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My mother is strongly considering purchasing one of the two cameras. (D3200 or D3300). She was looking for a good entry level DSLR so she could catalog her travels around the North and dabble with more advanced settings. Either is a great starting camera!

My question is does anyone have any experience with either of these two cameras in cold weather? My mom lives in Alaska. Any recommendation one way or the other would be great!

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Nikon rates both of these cameras down to 0C (32° F). In fact, both manuals even warn that the battery many be damaged if used outside of the operating range (although I suspect that over 40C/104° F is really more risky). You can probably push it, especially if you take precautions, but do be prepared for (probably temporary) equipment failure. See

and

for a little more.

If cold resistance is a very important factor, your mother might want to consider looking at a camera rated for a lower temperature — the entry-level Pentax K-500, for example, is good down to -10C (14° F), and there's presumably even more room to push it. (This happens to be one of the areas where Pentax DSLRs are unique — see Besides several Pentax DSLRs, what cameras are rated for operation below 0 °C (32 °F)? — and I think most mirrorless cameras are in the same boat, at least until you get up into the $1000+ range.)

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My gut feeling tells me there can't be any considerable difference in the cold weather handling of these two cameras.

The battery in D3200 is the same EN-EL14 that was already in D3100, released in August 2010. Nikon D3300 uses a new version of this battery, EN-EL14a, which otherwise is the same but has slightly higher capacity. This has been achieved with lowering the voltage by two tenths (7,4V to 7,2V) and higher storing power (1030 mAh to 1230 mAh) resulting in total output power increase from 7,7 Wh to 8,9 Wh. These numbers do make a difference, but are not a deal breaker when talking about photographing in cold. The battery runs out of juice anyway, it is only a question if this happens a little bit sooner or later.

Other than the slightly higher capacity battery, there is nothing that I can see in these cameras that would suggest any difference in handling in cold. In the question you asked for experience in these cameras, which I have none, but I have some experience in photographing in cold. Finland is at the same latitude as Alaska.

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