Would I rather Have the Nikon D3300 vs Nikon 5300?

Nikon currently has two excellent consumer grade cameras on the market that provide excellent results at an affordable price.  Targeted to mainly entry-level photographers, the Nikon D3300 and D5300 are both highly advanced, yet easy to operate cameras and are capable of producing images equal or superior to Nikon’s more expensive “professional” level cameras.

Based on the smaller cropped sensor DX format, these cameras also are very affordable (good entry-level DLSRs) and will provide the consumer years of excellent service and tens of thousands of excellent images and hundreds of hours of video.

Looking to make a quick decision? Check out my high level “Advantages” table below:

Nikon D3300 Advantages Nikon D5300 Advantages
Fixed LCD (can be an advantage, depending) Built-in WiFi fuctionality
About half the price of the D5300 (see here for current pricing deals) Built-in GPS functionality
Offers up to 39 AF points (vs just 11)
Slightly larger articulating (vs fixed) display

Continue reading for the full analysis below.

Similarities Between the Nikon D5300 and D3300

nikon d3300 vs d5300The D3300 and the D5300 are virtually identical cameras in all most all aspects starting with the sensor used in both cameras.

Both cameras offer state of the art advanced cropped sensors that have virtually eliminated the technical gap in quality between more expensive full-framed sensors and the cheaper and smaller cropped sensors.  In the past, full-framed cameras were capable of producing technically superior images, especially in low light.  Today’s cropped or DX format cameras, including the D300 and D5300, have eliminated that gap.

“Today, the only real difference between a full frame camera and a cropped sensor or DX camera is the crop factor of the DX camera.”

The easiest way to look at this is to consider the effect the crop factor has on the lens being used.  An image taken with a crop factor of 1.5x with a 50mm lens would be the equivalent of a 75mm lens on a full frame camera.  A DX camera will make a photographer’s lenses “longer” than they would be on a full frame camera.  Other than that, the image quality is the same or better than a full frame camera.

nikon d3300 reviewsThe sensor used in both cameras is a CMOS DX sensor that measures 23.5mm x 15.6mm.  Despite its small size, the sensor used in both cameras captures images at 24.2 megapixels, which is significantly higher than Nikon’s flagship “professional” grade and much more expensive D4 that costs over $6,000!

In addition to sharing the same sensor, the D3300 and D5300 both share the same advanced EXPEED 4 processor, which is capable of quickly processing the images that sensor capture to the SD card in he camera.  The ability to process images quickly means that there is no lag or delay in the ability of the camera to capture images.  This is an important feature because both cameras have the ability to shoot at 5 frames per second, which is a fairly fast rate for a consumer grade camera.  This will allow the photographer to capture sports and other action shots with ease, while the EXCEED 4 processor will write the image to the memory card as quickly as they are taken.

The D3300 and D5300 are both capable of shooting in a number of modes including aperture priority, shutter priority, manual and program modes.

Both cameras also offer a number of pre-set “scene” modes such as sports, portrait, landscape and several other settings   Sill images are captured in either RAW of JPEG formats, depending upon the photographer’s preference. In both cameras images are written to a single SD card.  In camera image editing is also possible in both cameras.  Both the D3300 and D5300 have the ability to take high definition video at 1080p at 24-60 frames per second as well.

Other similarities between the two cameras include a built in flash, an optical viewfinder offering 95% coverage and Matrix 3D metering.  Also, neither camera has an internal autofocus motor, meaning that any lenses without a built-in autofocus motor will need to be focused manually.

Shutter speed varies from 1/4000 to 30 seconds, while the normal ISO dynamic range setting varies from 100 up to 25,800 and is expandable up to 25,600.  The images captured with both cameras are also very clean with minimal noise found at even high ISO settings.  The built in noise reduction software in both cameras works well, while also retaining a high degree of detail in the image.

Similarly, there is no important difference in battery life or battery quality.

Differences: Nikon D3300 vs D5300

While the cameras are very similar, there are several significant differences between the D3300 and the D5300.  Two of the most significant differences include the built in GPS and WIFI capabilities of the D5300, while the D3300 uses optional accessories to achieve these capabilities.

Another significant difference between these two cameras is the number of auto-focus points offered on both cameras.  While the D3300 offers 11 total, the D5300 offers both 11 and 39 auto-focus points, depending upon the photographer’s needs.

The final significant difference between the two cameras is the use of a slightly smaller 3” fixed display of the D3300, while the D5300 offers a slightly larger 3.2” articulating display.

Pros and Cons to Consider

nikon d5300 vs 3300The biggest “pro” to both the D3300 and the D5300 is the excellent value that both cameras represent, especially for such technologically advanced cameras.  These cameras are both fairly new in Nikon’s lineup and offer cutting edge technology at affordable prices.

Another positive about both cameras is their lightweight and compact size, which make carrying them around in the field or on a trip easy!  Both the D3300 and the D5300 both are easy and comfortable to hand as well. The body weight and camera body feel are almost identical as well, with the D5300 being a bit over 2 ounces heavier.

The biggest negative with both the D3300 and the D5300 is that they do not have the robust build found in “professional” grade cameras including the use of magnesium alloy cases and dust and other weatherproofing seals.  That being said, the price of both cameras is significantly less than Nikon’s “semi-professional” and “professional” cameras such as the D7100 and the D4.

Another con to these cameras is that they both tend to be upgraded frequently, with the D3300 having evolved from the D3000 and the D5300 coming from the D5000.  As a result, often the value of camera will drop as newer, more advanced and often cheaper cameras are offered.  These cameras tend to be upgraded yearly.

Comparing the Key Features of the Nikon D5300 vs D3300 (at a glance)

While most serious photographers look at image quality over technical specifications, many feel that the specifications are equally important.  The Nikon D3300 and the D5300 both have excellent image quality, as well as technical specifications, which are shown in the table below.

Item Nikon D3300 D5300
Year Introduced 2014 2013
Format DX DX
Megapixels 24.2 24.2
Sensor Type CMOS CMOS
Processor EXPEED 4 EXPEED 4
Image Format RAW and JPEG RAW and JPEG
Sensor Size 23.5mm x 15.6mm 23.5mm x 15.6mm
Sensor Cleaner Yes Yes
Auto-focus Points 11 39
Modes Aperture Priority (A), Auto, Auto (Flash Off), Manual, Programmed Auto With Flexible Program (P), Scene Modes, Shutter-Priority (S) Aperture Priority (A), Auto, Auto (Flash Off), Manual, Programmed Auto With Flexible Program (P), Scene Modes, Shutter-Priority (S)
Metering Matrix 3D Matrix 3D
View Finder Coverage 95% 95%
Live View Yes Yes
Frames Per Second 5 5
ISO 100-12,800 100-12,800
Highest Expandable ISO 25,600 25,600
Shutter Speed Range 1/4000 to 30 Seconds 1/4000 to 30 Seconds
Built In Flash Yes Yes
Card Slots 1 1
Card Type SD, SDHC, SDX SD, SDHC, SDXC
LCD Size 3.0” 3.2”
LCD Fixed or Swivel Fixed Swivel
Video Full HD Full HD
Video Type 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p 1080p at 60/50/30/25/24p
Internal Autofocus Motor No No
GPS Optional Accessory Yes
Wireless No Optional Accessory
WIFI Optional Accessory Yes
Battery EN-EL14a EN-EL14a or EN-EL14
Unique Features Black, Red or Grey Body Black, Red or Grey Body
Size Without Lens 4.9” x 3.9” x 3.0” 4.92” x 3.9” x 2.0”
Weight Without Lens 14.5 oz. 16.9 oz.
Manufactured In Thailand Thailand
Body Only or with Kit Lens Sold as kit only Sold as body Only, as well as several kit options
Included Accessories EN-EL14a Battery, NH-24 Battery Charger, UC-E17 USB Cable, EG-CP14 Audio/Video Cable, DK-25 Rubber Eyecup, AN-DC3 Camera Strap, BF-1B Body Cap, NikonView NX2 CD ROM EN-EL14a Battery, BS-1 Hot Shoe Cap, NH-24 Battery Charger, UC-E17 USB Cable, EG-CP14 Audio/Video Cable, DK-25 Rubber Eyecup, AN-DC3 Camera Strap, BF-1B Body Cap, NikonView NX2 CD ROM
Cost, Body Only NOT Available $799.95
Cost With Kit Lens (Lens Varies) Starting at $499.95 with 18-55 VR II Lens Starting at $899.95

*Information from Nikon USA website, including the pricing.

Overall Recommendation Nikon D5300 vs D3300: Which Would I Prefer?

The Nikon D3300 and the D5300 are very similar cameras that both produce excellent results.  While the D5300 offers several features that the D3300 does not offer, I prefer the D3300to the D5300.  There are several reasons for this preference, with the main reason being the exceptional value that the D3300 represents, especially for a camera that includes an excellent lens.

While the GPS and WIFI features are nice, I do not consider them to be critical features in a camera.  I also prefer fixed screen displays to articulating displays, as I can be a bit rough on cameras and this for me is a potential weak spot.

Also, in most cases with the type of photography that I do, I find 11 auto-focus points is more than sufficient.  At the end of the day the $400 price difference between the two cameras that take identical images makes it too hard to pass up the D3300! If you are looking to buy, you can check out this listing to save from the Nikon list price.

The Camera Guide Team
 

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