Overview of the Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera
The Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera recently came into the market to replace the previous model – the D3000. Targeted at beginning photographers, the Nikon D3100 has attracted considerable praise from consumers as well as special attentions from the competitors.
The resolution of the D3100 Camra is 14.2 megapixels and the full HD movie mode is available. In general though, many of the previous generations of cameras manufactured by Nikon are lack of some features and functionalities. However, it is generally easy to use and brings a lot of fun to the beginning photographers.
How about the current D3100?
- 14.2 MP resolution in the DX format, CMOS image sensor supported
- ISO ranging from 100 to 3200, expandable to 12800
- 11 AF point focusing
- HD movie mode supported
- Built in popup flash unit
- 3-inch LCD screen with the resolution up to 230,000 pixels
- Lithium-Ion battery pack, EN-EL14
- Dimensions: 124 x 96 x 75 mm (equivalent to 4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
- Weight: 505g (1.1 lb) (including the battery compartment)
- Thera are two image formats: RAW and JPEG and the maximum size is at 4608 x 3072 pixels
- The photos are well exposed in high contrast scenes
- The 14.2MP resolution is extremely large for such a camera aiming at beginners
- Beginners can find it very user-friendly
- You may find it difficult to get access to key feature due to the simplified buttons
- There is no stereo microphone input socket
- High ISO images are inexplicably more noise free in JPEG format than RAW format
Detail Review of the Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera
In terms of the specifications, the D3100 camera is not really favorable compared to other models. However, it is the performance aspect which helps it outperform most of other competitors in the market. Together with the performance, the low price is also an appeal.
The Nikon D3100 is one of the latest strong cameras of this manufacturer. With the 14.2MP resolution, perhaps jus the D3X – Nikon’s flagship camera can outperform it. One of the very impressive feature with this camera is the ability to record movies with the HD movie mode at a very large resolution, up to 1920×1080 pixels. The maximum duration of a clip is just 10 minutes. But it is a very amazing feature for such a camera for beginners.
For the purpose of an easy-to-use camera, the manufacturer has limited the direct-access controls. The available controls are well organized and not difficult to use at all. However, there are not many shortcut buttons for commonly used parameters that you can find. This is often popular for Canon cameras. You cannot directly get access to some kinds of adjustments like the ISO settings, white balance settings, image quality or changing image sizes. However, in those cases, the Customizable Function button on the front of the camera does bring helps. But don’t expect much from this button. It is organized to fall under your thumb already.
The image quality is always the most important aspect of any cameras. Many other great features such as large memory, short lag time, etc are important, but not the critical factor.
Among the camera market for beginners, the default settings with this Nikon D3100 are extremely great. The photos shot with this camera are well exposed even in high contrast scenes. Others cameras may struggle for those situations. The images look great right after you take them. However, in my personal point of view, the only drawback with this camera is the excessive brightness and the slight glaring sometimes.
In regard of a camera for beginners, the overall performance of the Nikon D3100 DSLR is extremely impressive. You can have great photos with the options automatic ISO settings. Especially, the camera works well with the H1 setting with ISO 6400. The camera just struggles when it works at H2 (ISO 12800) in which you see the pretty clear noise. The noise with the D3100 is even more for higher ISO settings than that of the Canon EOS Rebel T2i. Actually, the latter is mainly aimed at a little bit more experienced photographers.
Besides, I have found that the noise appear more at higher ISOs for JPEG format than in RAW format. Although beginners often tend to take JPEG photos more, sometimes they may need the RAW format. Unfortunately, after converting the Raw photos to the JPEG ones, the slightly more noisy results may disappoints the beginning photographers.
After the the D3000, the D3100 camera is also integrated with the “Guide Mode”. Beginners often find it easier to control the cameras with this guidance.
For beginners, the “Easy Operation” is the most suitable mode in which the necessary settings have been selected for different circumstances. For example, two of the settings include the “Sleeping Faces” or “Distant Subjects”. The “Advanced” modes will be more proper when beginners have got some experiences. At that time, the “Aperture Priority” or “Shutter Priority” can be selected the make more adjustments on the photos. The interface of those modes is very simplified and easy to use. You can even see the changes right on a tiny photograph on the LCD panel.
This large collection of useful features makes the D3100 deserves to be one of the most user-friendly cameras, especially for beginners on photography.
What a pity that Nikon has not increased the resolution for the screen with this camera. The resolution is still 230,000 pixels, which is the same as that of the D3000 as well as Canon’s Rebel XS about two years ago. Meanwhile, the resolution of most new cameras is four times larger. However, the brightness is fine with a variety of contrast. In bright lighting situations, the LCD is as great as other screens.
With the review of the above aspect, the D3100 is a great camera. Not only beginners but also a little more experienced photographers will like it. The image quality is a very strong aspect of this camera among the entry-level market. There remain some weak points in fact, but this is quite popular for other ones as well. To sum up, this camera is still worth your consideration