If you cut your coat according to your cloth, then package-holiday goers might expect to record their memories on a phone or compact camera.

But for real travellers on a voyage of discovery, it is worth the effort to graduate to a single lens reflex (SLR) camera and take the time to capture those once-in-a-lifetime moments that will stay with you forever.

Taking the step up can be rather daunting. The cameras are more complex, heavier and usually expensive compared to an everyday compact camera. But most people who make the move find the extra expense, degree of difficulty and increase in bulk and weight worth the effort in terms of results.

The D3200 is an evolution of Nikon's entry-level SLR camera aimed at "big camera" novices. It's small by SLR standards, light and quite cheap for this level of sophistication with an RRP of $1299 including an 18-55mm lens and 4GB card.


The lens is VR equipped - Nikon's anti-shake system (VR stands for Vibration Reduction) - to keep images sharp in low-level light: but with limited focal length, you might want to consider something a bit longer as well.

The body has a pop-up flash which is good for many situations.

As you'd expect with an SLR, controls include automatic, programme, aperture and shutter bias as well as full manual modes. There are also the ubiquitous scene modes you'd expect to find on most compact cameras for the complete beginner.

But the really smart bit is the Guide mode. This is like an in-camera tutorial system that teaches the user how to get desired effects such as soft backgrounds for portraits, sharp freeze-frame for sports or fast moving action, macro and close-up subjects, sunsets, low-light and more.

And this camera will shoot video, so you can keep those family memories complete.

The powerful 24.2 megapixel CMOS sensor and the super-fast EXPEED-3 processor make for high-quality images in all conditions. ISO ranges from 100-6400 and works well in low light and the multi-point focus will almost guarantee sharp pictures.

The camera is comfortable to hold and extremely easy to use. Once you get your head around the many buttons, it's easy to use ISO, exposure compensation, flash compensation and a few others without taking the camera away from your eye, so you won't miss a shot.