Nikon D3100 digital SLR preview

Nikon D3100 digital SLR cameraNikon has announced the pending release of its latest digital SLR camera, the Nikon D3100. It’s a pretty serious camera: 14.2 megapixel, DX format CMOS sensor, Live View shooting, face detection function that can detect up to 35 human faces, and it will shoot full high definition video. All of this, and a Guide Mode that will help DSLR newbies make the most of the camera, looking to give the D3100 the ease of a point-and-shoot compact digital camera.

All of this imaging power, and ease, and the Nikon D3100 will be priced in the budget range, perhaps around the $700 – $800 mark. Read more about the price below.

Given the price, the specs and the ease-of-use, this is a very interesting camera. And the really interesting thing will be to see what effect its release has on the competition.

Nikon D3100 specifications

It’s a serious camera, so here’s a serious list of its specs.

  • Camera type: Single-lens reflex digital camera
  • Effective pixels: 14.2 million
  • Image sensor: Nikon DX format (23.1 x 15.4 mm) CMOS sensor
  • Image size (pixels): 4,608 x 3,072 [L], 3,456 x 2,3404 [M], 2,304 x 1,536 [S]
  • Sensitivity: ISO 100 to 3200 in steps of 1 EV, plus HI-1 (ISO 6400) and HI-2 (ISO 12800)
  • File format: NEF (12 bit compressed RAW); JPEG (Baseline-compliant); MOV movie (H.264/MPEG-4 compression format with monaural sound)
  • Storage media: SD memory card (SDHC and SDXC compliant)
  • Shooting modes: 1) Single frame shooting mode, 2) Continuous shooting mode: approx. 3fps, 3) Self-timer mode, 4) Quiet Shutter Release
  • White Balance: Auto (TTL white-balance with 420-pixel RGB sensor), Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, White balance preset
  • LCD monitor: 3.0″, 230,000-dot, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD
  • Playback function: 1) Full-frame, 2) Movie Playback, 3) Thumbnail (4/9/72, calendar) playback, 4) playback zoom, 5) Faces detected during zoom, 6)Slide show 7) RGB histogram display, 8 ) Highlights, 9) Auto image rotation, 10) Image comment
  • Delete function: Single image, Selected images, images taken on a selected date, All images (except protected images)
  • Interface: USB 2.0 (High-speed), Video output, HDMI output (Type C mini-pin connector)
  • Picture angle (in 35mm [135] format equivalent): Approx. 1.5x lens focal length
  • Viewfinder: Eye-level penta-Dach mirror type; built-in diopter adjustment (-1.7 to +0.5m-1)
  • Focusing screen: Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark VII screen
  • Viewfinder frame coverage/magnification (with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1): Approx. 95%/ Approx. 0.8x
  • Autofocus: TTL phase detection by Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus module with AF-assist (range approx. 0.5-3m); 11 focus point; Detection range: -1 to +19 EV (ISO 100 at 20°C/68°F)
  • Focus Modes: 1) Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); Continuous servo AF (AF-C); Auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A), predictive focus tracking activated automatically according to subject status 2) Manual focus (MF) can be selected
  • Exposure Metering System: 1) 3D color matrix metering ? (type G and D lenses), color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses), 2) Center-weighted (weight given to 8-mm circle in center of frame), 3) Spot metering (meters 3.5-mm circle centered on selected focus point)
  • Exposure Metering Range (at normal temperature [68°F/20°C], ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens): 1) 0 to 20 EV (3D-Color Matrix or Center-weighted metering), 2) 2 to 20 EV (Spot metering)
  • Exposure control: 1) Digital Vari-Program (Auto, Auto [Flash Off], Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close Up, Night Portrait), 2) Programmed Auto [P], 3) Shutter-Priority Auto [S], 4) Aperture Priority Auto [A], 5) Manual [M], 6) Guide mode
  • Auto Exposure Bracketing: No
  • Shutter: Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter, 30 to 1/4000sec in steps of 1/3 EV plus bulb
  • Flash Sync Modes: 1) Front-curtain sync, 2) Red-eye reduction, 3) Slow sync with red-eye reduction, 4) Slow sync, 5) rear-curtain sync
  • Self-Timer: Electronically controlled timer with duration of 2 or 10s.
  • Remote control: Via Remote Cord MC-DC2 (optional)
  • GPS: via GP-1 GPS Unit (optional)
  • Power requirements: Rechargeable EN-EL14 Li-ion battery, EH-5a AC adapter (available separately; requires optional EP-5A power connector)
  • Battery life (on a fully charged battery): Approx. 550 shots
  • Dimensions: Approx. 124 x 96 x 74.5 mm
  • Weight (without battery, memory card or body cap): Approx. 455 grams
  • Other features:Expeed 2 Image Processing Engine, Graphical User Interface, Guide Mode, D-Movie (Full HD recording), Full-time servo AF (AF-F) movie recording

Nikon D3100 digital SLR camera

New Nikkor lenses

In addition to the D3100, Nikon also announced four new NIKKOR lenses:

  • AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR: Nikon’s newest DX-format, super telephoto zoom lens. An exceptionally lightweight and compact interchangeable lens that guarantees simple and enjoyable super-telephoto photography.
  • AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.4G: a fast, mid-telephoto 85mm fixed focal length lens.
  • AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR: a 5x standard zoom lens with a fixed maximum aperture of f/4 throughout its entire zoom range.
  • NIKKOR 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR: a 10.7x super-telephoto lens that covers a broad range of focal lengths from the wide-angle 28mm to telephoto 300mm.

Nikon D3100 price and availability

Nikon have given a release of date of September. Nothing more than that. And as for the Australian price, there was none given, no camera price, no lens prices, only that pricing will be announced in “early September”.

However, UK sites have published prices, so as a guide, here they are:

  • D3100 Body only: £499.99
  • B3100 kit with 18-55mmVR: £579.99 / $699 / €599

UPDATE: One Australian retailer has in fact published the price, ahead of the announcement from Nikon. Read about it at Nikon D3100 digital SLR camera – price