"Why doesn't CNET get the D3100..?"4.0 starson by bill_zilla
Pros: -3D Color Matrix Metering
-Full HD Video
-$650 Street Price (Oct. 2010)
-High ISO and overall Image Quality rivals higher end DSLRs
-Small & Light without sacrificing build quality/feel
-Excellent ergonomics & layout
Cons: -DoF Preview, Bracketing missing
-Low resolution LCD compared to Canon, Sony, Pentax competition
-2.89fps continuous rate is slightly sub-par
-As with most DSLR models, video suffers from 'jelly' rolling shutter effect
Summary: CNET got a faulty D3100? Imaging Resource tested Raw shot to shot at .54, not .9sec. Big difference.
Why the confusion about the D3100 placement? The D3000 is cheaper as an older model likely to be phased out. It has an inferior sensor, lacks Live View (a big deal to most) and video. HD 1080 video capture may seem an odd pairing with DSLR, but consider most buyers of base models will be used to getting video with even cheaper point-and-shoot cameras. Also, most new DSLRs now have HD video and the D3000 was rapidly becoming a stand-out in this regard. Of course, most DSLR models short of a full blown Canon 5DMk2 are going to give truly excellent results in this regard.
Not sure how CNET figures the D3100 image quality ranks an 8/10 in a segment most other critics agree it rivals much pricer, higher end crop sensor cameras with exceptional high ISO low light performance and clarity.
Comparing to the D5000 is somewhat apples to oranges. The D3100 is quite new and not discounted more than about $50 at street price - the D5000 has been out since April 2009 thus can be had for up to $200 off its introductory price of $849. Image quality is generally felt to be a bit better on the newer D3100, which also has a larger LCD (non-swivel) and quicker live view shooting performance. I played with a D5000 extensively before going with a D90 and subsequently a D3100. The D90 and 5000 both felt much more sluggish when using the LCD to frame and take shots. Bottom line: If you don't mind losing bracketing or a swivel LCD, the D3100 is a good pick. It's also lighter and smaller than the D5000.
FPS is one aspect not quite up to par with other price/category models at 2.89fps, but every camera is a compromise in some form. It's just that CNET doesn't apparently understand how this new model 'fits' into the Nikon 'stable', something every other online review seems to grasp just fine. For a better evaluation, I'd suggest you look elsewhere.