Hands On Review with the Nikon D3100

Uploaded by UniquePhotoInc on 23.09.2010

Hey, it's Mike Zawadzki coming to you from Unique Photo. We just got in the new Nikon D3100.
I want to tell you about some of the features, what I like and what I don't like about the camera,
and who I recommend it for.
Now if you remember the legendary the D40X
the D60, or D3000, all of those models are very similar -- in fact, they
all use the same 10-megapixel CCD sensor,
so it's time for Nikon to really step up and do something with their new entry-level camera.
Let's see what they did with the D3100.
Now the first thing you'll notice is the design.
It's a little bit more sleek and ergonomic. Even with someone with bigger hands,
it fits nicely.
And you'll notice on the back,
there's a switch here.
What that does is it
activates live view and the button in the middle will start recording.
On the top, there's a new lever for picking your drive mode: singule,
self timer,
and quiet mode.
And on the side you'll see
typical ports:
USB, A/V Out,
and there's HDMI now,
but there's still no
microphone jack.
You see, for some reason they decided it's important to put a GPS jack on here,
but you know, this is their first camera with 1080p video, but they didn't put a microphone jack on it.
Granted, it's an entry-level camera, but that baffles me.
Now, besides the physical features,
what are the image quality and functionality features of this camera that I really like?
Well, as I mentioned before, the three predecessors for the D3100 all use the same 10-megapixel CCD sensor.
So in the D3100, Nikon used an all new 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor.
They also added 1080p HD video recording at 24 frames per second,
720p recording at 24, 25, or 30 frames per second,
and of course, standard VGA recording.
Now there's also a new autofocus system. There's 11 autofocus points spread out throughout the viewfinder
so you get more coverage and I learn that it really helps when you're doing vertical shooting.
And also when you're doing vertical shooting, see here you have your info screen
and when you rotate the camera vertical,
the info screen flips as well.
And during liveview, you have continuous autofocus.
It's a brand new feature on any DSLR. It's the only DSLR right now that can do continuous autofocus.
Now you might know about the Sony SLT A33 or A55.
Those two can do continuous autofocus as well,
but they're not reflex mirrors -- they're translucent, so technically they're not SLRs.
But they do do continuous autofocus a little bit better than the D3100
because the light just goes right through the mirror.
But so far, for an SLR, this is the best liveview autofocus and video autofocus that we've had to date.
Now another one in the new features of the D3100 is the function button that's right
below the button activates the pop-up flash.
See right here, it's functioned out of the box that's programmed
to change the ISO for you, but you can make it do other things as well.
Now the last time we did in a video on a camera, people complained that we didn't use the actual camera to do the video with.
So this time we only have one D3100,
but we'll also be doing a video later on the Canon 60D,
so we decided to film this video with the 60D and
the next video with the D3100 so you can see the quality of both.
And right now, here's a little bit of video
from the D3100 itself and you can see the 60D in the shot and there's Eddie.
So what did I like about the Nikon D3100?
Well, for one, it's a camera for photographers.
Nikon, instead of just taking another model and gutting everything out of it, they actually made an
entry-level camera that's comfortable to hold,
has enough switches on it so you spend less time digging through the menus and more time shooting,
and finally, there's a CMOS sensor, like I said, in their entry-level model.
Finally, there's a 1080p video.
You can shoot at ISO 3200 and it looks relatively clean.
The files I looked at look at least comparable to my D300S.
Now I'm not expecting 12,800 ISO to look good
and that is the ISO setting that you can put it up to on what they call "High 2".
But it's there and if you want a photojournalistic look, black and white, it's usable.
The AF system is also something I really like. They spread the points out.
One of my biggest complaints about SLR focusing systems
is all of those points are usually jammed right in the middle
of the viewfinder. What good is having all of those points if
they're all being crammed in the middle? Having them spread out a little bit more is nice.
The focus is fast, seems to focus well in low light,
and there's also 3D tracking, which is a feature that used only be in some of the higher-end models.
All this being said, another positive is I wonder what Nikon is going to do with
the D5000 replacement.
If they put this many features into their most basic entry-level model,
what are they going to do with the D5100, if that's what they decide to call it?
Now, some of the things I don't like about the D3100.
First of all,
while the LCD screen is three inches, it's still the same low resolution, 230k-dot resolution screen from
from the D3000.
If you're going to make this your first 1080p HDSLR camera,
put a decent screen on it. People are going to want to use accessories like
a hoodloupe or a Zacuto Z-finder.
Put a decent screen on it; that's my opinion.
Again, along the same lines as your first 1080p HDSLR camera,
put a microphone jack on it. How much money
would it really cost for Nikon to put a microphone jack in this camera?
Now granted, I mentioned the D5000 replacement, possibly coming this spring or next summer.
They'll probably put a microphone jack on that and use it as a selling point.
Now the AFF feature I talked about before -- that's continuous focus during live view.
It's a nice feature and works fairly well in good light,
but with this kit lens, the 18-55 VR,
it struggles a little bit and it'll search back and forth
and it's really only so-so. I think with a faster lens, maybe like a 35mm 1.8 DX, it'll work a little smoother
but also make a little bit less noise.
Who do I recommend this camera for?
Well, if you're buying your first digital SLR, this is an excellent choice.
It has Nikon's latest technology
and even though it doesn't have as many
dials, buttons, and bill quality as some of the higher-end models,
the technology in this camera is first-rate.
If you're looking to upgrade from an older
entry-level, such as a D40 or D60,
or even the D3000, which is not that old of a camera, this is a huge step up.
If you have a camera such as the D90,
well, you might want to wait for the Nikon D7000 to come out
and we'll take a look at that next time.