Summary: The D3100 is a refinement of the D3000 which now sits at the low-end of Nikon's entry-level DSLRs. The notable changes are a 14 megapixels sensor and 1080p video capability with autofocus. It is a relatively compact DSLR with the most basic feature set. The D3100 is directly aimed at new DLSR owners. Among entry-level DSLRs, the Nikon D3100 is one of the most basic but also one of the most consistent in terms of performance.
Pros: Very low image noise, Excellent white-balance, Conservative metering, Accurate autofocus system, Short shutter-lag, Good shot-to-shoot speed, Excellent time-to-first-shot, Generally good ergonomics, Full HD video with autofocus, Good build quality, Easily usable with gloves on
Cons: Slow autofocus, Uneven color response, Slight image softness, LCD glare when settings are changed, Live-View not exposure-priority, Microphone records camera noise, Impossible to setup video framing, Limited interface control, No exposure bracketing, Odd Auto ISO behavior, Exposure steps always 1/3 EV, Lens mount lacks mechanical-coupling
Summary: Like earlier entry-level Nikon DSLRs, some older lenses that lack built-in motors won’t work with the camera. The unit feels plasticky in hand, and you should be careful in wet weather, as it’s not well-sealed. Video settings are limited, but this camera is a good foray into the DSLR world.
Pros: Lightweight and compact; low cost; good low-light performance.
Cons: Body balance feels awkward; limited manual (but built-in guide is useful)
Summary: With the addition of video and live view, Nikon has given its entry-level DSLR all the features its predecessor seemed to be missing. The result is an excellent beginners camera that encourages the user to grow into it whatever their existing level of knowledge. However, it's not alone in offering this and, though it's a great DSLR, there are plenty of equally attractive mirrorless alternatives.
Pros: Very good image quality, Unintimidating interface, but with plenty of manual control, Easily accessible Live View and Movie controls, Useful drive mode lever (unique on an SLR at this price level), Highly sophisticated AF system for the price, Easy manual selection of off-centre AF points, Unusually fast Live View AF for an SLR (but still relatively slow compared to mirrorless competitors), Lots of 'hand-holding' features for beginners (Guide mode, help screens for mo...
Cons: Slight tendency to overexpose in contrasty conditions, Buggy Live View / Movie Mode (movies aren't necessarily recorded at set aperture), Crude live view magnification is of little help for critical manual focus, No live histogram in live view, AF still a little sluggish in live view mode, full-time AF not very effective in live view or movies, Only direct external ISO control is via slightly inconveniently-placed 'Fn' button, ISO is only displayed in viewfinder when ...
Excerpt: This review got off to a bad start: the DX format camera arrived just before a long holiday break… without a battery and fitted with a less than ideal (for review purposes) f4.5/55-300mm lens (equivalent to 82.5-450mm on an SLR). So it just sat on the review bench for nearly two weeks, uncared for and bereft of admirers.
Summary: Nikon's new entry level DSLR offers nice still image quality with good high ISO performance all rolled in to a compact and light DSLR. The 18-55mm kit lens is a solid if unspectacular performer with average AF times, but generally good image quality and a very usable close focus distance. Shutter lag seems minimal despite timings that place it toward the bottom of the pile amongst entry level DSLRs.
Pros: Good image and color quality, Good high ISO noise performance, Light and compact, Kit lens offers good close up capability
Cons: Short video capture time, Fairly noticeable rolling shutter effect
Excerpt: (1 items) Falling into line just above Nikon’s other entry-level D3000 DSLR, the D3100 has some fresh features that make it a very attractive DLSR option for photographers who are starting out. Its notable new features include 1080p HD video, and continuous autofocus in Live View and movie modes. A smart and simple design aesthetic and clear and helpful Guide Mode combine to make it an ideal camera for new DSLR users who want to learn the basics.
Pros: Shoots HD video, Autofocus in movie and live view modes, Good image quality for the price, Intuitive controls and guide menu for beginners, Good low light abilites
Cons: Autofocus makes noise in movie mode, Fixed LCD screen, No exposure bracketing
Excerpt: The D3100 is a compact, feature-packed DSLR from Nikon. It has many useful upgrades from the existing D3000 and is looking to establish itself as the best entry-level DSLR for consumers. This review explores how good it really is, and includes some sample...
Summary: The new 14 Megapixel sensor records noticeably finer details than 10 Megapixel models, while noise levels are kept in check at high sensitivities – indeed as you'll see in our results pages, the D3100 performed similarly to the pricier Canon EOS 550D / T2i, at least when both were equipped with their kit lenses.
The presence of Live View and HD movies may not make much difference to DSLR traditionalists, but they're essential features in today's market.
Pros: 14 Megapixel sensor with great quality., Friendly goal-oriented GUIDE mode., 1080p HD video with autofocusing., Decent metering and 11-point AF system.
Cons: Relatively expensive for an entry-level DSLR., Continuous AF in movies can be slow and noisy., No bracketing, DOF preview or AF with non AF-S lenses., Changing multiple settings requires many clicks.