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    21-08-2010
   

 

 

by Richard Butler, August 2010

 

 

based on a pre-production Nikon D3100

Nikon has developed a habit of making very attractive entry-level DSLRs, which are rarely the best specified but cleverly designed so that they are easy and enjoyable to shoot with. The D3000 fitted this pattern perfectly, a gentle refresh of the D60 (which was itself a slightly updated D40X), it added ease-of-use features to make it a pleasant little camera despite a specification that was beginning to look rather out-of-step with the rest of the market.

The D3000 sold well, despite its rather aged 10 megapixel sensor and lack of both live view and video. However, there is only so long that clever product design and feature integration can make up for a specification that looks dated. So with this in mind, Nikon has announced the D3100 - probably the biggest refresh of its entry-level offering since it really attacked the low end market with the original D40.

The D3100 is built around a 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor (possibly the one seen in Sony s NEX cameras?), bringing not only live view but also Full HD video capture to Nikon s entry-level model. This not only makes it the company s second-highest pixel-count SLR (after the D3X) but also makes it the first to offer 1920x1080 movie recording. It can only record clips up to ten minutes long but it is still an impressive feature addition at this level.

The body gets a slight refresh, gaining an extra button to the left of the screen, a drive mode switch at the base of the mode dial, a sprung lever to engage live view and a direct record movie button. There are also revisions made to the feature-teaching, hand-holding Guide Mode and an additional autofocus mode to allow better focusing in live view and autofocus during video shooting.

Nikon D3100 Key Features

  • 14.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor
  • 3.0" LCD monitor (230,000 dots)
  • Image sensor cleaning (sensor shake)
  • 11 AF points (with 3D tracking)
  • IS0 100-3200 range (12,800 expanded)
  • HD movies (1080, 720p or WVGA)

Nikon D3100 vs D3000: Key Differences

The D3100 substantially refreshes the D3000, taking a rather outdated-looking specification and turning it into one of the most competitive in its sector.

  • Higher resolution sensor (14.2MP vs. 10MP)
  • Ability to shoot Raw + Fine JPEG
  • Socket for connecting Nikon GP1 GPS unit
  • Optional wired remote via GPS socket
  • No wireless remote option
  • Live view
  • 1080 HD movies
  • HDMI output
  • Wider ISO range
  • Full-time AF mode (AF-F in live view)
  • Revised focus screen (different AF point illumination)

Nikon D3100 specifications

Price (Body + 18-55mm VR Lens) US: $699 
UK: £579.99 
EU: €599
Body color Black
Sensor* • 23.1 x 15.4 mm CMOS sensor 
• Nikon DX format (1.5x FOV crop) 
• 14.2 million effective pixels*
• RGB Color Filter Array
• 12-bit A/D converter
Anti-dust measures • Image sensor cleaning system
• Airflow control system
• Image dust off from reference frame (using optional Capture NX software)
Image sizes* • 4608 x 3072 (L)*
• 3456 x 2304 (M)*
• 2304 x 1536 (S)*
Image quality * • NEF (12-bit compressed RAW)
• JPEG fine (1:4)
• JPEG normal (1:8)
• JPEG basic (1:16)
• NEF (RAW) + Fine JPEG*
Movie sizes* • 1920 x 1080 24p*
• 1280 x 720 30p*
• 1280 x 720 25p*
• 1280 x 720 24p*
• 640 x 424 24p*
Movie format * • MOV, H.264, mono sound recording (PCM)
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Lens mount Nikon F mount (with AF contacts)
Lens compatibility
• AF-S, AF-I
• Other Type G or D AF Nikkor
• Other AF Nikkor/AI-P Nikkor

• Type D PC Nikkor

• Non-CPU 



• IX Nikkor/AF Nikkor for F3AF
• AI-P NIKKOR
-All functions supported
- All functions supported except autofocus
- All functions supported except autofocus and 3D Color Matrix Metering II
- All functions supported except some shooting modes
- Can be used in mode M, but exposure meter does not function; electronic range finder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster
- Cannot be used
-All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering II
Autofocus • 11 area TTL phase detection
• Nikon Multi-CAM1000 autofocus module
• Detection range: EV -1 to +19 (ISO 100 equivalent, at normal temperature)
• Manual focus [M], Electronic range finding supported
Lens servo* • Single-servo AF (AF-S)
• Continuous-servo AF (AF-C)
• Automatic AF-S/AF-C (AF-A)
• Full time AF (AF-F)*
• Manual focus (MF)
AF Area mode • Single Area AF
• Dynamic Area AF
• Auto Area AF
• 3D Tracking (11 points)
• Closest Subject Priority Dynamic Area AF
Focus tracking Predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status in continuous-servo AF
Focus area Can be selected from 11 focus points
Focus lock Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button
AF Assist White light lamp
Exposure mode* • Auto
    - Auto
    - Flash off
• Scene Modes 
Portrait
Landscape
Child
Sports
Close up
Night portrait
• Programmed auto (P) with flexible program
• Shutter-priority auto (S)
• Aperture priority auto (A)
• Manual (M)
• GUIDE mode
    • Easy operation
Auto
No flash
Distant subjects
Close ups
Sleeping faces
Moving subjects
Landscapes
Portraits
Night portrait
    • Advanced mode
Soften backgrounds (aperture priority)
Bring more into focus (aperture priority)*
Freeze motion (people) (shutter priority)
Freeze motion (vehicles) (shutter priority)
Show water flowing (shutter priority)*
Metering TTL exposure metering using 420-pixel RGB sensor
• Matrix :3D color matrix metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses)
• Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to a 8mm circle in center of frame 
• Spot: Meters 3.5 mm circle (about 2.5% of frame) centered on active focus area
Metering range • EV 0 to 20 (3D color matrix or center-weighted metering)
• EV 2 to 20 (spot metering)
Meter coupling CPU coupling
Exposure comp. • +/- 5.0 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
AE Lock Exposure locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button
AE Bracketing None
Sensitivity* • Auto
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200*
• ISO 6400 (Hi1)*
• ISO 12800 (Hi2)*
Auto ISO options* • On/Off
• Maximum ISO (200 to Hi2)*
• Minimum shutter speed (1 to 1/2000 sec)
Shutter • Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter
• 30 to 1/4000 sec (1/3 EV steps) 
• Flash X-Sync: up to 1/200 sec
• Bulb
White balance Auto (TTL white-balance with 420 pixels RGB sensor)
• Twelve manual modes with fine-tuning
    • Incandescent
    • Fluorescent
Sodium-vapor lamps
Warm-white fluorescent
White fluorescent
Cool-white fluorescent
Day white fluorescent
Daylight fluorescent
Daylight fluorescent
Mercury-vapor lamps
    • Direct sunlight
    • Flash
    • Cloudy
    • Shade
• Preset white balance (immediate or from photo)
WB fine tuning Yes, (except preset manual)
Image parameters • Picture controls: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape
• Quick Adjust: 5 settings (adjusts Sharpening, Contrast and Saturation by preset amounts)
• Sharpening: Auto, 10 levels 
• Contrast: Auto, 7 levels 
• Saturation: Auto, 7 levels
• Hue: 7 levels
Viewfinder • Optical fixed eye-level
• Pentamirror type 
• Built-in dioptre adjustment (-1.7 to +0.5 m-1)
• Eye point: 18 mm (at -1.0 m-1)
• Frame coverage 95% (approx.) 
• Viewfinder magnification approx. 0.8x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
• Focusing screen: Type B BriteView clear matte screen Mark VII*
LCD monitor • 3.0" TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixel
Built-in flash • Auto, Portrait, Child, Close-up, Night portrait
• Auto flash with auto pop-up
• Manual pop-up in P, S, A or M modes
• Guide number approx. 12/39 at ISO 100 (am/ft)
• Guide number approx. 13/43 at ISO 100 (m/ft) in manual mode
Sync contact X-contact only; flash synchronization at shutter speeds of up to 1/200 sec
Flash control • TTL flash control by 420-segment RGB sensor. i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR and standard i-TTL fill-flash for digital SLR available when CPU lens is used with built-in flash, SB-400, SB-800, and SB-600
• Auto aperture with SB-800 and CPU lenses
• Non-TTL auto with SB-800, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27 and 22s
• Range-priority manual with SB-800
Flash mode • Auto, Portrait, Child, Close-up: Auto, auto with red-eye reduction; fill-flash and red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight
• Night portrait: Auto, auto slow sync, auto slow sync with red-eye reduction; slow sync and slow sync with red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight
• Landscape, Sports: Fill-flash and red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight
• P, A modes: Fill flash, rear-curtain with slow sync, slow sync, slow sync with red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction
• S, M modes: Fill flash, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction
Flash compensation • -3 to +1 EV
• 1/3 steps
Nikon Creative Lighting system • Advanced Wireless Lighting supported with SB-900, SB-800 or SU-800 as commander
Shooting modes • Single frame shooting (S) mode
• Continuous shooting (C) mode: approx. 3.0 frames per second
• Self-timer
• Quick-Response Remote
• Delayed Remote
Continuous buffer • Unknown
Self-timer • 2, 5, 10 or 20 sec
Remote control* • Using optional MC-DC2 cable via GPS socket*
Text input Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input is available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in EXIF header
Playback functions • Full frame
• Thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images or calendar)
• Playback with Playback zoom
• Slide Show
• Histogram Display
• Highlights
• Auto Image Rotation
• Image Comment (up to 36 characters)
Orientation sensor Yes (Rotates user interface when using camera in portrait orientation)
Storage • SD / SD HC / SDXC
• FAT / FAT32
• Supports firmware update via SD card
Video output NTSC or PAL selectable
Connectivity • USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed) 
• Mass storage / PTP selectable
• A/V out
• HDMI out
• DC-IN (optional AC adapter and adapter connector)
Languages Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish
Power Lithium-Ion battery pack EN-EL14 (7.4 V, 1030 mAh)
Working environment • 0 to 40°C (32 to 104°F)
• Less than 85% humidity
Dimensions 124 x 96 x 75 mm (4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
Weight (no batt) 455g (1.0 lb)
Weight (inc. batt) 505g (1.1 lb)
Supplied accessories • Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL14
• Quick Charger MH-24
• Eyepiece Cap DK-5
• Rubber Eyecup DK-20
• USB Cable UC-E4
• Video Cable EG-D100
• Camera Strap AN-DC3
• Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1
• Body Cap BF-1A, Software Suite CD-ROM
Optional accessories Remote Control MC-DC2, Capture NX2, Camera Control Pro, AC Adapter Connector EP-5, AC Adapter EH-5, Video Cable EG-D100, Semi Soft-Case CF-DC1, Speedlight SB-900/600/400/T041/R1C1

source: www.dpreview.com

 

 

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