The Nikon D3200. Probably the best starter DSLR on the market, of any brand, as of December 2015. Yes, there is a newer model (the d3300) available, but if you can save $100 I’d still get this one. The new model is unnoticeablely lighter, allows you to shoot 1 fps faster if needed, and gives you the ability to create panoramics in-camera (plenty of free software is out there for that already), and the ISO goes up even higher (although the image quality is terrible at those high ISO’s on both models). Is that all really worth the price increase for an entry level crop-sensor dslr… most likely not.
Features: You get all the basic features you need. They don’t overload this model with tons of features most people will never use. The omission of all the fancy, little used features unless you’re into a specific style of photography creates a learning curve for this camera that is fairly easy, especially if you have any background using camera controls.
Side note: This camera requires AF-S lenses to autofocus since it does not have a built in-camera focus motor. Not a huge issue (both lenses that come with it are AF-S), just something to be aware of. The biggest complaint I read on lens reviews is certain lenses being only manual focus with this camera. That’s because they bought an AF lens when they needed an AF-S lens, and really no fault of either product.
Build: Very quality build, both in materials and design. It’s not weather sealed, but I wouldn’t take my weather sealed full frame cameras out in the rain either if I didn’t have to, so this doesn’t affect me much.
Image/Video quality: Plainly put, both are wonderful. Full HD video with the push of a button is great, and still something a few pro Nikon’s still don’t do (I’m looking at you D7–). The picture quality is wonderful in shooting conditions with adequate light. To be fair, any lighting issues with this camera tend to fall more on the lenses than the camera itself. 24.2MP is way more than you need to produce quality images. Megapixel count is more of a marketing gimmick nowadays unless you’re blowing up photos to cover an entire wall in a house.
Lenses included: These are Nikon’s plasticy kit lenses. Months/years from now if you move into full-frame phtography both these lenses will work on your new camera, just not well… but that’s a big “if” you decide to buy that level of camera. With that being said, they are extremely sharp lenses that will cover an adequate range for most of your shooting. Don’t forget, crop sensors (like this camera, and most other budget dslr’s have) actually magnify the lens coverage (and not degrade the picture quality), so the 200mm lens you get will work more like a 300mm lens. that’s plenty of zooms for what most people need. Both lenses included should treat you well.
A big bonus, this camera accepts all the pre-AI prime lenses Nikon made, some being 50 years old now! These are some phenomenal lenses you can buy on most auction sites for very cheap.
Overall: It easily earns five stars. Ease of use and image quality are all top notch. Owning Nikon’s nicest DSLR’s for my photography business (I currently own D4’s, D810’s, and a D610) I purchased one to test out and ended up using it for personal use for about half a year, loving every second of it. Would I recommend this to a professional? No. Would I recommend this to any of my friends looking for a great dslr without spending thousands of dollars? Yes… and it would be my first choice.