Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit has developed a habit of making very attractive entry-level DSLRs, which are rarely the very best specified but cleverly designed so that they’re uncomplicated and enjoyable to shoot with. The D3000 fitted this pattern perfectly, a gentle refresh on the D60 (which was itself a slightly updated D40X), it added ease-of-use functions to make it a pleasant little camera to use, despite a specification that was beginning to appear rather out-of-step while using the rest from the market.
The Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit sold well, despite its rather aged 10 megapixel sensor and lack of both live view and movie. However, there’s only so long that clever product structure and feature integration can make up for a specification that looks dated. So with this in mind, Nikon has announced the D3100 – probably the biggest refresh of its entry-level offering since it really attacked the low stop market together with the original D40.
The Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm VR Lens Kit is constructed around a 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor, bringing not only live view but also Full HD video clip capture to Nikon’s entry-level model for the 1st time. In fact, this made it the very first Nikon DSLR to offer 1920×1080 movie recording. It can only record clips up to about ten minutes long (due to a 4Gb maximum file sizing limitation shared by all DSLRs), but this still counts as an impressive feature addition at this level.
The human body gets a slight refresh from a basic layout that essentially dates back four years to the D40, gaining an extra button to the left from the screen, a drive method swap within the base with the mode dial, a sprung lever to engage live view and a direct record movie button. Revisions have also been made to the feature-teaching, hand-holding ‘Guide Mode’, and an additional autofocus method that’s designed to allow better focusing in live view and autofocus during movie taking pictures.
All of this adds up to a DSLR that incorporates all of 2010’s ‘must have’ options but looks like the product of evolution, rather than dramatic innovation. And 2010 has been a year during which the rest from the market hasn’t devloped along such predictable lines, not least during the expansion of the large sensor, mirrorlessinterchangable lens digicam crowd.
Digital camera makers constantly try to stress that mirrorless cameras are creating an entirely new market, rather than competing with entry-level DSLRs, but it’s pretty clear that many people planning to upgrade from their point-and-shoot compact will consider both of those types of camera when making their decision. So, while the D3100 is unequivocally a DSLR (in a very time where the line between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras is becoming increasingly hazy), its beginner-friendly guide method puts it squarely in competition with several of your mirrorless models that are equally eager to welcome point-and-shoot upgraders.
Many of these cameras, such as Sony’s NEX-3 and 5, Olympus’ E-PL1 and Panasonic’s GF2, offer similarly accessible interfaces inside a smaller, competitively-priced packages. They also, by eshewing the conventional DSLR structure, are able to offer a taking pictures experience that is much closer to that of a compact digicam – which even the most beneficial DSLR live view implementation can’t simply mimic in the moment.
So, while the D3100 gives an improved feature set when compared to a digital camera we really liked, it remains to be seen whether these additions will be enough to make it stand out as well as its predecessor did.
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- 14.2 megapixel DX-format CMOS image sensor delivers lifelike images with vivid colours and reduced noise
- EXPEED2 image processing engine provides enhanced movie recording, high-sensitivity performance and maximum image quality
- High ISO (100-3200) light sensitivity – manually extendable up to ISO12800
- D-Movie – full HD (1920 x 1080) movie clips: record beautiful high-definition (HD) movie clips with sound
- GUIDE mode: quick and easy-to-use in-camera assistance
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