Nikon D3200 review

Nikon D3200 reviewThe Nikon D3200 is an entry-level DSLR with a friendly guide mode – ideal for fledgling shutterbugs that don’t know their aperture from their ISO.

Following on from its predecessor, the Nikon D3100, though not replacing it, the brand new Nikon D3200 has upped the ante for entry-level DSLRs, thanks to its show-stopping 24-megapixel sensor.

Going up against the likes of the Sony Alpha A65 and the Canon EOS 600D, the Nikon D3200 has got its work cut out when it comes to earning a place in ourBest Digital SLRs list.

The D3200’s lightweight chassis, which hasn’t changed much in design terms since the previous model, weighs in at just 505g (with battery and memory card) which means that it never becomes cumbersome, even after carting it around all day.

At 125 x 96 x 76.5 mm, the chassis isn’t too chunky, but still remains reassuringly sturdy and while Nikon makes no claims about waterproofing, the D3200 proved to be reasonably resilient to the elements when we tested it in the pouring rain.

The D3200 is available in conventional black or a shiny red finish, should you be so inclinded.

One of the key selling points on the new snapper is the guide mode. Enhanced since its inclusion on the D3100, this nifty feature is easily accessible via the top-mounted dial and holds your hand through the basics. Teaching you how to set up a variety of shots, it even includes examples of how the pictures should look.

For example, one of the tutorials shows you how to get the best picture of a sunset by tweaking the white balance to capture the red tones. Follow the suggestions, alter the settings and the picture will change to reflect how the finished article will look. There may be a few kinks to iron out (such as the overeager pop-up flash), but it’s a damn good starting point for newbies.

You can read the rest of the article at T3.com (originally published 17 May 2012). 

7 Days living with…film photography

7 Days living with...film photographyAlmost everyone on Team Pocket-lint is a camera nut of some description but out of all of us with our various bits of high tech snapping kit, I’ve also got quite a strong collection of¬†Lomo cameras. The question is though, is film still relevant beyond retro style photography? Does it still have a place in society and how much of a pain in the bum is to use now that we’re mollycoddled by the happy snapping ways of digital? I decided to find out in¬†7 days.

The challenge here was to go for an entire week without using any digital cameras whatsoever, including¬†the one on my iPhone. My day-to-day camera, which was housed safely on my bookcase for the entire 7¬†days, is a¬†Panasonic DMC-LX3¬†– the brand’s top-of-the-range compact from a couple of years ago which is nice¬†and portable while also offering excellent picture quality, largely thanks to its fancy Leica lens. I also use a¬†lot of film cameras, but they’re all lo-fi models (mostly Lomo) so the first step was to track down a decent¬†film snapper to use for all the Pocket-lint reviews and hands-on work that I do. As it turns out, not an easy task.

After a lot of back and fourth with various brands, Nikon agreed to lend me an alarmingly expensive F6 SLR (around £1,500)  for the duration, along with a rather large AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm zoom lens worth something like the same again. I was also sent a Kodak Ultra Compact single-use camera, along with some film, while Polaroid loaned me one of its Polaroid 300 instant cameras. The film-based lineup was completed by my Lomography La Sardina.

Obviously, this isn’t a review of any of the cameras involved – it’s an account of life without a digital camera. My 7 days begins on¬†Thursday – simply because the Nikon camera turned up at my door halfway through the week. Read on to¬†find out what happened.

Thursday

Thanks to a week of very late nights staying up to follow the London riots on Sky News and Twitter (and¬†praying that they wouldn’t come any closer to my home or those of my friends), the tail-end of the week¬†was something of a struggle. On the agenda for Thursday was a review of the¬†Philips Fidelio DS7700 iPad¬†dock. Usually I would breeze through my review shots on my digital camera, checking them on the¬†screen as I go, before transferring them to my computer and resizing them – all within about half an hour¬†of setting up the kit. Not this time.

Naturally, all of the pictures needed to be snapped using the Nikon F6 and things took a bit longer when¬†film was brought into the equation. After finally managing to load up a Kodak Gold ISO 200 colour film after several failed attempts and a substantial amount of swearing, I was finally ready to get stuck in.¬†The F6 is a heavy camera at the best of times and even more so when you’re trying to balance an iPad¬†dock in one hand and use the camera one-handed.

Philips DS7700 iPad dock

I’m not really a SLR aficionado, so I was at the mercy of the hastily Googled manual when it came to setting the camera’s controls. The fact that I couldn’t take a couple of test shots and look at them to check that the settings were correct before I got started was a major hassle.¬†Having to finish the film off was also something of a pain. Using a well-practiced review routine, I can usually¬†get the 10-15 shots that I need by taking around 20-25 of them on my digital camera. As this iPad dock was¬†a relatively simple piece of kit with only a couple of buttons, there were only a certain amount of shots that¬†I needed, but I had to keep going after that to finish off the film – taking up precious time and also making¬†by arm ache from holding the F6.

Once finished, instead of just popping an SD card into my computer,¬†I had to make the 10-minute saunter down to the local Boots to put my film in for one-hour processing, at a cost of ¬£7.49 (I initially went into the nearby Snappy Snaps, who said that they’d be able to take care of my photos in an hour, but then backtracked when I presented them with a film and said that it would take three). Then I went back¬†home for lunch before returning to pickup my disc of images, all the time praying that they were ok so that¬†I wouldn’t have to repeat the entire process.

Thankfully, the pictures were mostly usable, although¬†the review lacks a close-up shot of the Bluetooth and volume controls as none of my shots of these were¬†sharp enough and I didn’t think that it was worth the cost of another film and more processing to put right¬†this tiny detail (not to mention the time involved).

Polaroid from the LomoHub

After work, I moseyed on down to the Lomography store in Soho for a largely beer-based “tea party” to¬†celebrate the new B&W Earl Grey & Lady Grey films. Being without a digital camera in the Lomo store is¬†hardly unusual so I didn’t miss not being able to use one, and I took along the La Sardina and a Polaroid 300. I took a few shots, including this¬†Poloroid snap (above) of myself, and fellow journos and Lomo users Kat and Laura.

You can read the rest of the article here on Pocket-lint.com (originally published 29/08/11).