Nikon D3200 Review

Friday April 20 2012

Camera Review
Introduction | Nikon D3200 Preview | Nikon D3200 Sensor performance | Nikon D3200 versus competition | Conclusion

The Nikon D3200 versus its competitors

The Nikon D3200 vs the Sony NEX-7 and the Sony SLT Alpha 77

Is the Nikon D3200’s sensor the same Sony APS-C Exmor HD Sony found in the NEX-7 and the SLT-A77 SLR? There is little doubt that this is the case, but let’s look at all the measurements to be sure.

With its DxOmark Score of 81, the D3200 is on the exact same footing as the NEX-7, sharing the same 24.1-bit measurement for color depth as the Sony hybrid (with the SLT-A77 coming in close behind at an even 24 bits). Its dynamic range is of a piece with color depth, with a score of 13.3EV for the D3200 vs 13.4EV for the NEX-7 (and 13.2 for the SLT-A77). The D3200 incorporates well the Sony 24 Mpix sensor that appeared as a star device at the IFA exhibition in Berlin in September 2011.

This said, looking at the curves of low-light ISO measurements, the Nikon’s score is very close to that of the NEX-7. As for the SLT-A77’s low-light score, its weak results are due to the camera’s translucent mirror system that consumes some of the light and generally reduces the sensitivity from 1/3 to 1/5 EV (see the Sony SLT-A57 sensor review).

Nikon D3200 vs Sony SLT Alpha 77  vs Sony NEX-7: SNR comparison
Nikon D3200 vs Sony SLT Alpha 77 vs Sony NEX-7: SNR comparison.

The Nikon D3200 pitted against the Canon EOS 600D

The scores achieved by the Nikon D3200’s 24 Mpix sensor are better than those of the Canon EOS 600D for all measured criteria. With its DxOMarkscore of 81 vs. only 65 for the Canon EOS 600D (67th position among all cameras measured by DxOMark), the D3200 is among the overall Top 10.

  • Color depth: with 24.1 bits, the D3200 is 2 bits better than the Canon EOS 600D.
  • Dynamic range: the curve shows that the Canon APS-C’s 18 Mpix sensor slows down and ultimately stops making any progress at all from 800 to 400 ISO, whereas the Nikon’s Sony sensor continues to broaden the range of tones captured by the D3200 to finally reach, at 100 ISO, a cruel difference of nearly 2EV better than the Canon (11.5EV vs 13.2EV for the Nikon).
  • Low-light ISO: Despite its sensor’s greater resolution, the Nikon D3200 provides low-light image quality that is better than the Canon’s by more than a demi-diaphragm.
Nikon D3200 vs Canon EOS 600D: Dynamic Range comparison
Nikon D3200 vs Canon EOS 600D: SNR comparison.