I’ve had my Nikon D3300 now for just over four years. In that time I’ve upgraded lenses, taken it traveling through four continents, and learned how to shoot in manual and edit in Lightroom. I did a lot of research before purchasing the Nikon D3300 and it continues to be the right choice for me.
A Nikon D3300 Review: Why It’s the Best DSLR for Travel
This article is not meant to convince those that want a small travel camera to buy a DSLR. Rather, this is for those that are set on getting themselves a DSLR camera, but are trying to choose between a Canon and a Nikon or between the larger Nikon bodies and the D3300 or D3400 models.
Why I Chose the Nikon D3300 for Traveling
For those that have done a little bit of research on the Nikon D3300, you’ll probably know that it is one of the most reasonably priced DSLR cameras on the market. It’s an entry-level DSLR and that is smaller, cheaper, and lighter than Canon’s counterpart. Its kit lens gets rave reviews and I have to admit that I am pretty happy with the photos that I get from the kit lens.
I bought this camera because I really wanted to up my photography game not only for my blog, but also so that I could look back on really great photos from my trips. I also had a vague notion that I might want to take my photography hobby more seriously and see where it could take me in the future.
Pros of the Nikon D3300
There are a ton of things I love about this camera. The more I learn about photography and about this camera in particular, the more I love it. These are just a few of the things that keep me from transitioning to mirrorless or something smaller.
- The Price Point: A brand new D3300 with 18-55mm kit lens starts at under $400. That’s a pretty unbeatable price in my opinion.
- The Kit Lens: The kit lens is a seriously great lens if you’re just starting out and learning about DSLR photography. I love being able to get the wide angle. It’s light and it retracts when you’re not using it so that it is seriously small on the end of the camera, taking up WAY less space than regular lenses.
- Video Quality: I use my Nikon D3300 to shoot most of my YouTube videos and other footage that I create for clients and I am SO happy with it. The only issue, which you’ll find with most DSLR cameras at this level, is that the video feature drains the battery very quickly.
- Battery Life: Besides the above-mentioned issue with videos, the battery life of the D3300 camera battery is amazing. I take photos almost every day when I’m traveling and I can go almost three weeks without needing to charge it. It’s easy to recharge and takes less than two hours (I have two, so there’s never an issue with a dead camera).
- The Ease of Use: If you’ve never used a DSLR or any camera before for that matter, you can easily pick this up and start taking clear, crisp, colorful photos. There are tons of different modes in automatic and after a few YouTube tutorials, you’ll be in manual before you know it. I simply take out my
- Affordable Lenses: Nikon has so many different lenses to choose from and they range in price from $250 to over $10,000. Obviously, I’m not in a place where I’m splurging on those thousand dollar lenses, but I have picked up several lenses under $500 that are absolutely spectacular.
- Available Accessories: Thanks to the popularity of Nikon cameras, there are so many add-on accessories available. I’ve purchased Nikon remotes to take photos from a distance, tripods, Wi-Fi connectors, extra batteries, lenses for underwater photography, and more.
Cons of the Nikon D3300 for Travelers
If you are comparing the Nikon D3300 to other small cameras, there are a few cons.
- Weight: Many travelers are opting for lighter mirrorless or point-and-shoot cameras that aren’t quite so heavy. While the D3300 is definitely lighter than the larger Nikon models, it’s still almost a pound (although the D3400 is slightly lighter).
- Size: There’s no escaping the fact that DSLR cameras aren’t exactly small. They’re not going to fit in a little cross-body bag while you travel around. They aren’t inconspicuous and they need to be cared for with a good sturdy camera bag while you travel.
- Battery Life for Video: I know I mentioned this above, but it is kind of a bummer when I want to create a ton of video content while I’m out of the house. I can get through a full battery in about an hour when I am constantly taking video, so it’s important to have at least one fully charged backup battery on hand.
- No Wi-Fi Built In: A lot of the more expensive DSLR cameras out there come with Wi-Fi so that you can easily transfer your photos from your camera straight to your smartphone for social media. You can purchase this add-on separately which is a lot cheaper or you can simply move them there in post-production.
What Editing Program I Use for My Photos
I only purchased the Adobe Cloud Suite this year, but I am so glad I finally bit the bullet and did it. I have noticed such a huge difference in the quality of my photos. I can shoot in RAW which allows me to better edit my photos and keep their high quality and resolution. I can resize them so that they upload quicker on my blog without having to ruin the quality there either.
I purchased the yearly cloud membership which costs me about $120 a year and that way I don’t have to store all of the photos on my own hard drive. Instead, they are stored in the Adobe Cloud. This also allows me to download the Lightroom App and any photos that I edit on my computer are automatically there on my phone, too which is great.
When you pay for the yearly subscription, you also get all of the updates totally free, so you always have the latest version of all of the programs.
The other option if you aren’t that bothered about the cloud, is to simply purchase Lightroom and Photoshop separately. Then you can download them onto your computer and you only pay a one-time fee. The only thing with this option is that you don’t get the latest updates, you are purchasing the current version of that program.
Nikon D3300 Lenses That I Love
In addition to the kit lens, I have either purchased these lenses or have added them to my list of lenses that I want to purchase in the future.
- 35mm: This lens is amazing for landscape and portrait photos. It is incredibly affordable at less than $200. It has an f-stop of 1.8, which is crazy low for such an affordable lens, and the photos it takes are some of my favorite that I’ve ever taken. You get that amazing blur behind people and you can easily go from automatic to manual focus if you want to be fancy. This is also an AMAZING lens for food photography. Buy the 35mm lens here.
- Sigma 10-20mm: While Nikon make a 10-20mm lens, it only has an f-stop of 4.5, while the Sigma lens allows you to go down to 3.5 (which is fine in my opinion for such a wide angle lens). This is amazing for getting city shops when you want to get a ton of buildings in. It’s also amazing for landscape. It allows you to get a whole lot more into the shot than the 35mm lens. Buy the Sigma 10-20mm lens here.
- 55-200mm: I don’t currently own this lens, but I think that if I bought it, I would have the perfect trio of lenses for pretty much any situation. This lens is another really affordable option at under $150 on Amazon. It’s collapsible so it doesn’t take up as much space as a normal telephoto lens, but it still gives you a great zoom. Hopefully, I can add this lens to my artillery by the end of the year. Buy the Nikon 55-200mm lens here.
Nikon D3300 Accessories That Are Perfect for Traveling
Over the last three years I’ve added plenty of Nikon D3300 accessories to my camera bag (including a new camera bag). These are the ones that I have found invaluable while traveling.
- Waterproof Cover: I recently replaced an older neoprene cover with this one and I am in love. It fits snugly around the camera, it’s cute, and it keeps my camera padded and dry. I probably use this cover more than I use any of the other camera bags that I’ve purchased. It’s great if you are going on a short trip and know you’ll only need one lens. I just stick it on the camera, put the camera in this cover, and then pop it into my purse or carry-on. Buy a waterproof case here or this cute polka dot one here.
- Remote: This is perfect for night shots or for getting a photo of you and your travel pals if no one is around to take it for you. I have used this remote so many times. It’s cheap, it’s really light, and it makes taking photos so much easier if you have a shaky hand like I do. (There are cheaper versions out there made by Amazon and Foto&Tech, but I’ve never tried them). Buy the Nikon remote here.
- Joby Tripod: There are literally thousands of options out there for a tripod. I have two that I use regularly. The best one for traveling light is definitely the Joby. It can grip onto pretty much anything and holds the weight of both my phone and my camera with ease. Buy the Joby tripod here.
- Extra Batteries: I always go with the offical Nikon batteries. They’re slightly more expensive than the knock-off brands, but I know they last a long time, so I think spending a few extra dollars is worth the investment, especially if you’re going to be using the camera a lot. Obviously, the camera comes with one, so if you are going to be using the camera simply to travel and take photos during the day, you can always recharge it at night without needing an additional battery. A second battery is really only if you plan to take video or if you know you will be somewhere with no power for more than a few days. Buy additional Nikon batteries here.
- Cute Strap: This is on my list of things that I want to add to my camera. You can make your own, you can find cute ones in markets around the world, there are plenty of cute ones on Etsy that are made by small businesses. I absolutely love this one. It looks much sturdier than the floral scarf styles that you see a lot of.
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