The Nikon D3100 is a Digital Single Lens Reflex or DSLR camera. It is considered an entry level DSLR because, while it offers a plethora of manual options, it also has a number of automatic options and basic features that make it especially useful for the first time DSLR photographer. If you find that you aren’t getting the quality or range of pictures that you want from your compact camera anymore then you should consider the D3100 a worthy successor to your existing model.
One of the first things you will need to get used to when making the step up from a compact camera is the change in design. A DSLR and compact camera are very different in their design and whereas the compact may be considered similar to a small box, the DSLR is comparable to traditional professional cameras. They are bulkier than compact models so they may take some getting used to.
Fortunately, the Nikon D3100 isn’t the biggest of the bunch and the layout of the buttons and other features mean that it shouldn’t take too much getting used to. In fact, you should find that after a few sessions with the D3100 it is intuitive and simple to use. The buttons and dial are well laid out on the back of the camera so you don’t have to be double jointed or take an assistant with you just to cycle through the menu options in your camera.
You should also be prepared to look beyond the megapixel count to determine how good a quality the pictures will be. The D3100 has a very handsome 14.2mp but you should also consider the sensor size. The larger the sensor the sharper and more accurate the resulting pictures. The CMOS sensor is better than in compacts and in many other entry level DSLR cameras but is not the largest. You will enjoy good quality photos but will have to pay to move up to the next class if you want exceptional quality.
The D3100 was Nikon’s first entry level camera that featured full HD video recording. It may be commonplace in brand new models but it wasn’t when this model was released. You can enjoy 24 frames per second when shooting in full 1080p HD. Alternatively, 720p HD offers 24,25 and 30 fps. Unfortunately, as is the case with the video mode on virtually all cameras, you are limited to the amount of video you can shoot. You should be able to record a ten minute clip before you are cut off; useful for home videos.
Another feature that was relatively new to the Nikon D3100 is the continuous autofocus mode. This means that when you are recording video or readying yourself to take a photo, the camera will continue to autofocus, adjusting its focus levels according to the subject of the composition. This is a very handy feature but it is more likely that that you will use it when taking a single photo rather than creating a video clip because it can take a few seconds for the focus to catch up with the footage when taking videos.
The design and the features of the Nikon D3100 mean that it will prove popular with novice and beginner photographers. It affords you the opportunity to learn the skills required for taking good quality photos while offering decent quality. The D3100 is a couple of years old but few more recent releases can touch it, especially considering the fact that the price now reflects the age of the camera. You should expect to pay around £300 for what is a really good quality camera that will help you make the step up to DSLR.