Pros Excellent Image Quality
The HD video mode is also impressive
Battery life is superb
Menu screen are intuitive and easy to navigate
Great feel and ergonomics
Cons Noisy in video mode
Summary I bumped up to a DSLR after owning a Fuji S9600 bridge camera which was pretty close to the real thing anyway. Not being particularly flush at the time, I was careful about making the right choice of camera as well as a relatively cheap choice. I was in two minds as to whether to purchase this camera or the more expensive Rebel T1i, but after hearing that the Nikon produced slightly better images, I made my choice and haven't looked back since!
If you're considering buying this camera, I'd always advise having a hands-on trial in a high-street shop first as you'll be surprised at how small it is! I have relatively nimble hands, so is perfect for me, but slightly heavier mits might struggle to get a good grip. With the kit lens, it's a nice weight and well balanced, though anyone moving up from a super zoom like me will be opting for a tele-zoom as you'll miss the extra reach. The buttons are well laid out and the main functions in the menu screen are intuitive and easy to navigate quickly when needed.
If you're a beginner, the D3100 has many features which will ease you into the advanced features over time though if you are a more intermediate user like me, you can switch these off. You'll notice you'll get impressive images straight away with the 14mp CMOS sensor with some rich, vivid colours. I tend to take a lot of outdoor photography so was impressed with the greenness of the grasses and blue of the skies etc.
The HD video mode is also impressive for an entry level camera, though the sound is only what can be expected from an onboard microphone and no external mic can be attached. Saying that, as long as you keep the auto focus off (it's very noisy in video mode, sounds like an imp scratching inside) you can get some passable sound quality if you're recording Youtube vids etc.
Battery life is superb and a far cry from the rechargeable AA's I used to use in my old bridge camera. Best stick to the one and only upgrade to two batteries if you really think you'll be hitting the battery life hard as you'll get a good few hundred shots out of it before it needs a charge.
Despite my initial reservations price-wise (you can see best deal for this camera at " bestmerchant.blogspot.com/2011/09/best-merchant-for-nikon-d3100.html "), I haven't at all regretted buying this camera. It'll see me through a good few years of quality photography.
Pros Manual Control of ISO, F-stop, Shutter speed, White balance in video mode (by using AE-Lock)
Subject Tracking Auto Focus (useful for steadicam)
21mbps (so far, might be able to push it higher)
Improved ISO, less noise in lower light
Cons Jello Video Effect (Though it's not any worse than any other CMOS censor utilizing video if you understand how to operate a camera)
No microphone input (isn't an issue if you use a separate recorder)
Summary I produce independent television and short films utilizing DVX100b and HVX200a cameras. I decided to move into DSLR video production specifically due to this camera. I've shot still photography for years on Nikon with beautiful results. With this camera I can now get those looks on video without buying overly expensive 35mm adapters for video cameras. I've seen a lot of complaints elsewhere about the "jello effect" this camera supposedly has. I don't see any more than you'd get on normal CMOS censors as long as you aren't a moron and know how to operate video/film cameras. I've gotten bit rates up to 21mbps, which for some people is too low, but if you're like me and shooting with HDTV or the web in mind I think it's an appropriate bit rate. You ARE able to use manual controls for shooting, you just have to lock them with the AE-Lock button before you move into live view. All exposure functions (ISO, F-stop, Shutter, White balance) can be locked giving you for all extents and purposes full manual control in video mode. Manual focus and Exposure compensation are available to tweak while recording. Subject Tracking AF is useful for tracking and steadicam shots, but outside of that I wouldn't really consider using automatic features, not because they're not good, just because it's unprofessional. It doesn't have microphone inputs, but I record to a separate audio recorder anyways.
With Nikon's 35mm F1.8 DX prime lens this camera is capable of some really stunning cinematic HD video. Against Canon cameras in a similar price range the D3100 appeared much more cinematic in quality, whereas the Canon had more of a video look to me.
Pros 1. soft / cool colored pictures
2. Extra button for single, continues picture
3. Light weight
Cons Apart from WORST AUTO ISO logic, which is making this camera useless for casual photographers,
1. Live View is OK. Very slow AF
2. Video is just OK, very difficult to use zoom. many time AF is not working, blur / out of focus videos
Summary I recently purchased Nikon D3100 to replace my Nikon D60.
I did research for more than a month going through all the reviews in the Internet. Generally, review on this Camera is good. I purchased this Camera for its Full HD Video capability, Live View and SD-XC (up to 64 GB) memory card compatibility.
I am not a professional photographer, but have passion to photography, So, I bought this entry level D-SLR camera for better quality image than POINT-AND-SHOOT camera.
I have read lot of books on D-SLR settings like ISO, F-Number, Aperture, Exposure compensation etc, in actual shooting; I end up using AUTO mode.
THE PROBLEM WITH NIKON D3100 (I use with NIKON SB-600 External Flash Unit)
In AUTO mode, Nikon D3100 selects only "AUTO ISO SENSITIVITY"
WITH FLASH UNIT: In indoor shooting; it selects very high ISO Sensitivity (mostly ISO 3200). So the image quality is not good. In the same condition Nikon D60, selects ISO value of 200, whereas, Nikon D3100 selects ISO 3200. I mean, the Nikon D3100 is not considering the Flash Unit and is not adjusting the ISO accordingly.
WITHOUT FLASH IN CLOUDY MORNING TIME: Even in outdoor daylight shooting, Nikon D3100 uses wide variety of ISO sensitivity (100 to 1600) whereas D60 used between ISO 100 to 400, in the same lighting condition. The image quality of the D3100 is not good in AUTO mode and it is only comparable to any POINT-AND-SHOOT camera.
You can check this in dpreview site; in D3100 (in pg 14 of review) photo of the reviewer taken with built-in flash has ISO 3200, whereas for D60 (in pg 21 of review)photo of the reviewer taken with built-in flash has ISO 100. In the review they have not mentioned about this, but for curiosity, I downloaded the images and checked the EXIF information.
Even the reviewer in dpreview.com has not noticed this biggest flaw!!! It's actually a casual shot with built-in flash, the end result is grainy ISO 3200 picture.
Also, try with PASM mode, by setting SOME max ISO value. In flash mode with Auto ISO, it sets this MAX ISO. The only option we have with camera is setting ourselves an ISO value. D3100 selects high ISO values in AUTO ISO setting and the resulting in high grain pictures, which prevents you to use this entry level D-SLR for Casual photography.
I am just back from 15 days vacation, with more than 1500 pictures taken, out of which 90% taken in AUTO mode. only 3 pictures are in ISO 100. All other in ISO 400 to 1100 in daylight, and ISO - 1100 to 3200 in flash mode.
If you are owner of D3100, please check / review your own photos.
Nikon D3100 has biggest flaw in Auto ISO logic, which prevents you to use this entry level D-SLR for Casual photography. Also Live View and Video is not meeting expectations. My D60 is much better than D3100. I am going to sell D3100 and retain my D60. (If Nikon can fix this in firmware, I like to retain D3100, I have written to Nikon, awaiting reply)
If you want to buy an entry level D-SLR Camera to use like POINT-AND-SHOOT, Nikon D3100 is NOT the ONE.
(Nikon D3100 may produce excellent images with Pro Modes like P,S,A & M, but certainly not in AUTO mode)
Pros excellent still pictures, great auto white balance, low noise, ergonomics
Cons video is so-so, with slow and noisy AF. mono mic, no mic input
Summary This camera is very good, takes excellent pictures, the automatic white balance works better than any DSLR I've tried. The video, however, is a let down; quality is excellent, provided you don't move and that your subject does not move much. Autofocus is in fact slow and noisy. Audio is mono. No mic input. For about the same price ($100 or more), you can get the Sony a33 or a55. Much better deal
Pros Excellent built in learning features
Excellent reference manual
Very good picture quality, especially for an entry level camera
Easy to use
Cons Some parts of the camera feel flimsy, but not enough to use that as justification not to buy this
It would be nice if it was waterproof
Summary This camera really excels at providing the user tools that can be used to help learn aspects of photography, such as aperture, shutter and ISO. If you use some of the auto modes, and the guide mode, you can quickly learn the result of making changes to settings, and then you can break away and grab control of the camera with more confidence. You don't really trade much off when it comes to picture quality either. Even though this is considered an entry level camera, it still takes fantastic photos. I would buy this camera again in a second and because of the all of the learning features combined with quality results, would recommend this to a beginner any day.
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