Best Nikon SLR: which one is right for you?

Nikon D3200

Sensor: APS-C (DX) format CMOS Resolution: 24.2Mp Autofocus: 11 AF points (1 cross-type) Max shooting rate: 4fps LCD: 3-inch 921,000-dot Video resolution: 1080

Nikon D3200

• Read our full Nikon D3200 review

Some retailers are still selling the old Nikon D3100, but the D3200 is now the official entry-level model and it is a much better camera.

Key upgrades include a big boost in pixel count from 14.2Mp to a lofty 24.2Mp, essentially matching the D5200, D5300 and D7100. Around the back, the LCD screen also jumps in resolution to 921,000-dots compared with the D3100's relatively lacklustre 230k. The image processor is also upgraded from EXPEED 2 to a later generation EXPEED 3, again matching the D5200.

The continuous drive rate isn't exactly fast at 4fps (frames per second) but again, it beats the 3fps of the older D3100. Similarly, the standard sensitivity range is also enhanced, at ISO 100-6400 instead of ISO 100-3200, although both cameras offer the same maximum extended sensitivity of ISO 12800.

The D3200 has a bigger memory buffer as well, with enough space for 18 raw quality images instead of the D3100's 13 shots, both bodies being limited to 12-bit colour depth for raw files.

Some of the specifications that helped to make the D3100 such a winner are retained, most notably the highly accurate autofocus and metering systems. It's only an 11-point autofocus module with one cross-type point at the centre, as also featured on the older D90, but it works well nonetheless. The same is true of the 420-pixel 3D Colour Matrix II metering system.

Nikon D3300

Sensor: APS-C (DX) format CMOS Resolution: 24.2Mp Autofocus: 11 AF points (1 cross-type) Max shooting rate: 5fps LCD: 3-inch 921,000-dot Video resolution: 1080

Nikon D3300

• Read our full Nikon D3300 review

While at first glance the D3300 may not seem much of an upgrade on the D3200 its 24.2Mp sensor has no anti-aliasing filter which means that the newer camera is able to capture a little more detail.

Nikon has also given the D3300 its latest generation of processing engine, Expeed 4 and improved both the Guide mode and Graphic User Interface to make them a little cleaner in appearance.

Furthermore, the D3300's native sensitivity range runs from ISO 100 to 12,800 and there's an expansion setting equivalent to ISO 25,600.

As we would expect, the D3300's metering, automatic white balance and autofocus systems perform well, enabling the camera to produce sharp, well exposed images with natural, yet vibrant colours in most situations.

In addition the D3300's monocoque construction means it is a little lighter and stronger than the D3200 – as well as being slightly smaller.