Nikon D3300 Dynamic Range & ISO Performance Test

Nikon D3300 Review 02

Nikon D3300 is the youngest of Nikon DSLR lineup. And the cheapest as well. As an entry level model it doesn’t have many pro features but still shines as a very good performer when comes to image quality. The 24 megapixel APS-C sensor can take beautiful images if you use it wisely. The images shown here are all shot in RAW (NEF) format then processed in Nikon Capture NX-D.

Exposure Tolerance & Dynamic Range

A camera with good sensor can capture images with high dynamic range. Most of the recently released Nikon DSLR’s are excellent in this regard. The image below was taken with proper exposure at ISO 100. The color and tonal range of this shot is quite decent. But in many situation either due to improper camera setting or difficult lighting condition we have to depend on post processing to recover the shadow or highlight detail. The next image was deliberately overexposed by 3 stop. The Nikon D3300’s sensor was able to recover reasonable amount of color and tonal range. Take a look at the histogram to understand how much the sensor can recover detail from overexposed portion of the image.

Nikon D3300 Exposure - Normal

Nikon D3300 Exposure - 3 stop over

If we take a look at our badly exposed images, we will see that most are underexposed. The D3300 is excellent in recovering shadow detail. The following two images shows its remarkable performance. The first image was underexposed by 3 stop. At first watching the histogram you can tell there is very little to recover. But increasing the exposure in Nikon Capture NX-D everything comes back to life. And the recovered image is good enough considering situation.

Nikon D3300 Exposure - 3 stop under

To test the limit I under exposed an image by 6 stop. But even at this extreme the Nikon D3300 sensor has something to show. As you can see from the histogram it has almost no data at all to construct something visible. Pushing the exposure slider to the right I was able to rescue the whole image. Although there is banding and loss of tonality, it is better than nothing.

Nikon D3300 Exposure - 6 stop under

ISO Performance Test

The Nikon D3300 has a ISO range of 100 to 12800 which can be boosted up to 25600. At ISO 400 or lower the image quality is very good. The noise pattern from ISO 800 to 1600 is good enough for taking decent image. Above ISO 1600 image gets softer due to noise. The good thing about Nikon D3300 is its ability to keep chromatic noise under control. The test images posted here are 100% crop to reveal the actual noise pattern at various ISO.

Nikon D3300 ISO-Sample

Nikon D3300 ISO-100

Nikon D3300 ISO-200

Nikon D3300 ISO-400

Nikon D3300 ISO-800

Nikon D3300 ISO-1600

Nikon D3300 ISO-3200

Nikon D3300 ISO-6400

Nikon D3300 ISO-12800

Nikon D3300 ISO-25600

About Author

Junaed is a Doctor by profession who started photography back in 1992. From film days to digital he is regarded as a talented Photographer. He regularly appears as a guest lecturer at various Photographic clubs & institutes.