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Edit Static BlockDigital Camera HQ offers unbiased, informative reviews and recommendations from camera experts and everyday users looking to share their own experiences. We're not a store, but we'll help you find a great camera at the best price. Throughout the site, you'll find some of our most popular cameras as well as links to reviews, comparisons, and guides. Click to Read More About DCHQ

Latest Digital Camera Hands On Reviews

Nikon D3300
Hands On Review

Nikon's entry level DSLRs have always been an excellent option for beginners—My first DSLR was actually the D3000, back in 2009. The D3300 is Nikon's latest addition to the line and has proven to be a solid shooter for novices.

But along with offering solid performance for the price, the D3300 shows just how far digital cameras have come in the last five years. The D3300 is quite a bit lighter than it's older siblings, but it's not just about body style either. From a 10 megapixel CCD sensor with a 3 fps burst mode, a 3200 ISO at the very highest and zero autofocus in video mode of pre-2010, this Nikon entry-level shooter has made such significant advances, it's certainly worth an upgrade for users of the older models.

The Nikon D3300 sits at the lowest end of Nikon's consumer DSLRs, beneath the D5300 and D7100—all of which we've been able to test. While both the D5300 and D7100 offer more features, the D3300 is still worth a look, considering the price, especially for those just venturing out beyond auto mode.

Nikon D3300: Body and Design

The Nikon D3300 looks a lot like the models before it—but it certainly doesn't feel like them. At 25 percent lighter than the D3200, this entry-level shooter is quite comfortable to use without weighing you down. According to the specs, this little guy weighs 14.5 ounces. I took this camera for a hike (literally) and didn't feel weighed down or suffer from soreness from the neck strap afterwords. Along with loosing some weight, the D3300 is also 30 percent smaller than the previous model. The lens has also slimmed down too, adapting the compact style offered in many mirrorless models where the press of a button shortens the lens when not in use.

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Hands-On Digital Camera Reviews: How We Test
Sure, we could use some fancy software to spit out all kinds of data about the cameras we test—but a bunch of numbers don't always mean so much when it comes to actually using the camera. When we test out a new camera, we put it through a few real world tests along with a few more rigorous standardized tests to give you the ins and outs of each camera. Here's how we test for our hands-on reviews.


How we test: Real World Testing

Chances are, you aren't looking for a camera to take pictures inside some carefully controlled laboratory setting. We take each of our hands-on cameras and put them to use in as many everyday scenarios as we can. We shoot pictures indoors and outdoors. We try some macro shots and landscapes. We try portraits, still life and action.

As we shoot, we ask how the camera handles that particular environment. When we shoot outdoors, we're asking things like: Can you still see the viewfinder or LCD screen in bright sunlight? Does the camera handle bright light mixed with darker shadows well? But most cameras can shoot pretty decent images in the day, so we also try more challenging scenarios, like low light indoor shots. Can the camera capture decent indoor shots without a lot of noise? Does the autofocus slow down in low light? Does the flash light up something that's all the way across the room?

We go through as many of the camera's features and settings as we can in the time that we have with the camera. (We get each of our review models on loan directly from the manufacturer and can spend anywhere from two weeks to two months with one camera). If a camera has manual modes, we shoot with the manual modes as well as testing out how well the automatic settings perform too.

Along with looking at how the camera performs, we also pay attention to how easy it is to use. Is there a quick menu to adjust settings easily? Is the layout of the controls confusing?

How we test: Image Quality

After our real world testing, we take a look at our images and see just how well the camera performed. Are the colors accurate? Are the images in focus? Do the photos look better or worse than we expected?

Along with our real world tests, we also use a few standardized tests to make cameras easier to compare. One of those tests evaluates sharpness. A camera with excellent image quality can take a picture of a test chart with lots of lines and look nearly identical to the actual, printed test chart. The lines will be sharp and you'll be able to see separate lines. A camera with poor image quality, however, will make it difficult to distinguish between fine lines.

Click on these images to view them at full size:

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Comparing DSLRS: What Nikon DSLR Is Right For You?
Nikon has a solid reputation for their consumer-level DSLRs, but what is the better option? Should you spend $1,600 on the high-end D7100, or save with the $650 D3300? Comparing DSLRs isn't always easy, especially when it comes to a company that makes pretty solid models every time.


Nikon has three consumer DSLRs that are current models, the D7100, the D5300 and the D3300, and Digital Camera HQ has had a chance to complete a hands-on review of each model. All three contain similar sensors. And all three were given an A- grade or higher, so what's the difference?

Comparing DSLRs: Nikon D3300

The Nikon D3300. Click for the full hands-on review and sample images.

The Nikon D3300 is the budget option with the most basic features. It has a similar sensor to the more expensive options, but doesn't quite have all the extra features. The D3300 has fewer autofocus points for getting a pin-sharp focus, and also seems to have a slower processor, with a longer delay when recording large files, like RAW. It also has the lowest LCD screen resolution, though it's still quite easy to read.


 While the D3300 certainly isn't feature-rich, it has a few perks other than the budget price. The D3300 is the lightest Nikon DSLR, weighing 14.5 ounces. It also has a guide mode that can help teach beginners how to use manual modes, which the other two options don't offer.


Best For: Beginners, traveling

Comparing DSLRs: Nikon D5300

The Nikon D5300. Click on the image to read the full hands-on review.

The most visible difference on the Nikon D5300 is the tilting LCD screen. While the tilting LCD screen is nice for shooting at awkward angles, it's not a feature most will use very often. The D5300 also has more autofocus points than the D3300, but otherwise is quite comparable considering image quality.


Unlike both the D3300 and D7100, the D5300 has both wi-fi and GPS built-in, while the other models require the purchase of a separate accessory. The extra features mean the D5300 has a slightly shorter battery life over the D3300 and it's also a little bit heavier.


Best For: Intermediate photographers and those who favor the tilting LCD screens and wi-fi

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Latest User Comments & Reviews

Eric (04/21/2014)
I have been using a Fuji Finepic S700 for years. It is now telling me that the 2gb card is not initialized. I tried to format the card in the menu section and it tunns blue with a little rotating square clock type screen and nothing else happens. Left it for a hour and nothing, Just the blue screen square rotating. How is this fixed? Thanks Eric
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Hillary Grigonis (04/22/2014)
Hi Eric. You can try restarting the camera by leaving the batter out for a few hours. This camera is quite old, if a restart doesn't work, you'll be better off looking for a new model than trying to repair this one.
aruna kumar sabata (04/14/2014)
Where i will get lens filter kit for this camera
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Hillary Grigonis (04/18/2014)
Hi Aruna. Where do you live? Amazon has them here:  if Amazon will ship to you.
Trouble with auto focusing of Nikon 55-200 mm with D3100 (Barbara Daniel — 04/12/2014)
"I have a D3100 with a Nikon 55-200 lens and I cannot get it to auto focus. Wondering if I need to do something with settings or is it a flaw with the lens. Very frustrating. Can anyone help me?
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Hillary Grigonis (04/18/2014)
Hi Barbara. What type of lens is it? There should be some more numbers and letters in the lens name. Nikon changed the design a bit a few years back and the autofocus motor is now inside the lens and not the camera body. The newer DSLRs like the D3100 need the lenses with the "AF-S" in the name. The older lenses that just say "AF" will not autofocus with the newer DSLR bodies.