My Photography Conundrum – Part 3

This is part three of a series of posts. To appreciate the entire experience described herein, I would suggest reading the other two parts first.

My Photography Conundrum – Part 1

My Photography Conundrum – Part 2


At this point my plans seemed to be stymied. I didn’t want to make a significant investment in new gear because I am waiting for the Fuji. I thought long and hard about this and then I had a bit of a brain storm. OK, perhaps just a drizzle.

I know that some older cameras are heavily discounted even if they were rated as “good to very good” when they were introduced. I wondered if I could score one of those for a price near the range I would have paid to rent the gear.

I began my search. I didn’t want a point-and-shoot since I already have one of those. I wanted something approaching a DSLR. I would consider almost any format, APSC, Mirrorless, etc. if I could be assured the Image Quality (IQ) was good!

I began reading reviews for cameras under five hundred dollars and there were many dead ends, BUT one camera began to appear over and over again as a “best buy” for the money. It was the Nikon D3300. It was rated, according to DP Review, higher than any of the cameras I currently own and it had some significant advantages.

Now remember, I am just using this to “hold me over” until I can buy the camera I am waiting for. If it wasn’t for my planned trip of a lifetime to Yosemite, I wouldn’t even be taking this route. Click the following link for the summary page for the Nikon D3300 from DP Review. Also see the chart below:

Graphic Depicting Strong/Weak Points of the Nikon D3300
From DP Review's Website
“Graphic Depicting Strong/Weak Points of the Nikon D3300
From DP Review’s Website”

For the price (Currently around $400 +/-) I am impressed with these specs. I shoot in RAW mode and as you can see (red oval) it does quite well. Even the jpegs are respectable. Understand, of course, I am not a professional. I am an enthusiastic hobbyist and I want consistently reliable, good quality photographs. I am not interested in many of the advanced features in the most current cameras. I want an easy way to change aperture, shutter speed and ISO and this camera has it all.

Imaging Resource also had similar things to say about the camera. This is a quote from the review.

“All in all, though, the image quality achievable out of this “entry-level” camera is top-notch for this class of camera. Image sharpness and detail resolution are both very good, as is high ISO performance and dynamic range, which matches our experience with Nikon’s other recent 24MP APS-C cameras as well. Not only do digital images look excellent, but print quality is also impressive with large prints sizes at a wide range of ISOs.”

Next I took a tour of the shopping sites to see what owners of this camera had to say and they were generally very positive about their purchase. I checked the following sites as I am writing this and this is what I discovered.

[ Note: Links may stop working when this camera is no longer available ]

Amazon Out of 816 Reviews – 95% 4 and 5 stars

Adorama (A resource for professional photographers, large mail order company) – Nearly all the reviews are 4-5 stars

B & H Photo (A resource for professional photographers, large mail order company) – Nearly all the reviews are 4-5 stars

Lastly, but far from least was Ken Rockwell’s review for the Nikon D3300. If you don’t know Ken and you are interested in photography and you might be thinking about purchasing some gear, I strongly suggest you visit his site. He has very comprehensive reviews and he is very knowledgeable.

In addition to writing a review, Ken Rockwell includes a series of resources which, in many respects, are better than the manual:

Nikon D3300 User’s Guide (How he uses it and why he selects these settings)

How to Set and Use the D3300’s Autofocus System

If you want to buy any photography gear, I suggest you use Ken’s links as this helps support his wonderful research that he puts out there for all of us at no charge ! Look for the purchasing links on his web pages!

If you want to learn even more, he includes sections abot…

For a video tour of the Nikon D3300 to see how it operates and functions, you can watch this YouTube video which gives a hands-on, front row seat view of the D3300

Nikon D3300 Users Guide

After reading the above and doing due diligence, I ordered the Nikon D3300. The next part of the series will show the unboxing, some sample photos and some follow up comments. If there is anything else you would like to know, ask questions via the comment section below!

Read the fourth and final post in My Photography Conundrum series:

My Photography Conundrum – Part 4 originally published this post

See previous Photography posts HERE