Nikon D3200 pictures and hands-on
Joining Nikon's line-up of entry-level cameras is the Nikon D3200. The newcomer to the pack adds to the choices, rather than replacing an existing model.
However, there are a number of key differences that the Nikon D3200 brings, both internally and in terms of design. Put against the D3100, this is a more sophisticated camera, but with a simpler design that seems less fussy.
We got hands-on with the new model at Nikon's launch event in London, although it should be noted that these were preproduction samples, not final firmware and we didn't have the opportunity to keep any sample photos.
In the hand the Nikon D3200 is nice and compact. It's a small camera, as the D3100 is - perhaps a little too small for those with larger hands, feeling smaller than a rival like the Canon EOS 550D.
The red model has a glossy finish and we found that having passed through the hands of several enthusiastic journalists it needed a good polish to clean off all the fingerprints.
The layout of controls feels more logical than previous models, with easy access to main controls such as live view or instant video capture.
A large control dial sits on the top of the camera, offering access to the wide variety of features on offer, from manual controls through to presets. We like that the dial rotates all the way round, so you can shift to what you want nice and quickly.
Taking pride of place is the Guide Mode. This newly enhanced guide mode is designed to help newcomers use the camera to take the type of photos they want. But rather than just changing the settings, it details what has happened so you get the chance to learn something about the photography techniques being used.
Nikon wants to appeal to families (for example) who want to get great photos and fancy the idea of a system camera, without their having to worry about how they are actually going to use it.
The Guide Mode is split into easy and advanced techniques, each with an example of the type of photo it will produce and a description of how it works. We like this arrangement because, in truth, if you know what you want to achieve it's often faster to select the relevant mode and change the settings via the normal menus.
Sitting inside the Nikon D3200 is another big differentiator: a 24.2-megapixel DX format CMOS sensor. This might seem like a dramatic move, but this is more oriented towards allowing cropping in to detail, rather than printing enormous pictures.
The sensor is backed by the new Expeed 3 processor, as seen in previous 2012 launches in Nikon's pro line of DSLR cameras. You'll get a wide ISO range and an impressive 11-point AF system. Focusing was fast enough in our quick tests, although we found that focusing in live view was slow, but this could be down to the early firmware.
The Nikon D3200 offers full-HD video capture, churning out an H.264 MOV file at the end, with up to 20 minutes of recording time. There is also an external mic socket hidden under a flap on the side, if you want to enhance the audio capture over the mono mic built in.
Mini-HDMI is also present, as is an accessory connection which will allow you to use the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter (£59.99), to connect your camera up to your smartphone for sharing your photos instantly.
The display around the back is a reasonable 921k-dots and is bright and vibrant. At 3-inches the size is average, but it's sharp enough.
Coming in red and black colour options, the Nikon D3200 will be available from mid-May, priced at £559.99 (body only) or £649.99 with the 18-55mm VR kit lens.
Of course, we'll be bringing you our Nikon D3200 review as soon as we get our hands on a final version.
Gunning for red or betting on black? Let us know in the comments below...