Today Nikon announced the new Nikon D3100 DSLR camera – an update to the existing Nikon D3000 that was released a year ago. The D3100 is not just a cosmetic update, it comes with a brand new sensor and advanced video recording capabilities that are not yet present in any of the current Nikon DSLR bodies. Specifically, there is now an option to shoot 1080p video, the absence of which has certainly been a disadvantage when compared to Canon’s line of beginner cameras.
Nikon D3100 Specifications
Here is a short list of important specifications:
- Effective angle of view: Approx. 1.5 x lens focal length (Nikon DX format)
- Effective pixels: 14.2 million
- Image sensor: 23.1 x 15.4 mm CMOS sensor
- Total pixels: 14.8 million
- Dust-reduction system: Image sensor cleaning, Airflow Control System, Image Dust Off reference data (optional Capture NX 2 software required)
- Image size (pixels): 4,608 x 3,072 [L], 3,456 x 2,304 [M], 2,304 x 1,536 [S]
- File format: NEF (RAW), JPEG: JPEG-Baseline compliant with fine (approx. 1:4), normal (approx. 1:8), or basic (approx. 1:16) compression, NEF (RAW) + JPEG: Single photograph recorded in both NEF (RAW) and JPEG formats
- Media: SD (Secure Digital), SDHC and SDXC memory cards
- Viewfinder: Eye-level pentamirror single-lens reflex viewfinder
- Frame coverage: Approx. 95% horizontal and 95% vertical
- Magnification: Approx. 0.8 x (50 mm f/1.4 lens at infinity, -1.0 m-1)
- Shutter Speed: 1/4000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3 EV, Bulb
- Flash sync speed: X=1/200 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/200 s or slower
- Release mode: single frame, continuous, self timer, quiet shutter release
- Frame advance rate: up to 3 fps (manual focus, mode M or S, shutter speed 1/250 s or faster, and other settings at default values)
- Exposure modes: Auto modes (auto, auto [flash off]); scene modes (portrait; landscape; child; sports; close up; night portrait); programmed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperture-priority auto (A); manual (M)
- Exposure compensation: -5 to +5 EV in increments of 1/3 EV
- ISO sensitivity: ISO 100 to 3200 in steps of 1 EV; can also be set to approx. 1 EV above ISO 3200 (ISO 6400 equivalent) or to
approx. 2 EV above ISO 3200 (ISO 12800 equivalent); auto ISO sensitivity control available
- Active D-Lighting: On, Off
- Autofocus: Nikon Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, 11 focus points (including one
cross-type sensor), and AF-assist illuminator (range approx. 0.5 to 3m/1 ft. 8 in. to 9 ft. 10 in.)
- Focus point: Can be selected from 11 focus points
- AF-area mode: Single-point AF, dynamic-area AF, auto-area AF, 3D-tracking (11 points)
- Movie Frame size (pixels) and frame rate: 1,920 x 1,080 (24p): 24 fps (23.976 fps), 1,280 x 720 (30p): 30 fps (29.97 fps), 1,280 x 720 (25p): 25 fps, 1,280 x 720 (24p): 24 fps (23.976 fps), 640 x 424 (24p): 24 fps (23.976 fps)
- Movie maximum recording time: 10 min.
- Movie file format: MOV
- Video compression: H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding
- Audio recording format: Linear PCM
- Audio recording device: Built-in monaural microphone
- LCD monitor: 7.5-cm/3-in., approx. 230 k-dot TFT LCD with brightness adjustment
More detailed specifications can be found on the NikonUSA website.
One important feature that is missing from the camera, is integrated GPS without the need to use an external GPS unit. Since it is missing from the new D3100, you can safely assume that this important feature will not make it to other cameras anytime soon.
Is this announcement something to be excited about? Absolutely! Out of all the features on the D3100, the most important ones are:
- Higher resolution 14.2 Mp sensor – this means that you can expect all future DSLR cameras from Nikon to have at least 14 Megapixels.
- Better high ISO noise – Nikon would not simply increase the number of megapixels if they could not keep the noise levels down to at least what they were before. This means that the noise levels at high ISOs of the D3100 should be very similar or better than noise levels on the Nikon D3000.
- Higher ISO levels – I don’t know how good ISO 12,800 looks on the Nikon D3100, since I have not seen any sample images yet, but it is certainly a bold move by Nikon. Again, this also means we will be getting at least the same ISO levels on all future cameras.
- New EXPEED2 processor – finally, all new Nikon bodies will have a much faster processor that can handle a lot more load.
- 1080p movie mode – the previous EXPEED processor simply could not handle the large bandwidth that 1080p video requires. I was hoping for more fps than 24 on 1080p, but I guess we will see that on higher-end bodies later.
Everything else is pretty standard. The camera will retail for $699.95 with the 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens and it is already available for pre-order at B&H.
Sample images from the Nikon D3100 are available here, but they are all at ISO 100 and 200…
An update to Nikon D90 is supposed to come out later this year and I’m hoping that it will be a major upgrade with more new exciting features. Higher ISO with low noise levels is what photographers always hope for, so I hope Nikon will deliver!
P.S. The new Nikon D3100 is on its way to me, so I will be writing a detailed review on it very soon! Stay tuned! :)