Until I sat down to in fact write this assess, it hadn’t struck me how hard the promote placement of the Nikon D3100is. It’s priced the same as the still-available D5000, which is in many ways a better camera. And with the exception of video, which many users don’t care about anyway, it’s very akin to the much cheaper D3000. So while the D3100 isn’t a terrible camera, and for the most part holds its own against competitors from other manufacturers, it still pales in comparison with its own line mates.
The D3100 has a very excellent noiseprofile; it matches (and I don’t know bests) the contemporary chief in thefinancial statement dSLR category, the Pentax K-x. It produces exceptionally clean JPEGs up through ISO 800 and very usable ones through ISO 3200. (Adobe Camera Raw doesn’t yet help the D3100 and Nikon Capture NX 2 doesn’t grant satisfactorily granular enough noise reduction for me to do raw versus JPEG comparisons). The camera delivers exceptional color reproduction in its default SD mode as well–a nice change from some overly infiltration-pushing competitors like Pentax and Sony–and its metering and exposure logic work reliably and well.
Sharpness is, of way, lens needy, but I was pretty pleased with the various models I experienced person; commonly, shots looked sharp but not oversharpened. In addendum to the permanently reliable 18-55mm VR kit lens, I shot with the new pro-level 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 ED VR and consumer 55-300mm f4.5-5.6 ED VR, as well as the older 35mm f1.8 lens. In many ways I reckon the 28-300mm is a fantastic lens optically, but I didn’t like the feel of the zoom ring–it’s feels variable and a modest too tight–and it’s too heavy for a light body like the D3100′s. The 55-300mm is observably a better fit for the body, but it is slower, not quite as sharp, and more prone to fringing; that said, many will find it satisfactory for the money, and excellent a scale as a following lens. Similarly, for a moderately cheap lens, the 35mm f1.8 fares pretty well overall. There’s a modest bit of lop-sided distortion on the right, even if, as well as some fringing along backlit edges. But once again, it’s a fantastic lens value.
Video feature looks typical for its class, but with seemingly more rolling close artifacts than usual (and note that the lens VR makes a huge difference when shooting video). The audio isn’t terrible, but the full-time AF is not only loud, but pretty terrible at locking on the appropriate theme. Even if, the camera does offer full blue-collar exposure reins all through movie capture. A 30-following countdown-to-shutoff timer appears in the upper left side of the sight while the camera is idle in Live View/movie mode–an fascinating touch.
Even if the camera’s performance is perfectly fine, it is a bit slower than the D3000 overall and not quite as quick as its competitors. It powers on and shoots in about 0.4 following and can focus and shoot in excellent light in the same 0.4 following. In dim light, that rises to a still-excellent 0.6 following, which is better than its predecessor. JPEG shot-to-shot time is about 0.6 following, which increases to 0.9 following for raw; that’s slower than the D3000 and the rest of the pack. With flash, it’s about 1.1 following. The D3100 also has the slowest burst performance of the group, at 2.9fps; in do, it really did feel a hair too slow to photograph at random tender subjects, like squirrels and birds. It might be fine for photographing the kids, even if.
It has in effect the same viewfinder as the D3000, even if it now uses the tiny AF points I despise; Nikon claims they were requested by users, even if. The viewfinder itself is on the small, low-enlargement side, but isn’t too terrible. You can view the LCD pretty well in supervise over sunlight.
The D3100′s body is a modest smaller and lighter than the D3000′s–it’s the lightest in its class–but Nikon has also managed to cram more supervise over-access reins onto it. It’s quite a comfortable camera to shoot with, even if it feels a modest plasticky. Even if the location of some reins has changed, it has the same overall surgical course of action.
A programmable Fn button–you can set it to control the image feature, ISO sensitivity, white weigh, or Committed D-Lighting menus–lies under your left thumb, even if it’s a modest hard to differentiate from the flash pop-up/compensation button that sits above it by feel alone. Behind the close button circumscribed by the power thrash are the exposure compensation and info buttons; the latter toggles the back sight.
As usual, the top mode dial is segregated into the scene, PASM (Curriculum, Gap- and Close-priority, and Blue-collar), and full auto modes. Nikon adds a twist here, a Guide mode that provides various levels of step-by-step help for a top bolt from the blue digit of run of the mill shooting scenarios. There’s Simple surgical course of action, which, like Auto, provides access to a top bolt from the blue digit of options, as well as an Advanced mode, which describes the appropriate settings for the select scenario and then allows you to change the settings yourself. For wits, in Simple Surgical course of action/Distant Subjects it puts you into the Sports scene mode–the camera tells you what it’s doing, which is really nice–then optionally allows you to change flash, relief mode, and ISO sensitivity. The options are not point to the scenarios, even if, which would be useful. My one minor quibble with this is that the reins don’t permanently gathering the same in this mode as when shooting naturally; so, for model, here you’d change close speed with the up/down buttons on the multiselector, while you’d naturally use the mandate dial to change the speed. This might confuse some public.
On the back there’s a nicely implemented thumb-operated Live View rocker thrash and confirmation button. The four-way steering thrash feels a modest more open than the D3000′s.
Nikon went the drive mode reins–single, burst, self-timer and Silent–to a thrash next to the mode dial, a location I prefer to burying it in the menus or in the interactive sight. I also like Nikon’s implementation of the interactive sight. The adjustment options are arrayed nearly the edges of the sight, which makes the one you’re looking for simpler to find compared with some of the morecluttered full-cover layouts of competitors. On the other hand, you do have to steer one after the other through the options, which you don’t have to do with control panels that allow you to go up, down, and sideways.
In addendum to a composite, a HDMI out, and a USB connector, the D3100 has a connector for Nikon’s proprietary GPS module. But there are a lot of more useful shooting facial appearance still gone that other cameras in this priceclass grant, counting wireless flash control. Most egregiously, even if, the D3100 lacks austere exposure and flash exposure bracketing. Nikon seems to concentrate on in-camera postprocessing for the bulk of its facial appearance instead. (For a full account of the D3100′s facial appearance and surgical course of action, download the PDF blue-collar.)
Even if the D5000 is expected to wait in the channel for a while, observably there’s significant overlap between the D3100 and the D5000 at akin prices, with only a few equipment to distinguish between them: the D5000 offers the articulated LCD, better viewfinder, better performance and a more well-rounded figure set (bracketing!), while the D3100 provides a vaguely better LCD, higher pledge which you doubtless don’t need, and better movie capture facial appearance. They’re about tied on photo feature. So ultimately, unless you’re into video, the D5000 is doubtless the better buy at the same price; if you are intovideo, the D3100 doubtless isn’t the camera for you, anyway. That foliage the Nikon D3100 as a very nice dSLR, but one that isn’t a very compelling buy as long as the D5000 is still nearly at a decent price.
The Nikon D3100 excellent:
Exceptional photo feature; well-laid-out reins; fascinating, user-friendly Guide mode; full blue-collar reins in video capture.
The Nikon D3100 terrible:
Smallish viewfinder; slower than the struggle; no bracketing.
The Nikon D3100 underside line:
A very excellent entry-level dSLR, the Nikon D3100 delivers exceptional photo feature in a body that’s rationalized for experienced photographers, but moderately unintimidating for the less advanced. Its only weakness is performance; even if solid, it on the other hand lags behind the struggle.