You have to hand it to Nikon, they are fighting back again the mirrorless system cameras in some pretty good ways. The latest release is the incredibly affordable Nikon D3200. For under $700, including a great little 18-55mm kit lens, you get a massive 24MP sensor that can out resolve (assuming you are using some quality glass) anything from Canon, Olympus or Panasonic and hold it’s own against it’s big brother the professional Nikon D800 at lower ISO settings (under ISO 1600). A sensor of this size was unimaginable in a consumer camera just a few years ago and was only a dream in pro cameras 10 years ago. The resolution of that sensor is approaching, or matching, medium format film! THAT is impressive!
So what do you get with your 24MP sensor for under $700? A proven body design that has changed very little since the superb Nikon D40 (6MP), lightweight body (won’t given you tendonitis!), a nice selection of Nikkor lenses, arguably the best OEM flash system around, a nice 4 frames per second (more than enough for amateur/kids sports), great ISO performance up to around ISO3200 and a future upgrade path with other Nikons in the future.
Personally, I haven’t used a DSLR in since my Olympus E-3 (I loved that weather sealed body with the high grade lenses) almost two years ago. I’m been in the micro-4/3’s camp and now firmly with Fuji as my daily cameras. I use the superb Fuji X100 (buy) as my large sensored walk about camera and the little X1o (buy) as my point and shoot). However, if someone were to ask me what I would recommend for a great all around, affordable, fun camera to use, it would be the Nikon D3200. You can pair it with the affordable 55-200mm zoom lens or the 35mm f/1.8 lens and have a great kit for under $1100! You can even add the fantastic little SB400 flash that I had when I used a D40 – it’s a quick cycling little gem! Most other decent DSLR bodies start around the $900-1100 mark and go up from there. This is probably the biggest photography bargain, for a newly released camera, I’ve seen in a very long time!
Hands on preview of the D3200 at dpreview.com