Hands-on: Nikon D3300 goes streamlined, opts for collapsible kit lens

Nikon seems to be using 2014 to push out subtle upgrades to its DSLR series. Take the D3300, for example, it's mighty similar to its D3200 predecessor in spec terms, bar a refreshed, funkier design and another key non-camera-body change: the new kit lens.

Size is all important these days. And with compact system cameras having some impact in the market, it makes sense to provide a DSLR that trims the fat. Canon went with the 100D, Nikon has opted to focus instead on the lens which extends via the press of a button and twist of the barrel. Makes sense to us, and it works well in practice - just so long as you remember there's an additional action to get it ready for shooting otherwise it might slow you down.

The camera body has also been jazzed up somewhat compared to its predecessor. It's more angular, with more-considered lines and the body is slightly smaller than its predecessor. In the hand it's hard to feel that difference in size as it still feels very much like an entry-level DSLR scale. It's the lens that makes the difference biggest, as the top-down shots show.

READ: Nikon D3200 review

The established Nikon Guide mode also makes a reappearance on the mode dial. The idea here is for newbies to get a better grasp of which controls do what via both visual and text-based prompts. It's helpful if you're new to shooting. But if you just want to point and shoot then that's possible too. We snapped a few shots across the table on the Nikon stand at the Consumer Electronics Show and it was locking on to subjects without a hitch.

Under the hood the majority of the spec is familiar. That's good from a functionality point of view as the 11-point autofocus system works well and the same 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor makes a return, albeit paired with the latest Expeed 4 processing engine. That new processor means additional capability on the video front, with the ability now to capture files at 50/60p - double that of its predecessor.

In short the D3300 feels like a subtle push in the range, but a welcome one. Smaller, lighter, cooler and with that collapsible kit lens there's enough to justify its appearance. The trio of colour options - red, grey or black - will add further appeal. Although that red is very red isn't it?

The Nikon D3300 will be available from 6 February 2014, priced £500 body only or £600 with the new kit lens.



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