Nikon D3100

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Nikon D3100

The Nikon D3100 digital SLR camera speaks to the growing ranks of enthusiastic D-SLR users and aspiring photographers by providing an easy-to-use and ...

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Review of "Nikon D3100"

published 18/06/2015 | dobieg
Member since : 31/01/2003
Reviews : 256
Members who trust : 34
About me :
I'm a miserable old git. I'm ashamed to say it's been a **** very **** long time since I reviewed my "trusts", have sought to rectify this by going through every review I've written in the past couple of years, if you feel hard-done-by, drop me a note.
Excellent
Pro Very similar to the more expensive D3200 but half the price
Cons Only 14 megapixels - is that a problem for you?
very helpful
Picture Quality
Range & Quality of Features
Ease of Use
Durability
Reliability

"Not just for the "newbies""

The Nikon D3100 was aimed firmly at beginners when it was launched in 2010.

It offers a range of “high end” features in what is a relatively simple to use package.

As well as a 14 megapixel sensor it can record in HD video with sound, 11 point focusing, auto and manual exposure, but perhaps most important to serious users, the Nikon “F-mount” bayonet.

There are many reviews which start at the point of describing this from the point of view of a novice user.

I don’t intend to repeat any of this.

I recently bought myself a new Nikon lens (review coming shortly) which left me with the “standard” 18-55mm in a bag at the bottom of my camera bag.

Whilst “F-mount” lenses are reasonably easy to swap over, they do mean you have to take off the back-cap, take the existing lens off, mount the new lens, replace the back cap and put the old lens away before you can shoot.

That leaves a few seconds when your camera internals are exposed to dust, sand, grit, rain, moisture, and in that time you can’t take pictures.

I’m delighted with my ‘main’ D3200 – it does pretty much everything I want it to, but they still attract a fairly price tag, even although they’ve been superseded by the D3300.

The D3100, on the other hand, is “two models behind” and a good one can be bought for around the £100 mark. Better still, if you have a 3200, they use the same battery.

The trade-off is that it’s “only” 14 megapixels, as opposed to 24 on the D3200 and D3300.

Using as a “spare” that really isn’t a problem, and you still get a good enough picture to print at high-resolution on an A4 sheet of paper.

If, like me, you are an experienced camera user, and have several additional lenses dating as far back as “35mm” days, the D3100 will accept these with varying degrees of functionality with a couple of caveats.

The latest digital lenses feature an internal focusing motor, which is controlled by electrical contacts, some (including the standard 18-55) have vibration reduction, which is fully supported.

The “later model” 35mm Autofocus lenses used a mechanical linkage which doesn’t work on the D3100, and the “steam driven” older 35mm “manual focus” lenses work just as well as they ever did, but you have to get things in focus by means of the focusing ring, as before.

The Aperture control remains mechanical, so you shouldn’t have any problems.

The only thing you need to remember is that the “c-format” sensor is a bit smaller than 35mm film, multiply the lens length by 1.5 and you get the equivalent in ‘old money’

This means your pictures are ‘cropped’ –using a 50mm 35mm lens will produce results similar to that of a 75mm, a 135mm short telephoto the equivalent to 202mm – that isn’t a bad thing in itself, and a ‘dirt cheap’ second hand 70-210 will yield results similar to 105-315 lens.

The far more expensive ‘professional’ range of Nikon cameras use ‘full size’ sensors, and no cropping factor is applied.

Comparing with the D3200, most of the buttons are in the ‘right place’ those which are different (the “live view” for example) is still in the same place, I would say things are ‘similar enough to be easy to use, different enough not to think you’re using the “wrong” camera body’.

In summary, it isn’t quite as good as the D3200 (it never was) but is similar and cheap enough to use as a spare, or second body, without having to pack different batteries or memory cards. I’d say that was a “win-win” for owners of more recent models.


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Comments on this review

  • cath_del published 22/10/2015
    VH
  • JRCarter published 20/07/2015
    well written, very comprehensive
  • ryeb published 20/06/2015
    VH
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Product Information : Nikon D3100

Manufacturer's product description

The Nikon D3100 digital SLR camera speaks to the growing ranks of enthusiastic D-SLR users and aspiring photographers by providing an easy-to-use and affordable entrance to the world of Nikon D-SLR's. The 14.2-megapixel D3100 has powerful features, such as the enhanced Guide Mode that makes it easy to unleash creative potential and capture memories with still images and full HD video. Like having a personal photo tutor at your fingertips, this unique feature provides a simple graphical interface on the camera's LCD that guides users by suggesting and/or adjusting camera settings to achieve the desired end result images. The D3100 is also the world's first D-SLR to introduce full time auto focus (AF) in Live View and D-Movie mode to effortlessly achieve the critical focus needed when shooting Full HD 1080p video. Packed into the compact and lightweight body of the D3100 camera is a host of advanced Nikon technologies, such as the EXPEED 2 image processing engine. EXPEED 2 in conjunction with Nikon's 14.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor is the driving force behind the enhanced performance and rich image quality. Ready to go wherever life leads, the D3100 features split-second shutter response and a blazing fast 11-point AF system to help ensure tack-sharp images. For shooting in challenging lighting conditions, ISO 3200 (expandable to 12,800) enables versatility in environments such as indoors or in the evening hours.

Product Details

Product Description: Nikon D3100 - digital camera - body only, Nikon D3100 - digital camera AF-S VR DX 18-55mm lens, Nikon D3100 - digital camera AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses, Nikon D3100 - digital camera AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-200mm VR lenses, Nikon D3100 - digital camera AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-300mm VR lenses, Nikon D3100 - digital camera AF-S DX 18-55mm lens, Nikon D3100 - digital camera AF-S DX 18-105mm lens, Nikon D3100 - digital camera, Nikon Coolpix D3100 - digital camera AF-S VR DX 18-55mm lens

Product Type: Digital camera - SLR with Live View mode, movie recording

Lens Included: Body only, AF-S VR DX 18-55mm lens, AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses, AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-200mm VR lenses, AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-300mm VR lenses, AF-S DX 18-55mm lens, AF-S DX 18-105mm lens

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Image Processor: EXPEED 2

Sensor Resolution: 14.2 Megapixel

Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Camera Flash: Pop-up flash

Viewfinder: Optical - eye-level penta-dach mirror, Optical - eye-level mirror pentaprism

Display: LCD display - 3"

Supported Battery: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery ( included ), 1 x Nikon EN-EL14 Li-ion rechargeable battery ( included )

AV Interfaces: Composite video/audio, HDMI

Microsoft Certification: Compatible with Windows 7

Dimensions (WxDxH): 12.4 cm x 7.5 cm x 9.6 cm, 12.4 cm x 7.45 cm x 9.6 cm

Weight: 455 g, 0.5 kg

Lens System: 3 x zoom lens - 18 - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G Nikon AF-S DX VR, 3 x zoom lens - 18 - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G ED II Nikon AF-S DX, 3 x zoom lens - 18 - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 Nikon AF-S DX VR, 5.8 x zoom lens - 18 - 105 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G Nikon AF-S DX ED VR, 3.1 x zoom lens - 18 - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G ED II Nikon AF-S DX

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Min Focus Distance: 28 cm, 45 cm

Image Stabiliser: Optical

Lens System (2nd): 3.6 x zoom lens - 55 - 200 mm - f/4.0-5.6 G Nikon AF-S DX VR, 3.6 x zoom lens - 55 - 200 mm - f/4.0-5.6 G ED Nikon AF-S DX, 5.5 x zoom lens - 55 - 300 mm - f/4.5-5.6

Manufacturer: Nikon

Optical Sensor / Optical Sensor Type: CCD

LCD Display Size: 3

Flash Memory / Form Factor: SD/SDHC Memory Card

Optical Sensor / Sensor Resolution: 10.2

Long Name: D3100

Colour: Black, Red

General

MPN: VBA280AB, VBA280K001-8GBTP330BAG, 25472, VBA280K003, VBA280KU01, VBA280K001, VBA280K004, 9798, D3100 18-55 VR, VBA280AE, D3100 18 55mm Kit, VBA280K005, 418582, D310018-55VR-KIT1, VBA280SU04, VBA280K002, D3100+18-55VR+55/200VR, D3100, VBA280K006, 999D3100N4, NIK1247, NIK1272, D310018-55VR-KIT3, NIK1811

Product Type: Digital camera - SLR with Live View mode, movie recording

Lens Included: Body only, AF-S VR DX 18-55mm lens, AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses, AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-200mm VR lenses, AF-S DX 18-55mm and 55-300mm VR lenses, AF-S DX 18-55mm lens, AF-S DX 18-105mm lens

Sensor Resolution: 14.2 Megapixel

Optical Sensor Type: CMOS

Total Pixels: 14,800,000 pixels

Effective Sensor Resolution: 14,200,000 pixels

Optical Sensor Size: 15.4 x 23.1mm

Field of View Crop Factor: 1.5

Sensor Dust Reduction: Yes

Sensor Features: Air flow control system, Self Cleaning Sensor Unit

Image Processor: EXPEED 2

Auto Focus: TTL contrast and phase detection

Auto Focus Points (Zones) Qty: 11

Digital Video Format: MOV

Image Recording Format: JPEG, RAW + JPEG, NEF (RAW)

Max Video Resolution: 1920 x 1080

AV Interfaces: Composite video/audio, HDMI

Optical Zoom: 3 x, 5.8 x, 3.1 x

Image Stabiliser: Optical

Face Detection: Face-priority AF function

Enclosure Colour: Black, Red

Exposure & White Balance

Light Sensitivity: ISO 6400, ISO auto, ISO 100-3200, ISO 12800

Exposure Metering: Centre-weighted, spot, 3D colour matrix II

Exposure Metering Zones: 420

Exposure Modes: Programme, bulb, automatic, manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, i-TTL program flash

Shooting Programs: Landscape, portrait mode, close-up, night portrait, Children, sports mode

Special Effects: Neutral, Vivid, monochrome, landscape, portrait

White Balance: Custom, automatic, presets

White Balance Presets: Incandescent, fluorescent, cloudy, sunlight, Flash, shade

Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec

Min Shutter Speed: 30 sec

Exposure Compensation: ±5 EV range, in 1/3 EV steps

X-sync Speed: 1/200sec

Exposure Range: EV 0-20 ( ISO 100 )

Lens System

Lens System Mounting: Nikon F

Type: 3 x zoom lens - 18 - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G Nikon AF-S DX VR, 3 x zoom lens - 18 - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G ED II Nikon AF-S DX, 3 x zoom lens - 18 - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 Nikon AF-S DX VR, 5.8 x zoom lens - 18 - 105 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G Nikon AF-S DX ED VR, 3.1 x zoom lens - 18 - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G ED II Nikon AF-S DX

Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 27 - 82.5mm, 27 - 157.5mm

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Min Focus Distance: 28 cm, 45 cm

Max View Angle: 76 degree(s)

Zoom Adjustment: Manual

Lens Construction: 8 groups / 11 elements, 5 groups / 7 elements, 11 groups / 15 elements

Filter Size: 52 mm, 67 mm

Features: Silent Wave Motor (SWM), aspherical lens, VR (Vibration Reduction)

Camera Flash

Camera Flash: Pop-up flash

Guide Number (m / ISO 100): 12, 13

Flash Modes: Fill-in mode, rear curtain sync, slow synchro, auto mode, flash OFF mode, red-eye reduction

Features: AF illuminator, flash +/- compensation, wireless off-camera control

Additional Features

Continuous Shooting Speed: 3 frames per second

Self Timer Delay: 10 sec, 2sec

Flash Terminal: Hot shoe

Additional Features: Direct print, USB 2.0 compatibility, date/time stamp, DPOF support, display brightness control, digital image rotation, camera orientation detection, PictBridge support, histogram display, AE lock, AF lock, in-camera red-eye removal, cropping an image, GPS ready, LCD live view mode, face-priority AF function, highlight point display, Active D-Lighting technology, 1080p Full HD movie recording, face detection, built-in help guide, Scene Recognition System (SRS), Exif Print support, in-camera RAW processing, text input to Exif header

Viewfinder

Viewfinder Type: Optical - eye-level penta-dach mirror, Optical - eye-level mirror pentaprism

Field Coverage: 95%

Magnification: 0.8x

Dioptric Correction Range: -1.7 to +0.5

Display

Type: 3" LCD display

Resolution: 230,000 pixels

Display Features: Built-in

Microphone

Microphone Operation Mode: Mono

Connections

Connector Type: 1 x USB ¦ 1 x HDMI output ¦ 1 x composite video/audio output

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Software

Software: Nikon ViewNX 2, Nikon ViewNX 2, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3, Adobe Photoshop Lightroom, Nikon ViewNX 2

System Requirements for PC Connection

Peripheral Devices: USB port, CD-ROM Drive

Miscellaneous

Compatible with Windows 7: "Compatible with Windows 7" software and devices carry Microsoft’s assurance that these products have passed tests for compatibility and reliability with 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7.

Included Accessories: Eyepiece cover, battery charger, body cap, neck strap, eyecup, shoe cap

Battery

Battery Type: Nikon EN-EL14

Details: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery ( included ), 1 x Nikon EN-EL14 Li-ion rechargeable battery ( included )

Battery Life Details: Photo shooting - 550 shots

Memory / Storage

Memory Card Slot: SD card

Supported Memory Cards: SD Memory Card, SDXC Memory Card, SDHC Memory Card

Image Storage: 4608 x 3072 ¦ 3456 x 2304 ¦ 2304 x 1536

Video Capture: MOV - 1920 x 1080 - 24 fps ¦ MOV - 1280 x 720 - 30 fps ¦ MOV - 1280 x 720 - 25 fps ¦ MOV - 1280 x 720 - 24 fps ¦ MOV - 640 x 424 - 24 fps

Included Memory Card: 8 GB SDHC, 4 GB SDHC

Dimensions & Weight

Width: 12.4 cm

Depth: 7.5 cm, 7.45 cm

Height: 9.6 cm

Weight: 455 g, 0.5 kg

Environmental Parameters

Min Operating Temperature: 0 °C

Max Operating Temperature: 40 °C

Humidity Range Operating: 0 - 85%, 0 - 85% (non-condensing)

Lens System (2nd)

Features: ED glass, Silent Wave Motor (SWM), aspherical lens

Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 82.5 - 300mm, 82.5 - 450mm

Lens Construction: 11 groups / 15 elements, 11 groups / 17 elements

Type: 3.6 x zoom lens - 55 - 200 mm - f/4.0-5.6 G Nikon AF-S DX VR, 3.6 x zoom lens - 55 - 200 mm - f/4.0-5.6 G ED Nikon AF-S DX, 5.5 x zoom lens - 55 - 300 mm - f/4.5-5.6

Filter Size: 52 mm, 58 mm

Focus Adjustment: Automatic, manual

Min Focus Distance: 1.1 m, 95 cm, 1.4 m

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