Nikon D3100 Review

11/11/2016 - 12:01
Nikon D3100 Review

Nikon D3100 Specifications

Dimensions:: 124×96×74,5 mm
Weight (without lens): 500 gr

Sensor type: CMOS
Sensor resolution: 14,2 megapixels
Sensor size: 23.6 x 15.6 mm
Crop factor: 1,5x

Viewfinder Field Coverage: 95%
Shutter Speed Range: 1/4000 ­­– 30 sec, step 1/3 EV, Bulb
Auto Focus Points Qty: 11
Focusing modes: AF-S, AF-C, M
Continuous Shooting Speed: 3 frames per second
ISO range: 100-6400, Auto

Sensor dinamic range: 11.3 Evs ( version)
Photo max. size: 4608 x 3072 px

Video: Full HD 1920x1080 px
Video format: MOV
Video speed, frame/sec: 25, 24 (PAL), 30 (NTSC)

LCD-display: 3" (resolution 230 000 pixels).
Power: Li-Ion battery EN-EL14 (7.4 В, 1080 mAh)


Nikon D3100 Ergonomics and Functionality

The camera has a compact design. At the time of release, it was the most light and compact DSLR Nikon camera. Further models of this line borrowed from its design and dimensions.

Nikon D3100 with Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm 2.8
Nikon D3100 with Nikon Micro-Nikkor 55mm 1:2.8


The housing is made of embossed plastic.

The camera fits well in hand. Rubberized handle. Some photographers seem not very comfortable grip due to small arms, but personally, I do not feel inconvenience when shooting, even with large and heavy lenses.

Due to its size, the camera is suitable for continuous wear in the bag.

Nikon D3100 top

At the top of the grip, under the index finger, is placed shutter button. Beneath it are two buttons: The info button and exposure compensation.

On the top right is a standard dial disc switching the shooting modes: Auto, M, A, S, P, and scene modes. Under the disc on the right is the lever of shooting modes: standard (S), Continuous, time delay, and quiet (Q).

In burst mode, you can continuously shoot at a rate of 3 frames per second.

The delay time can be set to 2 and 10 s.

In the silent shooting mode, the camera shoots a little quieter than usual, but the noise is still there. Technically, there is a switch in LiveView mode and shoot from there. Therefore, the noise is the same as when shooting in LiveView.

Nikon D3100 back

Nikon D3100 with Tenpa 1.33x viewfinder

Behind, the 3-inch LCD with a resolution of 230 000 pixels. Resolution is rather weak compared to elderly models.

Top right thumb placed control dial, lock button AE-L AF-L, switching lever in LiveView mode, and video record button.

Below, cursor buttons and OK buttons. Delete button.

To the left of the display are 5 buttons: view the photo/video menu, decrease when viewing photos, playback zoom, Info button.

Nikon D3100 jacks

Left to the body, under the left arm, placed the internal flash activation button and the Fn button. Under the rubber plugs placed: GPS, miniUSB, HDMI, AV output.

Nikon D3100 bottom

On top, there is a hot shoe for mounting an external flash. The bottom is the tripod mount screw.

Inside the grip placed battery.

Nikon D3100 SD card slot

The rightside is a slot for SD cards.

I actively use the camera for more than 4 years (can be seen in the photos). Embossed plastic seats became glance polished, lettering on buttons worn, the gum is slightly deformed. But functionally, the camera works fine.


Nikon D3100 Sensor

The camera is equipped with a 14 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor. Maximum photo size is 4608 x 3072 px. This A3 sheet size with a printing resolution of 300 dpi.

The sensor at the Nikon D3100 is less resolution than the elderly models Nikon D5100 and Nikon D7000, but I do not see a lot of difference. All three cameras give almost the same quality of the picture. The only thing is a white balance; Nikon D3100 is different; it was warmer than the Nikon D7000, and I like it more, but it is subjective. Maybe because of the Nikon D3100, I often shoot than Nikon D7000.

As with other such class DSLR cameras, ISO speed range is adjusted to 1 stop: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200. Such flexibility is not enough for serious work.

I try not to lift ISO values higher than 800. Further details ate noise. Even at ISO 3200 camera behaves with dignity. There are already as it is, sometimes it's better to shoot photos with noise than not shoot at all.


Video on Nikon D3100

The camera can capture video in Full HD (1920x1080 px). I often use video capture for the home archive; for these purposes, the video features are enough.

The video quality, as the quality of the photo, is more dependent on the stage lighting and the lens. Certainly, a D3100 is not a competitor to professional cameras, Canon advanced DSLRs such as the Canon 5D Mark II, but the video quality is adequate for its class.

Below is an example of a video taken at ISO 3200; you can see the noise level. And to evaluate the sound quality, which records on the internal microphone.


Handheld video on Nikkor 35mm 1:2.8 Ai/s f/ 2.8 ISO 3200

It is a pity, of course, that there is no possibility to connect an external microphone; this opportunity is only for the Nikon D7000 camera.


Nikon D3100 Lenses Compatibility

The Nikon D3100 autofocus lenses for the Nikon F system will be working only for those that have a built-in motor. Older autofocus lenses without a built-in motor will only work in the AE mode; autofocus will not work.

In manual (M) mode, will work any manual focus lenses. Still, their flange distance must fit the system Nikon F. For example, the M42 system lenses mounted on the camera with an adapter M42-Nikon focusing will be available only for a few meters and infinity will not. System Lenses Nikon F will fully operate with automatic preset aperture.


Nikon D3100 Battery

Nikon D3100 is equipped with a Li-On battery EN-EL14 7.4V 1050 mAh. Battery capability about 1000 shots under normal shooting conditions. The same battery goes in cameras D5100, D3200, D5200.


Nikon D3100 Sample Photos

Most of the examples were taken on Nikkor native lenses. RAW export, with minimal exposure level adjustments.

Nikon D3100 sample photos yard
1/400 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos girls
1/125 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos underground<
1/60 ISO 800

Nikon D3100 sample photos cash
1/80 ISO 800

Nikon D3100 sample photos street
1/80 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos church
1/320 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos portrait
1/640 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos citylight
1/800 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos Lviv opera
1/125 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos Lviv street
1/80 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos singer
1/200 ISO 200

Nikon D3100 sample photos sport
1/80 ISO 400

Nikon D3100 sample photos musician
1/60 ISO 1600

Nikon D3100 sample photos sax

1/60 ISO 2000

Nikon D3100 sample photos piano

1/100 ISO 1600


Nikon D3100 sample photos indoor
1/80 ISO 400

Nikon D3100 sample photos conference
1/80 ISO 800

Nikon D3100 sample photos backyard
1/320 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos indoor portrait
1/80 ISO 400

Nikon D3100 sample photos festival
1/640 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos people
1/640 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos reportage
1/500 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos dancers
1/400 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos dancers
1/400 ISO 100

Nikon D3100 sample photos night
1/80 ISO 3200


Personal experience
I bought a Nikon D3100 in 2011 as a substitute for more advanced functionality but outdated Nikon D70s. At that time, I was impressed by the quality of the pictures; they were more vivid compared to images from the Nikon D70s, CMOS sensor is still significantly different from the CCD. But at the same time, I felt uncomfortable, and at work, I lacked many features that were the previous camera.

As a manual lenses fan, I have been actively using the camera in conjunction with them. The absence of automatic metering, as in elder models, did not bother me. It's more a matter of habit. Instead work with manual lenses with manual exposure settings, aperture, ISO taught me to understand better how these values affect the exposure.

By the way, most of the examples in my reviews of the manual lens are tested with this camera.

What is used like this from the camera, so it's the built-in motor for autofocus older lenses and ISO adjustment smoother. But, alas, to pay for everything, a smooth adjustment of ISO is available in the range of cameras Nikon D5100 and on, and the motor built only in Nikon D7000 and beyond.


Nikon D3100 is a good entry-level DSLR. Now discontinued, but the photo quality is not so lost more new models. On the contrary, due to the smaller size of the photos are easier to handle and store.