Conclusion: It's all very well having a posh specifications list and a barrow-load of features, but it's how they translate into photographic quality that's key. With great handling for such a small SLR and impeccable image quality in practically every shot, the Nikon D3100 is both highly impressive and utterly dependable.
Excerpt: Entry-level (APS-C) digital SLR Nikon has enjoyed plenty of success in recent years in the entry-level sector, although in the last year or so, the specifications of its models was increasingly being matched or bettered by rivals. The arrival of the D3100 couldn't have been timed any better, with Christmas – the time of year when budget DSLRs sell as fast as fir trees – only weeks away.
Summary: Although the Nikon D3100 may stretch the ‘entry-level' price point (thus its biggest drawback on the score board), it equally stretches the sheer amount of specification you're getting too. Usually always on the money, it's only the slightly sluggish autofocus during live view (and, therefore, movie mode) that may frustrate.
Excerpt: Though the 100-3200 ISO range of the Nikon D3100 appears conservative on paper, there's the option of expanding this to Hi1 (ISO 6400) and Hi2 (ISO 12800) if required. Fitted with the 18-55mm image stabilised kit lens, it offers a focal length range that's equivalent to 27-82.5mm in film terms. This works out slightly wider but not quite as long as Canon's 1100D.
Summary: The Nikon D3100 DSLR offers excellent value for money and is currently the cheapest DSLR with full HD video recording, as the nearest competitor, the Canon EOS 550D, costs over £100 more. If you want to be able to take great photos with low noise, and have the ability to record full HD videos, then the D3100 with VR kit lens makes a great case for itself.
Pros: 14.2 megapixel sensor with low noise, Lowest price DSLR with full HD Video, Very good ISO performance, Good battery life, Excellent video, Easy to use with built in guide, Quiet shutter – with additional quiet live view option
Cons: Only autofocuses with AF-S lenses, Continuous shooting not available with flash, 3fps continuous shooting beginning to look dated