Nikon D3100 Review

The D3100 is the most recent model in Nikon’s entry-level DSLR camera range, which dates back four years to the D40. In what is likely the most significant improvement to date, the D3100 adds two essential features: movie recording and live View.

Both were beginning to seem weird absences, and the D3100’s new 14-megapixel sensor makes them feasible. Despite this, it maintains its focus on providing an approachable level of simplicity of use, with the controls for the additional functions being exceptionally well incorporated into the overall design of the body.

However, even though the D3100 is a specification boost over a series of cameras that we have usually appreciated, it has found itself to be pretty behind the times in specific ways due to the competition in the market.

When we completed our study of the Nikon D3000, we found that it was one of the only big sensor cameras that actively pushed inexperienced users to make the most of the camera’s capabilities. Moreover, it did so in a way that did not interfere with the user’s ability to operate the camera more directly.

See: Best Lenses for Nikon D3100 | Best Memory Cards for Nikon D3100

On the other hand, this is becoming an increasingly typical occurrence, particularly with mirrorless cameras that more readily imitate the user experience of small cameras while still giving image quality that is on par with that of DSLRs.

Nikon D3100 Operations & Controlls

It should not be surprising that the D3100 and its predecessor have extremely comparable ergonomics because the body of the D3100 has changed very little compared to its predecessor. Including a live View and the ability to record movies marks the most critical change to the specs and brings about the most significant change in how the camera is handled.

A conspicuous spring thumb lever on the camera’s rear, just to the right of the LCD, may activate Live View. The red button located in the middle of this lever can be used to start recording video. When you pick up the camera and take a shooting grip, the lever is positioned just next to your thumb, making this feature’s design completely comprehensible.

Because of this, the D3100 can record movies in any exposure mode, unlike some competitors, who require you to set the top dial to a specific movie position before recording movies. In addition, the feature is user-friendly and easy to operate, eliminating the possibility of accidental operation.

Nikon D3100 Image Quality

Regarding image quality, the D3100 leaves very little to be desired, and its brand-new 14-megapixel sensor produces excellent results. Images captured at sensitivities as high as 3200 are eminently usable; however, as is typically the case with APS-C cameras, the extended ‘Hi’ settings equivalent to 6400 and 12800 are pretty ambitious. On the other hand, high ISO performance has been significantly improved compared to the D3000, and as a result, images captured at sensitivities as high as 3200 are eminently useable.

It provides a decent amount of highlight dynamic range to prevent brilliant information from being lost (for instance, avoiding washed-out sky). However, this is sometimes wasted by its default, ‘matrix’ metering mode, which can overexpose in high-contrast settings.

Unfortunately, the outstanding low-shadow noise characteristics of the D7000 (and the other cameras using comparable sensors) have not yet been passed down to cameras in the D3100’s class. Thus the image quality is entirely consistent with that of its contemporaries.

Nikon D3100 Handling

The entry-level Nikons have always been among our favorites in this class to go out and shoot with, and similarly, the D3100 is, on the whole, an enjoyable camera to use. The D3100 features a 30.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 5-axis image stabilization system. In addition, incorporating the drive mode lever is a nice improvement to the fundamental design of the D40. The additional live view and movie mode controls are conveniently located and easily used.

The D3100 is undoubtedly the most excellent camera for manually selecting off-center focusing points because of Nikon’s traditional devotion to the four-way joystick to AF point selection. This makes the D3100 one of Nikon’s most popular cameras. This, in turn, makes it simple to get the most out of the most advanced AF systems on the market for this type of vehicle.

However, if one aspect of typical shooting operation needs improvement, it is Nikon’s ISO setting (which, in general, is not one of Nikon’s strong points). This parameter that we believe should be easily adjusted with the camera to your eye, which is becoming ever more relevant now that high ISOs are far more usable than they were just a few years ago.

On the D3100, the only way to do this is by using the customizable ‘Fn’ button, which is located on the left side of the camera in a position that is a little awkward and is easily confused with the control that activates the flash that is adjacent to it.
Also, the currently-set ISO is only displayed in the viewfinder when changing it (and never when using Auto ISO). In contrast, many other cameras now show it all the time, which is a significantly more helpful feature.

When you switch the D3100 to Live View, it quickly becomes apparent that while it is perfect at some things, its behavior, in other respects, is decidedly less than perfect. Moreover, while it is excellent at some things, it is notably less than ideal in other respects.

It has an SLR’s live view autofocus that is unusually quick for how fast it usually is, which goes a long way toward making the mode more useful for shooting in everyday situations. However, it is still not as quick and smooth as the mirrorless cameras intended to use live Views like tiny cameras.

Nikon D3100 Final Verdict

The Nikon D3100 is undeniably one of the most impressive single-lens reflex cameras (SLRs) on the market today. It combines high image quality with the brisk operation and user-friendly controls, at least in traditional eye-level shooting positions.

Implementing the new features that have been added since the D3000, such as live view and movie mode, is an area in which it is less intense than in other areas. Even though neither is poorly done, and the increase in CDAF speed is remarkable, they both have room for improvement.

Because the D3100’s guide mode is designed to appeal to customers who are only familiar with compact cameras, one of the most important factors to consider is the camera’s capacity to provide a live view experience that is just as quick to focus and shoot.

And even though Nikon has done well to produce one of the better DSLRs in this regard (even though the full-time AF mode falls a little short of making live View use immediate and fluid), both live View and video are pretty simply done better by other cameras, particularly the D3100’s mirrorless competitors. Nikon has done well to produce one of the better DSLRs in this respect.

Nikon D3100 Specs

Body colorBlack
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 mountNikon 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 standard 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 trackingPredictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status in continuous-servo AF
Focus areaCan be selected from 11 focus points
Focus lockFocus can be locked by pressing the shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing the AE-L/AF-L button
AF AssistWhite light lamp
Exposure mode*• Auto
    – Auto
    – Flash off
• Scene Modes
• Programmed auto (P) with a flexible program
• Shutter-priority auto (S)
• Aperture-priority auto (A)
• Manual (M)
• GUIDE mode
    • Easy operation
    • Advanced mode
    • Use a timer / quiet shutter
MeteringTTL exposure metering using a 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 an 8mm circle in the center of the frame
• Spot: Meters 3.5 mm circle (about 2.5% of frame) centered on the active focus area
Metering range• EV 0 to 20 (3D color matrix or center-weighted metering)
• EV 2 to 20 (spot metering)
Meter couplingCPU coupling
Exposure comp.• +/- 5.0 EV
• 1/3 EV steps
AE LockExposure locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button
AE BracketingNone
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 balanceAuto (TTL white-balance with 420 pixels RGB sensor)
• Twelve manual modes with fine-tuning
    • Incandescent
    • Fluorescent
    • Direct sunlight
    • Flash
    • Cloudy
    • Shade
• Preset white balance (immediate or from photo)
WB fine-tuningYes, (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, ten levels
• Contrast: Auto, seven levels
• Brightness: 3 levels*
• Saturation: Auto, seven levels
• Hue: 7 levels
Viewfinder• Optically 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 (m/ft)
• Guide number approx. 13/43 at ISO 100 (m/ft) in manual mode
Sync contactX-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, slow auto sync, slow auto sync with red-eye reduction; slow sync and slow sync with a 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
• Quiet release (Q) mode
Continuous buffer• Unknown
Self-timer• 2 or 10 sec
Remote control*• Using optional MC-DC2 cable via GPS socket*
Text inputUp to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input are 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 sensorYes (Rotates user interface when using the camera in portrait orientation)
Storage• SD / SD HC / SDXC
• FAT / FAT32
• Supports firmware update via SD card
Video outputNTSC 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*Czech, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
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
Dimensions124 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 accessoriesRemote 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

Nikon D3100 FAQs

Is Nikon D3100 still good?

Newer versions have characteristics superior to those of the Nikon D3100, but it is still a good camera for beginners on a tight budget.

How old is a Nikon D3100?

Since it was first made available to the public in August 2010, the Nikon D3100 is now more than 11 years old.

What is a Nikon D3100 used for?

The Nikon D3100 is a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR) that is an entry-level model and is suitable for general photography. This includes taking pictures of people, landscapes, and even some motion.

Is Nikon D3100 good in low light?

However, the Nikon D3100’s performance is hindered because its sensor is on the smaller side, and its autofocus system moves more leisurely.

Is Nikon D3100 good for portrait photography?

When used with the appropriate parameters and lenses, the Nikon D3100 can produce portraits of a satisfactory standard.

How many pictures can a Nikon D3100 take?

The quantity of the memory card used determines the maximum number of photographs that can be taken with the Nikon D3100.

Does Nikon D3100 have a microphone?

The Nikon D3100 comes with an internal microphone that can be used to capture sounds.

Can Nikon D3100 connect to the phone?

The WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter is an available attachment that allows users of the Nikon D3100 to connect their camera to a mobile device such as a phone.

How long does Nikon D3100 last?

The battery life of the Nikon D3100 can last for up to 550 photos on a single charge.

Is Nikon D3100 good for wildlife photography?

Even though the Nikon D3100 can be used for wildlife photography, the autofocus system may have trouble quickly keeping up with moving subjects.

What are the best settings for Nikon D3100?

The kind of photographs you will be doing and the lighting circumstances will determine which parameters on the Nikon D3100 will work best.

What megapixel is Nikon D3100?

A camera with 14.2 megapixels can be found in the Nikon D3100.

How do I use autofocus on Nikon D3100?

When using a Nikon D3100, you can initiate the autofocus feature by depressing the picture button about halfway.

Does Nikon D3100 have digital zoom?

Although the Nikon D3100 lacks a built-in digital zoom feature, it is interoperable with lenses with magnification capabilities.

Does the Nikon D3100 have GPS?

The Nikon D3100 does not come equipped with a built-in GPS device.

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