Nikon D3100 review

Review of the Nikon D3100. View Nikon D3100 body

Review of the Nikon D3100. View Nikon D3100 body

Nikon D3100 is a wonderful amateur DSLR camera. I am often asked what good and not expensive Nikon SLR camera I would recommend to buy - I almost always I recommend Nikon D3100. In this review you can find information only about Nikon D3100 Body - that is, only about the camera itself without a lens. Nikon D3100 usually comes with an inexpensive lens kit, such a kit is called a 'kit kit'. Nikon D3100 with lens Nikkor 18-55mm F3.5-5.6VR is the most common option. If the complexity of an SLR camera is scary - do not be afraid, a special explanatory GUIDE mode is built into the camera, which will tell and tell everything. If the whale lens is not satisfactory, then at the end of this review, I give some tips for choosing good and inexpensive lenses.

View of Nikon D3100 from different sides

View of Nikon D3100 from different sides

Nikon D3100 has excellent featureswhich are wired into a very light and small camera body. It has everything you need, from a 14.2 MP matrix, to the ability to shoot video in Full HD quality 1920 × 1080.

Key Features of Nikon D3100

1. The first thing to remember is that APS-C a camera in which, in comparison with the classic 3 mm film, the matrix is ​​reduced. The matrix area of ​​this baby is 5 times smaller than that of professional giants such as Nikon D800 or Nikon D3s. And at the same time, the area of ​​the matrix (matrix value) same as for more advanced cameras Nikon D7100, D300s, D7000 и D5200... The matrix is ​​the heart of a DSLR. The quality of photographs depends very much on its value. Therefore, picking up Nikon D3100, you can be sure that you can get photos from it no worse than on a very expensive professional Nikon D300s.

Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D40 size comparison

Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D40 size comparison

2. The Nikon D3100 sensor has crop factor in 1.5x. If you decide to use a cropped digital SLR camera, then you should understand that when using full-frame lenses, the viewing angle will be less than on Full Frame cameras. This is neither bad nor good. On the one hand, the TV range automatically increases, and on the other hand, the wide angle becomes a luxury. If you haven’t shot a film or a full frame before, then this remark about crop factor you can’t take it to heart.

Sample photo on Nikon D3100

3. Yes, the small Nikon D3100 has as many 14.2 Megapixels... This is really a lot, and if you megapixels are importantthen the Nikon D3100 will be just right. More megapixels, at the moment, only at Nikon D5100, D7000, D3x, D4, D800, D800E, D3200, D5200, D600, D610, D810, D4, D4s. If someone wants to be happy for the little Nikon D3100, then know that 14,2MP give 4608 x 3072 more pixels than expensive professional Nikon D3s, Nikon D3, Nikon D700, Nikon D300s etc. But, in fact, the number of megapixels does not affect the image so much. Their huge number is most likely just a marketing ploy. You can read my little note on the topic Battle of Megapixels.

Sample photo on Nikon D3100

Sample photo on Nikon D3100

4. ISO limits. Nikon D3100 can change its value ISO 100 to 12.800... Although, in fact, only from 100 to 3200, the values ​​6400 and 12800 are a kind of software cheat, even in the camera settings they are denoted by a tricky one - ISO HI1 and ISO HI2. I strongly advise against shooting at high ISO values. For comparison, Nikon D90, Nikon D300, Nikon D300s has an ISO 6400 ceiling.

Sample photo on Nikon D3100

Sample photo on Nikon D3100

5. Everyone is probably interested in the noise of the matrix. Understand correctly, any matrix will make noise at high ISO, even Nikon D4  with its ISO 204.800. There is only one question here - to what extent this or that noise level is acceptable for a person. With a camera for amateur shooting, it is quite possible to shoot at ISO up to 3200. Considering that this is an amateur camera, I have no complaints about the noise level at high ISO. Here sample photo without processing at high ISO, no noise reduction enabled, exported directly from RAW at ISO 3200 - View Example.

Example photo on Nikon D3100

Example photo on Nikon D3100

6. 3 frames per second. Speed ​​is enough for many types of shooting. I recommend always thinking, but do you need more than 1 frame per second? Yes, there are sports photographers, wedding photography and many other commercial areas of photography, where speed plays an important role, but you should not demand a high rate of fire from an amateur camera. It is unlikely that anyone will be filming a serious report or wedding on the Nikon D3100. I have enough head speed of 2.5 frames per second on my favorite Nikon D40, and the same 3 frames per second on Nikon D80.

Nikon D3100 - sample photo

Nikon D3100 - sample photo

7. Autofocus. Focus system consists of 11 points. This is very good news for all Nikon D1 users. D1h, D1x, D100, D40, D40x, D50, D60, D70, D70swho are planning to upgrade. Focusing with 11 points is very convenient. Focus points as many as cameras Nikon D90, D5000, D5100, D200, D80, D2hs, D2x, D2xs, D2h. Nikon Multi-CAM1000 is responsible for focusing. I had this focusing system on Nikon D90, there is no doubt about the quality of her work. You can read more about focusing systems on Nikon cameras here.

Nikon D3100 - sample photo

Nikon D3100 - sample photo

8. Display. 3-inch display, large, beautiful, contrasting, the same size as that of Nikon D5000, Nikon D5100. The only thing is that he has only 230.000 points displaying information. More advanced cameras have over 900,000 points.

9. Video. Yes, Nikon D3100 can shoot Full HD 1920 × 1080 video. I am not a specialist in video quality. A nice innovation is the factor that the D3100 has autofocus when shooting video. For example, Nikon D90, D3s, D5000 no auto focus when shooting movies. Autofocus turns on when you press the shutter button halfway, or is always on in AF-C... You can shoot at lower quality to save memory. The Live View button is combined with the start / stop button for video recording - it's very convenient. In video mode, aperture control is not available, to change the aperture values, you must first turn off Live View, set the desired aperture value, then turn Live View back on and start shooting.

Nikon D3100 - sample photo

Nikon D3100 - sample photo (ISO 12.800 - in EXIF somehow not impressed)

10. The camera uses SD cards. You can also use the very capacious SDXC. My device digests well 32GB SD HC Class 10. This is an important parameter, the speed of the camera depends on the speed of the card. A regular RAW file weighs an average of 11-15 MB, 1 minute FULL HD video weighs an average of 150 MB. A photo in JPEG L weighs an average of 3 to 8 MB.

11. The camera has a nice menu. The menu is made in the classic Nikon style. Everything is clear and accessible.

Photo on Nikon D3100

Photo on Nikon D3100

12. The camera is very compact and light. Weight is very important for the average camera user. The weight of the camera is one of the smallest among all DSLRs at Nikon. Nikon D3100 is even lighter for Nikon D40. Weight is very important, for example, when take pictures on a hike. The battery also holds a charge well, and without a flash it works out about 1000 frames.

Nikon D3100 has many other useful things:

  • dust matrix cleaning system
  • fast processor expeed 2
  • auto adjustment distortions
  • airflow control system to prevent matrix contamination
  • Live View Focus Mode
  • many tips on the menu and during shooting
  • good built-in flash
  • excerpt from 30s to 1 / 4000s
  • outputs for connecting to a computer and TV, port for GPS
  • active D-lighting (which is either on or off).
  • Frame buffer puts 13 RAW files. Oddly enough, but the buffer is more than advanced Nikon D90, which has only 11 frames in the buffer for RAW. With this buffer, you can shoot continuously for more than 4 seconds in high-speed mode.
Example photo on the Nikon D 3100

Example photo on the Nikon D 3100

Disadvantages

This is an entry-level amateur Nikon digital SLR camera, therefore, it is not worth demanding anything more from it. But still, by the camera no focus motorthat will not allow the use of autofocus with cheap non-motor optics, for example, with the legendary Nikon 50mm F1.8D. At the camera no quick flash sync, minimum is 1 / 200s. Also, there is no flash control command mode, additional monochrome display. The camera does not know how to work with manual (old, without a microprocessor) type lenses AI-S. RAW files are available only with 12 bit color depth and with automatic compression. There is no rotary display and many other useful things.

Very often there is a choice of the first SLR camera among models Nikon D3000, D3100, D3200. Of course, everything new is always better than the old one, here is a comparative plate of the main parameters of these three cameras:

D3000 D3100 D3200
Exit time December 2009 December 2010 July 2012
Matrix CCD CMOS CMOS
RAW color depth 12 bit 12 bit 12 bit
Number of megapixels 10,03 14,2 24,06
Burst Speed 3 fps 3 fps 4 fps
Maximum ISO 1600,00 3200,00 6400,00
Maximum Extended ISO 3200 (Hi1) 12.800 (Hi1) 12.800 (Hi1)
Video length No 10 minutes 20 minutes
Video No 1920 x 1080 24p 1920 x 1080, 30 p
Display 3.0 inches, 230.000 points 3.0 inches, 230.000 points 3.0 inches, 921.000 points
Focus module Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 Nikon Multi-CAM 1000
Number of Focus Points 11,00 11,00 11,00
Measurement exposure 420-segment RGB sensor 420-segment RGB sensor 420-segment RGB sensor
Matrix cleaning Yes Yes Yes
Memory cards SD, SDHC SD, SD HC, SDXC SD, SD HC, SDXC
Weight without battery, g 485,00 455,00 455,00
Color Depth * (dxomark) 22,30 22,50 24,10
Dynamig Range * (dxomark) 11,1 11,50 13,20
Low-Light ISO * (dxomark) 563,00 919,00 1131,00

It can also be noted that the Nikon D3100 uses a pentaser mirror, a cheaper version of the pentaprism with 95% frame coverage. The camera does not support remote control, no bracketing and the camera has a new battery, not like in D3000That does not allow to combine batteries and chargers.

Example photo on the Nikon D 3100

Example photo on the Nikon D 3100

Personal impressions

The camera is very, very similar to its predecessors. The design looks a lot like Nikon D60, D3000. The only thing added a Live View button and a convenient switch of the shooting method. To the left of the camera there are cracks for microphone. The camera is really very light and small, almost the same as a baby Nikon D40. I recommend Nikon D3100 to anyone who wants an inexpensive DSLR with video function.

Example photo on Nikon D3100

Example photo on Nikon D3100

Important Note

If you choose your first DSLR, pay attention to the fact that the quality of photos depends very much on other parameters than on the camera. I wrote in more detail in my article - It is important how to take pictures, and not by what means. I note that I'm still shooting on the simplest Nikon D40.

At low ISO, the image itself depends little on the camera - the whole photo, its dynamics, color, tonal transitions, etc. very much depend on the lens and on camera shooting mode (saturated, portrait, etc.). Here sample image at ISO 3200 original resolution.

Recommendations

If there is free money, it would not be bad to buy a pretty fast lens, it could be Nikon 35mm F1.8 AF-S и Nikon 50mm AF-S F1.8, in order to unleash the potential of the camera. The whale lens that comes with the kit can be used as a good option to achieve a wide viewing angle. If you have a lens Nikon 18-105mm f / 3.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S DX Nikkorthen they can shoot anything. What if 18-200mm - then this is one of the best options for all occasions.

Also, you can configure the Fn programmable button on the camera, I configure it to choose ISO. Before photographing set the shooting mode correctlyfor example, setting VI (saturated) for sharp and vibrant photos.

The camera has a super trick. When working with optics in manual focusing mode, the Rangefinder function can be used. The function helps you focus through the optical viewfinder. I am a big fan of manual optics, such as Helios-81H, therefore, along with Live View, this is an indispensable thing for improving manual focusing. But, as it turned out, Rangefinder does not work with manual optics, so it upset me a lot.

Example photo on Nikon D 3100

Example photo on Nikon D 3100


Prices for modern Nikon cameras in popular stores can look at this link.

Comments on this post do not require registration. Anyone can leave a comment. For the selection of a variety of photographic equipment, I recommend E-Catalog, Socket и AliExpress.

conclusions

Nikon D3100 great camera for beginner photographers and for people who just need a good photo without unnecessary problems. Also, the camera shoots Full HD video with autofocus. Nikon D3100 is a compact, inexpensive and functional camera. It is enough to turn on the camera, remove the lens cap and press the shutter button and the sophisticated DSLR will do its job with a bang. Recommend.

Material prepared Arkady Shapoval... Look for me on Youtube | Facebook | VK | Instagram | Twitter.

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Comments: 1 492, on the topic: Review of the Nikon D3100 camera

  • Elena

    Good day! Maybe someone will tell you, otherwise the head will burst))
    A beginner photographer, I want to go into business. At the moment I have a carcass d3100, fix 35, kit 18-55 and Helios81n. I shoot portraits (studio and street). In the very near future I will take 50mm.
    But the question about the carcass. I definitely want to change. I understand that there is no money for ff now, even if I find used something worthwhile, optics in the form of one fifty dollars is clearly not enough.
    Is it worth taking the same crop to replace the d3100, but, say, d7100 or d7200? Will there be a noticeable difference in the picture, not in ergonomics, etc.?
    Or would you recommend something else from Nikonov?

    • Novel

      On the one hand, when you have an autofocus fifty-kopeck piece, you are unlikely to actively use 18-55 for portraits and will switch between 35/50, switching to kit only for a rare wide angle.

      On the other hand, when you buy a full frame, you will no longer have enough fifty dollars and you want the equivalent 85, but you don’t have it.

      It is quite possible to shoot normal portraits on crop, the skill rules more than any camera. If you have grown out of 3100, then try 7200, do not cycle on the size of the matrix.

    • Ivan

      You haven't explained why you want to change the camera. You will not see any difference in the picture. If you are a beginner photographer, then most likely you are far from commerce. Level up.

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