Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Review

Nikon D3100 digital camera, equipped with cool 14.2 Megapixels CMOS and video capabilities, one of the best selling DSLR’s, is now on sale at Amazon at up to $50.00 off.

I would classify it as a solid choice for your entry-level digital camera whose features allow you take quality pictures and the camera’s ergonomics make it very easy to handle and manipulate. One of the biggest draws of this camera is its price-to-features ratio. Although I do not know if such ratio really exists, the fact is that you get a very portable and light (the body weighs only 16oz.) product capable of taking 4,608 x 3,072 format pictures (in its highest resolutions). It has a very reasonable ISO range, going form 100 to Hi-2 that represents 12,800. It is capable of shooting 3 frames per second and has 11-point autofocus.

The camera comes with 18-55mm Zoom-NIKKOR VR Image Stabilization Lens. It earned “Recommended” grade by dpreview.com for its versatility and the value it offers. This lens will address the general requirement for taking pictures, and as you expend your lenses arsenal, they will most certainly be considered an asset and come handy on many occasions.

Another feature that makes this camera a competitive product is the video capability. Use the camera to shoot high quality full HD 1080 movies with continuous autofocus. When you choose recording option you can decide on the quality of video (2 other options plus frame rates). One thing I’m not a fan of is that videos are limited to 4GB, which makes the longest video about 10min long. Although the microphone is not the best and might pick up a lot of sounds close to the camera, it still provides good recording capability and if necessary you can turn it off.

Nikon D3100 offers many In-camera image editing. If you like getting to know all the capabilities of your camera, these features will keep you busy as they include: Before and After, Color Balance, Color Outline, D-Lighting, Distortion Control, Edit Movie, Filter Effects,, Fisheye, Image Overlay, Minature Effect, Monochrome, RAW Processing, Perspective Control, Quick Retouch, Red-eye Correction, Small Pic, Straighten, and Trim. The necessity and value of these functions is somewhat subjective because there are many software products (many free) that can perform these edits. Nevertheless, if you want to edit pictures on the go or don’t have access to a computer, these features come very handy. Additionally, the camera provides the following picture controls: Landscape, Monochrome, Neutral, Portrait, Standard, and Vivid. Among the scene modes you will find: Child, Close-up, Landscape, Night Portrait, Portrait, and Sports. Although the purpose of owning an SLR camera such as D3100 is to shoot pictures manually, those preset modes get you started and give you an immediate taste of its capabilities.

One more thing I find compelling about this camera is the automatic image sensor cleaning. Dust on the sensor is one of the biggest annoyances to a photographer, especially if not caught on time. Nikon D3100 uses Integrated Dust Reduction System that intends to minimize dust creation and improves its removal at all stages of picture taking. The camera is built in a manner that prevents dust sneaking into a body during the assembly process. Additionally, various camera components are built to generate less dust (such as shutter) or prevent dust adhesion.

The bundle of features mentioned above helped earn it very solid reviews. Dpreview.com classified Nikon D3100 as a camera for people just laying their hands on DSLR equipment who want to be challenged. On the other hand, it didn’t recommend this product for those who look for a camera that’s compact. Cnet.com gave it “Very Good” score emphasizing very good quality of pictures it takes and easy to access controls.

PCmag.com also commented on great image the camera can produce, small body, and a good price for what it offers. Some negative comments included: slower than competition (cnet.com), noise created by lens when focusing while recording. Finally, Ken Rockwell from kenrockwell.com stated that Nikon 3100 is a better choice than other bigger and perhaps more expensive equipment, unless you know exactly why you don’t want to get this camera.