent image ...
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,777Member
    edited September 2014
    @CaMeRaQuEST - I have a suggestion/recommendation for you. Take a tablet and make three columns. Label the 1st column "Current type of photography or Subject you want to photograph." Label the 2nd column "Future types of phtography/subject you will shoot". Label the 3rd column DSLR Model.

    After filling out columns one and two and then and only then...fill in the camera model that you feel will be that specific requirement.

    At the end then review the models selected in column "C". It's okay if you have two models listed to meet the requirements of column 1 & 2. Just used a slash to separate the picks in Column C.

    Which model got the most picks? Then buy that camera and LEARN how to use it. After reading all your replies it really looks like your an impulse buyer and jumped to another model without really learning that camera. You gave up a very good camera (D7100) and jumped down in the line. Don't take this as an insult or take it personally, just saying you need to slow down and consider/identify what are your requirements and which model meets those requirements.
    Post edited by Photobug on
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    The whole idea of me posting this was...to stir a little controversy on how Nikon handles development of 3 similar specd cameras, to see what people think about Nikon's business practices in this regard, which to me seem counterproductive, wasteful and runs counter to improving the customer's experience, a little shady even....
    Know this, here at NRF, we have very little tolerance for those that wish to troll.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Nevertheless Golf, the responses of many of our members has been instructive and educational.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Nevertheless Golf, the responses of many of our members has been instructive and educational.
    True, but it is worth letting new members know. Better safe than sorry.


    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Yes, you are correct of course.
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    Know this, here at NRF, we have very little tolerance for those that wish to troll.
    The first SLR I got is my F3 which is still running fine. It was military refuse (and looked the part) from the US military when they were still stationed in my country, they had struck it as not worthy of repair, so I left it with the only Nikon technician here, who is a Japanese expat btw, and he got it up and running in no time with only a CLA, that's when I really fell in love with Nikon. Several years before that a Japanese schoolmate sang so much praise about his F2 that he bought new after waiting in line out in the cold on its first day of sale, and of its later his Nikomat FT2 which he bought because the F2 was too heavy to carry around while traveling, that he pretty much brain washed me and had me convinced that my first SLR had to be a Nikon, even against the other 2 Japanese schoolmates' push for their Olympus OM-1 (I remember asking them why they would favor such a tiny dinky camera over the manly F2). So the F3 has given me 2 decades of faithful service (and who knows how many before to the US armed forces) and I used it to take photos of my kids' birthday, and my friends jokingly tell me that my camera was ancient, that I needed to get me one of those nifty DSLRs, at that stage I had gotten me an F, an F2 and a bunch of Nikkors, so my only choice going forward was a DSLR from the brand I have learned to love and trust.

    I am not here to troll, in fact I always preach for the brand just as my schoolmate had done with me 3 decades ago, but I am really upset with how Nikon's handling of the sourcing of their 24MP DX sensors has frozen the D3300's IQ at the D3200's level. It's frustrating because only one feature is preventing me from keeping the D3300, and on top of that it's maddening that all the reviews out there that I had read state it as having been improved upon the D3200, a camera of which flaws I can forgive because it was Nikon's first 24MP DX body but not so the D3300 as Nikon could have imbued it with the improvements they have attained with the D5200, the D7100 and the D5300 that came out in between, but they refused to do so just because an bright guy from marketing or accounting decided that it was good for Nikon's business going forward to stifle the D3300's IQ and allocated resources to that end. And I can't stress enough about the misleading reviews from the usual outlets and the misleading specs Nikon throws out on their websites: we don't even have the D5300 or the D3300 on stores yet here in my country, so the only way of trying them out is for me to actually buy one from the US and have it shipped to me, so I have to rely heavily upon what I can research on the internet. So, again, shame on you Nikon: you could have done much better by actually doing nothing.
  • CaMeRaQuEsTCaMeRaQuEsT Posts: 318Member
    I think it is a stretch to assume that they are doing this on purpose. You speak with a certainty that leaves no room for an alternative perspective, which might result in an equally comprehensive and certain essay that comes to an entirely different conclusion.
    Thanks. I really hope that somebody will joint me on this and make it happen.
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