Nikon D3200 w Nikor 55-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR Zoom Lens

 It was getting to be time to replace the D80, so I did some shopping around and decided on the D3200 with a 55-300mm VR zoom lens for now.

The camera is listed as an entry level DSLR, but it has all of the newest features out there…at least for the next 10 minutes or so…

I haven’t been able to do a proper, tripod shoot yet, but I was able to walk around the neighborhood and get some birds and a cat, and some other stuff inside my house.

The first thing I noticed; the D3200 is significantly lighter than the D80, but it still feels very well put together. It’s very solid.

While the battery was charging, I read the manual, and found that there’s an auto setting for just about any scenario you could encounter. There’s even an auto setting for no-flash situations, like church weddings and events like that.

I wanted to see what the camera could do on auto, inside and outside, in lower light with no flash, so when the battery was charged, I tried it out.

I have to say; when I saw the first shot I was very surprised! The colors were popping and I could see everything clearly in the 3 inch camera screen. I couldn’t believe how true to the scene the colors were! I was using the Nikor 55-300mm VR zoom lens, just pointing and shooting.

I shot an old flag I have, and a clown painting on a piece of wood, inside, and then went outside and found a couple of birds and a cat.

I had to set the camera to JPEG-fine instead of RAW because I’m still using Light Room 3.6 and this newer NEF/RAW file is only supported in LR 4.1.

When I pulled the JPEGs into LR, I noticed a softness to the photos that seemed to take away from the depth. The D3200 is 24.2 MPX vs the D80 @ 10.2, so one would think more MPX = more depth…but not quite the case; we’re still dealing with the same size sensor. So in this case, more doesn’t necessarily mean better.

The overall picture quality is still pretty good. The auto settings had the ISO kicked up from between 640 to 6400 for these shots, so there’s some high ISO noise, but the end result isn’t unbearable. The file size of the unedited JPEGs is between 10-15 MB and the long end of the file is around 6000 pxls.

I can’t wait for the opportunity to get this thing into manual settings on a tripod, between 100 and 200 ISO; that’s where the real comparison will count.

I’m very happy so far with the 55-300mm (f4.5-5.6) lens. When zoomed in at 300mm, even at F5.6, there’s still some nice bokeh. I have a Sigma 70-300, but there’s no VR on that one, so I always have to have the tripod when using it. The 55-300mm VR will allow me the opportunity to get close up without the tripod, and that makes things a lot better when trying to shoot wildlife. … since I don’t see myself in the f2.8 zoom lens realm anytime soon…

I haven’t had a chance to mess with the video settings, but they look pretty cool. There’s playback in 30, 24 and 60fps. 30 and 24 are 1080p and 60 is for smooth, slow motion playback at 720p.

Well, I needed something to replace the D80…and I think that’s going to be a D7000… but I’m very glad I got the D3200. It will make a great back up to the D7000 (once I get it), and the video features make it a great walk around camera for shooting anything you encounter!

As an entry level camera, or for someone that just wants to set on auto and go, I’d highly recommend trying out the D3200!

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5 thoughts on “Nikon D3200 w Nikor 55-300mm f4.5-5.6 VR Zoom Lens

    • Thanks Chester,

      I’ve been really happy with the D3200, but I’m even happier with the 55-300!
      Normally, the D3200 runs between $500-$550 and the 55-300 is about $399.

      Now that it’s out, you may want to consider the D5200 as well. There have been great things written about it, but I haven’t had the opportunity to check one out yet.

      Good luck in your shopping and thanks for stopping by!

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