TODO alt text

Nikon D3100 review

Nikon's 14.2MP D3100 is a great choice for novices and those on a budget

Our Verdict

For

  • Live View a welcome addition
  • HD video capture
  • Great sensor and processor
  • Robust build
  • Decent value for money

Against

  • Not quite pro-standard build quality

Make no mistake, the Nikon D3000 was a seriously good entry-level camera, fully justifying its position as Europe's top-selling DSLR for the first half of this year.

But all good things come to an end and, more recently, the D3000 was showing its age with a complete lack of Live View, video capture facilities and a comparatively low-res 10.2MP CCD sensor.

The D3100 is a radical upgrade, based on a brand-new 14.2MP CMOS sensor that, in resolution terms, outstrips most of Nikon's current semi-pro and fully professional cameras, including the D300s, D700 and D3s.

The Nikon D3100 has a smarter brain than its predecessor, in the shape of a revamped EXPEED 2 image processor, which promises enhanced image quality and a greater sensitivity range. Indeed, while the D3000 offered ISO 100-1600 in its standard range, the Nikon D3100 boosts this to ISO 100-3200, with two extended modes that raise the bar to ISO 6400 and 12800 respectively.

Other new features include Live View, which comes complete with a Scene Auto Selector function that automatically selects the optimum picture mode for the subject being photographed, as well as offering normal-area, wide-area, face-priority and continuous subject-tracking autofocus. More impressively, continuous autofocus is also available in movie capture mode, the D3100 boasting full 1080p high-def at 24fps and 720p at 24,25 or 30fps.

You can also apply basic in-camera edits to movie clips, for example cutting scenes or saving individual frames as still images.

Getting back to the main job of shooting stills, there's a veritable feast of in-camera retouching features, including after-shot D-Lighting adjustments for controlling dynamic range, red-eye reduction, trimming, straightening, distortion correction (also available while shooting), perspective control, colour balance and a range of filter effects.

Also at the shooting stage, the Nikon D3100 also inherits chromatic aberration correction from other recent Nikon cameras, which is highly effective at flattering the performance of lenses where colour fringing is often a problem, like with the Nikon 18-200mm VR.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution14.2 Megapixel
USBYes
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesLive View, Aperture Priority, Face Detection, External Flash Shoe, Manual White Balance
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime MOV
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)505 g
Minimum Focus Distance280 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3072
Maximum Frame Rate30 fps
Number of Batteries Supported1
Battery Built-inNo
Battery RechargeableYes
Battery IncludedYes
Display Screen TypeLCD
Image Sensor TypeCMOS
Total Camera Resolution14.8 Megapixel
HDMIYes
Camera AssemblyBody with Lens Kit
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Height96 mm
Width124 mm
Depth74.5 mm
Autofocus Points11
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelD3100
Product NameD3100 Digital SLR Camera
Manufacturer Part NumberVBA280KU02
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.nikon.co.uk
Marketing Information

The stunningly simple-to-use D3100 is every family's answer to beautiful images. Whether the moment calls for a family portrait or a sharp shot of toddlers on the run, Guide Mode shows you how to capture stunning photos in no time at all. D-Movie lets you record full HD movie clips and capture the action in superb quality day or night. Nikon's advanced EXPEED 2 image processing engine maximizes the performance of the 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor for amazingly clear images with vivid colors. Incredibly lightweight for an SLR, the D3100 makes it easy to capture your family looking wonderful wherever you go.

Package Contents
  • D3100 Digital SLR Camera
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6GII AF-S DX Nikkor Lens
  • Rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL14 Battery
  • Battery Charger MH-24
  • AN-DC1 Neck Strap
  • Hot Shoe Cover BS-1
  • DK-5 Eyepiece Shield
  • BF-1B Body Cap
  • DK-20 Eyecup
  • CD-ROM
Display Resolution230000 Pixel
Limited Warranty1 Year