Reviewed by Mike Tomkins, Shawn Barnett
and Zig Weidelich
Hands-on Preview: 08/19/2010
Full Review Posted: 12/13/2010
Though in some specifications at its introduction it bested almost every camera in Nikon’s digital SLR lineup, the Nikon D3100 slots into the company’s product line directly above the entry-level D3000.
The newly designed 14.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor is coupled to the latest generation EXPEED 2 image processor; a combination that allows both higher resolution and 1080p movie capture at 24 fps. Standard ISO sensitivities range from 100 to 3,200 equivalents, with the ability to extend this range as high as ISO 12,800 if needed.
The Nikon D3100 adds today’s must-have Live View and Movie modes, both of which were conspicuously absent on the D3000. Marking another first for a Nikon digital SLR, the D3100 can capture progressive scan 1,920 x 1,080 pixel movies — commonly known as 1080p or Full HD — at a rate of 24 frames per second. Perhaps even more unusually, the Nikon D3100 provides full-time autofocusing capability both in Live View mode and during movie capture. The Nikon D3100 also offers basic in-camera movie editing capabilities.
The D3100 is the first Nikon digital SLR to support the latest generation of Secure Digital cards, known as SDXC. And the Nikon D3100 adds both an input for an optional GPS accessory, and a high-definition HDMI video output — two ports that were absent on the D3000, but have been included on all other recent Nikon DSLRs.
The Nikon D3100’s burst rate is unchanged, at three frames per second. The D3100 also retains the same Multi-CAM 1000 eleven-point autofocus module and 420-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix II metering sensor that featured in the D3000, as well as Nikon’s Dust Reduction and Picture Control Systems. The D3000’s friendly Guide mode was also retained, but with some tweaks to make it more approachable.
The Nikon D3100 shipped in the USA from mid-September 2010, in a kit that includes an AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens with optical image stabilization. The Nikon D3100 has an estimated selling price of US$699.95.