Nikon D3300 Image Quality Comparison

Below are crops from our laboratory Still Life target comparing the Nikon D3300 with the Canon T5, Fujifilm X-A1, Nikon D3200, Pentax K-500 and Sony A5000.

NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses. Clicking any crop will take you to a carrier page where you can click once again to access the full resolution image as delivered straight from the camera. For those interested, you can access the full set of RAW images we shot via the Nikon D3300's Thumbnails page -- links to the RAW files appear beneath those for the JPEG images, wherever we have them. And remember, you can always go to our world renowned Comparometer to compare the Nikon D3300 to any camera we've ever tested.

Nikon D3300 versus Nikon D3200 at Base ISO

Nikon D3300 at ISO 100
Nikon D3200 at ISO 100

While both these cameras house the same 24MP resolution, the D3300 does away with the optical low-pass filter for improved sharpness, and it shows noticeably in this comparison, though default sharpening and contrast seem to be higher as well. Particularly in the mosaic and pink fabric crops, the D3300 displays quite a bit more fine detail and crispness. The D3200 is certainly not bad, but the D3300 takes the cake here.

Nikon D3300 versus Canon T5 at Base ISO

Nikon D3300 at ISO 100
Canon T5 at ISO 100

Both cameras here do well with clean, crisp fine detail, but the higher-res D3300 wins out with its AA-filterless sensor. The D3300 produces sharper and crisper images, as well as handling the often-troublesome fabric swatches better than the T5, though the T5 itself is certainly no slouch here.

Nikon D3300 versus Fujifilm X-A1 at Base ISO

Nikon D3300 at ISO 100
Fujifilm X-A1 at ISO 200

Despite the considerable difference in resolution (24 vs 16MP), both cameras here show an impressive amount of fine detail. The D3300 takes the prize in the bottle comparison with crisper detail, and it also handles the fabric swatches better. The mosaic crop is a hard comparison, as both do very well, but the difference in resolution makes it a hard call one way or the other, though the D3300's resolution advantage remains evident.

Nikon D3300 versus Pentax K-500 at Base ISO

Nikon D3300 at ISO 100
Pentax K-500 at ISO 100

Again, another stark difference in resolution (24 vs 16MP), but both cameras do great with the bottle crops, and while the D3300 shows more contrast, both also do very well with the red fabric. The D3300, however, does better with the pink both for accurate color and fine detail in the thread pattern.

Nikon D3300 versus Sony A5000 at Base ISO

Nikon D3300 at ISO 100
Sony A5000 at ISO 100

It's a very close call here with this comparison, as both cameras are very evenly matched in terms of fine detail and color. There's a slight difference in resolution (24 vs 20MP), but both produce sharp, crisp images. The fabric crop comparisons are the most telling, with the D3300 having a slight edge over the A5000 in the red fabric.


Most digital SLRs and CSCs will produce an excellent shot at base ISO, so we like to push them and see what they can do compared to other cameras at ISO 1600, 3200, and 6400. Recent advances in sensor technology have made ISO 1600 look a lot more like ISO 100, but there are still cameras whose quality starts to fall apart at this setting. We also choose 1600 because we like to be able to shoot at least at this level when indoors and at night.

Nikon D3300 versus Nikon D3200 at ISO 1600

Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600
Nikon D3200 at ISO 1600

It's a pretty interesting comparison here at ISO 1600. The D3300 does better with high ISO noise reduction as well as fine detail compared to the D3200. The older model shows more luminance noise as well as some chroma noise, which isn't as visible in the D3300 images. However, the D3200 produces a better resemblance of the red leaf pattern than the newer model, while the D3300 still does better with the pink fabric swatch.

Nikon D3300 versus Canon T5 at ISO 1600

Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600
Canon T5 at ISO 1600

While the D3300 shows more luminance noise than the T5, the D3300 is able to produce much more fine detail, as seen in the mosaic crop. The D3300 also handles the fabrics much better than the T5.

Nikon D3300 versus Fujifilm X-A1 at ISO 1600

Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600
Fujifilm X-A1 at ISO 1600

The X-A1 displays its excellent noise reduction chops in this comparison. Both light and shadow areas are practically devoid of noise on the Fuji images at the default level of NR, while still managing to maintain a decent amount of fine detail. The D3300 still produces a lot of fine detail, however, as well as handling the fabric swatches better than the X-A1.

Nikon D3300 versus Pentax K-500 at ISO 1600

Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600
Pentax K-500 at ISO 1600

The default noise reduction on the K-500 images really take their toll on fine detail and overall image quality. Luminance and chroma noise are quelled, but lots of NR artifacts are present instead. The fine detail on both the mosaic and fabric swatches is heavily reduced or smoothed out significantly. The D3300 by comparison shows a little grain, but keeps a lot of fine detail, and certainly wins in this comparison.

Nikon D3300 versus Sony A5000 at ISO 1600

Nikon D3300 at ISO 1600
Sony A5000 at ISO 1600

The A5000 does well at smoothing out noise and grain in the shadows, but the fine detail is also lessened thanks to aggressive noise reduction processing. The D3300 easily bests the A5000 with this comparison in all three crops.

Today's ISO 3200 is yesterday's ISO 1600 (well, almost), so below are the same crops at ISO 3200.

Nikon D3300 versus Nikon D3200 at ISO 3200

Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200
Nikon D3200 at ISO 3200

Both cameras here handle high ISOs very well, but like we saw with the ISO 1600 comparison, the D3300 shows much less noise -- as the D3200 produces more luminance and chroma noise, particularly in the shadows. Fine detail reproduction is also much improved on the D3300, and despite a difference in the contrast on the red fabric, the detail on these swatches is ever-so-slightly better from the D3300.

Nikon D3300 versus Canon T5 at ISO 3200

Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200
Canon T5 at ISO 3200

Both cameras do well here at ISO 3200. The T5 looks less grainy, but the noise pattern itself on the D3300 is very finely grained and perhaps more reminiscent of film grain. However, the D3300 has the edge on fine detail in all three comparisons -- most noticeably in the mosaic and fabric crops.

Nikon D3300 versus Fujifilm X-A1 at ISO 3200

Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200
Fujifilm X-A1 at ISO 3200

Like we saw at ISO 1600, the Fuji X-A1's noise reduction is very impressive -- the shadow areas in the first crop are practically noise-free. Apart from the difference in resolution, both cameras do well with detail in the mosaic crop. And like before, the D3300 handles the fabrics much better than the X-A1 at this ISO level, as the NR on the X-A1 is very strong, and smooths out a lot of finer details in those areas of the target.

Nikon D3300 versus Pentax K-500 at ISO 3200

Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200
Pentax K-500 at ISO 3200

The K-500 struggles here at ISO 3200. The default noise reduction is very heavy-handed again -- removing noise, but smoothing out fine detail and leaving unattractive digital artifacts. The D3300, by comparison, is less heavy on the noise reduction and is able to maintain a lot of fine detail here.

Nikon D3300 versus Sony A5000 at ISO 3200

Nikon D3300 at ISO 3200
Sony A5000 at ISO 3200

Similar to the previous Pentax K-500 comparison, the A5000 at ISO 3200 shows very strong default noise reduction, and really reduces the fine detail. The D3300 bests the A5000 again in all three crop comparisons, especially in the mosaic tiles.


Detail: Nikon D3300 vs. Nikon D3200, Canon T5, Fujifilm X-A1, Pentax K-500 and Sony A5000


ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400

ISO 200
ISO 3200
ISO 6400

ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400


ISO 100
ISO 3200
ISO 6400

Detail comparison. The Nikon D3300 does an excellent job with high-contrast detail, with a marked improvement over its predecessor, the D3200. At base ISO, the other cameras in the lineup all do very well, and are all quite evenly matched. However, as the ISO rises, the D3300 remains very clean with crisp, fine detail, while the other cameras, particularly the Canon T5 and Sony A5000, as well as the Nikon D3200 start to struggle at ISO 6400.


Nikon D3300 Print Quality Analysis

Very good 30 x 40 inch prints at ISO 100; a nice 13 x 19 at ISO 1600; a good 5 x 7 at ISO 12,800.

ISO 100 prints are very nice at 30 x 40 inches and even higher, with fantastic color reproduction and excellent detail for such large prints.

ISO 200 prints are great at 24 x 36 inches, also with fantastic color and detail.

ISO 400 images look very good at 20 x 30 inches with lots of fine detail. ISO 400 images also allow for 30 x 40 inch wall-mounted prints. At 24 x 36 inches, prints look very similar to ISO 200 but with only a minor trace of noise in the shadow areas (but you have look very closely).

ISO 800 prints are good at a very large 16 x 20 inches, and the D3300 does a good job of controlling noise levels for such a large print at this ISO. Like we saw with the D5300, low contrast detail is still very good in our challenging red swatch, something Nikon DSLRs tend to shine at.

ISO 1600 images produce a great 13 x 19 inch print. Even at this ISO, there's still only minor noise visible in the shadows areas with the rest of the print looking crisp and vibrant.

ISO 3200 prints look good up to 11 x 14 inches, and, as expected, show a little more noise in the shadows. Some edge detail is beginning to show a little softness, as well, but overall still impressive print quality at this size.

ISO 6400 images are starting to show slightly bland-looking colors, and noise is becoming more noticeable for an acceptable 8 x 10 inch print.

ISO 12,800 prints look similar to ISO 6400 ones but are just slightly softer and noisier, and 5 x 7 inch prints are the largest we can call acceptable.

ISO 25,600 does not yield a good print and is best avoided except for less critical applications.

The Nikon D3300 is a very impressive performer when it comes to print quality -- super-high resolution prints that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with higher-end, even professional-level cameras. And all this from a base, entry-level camera! The D3300 follows along with the D5300, producing exceptionally large prints for its price range and doing a great job with fine detail and color thanks to its AA-filterless 24-megapixel sensor and adept processing. At ISO 100, prints up to 30 x 40 inches and even larger look excellent. The D3300 does a great job of controlling noise, and when it does appear it tends to look more like film grain than many other cameras' default processing which can often look more like splotches than grain in flatter areas -- a quality we're seeing more and more in Nikon's DSLRs. At ISO 800, prints are still great looking at 16 x 20 inches, and even ISO 6400 images can go as large as an 8 x 10. Excellent job again, Nikon, for a super affordable DSLR that prints this nicely straight out of the camera.

About our print-quality testing: Our "Reference Printer"

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can only tell so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-1000 printer, which we named our "Printer of the Year" in our 2015 COTY awards.

The Canon PRO-1000 has a lot of characteristics that make it a natural to use for our "reference printer." When it comes to judging how well a camera's photos print, resolution and precise rendering are paramount. The PRO-1000's more than 18,000 individual nozzles combine with an air feeding system that provides exceptional droplet-placement accuracy. Its 11-color LUCIA PRO ink system delivers a wide color gamut and dense blacks, giving us a true sense of the cameras' image quality. To best see fine details, we've always printed on glossy paper, so the PRO-1000's "Chroma Optimizer" overcoat that minimizes "bronzing" or gloss differential is important to us. (Prior to the PRO-1000, we've always used dye-based printers, in part to avoid the bronzing problems with pigment-based inks.) Finally, we just don't have time to deal with clogged inkjet heads, and the PRO-1000 does better in that respect than any printer we've ever used. If you don't run them every day or two, inkjet printers tend to clog. Canon's thermal-inkjet technology is inherently less clog-prone than other approaches, but the PRO-1000 takes this a step further, with sensors that monitor every inkjet nozzle. If one clogs, it will assign another to take over its duties. In exchange for a tiny amount of print speed, this lets you defer cleaning cycles, which translates into significant ink savings. In our normal workflow, we'll often crank out a hundred or more letter-size prints in a session, but then leave the printer to sit for anywhere from days to weeks before the next camera comes along. In over a year of use, we've never had to run a nozzle-cleaning cycle on our PRO-1000.

See our Canon PRO-1000 review for a full overview of the printer from the viewpoint of a fine-art photographer.

*Disclosure: Canon provided us with the PRO-1000 and a supply of ink to use in our testing, and we receive advertising consideration for including this mention when we talk about camera print quality. Our decision to use the PRO-1000 was driven by the printer itself, though, prior to any discussion with Canon on the topic. (We'd actually been using an old Pixma PRO 9500II dye-based printer for years previously, and paying for our own ink, until we decided that the PRO-1000 was the next-generation printer we'd been waiting for.)


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