Earlier this year Nikon refreshed its entry-level lineup of DSLR’s with the launch of the Nikon D3200. Rather than replacing the D3100 indefinitely, the D3200 has been designed to run alongside the D3100 meaning there’s a choice of two entry-level models for anyone looking to upgrade from a less advanced camera. To give you a clearer idea of the differences between these two cameras and to help you decide on which one to choose, we’ve picked out ten key dissimilarities.

Cost



Nikon’s D3100 was launched on August 19th 2010 and its price at the time of launch was £579 with Nikon’s 18-55mm VR lens. Two years on and at the time of writing the price of the D3100 has reduced to £385 with the 18-55 VR lens. Body only, the camera can be picked up for £319.

In comparison the D3200, launched on April 19th 2012 was first available at £649 with the 18-55mm lens. This price has dropped significantly over recent months to £525 with the 18-55mm VR lens. This works out at £140 more than the D3100 lens bundle. Purchase the D3200 body only and you’re looking at £489 compared to the D3100′s £319. Body only the D3200 is £100 more expensive than the D3100.

And we know what you’re thinking. What more do you get for your money if you opt for the Nikon D3200 over the D3100? Check out the next few pages where we disclose the technical differences.

Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200

Sensor

One of the key differences between the D3100 and the D3200 are the sensors found inside. The Nikon D3100 features a 14.2Mp CMOS sensor whereas the newer Nikon D3200 features a 24.2Mp chip.

Both sensors are APS-C size so you’ll have to bear in mind the 1.5x multiplication crop factor when attaching lenses. Both the D3100 and D3200 support Nikon’s range of DX lenses and the 18-55mm kit lens is equivalent to 27-82.5mm in 35mm terms.

To achieve the D3200′s higher resolution Nikon has squeezed more photosites (pixels) on the same sized chip.


Of the two cameras the D3200 offers the greater sensitivity range. The Nikon D3100 features an ISO range that runs from 100-3200 (with the option of expanding this to ISO 6400 and 12,800 in the Hi 1 and Hi 2 settings. In comparison the D3200 has a native ISO range of 100-6400 with the opportunity to expand this to 12,800.

To view our image samples from using the Nikon D3100 click here.

To view our image samples from using the Nikon D3200 click here.

Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200

Speed

Despite having larger volumes of data to process, the D3200 shoots faster than the D3100. The maximum continuous speed at which you can shoot on the D3100 is 3 frames per second (fps) and this is 1 frame per second slower than the D3200 which shoots at 4fps.

The D3200 also features an newer image processor to deal with the large 6016×4000 pixel files. Instead of adopting the EXPEED 2 image-processing engine the D3100 uses, the D3200 features Nikon’s EXPEED 3 image-processing engine that’s found in the top-of-the-line D4 and D800. The D3200 also offers a quiet shutter release mode for discreet shooting – a feature the D3100 doesn’t offer.

Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200

AF System

Although this guide is looking at the differences between the D3100 and D3200 we must point out there’s no difference between the D3100′s and the D3200′s AF system. Nikon has stuck with the 11-point Multi-CAM 1000 auto focus module on both DSLRs. Along with Single-point AF and dynamic-area AF, there’s auto-area AF and Nikon’s clever 3D tracking. This mode will track your subject from AF point to AF point as it moves across the frame.

Much like the D3100, the D3200 doesn’t feature a built-in AF motor. This isn’t a major issue, as the majority of the Nikon lens line-up features lenses with their own built-in motors (designated AF-S), but it is worth bearing in mind if you’re planning on using or buying older designs that don’t offer this, as manual focus will only be achievable.

Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200

Size and Weight

There’s very little difference in terms of size between the D3100 and D3200. Of the two the D3100 is the slightly smaller, measuring 124x96x73mm compared to the D3200′s 125x96x76mm dimensions.

Both the D3100 and D3200 accept SD media. Despite the marginal differences in size, both cameras weigh 505g with a battery and card inserted. As for power the D3100 uses a rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL14 battery whereas the D3200 is powered by the rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL5A battery.

Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200

Screen

A key difference between the D3100 and the D3200 is the resolution of the cameras screens. The D3100 features a pedestrian 230k-dot resolution compared to the D3200′s 921k dots.

You can expect the D3200′s screen to be sharper and clearer than the D3100′s screen which is a significant advantage when reviewing images in playback mode or assessing image sharpness.

Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200

Wireless support

Unlike the D3100, the D3200 is Wi-Fi enabled, provided you purchase the incredibly small WU-1A transmitter (£54.99) that’s offered as an optional extra.

This small unit connects to the D3200 via the mini-USB socket on the side of the camera and allows you to transmit images to a host of devices. Images can be shared directly with Facebook, back-up images to a computer or sent to an Android smartphone or tablet via a downloadable app. As long as your no further away than 49ft, you can also stream the Live View feed from the D3200 to your Android device and be able to shoot remotely as well.

Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200

HD video

The D3200 improves on the D3100 in terms of its HD video capabilities. The D3100 was only capable of recording Full HD 1080p at 24fps, however the newer D3200 shoots at 24,25 and 30fps. On the D3100 the movie-rec button was found at the rear of the camera.

Another improvement on the D3200 over the D3100 is the addition of a 3.5mm microphone socket ready to support an external mic. This can be used with microphones such as Nikon’s ME-1. It’s worth noting that the D3100 does not feature a 3.5mm mic port, meaning if you’re looking to take better of control of audio, the D3200 makes the better choice. The D3200′s movie-rec button is also found on the top plate beside the info button rather than at the rear of the camera.

Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200

Summary

So in summary and not surprisingly for a refreshed model, the D3200 features more advantages than disadvantages in comparison with the D3100. The clear advantages the D3100 offers over the D3200 is that it’s cheaper and fractionally smaller. If you’re looking for a feature packed DSLR, the D3200 is a good choice but you will need to bear in mind that you’ll need to spend around £120 more for the privilege of the extra features.

Click here to read the full review of the Nikon D3100.

Click here to read the full review of the Nikon D3200.

  1. 1. Cost
  2. 2. Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200
  3. 3. Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200
  4. 4. Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200
  5. 5. Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200
  6. 6. Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200
  7. 7. Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200
  8. 8. Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200
  9. 9. Differences between the Nikon D3100 and D3200
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  • Russell Nicholson

    I’ve just bought the D3100 and wasn’t overly impressed. Have decided to return it and buy the D3200 instead.This website was most informative.

  • David

    For the record, my (UK-sourced) D3200 came with an EN-EL14 battery, not the EN-EL5A.

    Pricing is a bit out of date now as well – the differential has pretty much disappeared, the D3200 is around £400 with cashback.

  • N. CARNEVALE

    The Nikon D3200 does not use the EN-EL5A it uses the same battery as the D3100, which is the EN-EL14 thanks.

  • Andy Garland

    Thanks for the article. As someone new to photography, my choice was between the two Nikons in this article. Decided to buy the D3200 and haven’t looked back. One note on your write up, the D3200 also comes with the EN-EL14 battery, not the EN-EL5A as mentioned.