Nikon D3200 Sample Images Show Noisy Low-Light Performance

The first sample images of the Nikon D3200 have just come out of Nikon France; and although they look great for the most part, the one low-light image confirms suspicions that Nikon may have gone too far putting 24.2-megapixels in the camera. More noticeable on the full-resolution photographs, you can tell that once the ISO is cranked up to about 1600, noise begins to play a significant role.

Here are five of those sample images, including the high ISO photo at the top:

Of course the detail in the images is no less than you would expect from a 24.2-megapixel APS-C sensor, but amateur photographers and theatre moms in search of the perfect low-light shot sans flash may want to invest in some post-production software.

Nikon D3200 (via The Verge)

  • Asas

    sony suks… better canon 10000 times

  • Chrswggl

    And yet at full screen (or more likely Facebook size) will anyone ever care? The A65/A77/NEX-7 are about as good as the D7000/A57/D5100 when scaled to 16 megapixels. The difference is too little to matter.

  • Xavierdjx

    Stupid article !

  • Shawna R. M.

    These images are far to small to make out any noise what so ever. If you want to show a noise example then crop the photo to show it.

  • Markus WET

    Or you just click on the link and get your full-res files there?

  • 4wallz

    The full res low light image didn’t look too bad at all.  What did look a little off was the blurring/distortion on the corners, you would think that they would have used a higher quality lens to shoot these images. 

    Granted, there is a little noise on the image, but it would go completely unnoticed if it went to print.  But if you are a pixel peeper… then yes, there is some noise.

  • -MARS- Photography

     Before you start pointing fingers.. I use both Canons and Sonys… First check out your PPI… Sony Wins… Check Frame rate… Sony wins… Check Color depth, Sony… Image quality… there is indeed a pattern.

    I LOVE my canon, the same reason Hillbillies love trucks on 44″ mud tires… it just feels better… but at the end of the day, it costs more, is less effective, and you have to figure out how to get your gear back in the bag…

    I never have that problem with my Sony, and I really can’t complain about picture quality that they both put out… but if I want to walk around its the sony… If I am at a Track day event… No Doubt its my Canon.

  • -MARS- Photography
  • Jikester

    It looks the equal to my NEX-7 and I’ve been quite pleased with it up to ISO1600 much of the time.

  • jdm8

    The gallery posted here doesn’t show anything wrong.  Downscaling hides many ills, there was no point in posting the images here, unless it was a sarcastic post.

    Even in the Flickr set, it seems very good for a $600 camera.  I’d wait for a DP Review article on it, they’ll do much pretty good A/B comparisons with competing cameras.

  • Tracey Easter

    ISO at 1600 always shows noise

  • Mark

     Irrelevant for the type of consumer that this camera is targeted toward. Upward megapixel counts in consumer-grade cameras equate to more sales. Upward megapixel counts in professional cameras are necessary for specific types of photography. I dare say most professional photographers (myself included) have settled on an ideal sensor size somewhere around 16mp. Beyond that, unless you are specializing in landscape, fashion or product photography, the print reproduction improvements are negligible (and screen even more so).

    I want a sensor that handles noise intrinsically, regardless of megapixel count or downsampling. We need to face the fact that CMOS sensor tech has reached some roadblocks in their current form. Until we start seeing truly next-generation technology, we just need to relax about the noise issues. Unless your subject is being lit by powerful studio lights in a controlled environment, your shots in low light are going to be less crisp and rich obviously.

  • John Kantor

    The Canon 5D actually has about the same noise per pixel as many other cameras – but the larger file size more than makes up for it. Take the above image and downsample it to 6mp and you have a lot less effective noise. The real question is how much usable dynamic range you have in low light.

  • Christian Ide

    I am astonished how good the quality is with just the 18-55 kit lens and the 55-300. Just the portrait of the woman at the beach and the sleeping girl are shot with the 40/2.8 micro. All these are the kind of lenses that the normal customer would buy. It would be cheating if they used a 24-70/2.8 or 85/1.4 or something like that…

  • gabrielserna

    Nikon most likely chose this sensor for it’s video functionality and price versus being a low-light monster.

    Not much point in comparing it to a $1000 camera if it is gonna retail for $700 it only has to match or beat other $700 camera and it just might do that but I’m thinking the NEX-5n is going to beat it in low light.

    Personally i think 24mp is too much for a crop sensor versus 16mp unless it is pared with really good lenses and a shooting style that demands large prints or lots of cropping and it is hard to think a camera in this price range will ever be pared with a really sharp lens to leverage it’s resolution other than say a cheap prime.

    But that said I could be wrong and maybe it will be the standout model in the $600-$800 price range and put pressure on the m4/3 camp, Sony, Samsung and Canon to up their offerings but I’d rather see them respond with better low-light capable cameras than chase them in the MP wars since iso1600 isn’t really good anymore compared to other models doing iso3200 or iso6400 before the noise is distracting

  • Lori Appleman

    But the NEX-7 is twice the price.

  • Antnego

    If anything, this is a sales pitch for the Nikon D3200. The images, even enlarged, look gorgeous at high ISO. There is considerably less noise than on Nikon’s previous model cameras, and the ISO performance seems to have no difference from the older D700 and D3-series models. I’m seriously thinking about buy one as a backup camera!

  • Matt Jones

    The title of this article is misleading, you only have 1 high iso image under candle light, it doesn’t prove or disprove anything, the rest of the images are at low iso.

  • Shawn Earle

    I own a Nikon D3200 and a canon T3i and the canon is a little better especially for portraits! This guy must be using expensive lenses? With my kit lens and my 55-200 vr lens. The white balance of the photo’s is Hideous in less than perfect lighting! Now i have gotten a few stellar photos of my dog outside on a sunny day, and few nice sunset shots with low iso and low shutter speeds! But i really had to tweak the contrast and colors in post production! Over all the D3200 is a decent outdoor camera, but i wish i would have saved my money for the Canon Eos 6 D or maybe even the 70D with it’s improved focusing system!