Review Nikon D3200: measurements

This is an appendix of our Nikon D3200 test. The measurements were carried out with the aid of Imatest. For the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ. Conclusion and practice recordings are in the Nikon D3200 test. Look at our list of tested cameras for a comparison of these performances with those of other cameras. Nikon-D3200-product



The Nikon D3200, with a good lens like the Nikon 35 mm 1.8 DX set to f/5.6, yields a jpg file with a resolution (on average over the ISO 100-6400 range) of 2650 lLW/PH, with a maximum of more than 3000 LW/PH at 200 ISO. With a standard processing of RAW files in Lightroom the same sharpness impression and average resolution is obtained.
The resolution of the Nikon D3200 jpg files are much higher than the resolution measurements for jpg files of the Nikon D5100 and Nikon D7000. This is probably due not only to the higher number of megapixels, but possibly also to the degree of moire filtering and / or in-camera sharpening of jpg files.

Sharpening is easily recognized by taking a look at Imatest images: the resolution measurements show shoulders. The graphs below clearly show that a Nikon D3200 jpg file (left) is more sharpened than a Nikon D7000 jpg file (right).

Nikon-D3200-jpg-standard-sharpening Nikon-D7000-jpg-standard-sharpening

Dynamic range

The total dynamic range is (averaged over the 100-6400 ISO range) 10 stops for both a RAW file as a jpg file. The maximum is at 100 ISO, with a total dynamic range of 11.5 stops. That is a very good performance.
For the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ
A poor signal / noise ratio in the shadows reduces the dynamic range of each camera to a smaller usable dynamic range. The usable dynamic range is much more important for a photographer than the total dynamic range.
The usable dynamic range ranges from 7.5 stops at the low ISO settings to 0 stops at ISO 12,800. The highest ISO setting of the Nikon D3200 delivers, as with many other cameras, not directly usable files.
The jpg files, because of in-camera noise reduction at all ISO settings, seem to perform better than the RAW files. Yet that is not so. We test RAW files without using noise reduction. Doing this, you maintain the highest possible detail of the image, while the noise, although measurable, will not be visible in a print. If you carefully adjust contrast, sharpening and noise reduction of RAW files, you will obtain a usable dynamic range, better or equal to that of the jpg files.


Comparison of the noise in jpg files with the measured noise in RAW files without noise reduction, shows that in the jpg files more noise reduction occurs above 400 ISO.
By applying noise reduction to RAW files, you achieve even better results than in our graph for the noise of RAW images. We didn’t apply any noise reduction to the RAW files. We know from experience that if the noise is less than 2.5%, a photo on A3 + size prints can be without the noise is as disturbing.


Below are examples of a at different ISO settings photographed gray card. Left you see RAW files without noise, right standard jpg images. These are 100% crops as you see the pictures full size on your screen. In the dark areas there’s often more pronounced noise than in mid-gray. Therefore, I would use the Nikon D3200 preferrably only with ISO settings below ISO 1600. In the Nikon D3200 review, we show a detail of an ISO 1600 jpg file, in which the noise is more pronounced than in gray patches below.

Nikon-D3200-Noise Nikon-D3200-JPG-Noise
RAW (no NR!) JPG

Color accuracy @ daylight

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The Nikon D3200 delivers RAW files with good color rendering. But the color accuracy of modern cameras is very close. We are dealing with very small differences. The Nikon V1, for example, performs almost as good as the Nikon D3200.

The illustration shows the errors of an ISO 100 color jpg image,  shot in daylight. The further the ideal color (square) is removed from the color of the camera (round), the greater the color difference. Remarkably, especially blue, red and (blue + red)= magenta (numbers 13, 15, 17 in the image) vary relatively more than other colors. Click on the image for larger version.
For the test method and explanation of terms, see FAQ

Color accuracy @ tungsten light

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By artificial light you can for both jpg and RAW files, not blindly rely on the auto white balance, as clearly seen in the results shown for a 200 ISO jpg file. Click on the image for larger version.

Conclusion and sample images are shown in the Nikon D3200 review.




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