Nikon D3100

The Good Excellent photo quality; well-laid-out controls; interesting, user-friendly Guide mode; full manual controls in video capture.

The Bad Smallish viewfinder; slower than the competition; no bracketing.

The Bottom Line A very good entry-level dSLR, the Nikon D3100 delivers excellent photo quality in a body that's streamlined for experienced photographers, but relatively unintimidating for the less advanced. Its only weakness is performance; though solid, it nevertheless lags behind the competition.

Editors' Rating
  • Design 8.0
  • Features 7.0
  • Performance 7.0
  • Image quality 8.0
7.4 Overall

Compare

Nikon D3100 (with 18-55mm & 55-200mm VR lens, Black)
Nikon D3100
Nikon D3300 (with 18-55mm & 55-200mm VR II Lenses, Red)
Nikon D3300
Nikon D3300 (with 18-55mm II Lens, Red)
Nikon D3300
Nikon D3300 (Body Only, Black)
Nikon D3300
Canon EOS Rebel T4i (with 18-135mm STM lens)
Canon EOS Rebel T4i
Price $550 Amazon.com $950 MSRP $308 Amazon.com $340 Amazon Marketplace $549 Amazon.com
Design
8
7
7
7
8
Features
7
7
7
7
7
Performance
7
8
8
8
8
Image quality
8
8
8
8
8

Review

Nikon D3100

Until I sat down to actually write this review, it hadn't struck me how confusing the market placement of the Nikon D3100 is. It's priced the same as the still-available D5000, which is in many ways a better camera. And with the exception of video, which many users don't care about anyway, it's very similar to the much cheaper D3000. So while the D3100 isn't a bad camera, and for the most part holds its own against competitors from other manufacturers, it still pales in comparison with its own line mates.

The D3100 has a very good noise profile; it matches (and perhaps bests) the current leader in the budget dSLR category, the Pentax K-x. It produces exceptionally clean JPEGs up through ISO 800 and very usable ones through ISO 3200. (Adobe Camera Raw doesn't yet support the D3100 and Nikon Capture NX 2 doesn't provide sufficiently granular enough noise reduction for me to do raw versus JPEG comparisons). The camera delivers excellent color reproduction in its default SD mode as well--a nice change from some overly saturation-pushing competitors like Pentax and Sony--and its metering and exposure system work reliably and well.

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Specs / Prices

  • MSRP $950
  • Brand Nikon Inc.
  • Digital Camera Type Entry-level dSLR
  • Weight 16.05 oz
  • Sensor Resolution 14.2 pixels
  • Optical Sensor Size (metric) 15.4 x 23.1 mm
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
See full specs
model with 18-55mm & 55-200mm VR lens, Black

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