Nikon D3100 vs D5000

This is a comparison between the new Nikon D3100 and the Nikon D5000 for those who want to know the differences between the two. I get a big number of requests from our readers, asking which one to buy and I hope this quick comparison in this “Nikon D3100 vs D5000” article will make it easier to make the right purchasing decision.

Nikon D3100

The new Nikon D3100 is an update to the existing Nikon D3000 line which was released in 2009 as an upgrade to the Nikon D40/D40x/D60 line. Similar to the D40/D40x/D60/D3100 cameras, the Nikon D3100 is classified as an entry-level, affordable DSLR camera that is targeted towards photo enthusiasts that want to get into the DSLR world. The Nikon D3100 was the first camera announced by Nikon that features the new Expeed II processor, allowing faster image and video processing up to 1080p (the previous Expeed processor could not handle more than 720p video).

So, here are the differences between the Nikon D3100 and D5000:

  1. The first and the most important difference between the D3100 and D5000 is the sensor. Nikon D3100 has a 14.2 megapixel 23.1×15.4mm sensor, while the D5000 has a slightly larger 23.6×15.8mm sensor, but with less resolution of 12.3 megapixels. The difference in megapixels is very small though and does not represent a huge improvement by D3100 over D5000.
  2. The new sensor on the D3100 also has slightly different specifications – its base ISO starts from 100 compared to 200 on the D5000 and can go up to 3200, just like on the D5000. The ISO boost levels (very grainy images) on the D3100 go up to 12,800, while the D5000 is limited to 6,400, a one stop difference.
  3. The new Expeed II processor on the Nikon D3100 is capable of full HD (1920x1080p) @ 24 fps (frames per second), while D5000 can only go up to 720p (1280x720p) @ 24 fps. D3100 can also shoot 720p at 30, 25 and 24 fps and 424p at 24 fps; Nikon D5000 only records video at 24 fps.
  4. Nikon D3100 comes with a 3″ LCD screen, while Nikon D5000 comes with a 2.7″ swivel screen.
  5. Nikon D5000 allows bracketing, while the D3100 does not (bad for those who shoot HDR).
  6. Nikon D3100 is classified as an entry-level DSLR, while Nikon D5000 is classified as an upper-entry-level DSLR.
  7. Nikon D5000 has more D-Lighting options, letting users choose between Auto, Extra High, High, Normal, Low and Off, while D3100 only lets to toggle between On and Off.
  8. Nikon D3100 shoots 3 FPS (frames per second), while Nikon D5000 shoots 4 FPS.
  9. Nikon D3100 is a slightly smaller camera than the D5000, measuring 124x96x74.5mm versus 127x104x80mm of D5000.
  10. Weight-wise, the Nikon D3100 is approximately 105 grams lighter than the D5000.
  11. Both cameras will not autofocus with older non AF-S lenses such as Nikon 50mm f/1.8D.
  12. Both cameras have exactly the same autofocus system.
  13. The price difference between the two cameras is around $150 – the Nikon D5000 kit with the 18-55mm lens retails for $850 (currently at $750) while the Nikon D3100 with the same lens is priced at $700 (currently at $645).

Here comes the big question – which one would I recommend to buy? Considering the feature and price difference, I would say the Nikon D3100 is a better buy than the D5000. Sure, the Nikon D3100 is a little worse when it comes to speed (FPS) and lack of the bracketing feature, but in every other way, it is clearly superior than the D5000. The swivel screen on the Nikon D5000, in my opinion, is not very useful – I found it to be a nuisance rather than a feature for everyday photography. While it can be useful for those who shoot video, it is basically useless for still photography. Judging from the ISO samples, the high ISO performance on the D3100 is also superior, especially at ISO 1600 and above. On top of that, the Nikon D5000 is now discontinued (you cannot purchase D5000 anymore at B&H), which means that Nikon has stopped the D5000 production and shifted manufacturing efforts towards D3100 and D7000 DSLRs.

The Nikon D3100 kit with 18-55mm lens is currently selling for approximately $645 at B&H.


Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Amit Kumar

    Suddenly my D90 has become outdated. Since D5000 and D90 have the same sensors and D3100 has better sensor than D5000, it seems that D3100 will outperform D90 in IQ.

    • Amit, your D90 is NOT outdated by the D3100. Sure, the D3100 does have a better sensor technology, but you have a semi-pro camera that is way more advanced than the D3100 in terms of features…

    • 62
      ) Swarna Prasad

      Dear Amit and Nasim, I have just bought a D3100 after selling my d40( though i din’t want to sell it)
      Here are my thoughts so far on D3100.The Camera is lighter than D40!! Iso100 is very clean!! Noise handling in higher iso’s is better than d90 inspite of 14 mp. 14mp is a great jump for me from 6 mp D40.My friend with D90 is envious..:)Upto 3200 noise is kept under good control.6400 is quite good for small prints.Focus speed with 70 300vr is very good.Kit Lens is slower.Expeed 2 is quite powerful giving fast response.Over all I loved the Image quality.

      Video: I actually liked the HD video Quality on D3100. There are a few bad comments on the net on D3100 video.I personally think if you know how to shoot a video with smooth and steady pans,you will appreciate the quality..The Best part is you can have full control on Aperture and Iso…with AE Lock.The rolling shutter problem exits in very fast pans only..Hope its fixed on D7000.

      I am currently testing the camera on various situations.Will soon post some pics…:)

      Dear Nasim, I am waiting impatiently for your review on D3100…

      Thanks…in Advance..

  2. 4
    ) dodong

    I am very new in photography and i just got interested in it about 4 months ago..i have been working and saving for my first dslr and the Nikon D3100 and the Nikon D5000 are my best options. I am not in to shooting videos as of the moment (but it’s something that i might consider in the future). I have been reading various reviews lately regarding the two dslr’s and rightfully so, i have also been getting different opinions. Some may prefer the d5000 over the d3100 and vise versa..for some unknown reasons the d5000 is slightly cheaper here in our country ( Philippines). i would want an all-around camera that would serve as a “get away” from my stressful life in the hospital…

    given that the d5000 is cheaper, will the d3100 still be a better buy?…your professional opinion is of great help…thank you so much sir and may our good Lord bless you.=)

    • Dodong, since there is a very small price difference as you are mentioning between the D5000 and D3100, I would still recommend D3100 over D5000. Why buy an outdated camera that is not manufactured anymore? The D3100 will also keep a better value over the next few years.

      • 5
        ) dodong

        thank you so much sir Nasim..that is a very sound advise,,i used to think that purchasing a model that was released a year ago was a better choice since it has been used and tested by some professionals..but you’re absolutely right in saying that i should not settle on outdated cameras..what was i thinking?..hehe..thank you so much for your smart and honest response..=)

        you are a great blessing to aspiring photographers like us..=)

      • thank you Nasim ,
        i was in search with this question.. kindly please update me for any other options regarding price and functions. [as this comments are of 8 months old] i am ready to spend 400 pounds for my slr. and will you suggest a best suit lens also please..
        many thanx..

    • hey! i’m also considering those two cameras. i’m from philippines too and as of my research, d3100 is cheaper than d5000. where do you plan to buy yours? thanks!

  3. 6
    ) sm

    Btw, it seems like D5000 is being discontinued by Nikon as per some recent reports.

    • SM, yes, D5000 is now officially discontinued…

      • 136
        ) Beth

        You can still buy it from B&H. Since I purchased one on4/12/11.

  4. 7
    ) Samm

    Hi Mans,

    You said that “Nikon D3100 has a 23.1×15.4mm sensor, while the D5000 has a slightly larger 23.6×15.8mm sensor”. Larger sensor means better image for D5000 is it?

    cheers,
    Samm

    • 8
      ) Rahul

      At the same technology level, yes, but that’s a very small difference in sensor size, and though I barely understand it, there is a lot more to imaging technology than sensor size & pixel density alone. There’s the AA filter, Bayer interpolation, noise reduction and other algorithms.

      As per DxO ratings, the D3100 scores higher than D5000 sensor in ISO rank, which is strange since the D90 and D5000 have the same sensor and the D90 is the highest ranked APS-C sensor on ISO performance ! Overall the D5000 scores 72 while D3100 scores 67 , so apparently the D5000 sensor is better than the D3100.

      • 9
        ) Manish

        Great review Mans….but maybe will wait for the updated version of the D5000,which is likely to be a blockbuster if some new features of the D3100 are included.Any news of its entry date/period

        • 10
          ) Rahul

          Right now , not even a rumour of a D5000 replacement even after D5000 discontinuation is announced ! The much-rumoured D90 replacement was in the rumour mill for a few months before D7000 announcement, and turned out to be a new premium DX above the D90 and below the D300S as the D7000. The D3100 was also in the rumour mills before it was announced .But there is not a word about the D5000 replacement, which is odd . Some do speculate a D5100 on the cards but no reasonable concrete details.

          • 11
            ) Manish

            Thanks Rahul, appreciate the info.
            Am a novice and was particularly hooked on to the Swivel screen in the D5000 and some other features too.Not particularly interested in the Video part of the camera, for that would have got the Camcorder or something like it.
            Am still planning to go alongwith it but with a 18-70mm VR.Any guidance you can provide.

            • 12
              ) Rahul

              I’m not sure about the 18-70 still being made (and I think it’s not a VR lens) , I didn’t get any price listing in india, also I think it’s been said in some reviews to have some optical flaws, vignetting I think. It was recommended to buy the 18-55 or 18-105 instead, despite the wider aperture at 70mm.

            • 13
              ) Rahul

              Ok, just checked , 18-70 is listed on Nikon site and it is non-VR.

        • Manish, I don’t think we will see an updated D5000 this year or early next year…probably summer.

      • Rahul, D90 is no longer the top performing APS-C sensor on DxO :)

        And as for D3100 being better than D90 and worse than D5000, while the latter has exactly the same sensor as D90, my only guess is that D90 and D5000 process images a little differently. A RAW comparison should yield identical results.

    • I agree with Rahul on this.

  5. 14
    ) Manish

    Thanks for the info Rahul

    • 137
      ) Should I return D3100 for D5000

      I have bought a D3100 which I find goes grainy at even ISO 900.Actually the camera selects ISO 900 itself even when using flash and the main subject is well exposed with flash light while the background is grainy.Your results don’t show like that.Also it is said that the D5000 has higher details in images.Is it true?DPReview, imageing-resource.com don’t show that . A friend of mine says he has seen the difference in detail by looking at the zoomed images on both camera (3100vs 5000) LCDs (not PC monitor though).Please guide me soon so that the shop keeper agrees to exchange before long.

      • 138
        ) Rahul

        Are you looking at 100% resolution on large screen ? At that image size, most cameras do show flaws, it will not be any different for D5000. In terms of noise, the D3100 and D5000 are similar. Set your noise reduction to high if it is on the default (normal) setting and see if you like the output better. If you shoot JPG, try shooting in RAW and use computer software to do the conversion and noise reduction.

        In realistic terms, you won’t see any significant difference between D5000 and D3100 under most conditions, the lens makes a bigger difference to image quality.

        • 140
          ) Azam

          Great advice Rahul. I have retained D3100.I would like to have some introduction of yourself , as I find your comments very good as those coming from who has used a lot of cameras.Please let me know how can I see the final result in the 5×7 print if viewed on my PC monitor.I used the 5×7 image size on Photoshop and enlarged it till the ruler on the screen matched the original measures.Am I right?

          • 142
            ) Rahul

            hi,

            I’m not really that experienced ! Most of what I know is due to researching digital photography of 8 months, 6 months of it on DSLRs.

            When it comes to printing, the sizing goes off. Monitors have larger pixels, varying from 72 to 120 pixels per inch, where as printers go as high as 600 dots per inch ; it is recommended to print at 300 dots per inch for a high quality print. 5×7 on screen and 5×7 on paper would look similar, except that 5×7 on paper to look as good on 5×7 on screen, would require about 4x the pixels. A 5×7 image on the monitor at 100ppi is 350,000 pixels ,to get a similarly good print at 5×7 , you’d need at least 200ppi ( twice as much linearly and 4 times the total area) which is around 1,400,000 pixels, as a rough rule of thumb.

  6. 15
    ) Marion

    Thank you for this review. This really helped me in my decision. Btw, great comparison. I’m from Philippines too. Beginners like me learn a lot in this site. More power to Mansurov’s Photography.

    • Thank you for your feedback Marion!

      • 97
        ) mitzukoy

        Hi! I’m also new to this photography world and i just wanna let you guys know how much i appreciate this site. i learn a lot. Your conversations do clarify my what ifs. I’m so glad to have clicked on this link. Two thumbs up!

  7. 16
    ) BUBAI

    HELLO FRIENDS. I HAVE PURCHASED A ” CANON SX120 IS ” 6 MONTHS AGO & STARTING TAKING PICTURES FROM THEN ONWARDS. AND DURING THIS LAST 6 MONTHS PHOTOGRAPHY IS BECOMING MY 1ST HOBBY AS THE DAY PROGRESSES…… NOW I AM WILLING TO BUY NIKON D3100 ( with AF-S DX 18-55mm VR Zoom )
    1 ) AS I HAVE NO IDEA REGARDING SLR’S LENSES, SO CAN U PLEASE CLARIFY THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THESE TWO LENSES ( i )AF-S 55-200 VR Nikkor ( ii )AF-S 18-135 G-ED IF Nikkor Zoom WITH THE SAME SAMPLE PICTURES. SO THAT I CAN LEARN THE CHANGES.
    ( ii ) I HAVE HEARD THAT THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN OF 55-200 & 55-300 LENSES IS ONLY THE ” ZOOM FACTOR ” , IS IT TRUE ?
    ( iii )NOW IN MY DIGITAL CAMERA I AM HAVING ” 10X OPTICAL ZOOM “, CAN I FIND THE SAME ZOOM POWER FROM THE ANY ONE OF THE ABOVE TWO LENSES, IF NO , THEN HOW MUCH MAXIMUM ZOOM CAN I FOUND FROM THE ABOVE TWO ?
    PLEASE GUIDE ME !

    • Bubai, I guess you forgot to turn your caps lock off ;-)

      You have some special requests in your comment that I cannot provide. I suggest you read some reviews online to compare the lenses.

      As for 10x zoom, try the Nikon 18-200mm lens – it has a big range of optical zoom.

      • 24
        ) BUBAI

        Thanks for your reply Sir.
        Yes, You r true about my ” CAPS LOCK “. Actually i was so much excited to connect 1st time with the people like YOU ! May be that’s why i questioned a lot too!
        Sir if you allow me can i ask you 1more question ? that is -
        If i want to take a photo with my CANON SX120 IS & Nikon d3100 in the same SITUATION & from 5 to 10 feet SAME DISTANCE in ” AUTO ” mode for BOTH the cases, which Picture will be the best between these two ?

        • 25
          ) Rahul

          In good light such as outdoors in daylight, the SX120 will give you pretty good pictures and you won’t miss a DSLR. It’s when you shoot in low light or moving objects where a DSLR has a better rate of getting good shots.

          As for zoom, 10x is not equivalent everywhere. The SX120′s 10x may be say 5mm-50mm which in 35mm equivalent units might be 28mm-280mm. An 55-300mm lens on a DX sensor is just 5.45x zoom, but it has greater telephoto capability, especially once the crop factor of DX sensor is accounted for , that is 55-300mm is 82.5-450mm in 35mm equivalent terms, that’s a lot more reach.

          If long zoom reach is all you need, a more expensive bridge camera with 26x-30x (35mm equivalents range from 26mm-676mm or 24mm-720mm) will fill your need better, such zooms/telephoto DSLR lenses are extremely expensive, well above $1500.

          Lastly – I suggest you keep using the SX120 and explore it’s settings, like shutter speeds, aperture & ISO in manual mode, until you find its limits that prevent you from taking photos or your photos don’t turn out satisfactory even when you’re extracted the most from it – that’s when you know know need a better camera. D3100 price might even reduce by the time you find the SX120′s limits.

        • Bubai, the picture quality depends on your technique. You could shoot with the worst point and shoot and the best DSLR and your point and shoot could still look better. It depends on how you use the gear and how much you know about photography in general.

    • 26
      ) Ruposh

      Hello Bubai,
      I am also an amateur photography enthusiastic. I am using a Canon SX100IS for last 1 year. I can try for some help:

      1) The AF-S 55-200 VR lens offers 83-300 mm focal range in 35mm equivalent whereas AF-S 18-135 G-ED IF has 27-203 mm focal range. Your camera has focal range of 36-360 mm. So you can compare now. As I don’t know much about photography only big difference I can point that the first one has VR option but the second one does not have it. At telephoto end, stabilization is very important to have a sharp image. VR option will help you to take pictures at telephoto end with slower shutter speed.

      3) 10X zoom cannot describe the zooming power actually. Only thing I can say that 55-200 lens can cover up to 300mm focal range and 55-300 will cover up to 450mm whereas your current SX120 cover up to 360mm. The larger the focal length number, the more zoom you have.

      And dear Sir Nasim, this site is helping me so much. I am so amazed with your works. Right now I am saving money for a DSLR…

      • 28
        ) BUBAI

        Hi, RUPOSH & RAHUL :
        THANK YOU SO MUCH ( DIRECT DIL SE )for Your detail explanation .
        Do You know 1 thing ? You explain the thing ” ZOOM FACTOR ” in my own Language (i.e. simple language ), that’s why it’s become so easy to understand for people like me.
        I am an amateur photographer, who has a Good Digital Camera but can not get the maximum result from this, just because of my limitation. and the people surrounding me are saying ” sale that camera & buy the new Nikon D3100, that will give you good pics in Auto mode also than your Digital Camera)
        Once again Thanks a lot ……………………..

        • Bubai, looks like you got plenty of help from other readers!

  8. 29
    ) Carrie

    I am brand new to SLRs, but after researching have decided to go with the D3100 (am waiting to see if there will be any holiday deals).

    My question is below….I would be buying this combination:
    Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens

    Amazon has this lens as a deal right now for an extra $90 if purchased w/ the D3100. I have no idea about all the lenses at this point and want to know if this is a good deal and a recommended extra purchase? I am just getting started – my use will be for family and travel.

    Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Nikkor Zoom Lens

    Thank you for the great article and all the help!

    • 35
      ) Rahul

      For $90 that looks like a steal ! Whether you should get this lens is a matter of what/where you shoot, if you intend to shoot pictures of people such as portraits, close ups of flowers or food , then the 55-200 lens is of little use. For shots of people, especially indoors/in low light, a 35mm 1.8G or 50mm 1.4G are better lenses, there is an 85mm lens as well which is praised for portraits.

      If you like to shoot distant objects, the 55-200 will give better reach than the 18-55. For wildlife/bird shots, you may want a longer reach such as the 55-300 or 70-300. At f/5.6 aperture at the telephoto end, both the 55-200 and 55-300 are not so good for night/low light shots unless you can get a satisfactory shot via a tripod and long exposure.

    • Carrie, I agree with Rahul – at $90 it is certainly a great deal. The D3100 with the 18-55mm is a great combo!

  9. 30
    ) Manish

    And Nasim Would be greatful if you cover the D3100 with 18 – 105 in the same breadth:)

    • Yes, I would rather go with the 18-105mm than the 18-55mm, but it is certainly more expensive.

  10. 31
    ) Rajini

    Hi, I am visiting Dubai and would like to purchase a D3100. Can i the current price in Dubai for this product and where to purchase it please. In the UK , we can get it at £450. Is it cheaper in Dubai ?
    Thanks

    • 34
      ) Rahul

      It might be cheaper in Dubai as the region is known for low taxes, but you may want to think of the warranty, if it’s applicable to Dubai/UAE/middle east region only, buying in UK would be a better idea assuming you stay in UK.

      • 61
        ) anihv

        im planning to buy my 1st slr camera…where can i buy cheaper in dubai? more thanks! ;)

    • 124
      ) dan

      im currently in Dubai right now, i saw those offers with Sharaf and Jackies for D3100 and they are selling it around 3000aed (1USD=3.65AED) and it comes with 2 lenses memory card and a carrying bag and a tripod.

  11. 32
    ) Atul

    Thanks Nasim for great review.

    Keep posting.

  12. 33
    ) manish

    Nasim ,anything on msg 29 & 30 or maybe Busy??

  13. 36
    ) Jen

    I got the d3100 and wanted to know what lens should I get that can zoom (when taking pics from the bleachers of a sporting event or architecture when travelling). I don’t want to have to keep interchanging lens. is there an affordable good and lightweight lens I can get and should I sell the lens that came w the d3100 to help pay for the new one? If you can just have one lens to use what would you recommend? 55-300? Thanks!

    • 37
      ) Rahul

      A 55-300 alone will not be enough unless you exclusively shoot subjects at a distance, even 55mm on a DX body is fairly long when you need to shoot at short range. Since you shoot architecture, I suppose you do not need much telephoto focal length ,so 200mm should be fine. For sporting event you’d want a fast/high aperture lens, and those are expensive. There is a 70-200mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR for ~ $2500 . You could pair a 70-300 f/4.5-5.6G or 55-300 or 55-200 with the 18-55 as the cheapest solution, the 70-300 is the most expensive of these at ~$600 or so.

      Any single lens solution such as 18-200mm or 28-300mm or Tamron 18-270 will not be fast at the telephoto end ; and optically such long (10x-15x) zoom lenses are regarded as inferior to shorter focal lengths (3x to 4x).

      • 38
        ) Rahul

        Jen,
        The AF-S 300mm f/4D IF-ED for $1500, which is a prime (non-zoom) lens though, and lacks VR, could do for sports, but I suspect you’re looking for a much cheaper solution! I suggest you keep the 18-55 and get a 55-200VR (as this is the cheapest solution at ~$250-300) if you don’t need to zoom in as much, or the 55-300VR (~$400-450) or 70-300VR (~$600-650).

    • Jen, I agree with Rahul – the 55-300mm would be too “long” for wider shots. Lenses that span wide angles and telephoto are not going to be optically good (such as Nikon 18-200mm) and other lenses are above $1,000. I would say your best bet is to use the kit 18-55mm lens for wide angles and get an additional lens such as Nikon 70-300mm for long range shots.

  14. 39
    ) Jen

    Are there other brand of lens I should also consider? Thanks

    • 40
      ) Rahul

      Tamron & Tokina, as well as Sigma make alternative lenses for Nikon mounts (and Canon as well); Nikkors are considered better than these overall, but they offer some ranges that Nikon does not, such as 150-500 by Sigma for around $1100-1200; Sigma 70-300 OS lens is $550-600 ; the non-OS 70-300 is almost 1/3 of that. Tokina seems to make wide angle lenses, not heard much about telephotos from Tokina. There is Zeiss as well, but they don’t make zooms ( I think ) and the prices are much higher. For Tamron, looks for lenses with VC (vibration correction) in their name/specification, for Sigma, look for OS (optical stabilization) , these are the same thing as Nikon’s VR.

      I guess Nasim would be able to tell more about non-Nikon brand lenses, but he seems to be away doing what he likes best : shooting !!

      Sorry Nasim, I don’t mean to take over your blog ! :)

      • Thank you for your time Rahul, you are helping me out big time!!! And you are not taking over the blog at all, I truly appreciate your time and help.

  15. 48
    ) Asit Ghosh

    I was a photography enthusiast in the early 80′s and have since then an F-3, though I haven’t used it for the last 20 years. Now I wish to start the madness all over again. Recommend me a Nikon Digital SLR (not too expensive)that will give the same feel of an F-3 body.

    • 50
      ) Rahul

      hi
      Do you still have lenses – that’s a big determinant ? If you’re used to film cameras, you’d want a full frame camera over crop sensor ones, as the full frame (FX) will have a familiar field of view. Depending on where you are, prices would vary but a D700 should cost around $2800. I don’t think the same feel will ever be replicated on a DSLR as older SLRs were slimmer.

  16. 49
    ) Arpan

    Nasim,
    Thanks for all of your great comparisons.
    I’m a guy who is waiting for his first D-SLR for long.
    I used few film slr (got it from ancestors) and few digital advanced point and shoot camera before.
    I’m tracking the Nikon D-SLR range from long (since D40 days, and D90 from last 2 years), but never accumulate enough money to buy one.
    Now, as I’ve money to go for it, but confused over what to buy? D3100 or D90?
    From all your posts and the comments, what I found is, D90, with build in AF motor gives greater flexibility on lens and has better monitor resolution and Pentaprism viewfinder and the top LCD info panel is good to have. But it costs few bugs extra. Where as D3100 has higher ISO range (12800 with boost), and similar sensor and controls like D90 with lesser price tag (500 US$ less).
    Now my requirements are:
    My main intent is to learn photography well, very well
    I’m a traveler, mostly visiting Himalayas. So want to capture wide landscapes and also portrait is one of my major interest.
    I really dont want to spend on upgrading the camera body for another semi professional one, rather prefer to buy better lens and accessories in future (atleast in next few years).

    In India the price of the gears are as follows (in Nikon Dealers shop):
    D90 with 18-105 VR kit – 56,000INR (1,250 US$)
    D3100 with 18-55 VR kit – 30,000INR (670 US$)
    D5000 with 18-55 VR kit (still available) – (800 US$)
    So what do you suggest? What body should I go for? with which combination of lenses?
    Thanks & Regards,
    Arpan

    • 51
      ) Rahul

      Landscapes demand wide angle lenses, for portraits it differs , some like the 85mm focal, some like 50mm.
      The D90 is better for manual control over exposure and focus modes and as noted wider lens compatibility. The D3100 will save money for lenses, so it depends how much you can spend on body + lenses. A D3100 + 18-55VR + 35mm f/1.8G = D90+ 18-105VR price approx.

      • 52
        ) Arpan

        Thank you very much Rahul, for your reply.
        I’m confused over that only.
        I can spend money for D90+18-105VR. Will that worth?
        Or should I go for D3100 + 18-55VR + 35mm f/1.8G?
        Probably, for now 18-55VR will cover my Landscape/Panoramic demand and 35mm f/1.8G is good enough for portraits. But in future if I need 10-24 or Tele lens (or any other accessories) will I repent on choosing D3100 over D90?
        Or when I will learn enough will I feel to upgrade it to any other semi pro dslr?
        I know, I’m thinking too much. But after spending several years to accumulate money for it, I really want to think twice. What I really cant do is spend again this much for body.
        BTW, I’m really not looking at the video features of these.
        I’m currently in Bangalore, here Whizz (Nikon DSLR Zone) quote those prices.
        If you are in my situation, what should you buy?
        Hope I’m not nagging too much.
        Thanks for your help…
        Thanks & Regards,
        Arpan

        • 53
          ) Rahul

          hi,

          I have a D90 myself , chosen over D5000 and D3100 mainly because of more manual control, better viewfinder ,AF motor and faster frame rate. The 18-55 is good enough when light is good, in low light you will ask for bigger aperture lenses. You might regret getting D3100 over D90 if you want AF all the time, but if you are happy with manual focus (which is easier for landscapes as they don’t move ! but manual focus for moving objects like children, pets etc – is tough) . Additionally , if you like having more manual control, the D90 is a better tool as it has more direct controls than D3100/5000. I’m not sure about the 10-24 , but I think it is AF-S and will work in D3100.

          I think if you’re enthusiastic about manual photography, you will outgrow the D3100 soon and look to upgrade , the D90 will keep you happy longer – but on the flip side, if you buy a D3100 now you have more money for lenses and, when you do upgrade say a year or two later , you’ll likely have more options (D90 successor and D7000 prices will reduce ,or even D7000 successor be out).

          • 54
            ) Arpan

            Thanks a ton Rahul,
            With your comment, I think, I’m now getting the confidence to align to D90, (my love for which I’m waiting for long).
            Key points from your comment, that I’m considering: better manual control, better viewfinder, AF motor and faster frame rate. (as a whole better manual photography). Also I cant afford to upgrade the camera body in a year or two.
            I hope like US, D90 price should fall down in India too. But I cant see any such trend in last 2 months. So I’ve to pay INR 10-15k extra (US$ 300 almost) for D90+55-105VR kit (@ 56000 INR/1250 US$) :( Thats the only concern.
            Thanks a ton for helping me out…
            Thanks & Regards,
            Arpan Mukherjee

            • 55
              ) Rahul

              I think the US price you’re seeing is body only, check for body+18-105 kit prices, they’re closer when converted for currency , not a $300 difference for body alone. It seems you don’t get body only for D90 in India , everyone seems to have only in 18-105 kits.

            • 56
              ) Arpan

              In B&H the D90 +18-105 VR kit comes in 939 US $ :(, same as few other shops
              Anyway we cant help it :(
              Thanks a lot Rahul…
              Thanks & Regards,
              Arpan Mukherjee

  17. 57
    ) Rahul

    You’re welcome , Arpan. That price is great, US markets get everything cheaper,sometimes a lot cheaper. 35mm 1.8G costs ~50% more here , the D90 battery is almost INR 1000 cheaper on B&H. Good luck with your purchase!

    • Great advices Rahul, thank you!

      • 59
        ) Rahul

        Thanks a lot, Nasim , I hope I can be 1% as much helpful as your articles.

  18. 63
    ) Lloyd Saguid

    Hi sir I have my D5000 few months ago and keep shooting with it to enhance my hobby…. I’m planning to buy a 55-200 lense or external flash. i can’t buy them both at the same time, so i have to choose. which do you think is wiser to buy. your advice will be very much appreciated… thank you
    p.s. i’m more on portrait photos

    • 64
      ) Rahul

      hi,

      A 55-200 and a flash fill very different usage. A 55-200 is more geared for bringing distance objects closer, i.e, magnified view to fill the frame when getting close is not feasible – such as bird/wildlife; a flash for lighting subjects closer to the camera/photographer. This is not to say you can’t use a 55-200 for portraits, but you’d be using only the lower part of the focal range for such use; for it’s price it’s pretty good value for general zoom shots.

      Since you’re interested in doing portraits, flash would be the better choice.

  19. 65
    ) kyachu

    Hi Nasim!

    I am about to buy a good DSLR that would fit me. :) My choices are D5000 and D3100. Before I see your reviews, i’m 90% decided to go for D5000, but upon running through the reviews here, i think I am now considering D3100 more. I am just new to photography, and have a lot of things to know. You mentioned that Nikon has stopped the production for D5000. And that’s one of the things i am considering. I am way way far from being a pro. Can i get your advice? D3100′s price here in the Philippines is not too far from D5000. Any opinion coming from an expert like you is much appreciated. :)

  20. 66
    ) Rahul

    hi,

    If you like the articulating screen of the D5000, get the D5000. Other than that, the D3100 out-specs the D5000 on most counts. The D5000 has a faster shooting rate (4 frames per second over 3 for the D3100, which might matter to you if you shoot sports/action), but the D3100 appears to have somewhat better noise suppression , if you want to shoot in low light/high ISO situations.

    • 67
      ) kyachu

      Hi Rahul, thanks for the response :) i am very much into macro shots. Do you think D3100 would be great for Macro shots? thank you :)

      • 68
        ) Rahul

        The lenses matter more than the camera itself for some kinds of shots, and macro lenses tend to cost more – not to say you can’t get good macro shots without them. Check the minimum focus distance of lenses , usually they are 25cm to 50cm.

        You might want to use live view more to confirm accurate focus instead of the optical viewfinder, here the D5000′s articulated LCD can let you shoot in a more comfortable position in some situations where a fixed LCD forces you into an uncomfortable posture . Both have the same resolution (230k dots), but the D5000′s screen is a bit smaller ( 2.7″ vs 3.0″ for the D3100).

        If you can wait for 2-3 months, there are rumors/expectations that a D5000 replacement model is about to be announced soon, since Nikon has discontinued the D5000. No idea on the price, or if it will have the articulated LCD, but it is pretty likely it will cost more than a D5000 costs today.

  21. 69
    ) Varsha

    Hey Nasim..You have an awesome site here,thanks a lot for all the articles..I am just looking to buy my first DSLR,and obviously have not uch clue about all the jargons of it.My prime aim is to take pictures of my baby and also i do bit of food blogging,but that comes secondary.
    I liked the D3100 under discussion here and amazon seems to have a good deal now
    http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-D3100-Digital-18-55mm-3-5-5-6/dp/B003ZYF3LO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1296248652&sr=8-1

    The kit comes with f/3.5-f/5.6 lens and though not as best as macro,I guess it can be used for shooting food and in future may be I can buy additional lens.But what concerns me is that ,I saw you saying this doesnt have a autofocus system ,and so it will be tough to shoot babies?What does that really mean?I am under a budget and dont really think I can afford pricey lenses..the 50 mm f/1.8 D is kinda cheap in amazon now,but that doesnt fit in this??am confused.Can you please guide me?greatly appreciated!!

    Thanks

    • Varsha, the Nikon D3100 is a great camera for a beginner. The Amazon price is not the cheapest, I would get it from B&H instead: Nikon D3100 + 18-55mm kit. The kit also includes the “Nikon 9793 D-SLR Value Pack” – a free case and some other stuff.

    • On the 50mm f/1.8D lens – it will NOT autofocus with the D3100, so get the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G instead.

      • 72
        ) Varsha

        Thanks for the quick reply Nasim..and for that B&H link too..really helpful..:)

        Do you have any article here on this autofocus/manual focus thingie? because I dont know much about it .I would like to know more about this to justify the purchase of an additional lens ..I am a beginner and was planning to play with the set and included lens before I move forward.I persume you mean to say that,with the lens that comes in the kit its not possible to take good pics of moving objects.right?

        Thanks again a bunch!

        • Varsha, I don’t have an article on specifically why some lenses do not autofocus on entry-level Nikon bodies. Simply put, the entry-level DSLRs like Nikon D3100 do not have an autofocus motor inside the body and they rely on lenses to do that. Many of the older lenses are not equipped with such motor, which is why you would have to manually focus if you were to use them. You certainly do not want to use manual focus on the D3100, because it requires some skill.

          The lens that comes with the D3100 is good for everyday stuff, but not very good for low-light photography. That’s why I recommend the 35mm to be bought together with the kit lens, so that you could use it in those situations. Also, the 35mm lens is a very sharp lens that gives pleasant backgrounds (bokeh).

          • 74
            ) Varsha

            Oh k..I got it Nasim..Thanks for taking time to explain things..I will go to some shop and try it hands on as well to get a feel ..I wonder why Nikon proclaims it an entry level DSLR ,without even the autofocus thing,considering manual focus requires skill..:D
            I will look around your site more and am sure I will learn quite a bit ..:)

  22. 75
    ) Kyachu

    Hi rahul thank for the information ;) ill watch out for that:)

    Hi nasim!!! I admire your passion in photography, beginners like me are very thankful for your site :)

    Rahul was very helpful too… I might consider d3100 now. Will be keeping my eyes on your site ;)

  23. 76
    ) Praveen Kumar

    Hi Guys,
    I had spent more than a hour to go through all your reviews, comments & suggestions. I am new to DSLR world & have a great passion for photography. I am very much serious for entering to DSLR world.
    I am confused b/w D3100 & D90 pricing around INR 31000 & INR 57000 in Delhi (D5000 available at INR36000). After going through all the comments & reviews it seems D3100 in worth to buy but some key features are missing. The main feature I noticed missing here in D3100 is AF motor (does it really makes a lot of diff), had a word with one of my friend using D90 from last more than 2 years. He is also of view of the advantage of AF motor over D3100, also noticed D3100 is not capable of taking goof pics in low light & of moving objects too. I had already ordered my D3100 last week but its available on waiting for 7-10 days here, so I still have the option to take a move to some other model if it genuinely impress me.

    Your honest opinion on this would help me a lot..

    Thanks a lot
    PraveenK

    • 77
      ) Rahul

      Praveen,

      the answers are not quite straightforward. It depends on what you intend to shoot.
      The D3100 is equally good at high ISO, it just has a slower shooting rate of 3 frames/second. The AF motor is required to auto-focus will older lenses (non AF-S lenses). If you have no lenses at all, you would be getting new lenses and new lens models since last few years are always AF-S , so they will work with D3100. There are still some AF lenses that need AF motor in the body, but if you’re willing to learn and use manual focus, that’s moot. Most people do not want to focus manually, however, and with moving subjects/candid photography you may not have the luxury of time to focus manually, but is fine for landscapes and portraits.

      If you’re going to shoot action/low light, consider the D90, D5000, D3100 in that order. If you don’t need fast shooting rates or articulated LCD, D3100 offers the best bang for the buck.

      PS : AF motor doesn’t make much difference if you’re starting new (no old AF lenses) and do not want particular lenses that are not AF-S. For example, 50mm f/1.8D which I use, is cheap but not all older model AF lenses are cheap, so factor in what lenses you will be using then decide if the AF motor is necessary. Which lenses you need depends on what kind of shooting you do. If you’re on a tight budget, chances are you’ll stick to kit lenses only which are AF-S, hence don’t mandate AF motor.

  24. 78
    ) varsha

    I am benefiting a lot from this discussion..thanks all..:)

    I just found a interesting canon combo too..
    Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera with EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Lens (Black) and a Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Camera Lens

    How would you advise me about this?The AF issue doesnt seem to be there with this lens,its cheap..and the pics with it in amazon(http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B00007E7JU/ref=cm_ciu_pdp_images_0?ie=UTF8&index=0) looks amazing..I am tempted..!

    • 82
      ) Rahul

      hi

      the image you listed is from a 40D, which has different AF module.

      The Rebel XSi ( Canon EOS 450D , given the 12 MP resolution) is pretty good too, but it doesn’t have movie option , if that is important to you.

  25. 79
    ) amal

    hi. im going to buy d3100 soon and i hope i’ve made the best decision. i am really a new beginner in this field as my experience with dslr is zero. i know nothing about photography but my interests brings me to decide for the d3100. really hope that nikon will brings colors in my world! :D

    • 81
      ) Swarna Prasad

      amal,

      D3100 is a fantastic camera according to me..Its guide mode will teach you the basics..!!
      Image quality is very good.All the Best!!!

  26. 80
    ) Swarna Prasad

    Dear Nasim,

    I own a D3100.Is it safe to use a old Minolta auto25 flash over it??
    It actually works fine but was worried if it harmed the camera…
    As its not TTL I could shoot upto 4000 th of a second !!!! with this flash.

    Thanks!
    Swarna

    • 83
      ) Rahul

      That was question in my mind too. My guess is, since the external flash uses it’s own power source, and that the hot-shoe is generic ; contacts are proprietary , and different across brands, so I assume it is exactly for manual flash use , else the cameras would come with warnings not to use other brand flash (do they ? I didn’t read the manual completely but I don’t think I came across this kind of warning). I have read of some people using cross-brand flash but no idea about long term usage.

      Anyway I played safe and got an SB600 rather than look for other brand flash.

      • 85
        ) Swarna Prasad

        Rahul,

        A lot of wedding photographers in India use off brand Rs.1000 flash with single hot shoe contact
        on D40 and D90 etc and have been shooting since many years without trouble…I guess its fine:)
        I just wanted Nasim’s view on it. Infact there are no warnings on D3100..It performed fine.

        By the way on D40 i could shoot upto 4000th/sec but on D3100 only 200th/sec with my Minolta auto 25.

  27. 84
    ) Praveen Kumar

    Thanks a lot Rahul , Naseem and all other guys who are sharing their valuable experience & comments here. Finally, My latest crush Nikon DSLR D3100 is in my hands……. Rahul & Naseem, would love to have some photography tips………. Hope I will join ur elite club soon as a ace photographer :-)
    Thanks a lot once again………!!

  28. 86
    ) waverly

    hello sir, i’m also planning to buy the nikon d3100, which i was really convinced so far from reading recommendations but my enthusiasm for this was put on hold when i stumbled upon “varsha’s” inquiry regarding autofocus, since my main interest for buying into dslr is mainly also for baby pictures which i have a hard time with my point and shoot, my question is regarding the lens(18-55mm lens) that comes with the D3100 which is good for everyday stuff- can it autofocus already? or is this still manual focus? do i have to purchase another lens say the 35mm as you have recommended to varsha for it to be autofocus? thanks

    • 87
      ) Rahul

      Yes , the 18-55mm kit lens does auto-focus on any Nikon DSLR. Any AF-S or AF-I lens will auto-focus on any Nikon DSLR, so you can safely buy any camera+kit lens combination, manufacturers do not pair non-compatible lenses in kit bundles.

      Other types of lenses ( AF , AI ) will fit some cameras but will not have full functionality , such as they may not auto-focus or meter and you have to use manual focus / light meter to get the desired focus/exposure.

  29. 88
    ) waverly

    thanks sir for your quick reply! :)

    • 89
      ) Swarna Prasad

      D3100 is a fantastic camera for any occasion, be it family, kids or serious photography.Photography
      in low light is great with this Camera, better than d90 and D300s.Easily one can shoot comfortably
      close to 10,000 iso with less noise !!!!

      Lately I have been experimenting a lot and its an amazing camera.
      In my 25 years of Hobby/professional Photography work, I have not come across a camera like this which is easily affordable with Great Quality photos!!!

  30. 90
    ) Gary

    I enjoy reading your website nad want to play more with the non-scene settings (A P S M)

    I did buy the d5000 in MArch. Even though the 7000 is better and the 3100 i priced closely I can still lead a happy normal life right? and take some good pictures…. and not upgrade yet correct?

    I like what I see so far on the 5000. My first foray into non point and shoot

    Thanks

    • Gary, the Nikon D5000 is a great camera, so don’t worry about upgrading or switching and learn how to use it well instead!

  31. 91
    ) nm

    hi nasim,

    thnx 4 ur reply….just wanted one more comparison between the nikon 3100 and conon 500d…..can u tell me which one is a better option!!!!

    nm

    • 92
      ) Rahul

      Between D3100 and EOS 500D, I’d pick the Nikon. Better usable ISO range, better video and slightly cheaper (at least here). The 500D is one-up only on shooting speed (3.4 fps over the D3100′s 3 fps but it’s not large enough for me at least). I haven’t played around with either, but the D3100′s been getting positive views while the 500D is practically on it’s way out.

      • 93
        ) nm

        thanx so much for your suggestion….i’m definitely going for D3100!!!!

        • 94
          ) rock

          i just brought my nikon d3100 and i also brought af-s nikkor 18-135mm..i found troublesome in using it…it this lense compatible to this type of model???

          • 95
            ) Rahul

            Yes, any AF-S lens will work with D3100. What trouble are you having? Have you checked the position of the AF switch is set to A (auto) and not M ?

            • 96
              ) rock

              i im not happy with the photos that i taken..i think the photos that i taken in my 18-55mm is more clear than the 18-135mm lens that i brought..what is the best setting that i can use in this lens.or should i used auto.or manual focusing?
              thank you very much for your suggestion…

  32. 98
    ) Rahul

    @Rock,

    The 18-135mm lens does not have VR, and I think that may be the cause of your 18-55 VR getting better images. If you shot at longer focal length on the 18-135, that further amplifies the blur cause by camera shake, and lastly, the effect of longer zoom and the quality/quantity of individual lens elements would also play a small role.

    Use auto-focus whenever possible. Manual focus takes longer, so use it when you think auto-focus is not getting the intended focus, or if the lens starts to hunt (attempt to focus repeatedly but not acquire focus ; this happens in very low light or low contrast situations). And VR or not, try to get the camera as stable as possible – use support such as a wall or table to lean against, or a tripod if you have to take long exposures ( pretty useful when more than 1/10 sec but depends how steady you can handhold the camera).

  33. 99
    ) Prasanna

    Hi Nasim,
    I stumbled across your site and it has great information for amateurs like me. I own the Nikon D3100 and have also purchased the new 55-300mm Nikon zoom as I like photographing wild life sometimes. Thanks again for all the info on this site.

  34. 102
    ) tsimpan

    Hi Nasim,

    Since i’m convienced that i will enjoy shooting with both, i have a question for something that is disadvantage for comparison. Seen a video test on 3100 and the autofocus inserts a lot of noise in the audio. For me this is ruining the hole video function while the picture is ok. Do you knowif there is an option to choose video with manual focus in d3100?
    best regs

    • Tsimpan, the AF noise depends on the type of a lens you are using – some lenses are louder than others. If you want to shoot video and record sound with the built-in microphone, your best bet is to manually focus your lens. You can switch to manual focus on the lens or on the D3100 body.

  35. 103
    ) robert

    saw the D5000 today for 579 dollars. Buy it, or pay 649 for a 3100 ? thanks

    • 105
      ) Pat

      Check reply below.

    • Robert, I agree with Pat – the D3100 is a better buy.

  36. 104
    ) Pat

    @Robert,

    There’s a D3100 for $550 here.

    • 106
      ) robert

      Thanks for the tip. My girlfriend picked up the 5000 on her way home and they sold a 55-200 lens for 99 bucks as well. it was at the local Target. Can bring it back no problem though. I guess youre a fan of the 3100 ?

  37. 109
    ) Faizal

    I was given an assignment to take photos of houses with a Nikon D3100 with 18-200 Sigma lens. Wasn’t too happy with the lens, but the camera was simply ‘Smallastic’ (Small and Fantastic!) Having used a D40 before, I have to say I quite miss that light, no-nonsense, point-and-shoot DSLR. I was disappointed with D40x and D60 which weren’t really worthy replacements. To me, I consider the D3100 to be the real replacement of the D40.

  38. 110
    ) Srini

    Yes!!! Thanks to all friends and Rahul & Nasim in particular, i have zeroed in on D3100, but still have my eyes on Sony alpha A55.. Can i get your views pleasee.

    Thanks

  39. 111
    ) Devdatta

    hlo… all

    im new in dslr m confused with the (Canon or Nikon)
    my budget is 40,000 INR my options are Canon eos 500d, eos 550d, Nikon d3100, d5000

    whch 1 is the best….???

    • 112
      ) Rahul

      EOS550D is a little over 40000. My order of preference : D3100 > D5000 > EOS550D > EOS500D
      EOS550D is better for movies but DSLRs on the whole are poor video recorders. The extra resolution is of little practical use, but overall EOS550D is pretty good.
      D5000/D3100 ( both fill roughly the same niche – get the D5000 if the movable screen is useful to you, else get the D3100 ).

      It would be great if you specify what kind of shooting you intend to do, because that decides your lens choices, and Nikon and Canon have slightly dissonant practice when it comes to lenses.

      • 113
        ) Devdatta

        Thank u… Rahul… 4 ur suggetion
        im not intreasted in movies…

        • 115
          ) Rahul

          OK, what do you intend to shoot. Do you intend to purchase other lenses besides the kit lenses ? The lens choice is dependent on that, and quite a few of Nikon’s nice inexpensive lenses don’t auto-focus on D3100 and D5000 which lack in-body AF motor; you then must buy (more expensive) AF-S lenses to get auto-focus.

          But if you’re strict on the budget and are sure you won’t buy any more lenses besides the kit lenses – then it’s not a problem as Nikon kit lenses are all AF-S. Canon’s EF/EF-S mount does not have this compatibility concern, as all these lenses work on all bodies except EF-S won’t work on full-frame Canon DSLRs ( don’t worry about that right now ! )

          • 118
            ) devdatta

            okk thank u so much….
            i’ll go with the kit lense this…

            aftr 4/6 mnts i’ll buy another lense…

  40. 114
    ) cm

    Hello,

    I am interested to buy my first SLR camera. I am planning to learn photography. I was looking Nikon D3100 and i want to know if its worth spending that much one this camera. also where I can find decent price camera. In our local store (costco) Nikon D3100 is for $730. the package include these things:

    Nikon D3100 Camera Body
    AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens
    AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-200mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens
    Camera Case
    4GB SDHC Card
    Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
    Battery Charger
    Camera Strap
    ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
    Nikon School Training Pack
    Fast, Fun & Easy DVD for D3100
    Understanding Digital Photography DVD
    Guide to Digital Photography Booklet

    please let me know if this is worth buying or If I should find some where?

    Thanks in advance for your help :)

    • 116
      ) Rahul

      That does look like a very good offer for $730 ( but I’m thinking in terms of prices as in my country , not US ), the usual body+kit lens costs around $600-650 ( this typically includes everything listed above except the 55-200mm lens, the Fast Fun & Easy DVD, Understanding Digital Photography DVD and Nikon School Training Pack ). But do look around if you can get

      • 119
        ) cm

        Thank you Rahul :)

        I will look at other deals!

  41. 117
    ) noel

    hi! which is better for my nikon d500, a yung-nuo 467 or 560? thanks….

  42. 120
    ) ARUP MUKHERJEE

    Dear Mr. Mansurov,

    I am planning to purchase a digital SLR camera of Nikon . Photography is my hobby but now a days due to work pressure it’s very difficult to carry on with it. I personally handled SLR but I am new to digital SLR . Apart from still photo at times I shoot videos as well. Would request you to kindly suggest an entry level digital slr of nikon . I have gone thru D 3100 details. If the memory is enhanced then will I be able to shoot videos for a longer time.

    Since you are the best judge , i would appreciate your kind suggestion regarding the same.

    Thanks & regards, Arup Mukherjee

    • 122
      ) Rahul

      Video shooting on DSLRs is rather basic, especially for sound capture ; you can’t make much adjusted to exposure, autofocus doesn’t work well. These sensors aren’t designed for video, they skip pixels so you get lower resolution than ideal, and they tend to get hot , so your continous shooting time is also limited by sensor heat , depending on resolution (1080p or 720) and frame rate, your max video length can be 5 min to 20 min, and the 30min/4GB being the limit imposed by the storage’s format, as also some legal reasons to limit video to 30min.

      This doesn’t mean you can’t shoot good video on DSLRs, but you have to work your way around the limitations and some things may not be doable on DSLR video. Anyhow, if you’re keen on doing video, look up the D5000 as it has a articulated screen, or the new Canon EOS 600D which also has an articulated screen and is supposedly better for video capture than D3100 and D5000 as it has more resolution/frame rate options.

  43. 121
    ) Kassandra

    I am new to DSLR but taking tons of classes. I currently own an olympus epl1 “prosumer” camera, but need to go DSLR. I am having a hard time deciding between the 3100 / 5000 or even the newest 7000. Going to start a portrait/newborn/maternity business and want great quality – professional quality images. Video not such a big deal to me…. any thoughts>?!??!?!

    • 123
      ) Rahul

      D7000 , if the price is within your budget, otherwise D3100. Depending on where/what you shoot, lens choice will make greater difference than the camera itself, so you may rather spend a larger proportion on lenses than the body.

  44. 125
    ) Mary Beth

    Hi there,

    I am trying to decide between the D3100 and the D5000. I really the like the swivel screen feature on the D5000, its the one thing really pulling me towards getting it. One thing that concerned me was what you said a while ago, that the D5000 had stopped being produced. Is this still the case? That seems like a very bad sign to me. If that is true, I will probably get the D3100, since it is obviously reliable and I have seen more advertising for it than for the D5000.

    Thanks so much for your help

    MB

  45. 126
    ) Anuj Pandey

    Hi Nasim,

    I have been going through your blog. Fantastic, its like an online tutorial, really nice.

    I have been mulling in between the d3100 and the d90. I used to click about 20 years back, with the Nikon F300, started with the Nikon FM10 and later the Minolta Dyna404si. Have been a fan of manual film cameras. I have been off serious photography for nearly a decade now.

    I did buy myself a cheap Fuji point and shoot, but with manual settings as well. And manually, yes, I have got better results.

    Now I want to get back to active photography, wild life, landscapes and portraits. What do I choose the d3100 or the d90. I read in your blog that d90 is better for manual.

    1. Does the d3100 not give you enough controls on the aperture, shutterspeed and ISO.
    2. Can I not buy the lenses which do not autofocus on the d3100 do manual focussing on them.

    Thanks a lot,
    Anuj Pandey

    • 129
      ) Rahul

      hi,

      the D3100 does have manual controls, but some require to be set through the menu. There is 1 control wheel which controls shutter speed I think , in manual, to set aperture, you have to press exposure compensation , and for ISO you could set the function button. I’m guessing about the buttons – I haven’t played with or read the D3100 manual , but the point is that the D90′s dual control wheels make changing settings easier and faster. You can press a relevant button such as AF-mode or metering mode and use the control wheels to switch them, on the D3100 I think these have to done from the menus only.

      As for lenses, yes you can certainly buy non-AF-S lenses and use manual focus, but manual focus is slower and there will be times when it can end up in missed shots. You have photography experience so you alone can say if your shooting can do with manual focus only or will auto-focus be invaluable.

  46. 130
    ) Kumar

    hlo .. all m new at DSLR willing to buy my 1st DSLR n my options are nikon d3100 & canon 500d
    whch 1 is best??? does d3100 supports all nikkor lense & does 500d supports all canon lenses???

    • 131
      ) Rahul

      Yes, the Canon 500D is compatible with all EF and EF-S lenses, whereas Nikon’s entry level cameras like D3100 and D5000 need AF-S/AF-I lenses to auto-focus. Other Nikkor lenses such as AI and AF will mount, but you would have focus and meter manually.

      • 132
        ) Kumar

        thnks Rahul… BUt whch 1 is best Nikon d3100 or EOS 500d

        • 133
          ) Rahul

          I’d definitely pick the D3100, it has better image quality than the Canon, but loses on lens compatibility. Canon lenses are also usually a bit cheaper.

          • 134
            ) Kumar

            so… ?? whch 1 shld i buy….??

            • 135
              ) Rahul

              If you don’t intend to buy any additional lenses , the Nikon D3100 is the way to go.

            • 139
              ) KUmar

              HEy…. I Bought Nikon d3100 today… 18-55 vr lense kit… n i also bought nikkor 55-200m vr lense

              n its AWSOme….

              Thnks to u….

  47. 141
    ) Praveen Kumar

    Hi Guys,
    Thanks to you all & your expert comments. Its almost two months I bought my Nikon D3100 & I am glad to say that the picture quality is really good & some of my pics were been appreciated by my frnds :).
    I had noticed a flaw in this cam, it is not capable of clicking good pics at a far distance & moving objects too. I am using 18 – 55mm kit which i got with this cam. Should I need to upgrade the lenses? I am planning to visit Corbett this weekend & want to make this trip memorable by clicking some awesome pics but I am little afraid, would I be able to click good images especially of object located at a quite decent distance from me. A tiger moving at a distance of 50- 100 Metres?
    Pls. advise and give your precious tips to make this trip memorable :) :)
    Regards
    PraveenK

    • 143
      ) Rahul

      Now you’ll learn that photography is an expensive hobby ;)

      What’s your budget for a new lens ? To click tigers, you’d want much longer focal length, and wide aperture to go with that if shooting in low light. That is exactly where things get very expensive. Ideally you’d want VR on the lens, but VR makes the lens a lot more expensive.
      There are some affordable long focal zooms , so based on your budget here are your choices.

      55-200 f/4-5.6 G ED – no VR ~INR 10000 ( and is shorter on reach, at 200mm maximum focal length)
      55-300 f/4.5-5.6G ED VR ~ INR 19000
      70-300 f/4-5.6G ~ INR 6000 – this lens has no VR !
      70-300 f/4-5.6G IF-ED VR ~ INR 25000 – this lens has VR

      These lenses will work fine in good light, so if you spot your tiger at dawn/dusk , you’ll likely get poor shots due to the slow shutter speeds, unless the tiger is very still ( and you’d want a tripod for slow shutter speeds , like slower than 1/100sec, more so than VR)

  48. 144
    ) sudha

    Hi Nasim /Rahul

    I have gone through your blog , it is good enough to decide for SLRS. And finally i got D3100 is good to purchase for entry level ppl.
    My requirement is : I want to record my kid when he is playing and would like to take some photographs of him.
    Budget is: 45K

    I heared that D5000 is better than D3100 for recording and lookwise it is tempting :-)
    But, i don’t want to take any risk also. I have noticed that D5000 is discontinued due to the following reason:

    ” In late July 2009 there was a recall due to a problem that was discovered with the camera’s power systems. The flaw would cause the system to cease powering on, both when running on battery or wall outlet power. ”

    I am a bit confused which one to choose. I read your recommendation for varsha. But, please explain me some more info on this whether i can go for:

    1. Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens
    2. Nikon D5000 NIKON Model – 18-55mm VR Kit lens.

    Please provide me whether i need to ad some extra lens also.

    Thanks in advance,
    Sudha

    • 145
      ) Rahul

      hi,

      The D5000 recall is a thing past , if the camera you purchase is manufactured after this recall , it would have no problems, the problem was reported for particular batches and by now, the any remaining D5000s would be 2010 manufactured items. Nikon website also published a range of serial numbers for reference, you can validate the number against the one on the D5000 you intend to purchase , you’ll need to note down the serial number beforehand though :
      http://www.nikon-asia.com/plugins/d5000_verification/index.php?

      The discontinuation of D5000 is not due to this recall, it has been superseded by the D5100, and it falls in your price range. The D3100 is a fine camera, but choose the D5000 or D5100 is you think an articulated/flip screen is useful to you, people who shoot video or macro stills find this feature particularly useful , but it entails the risk of breaking if handled roughly, something to keep in mind with young kids.

      If you are interested in the video capability, pick the D3100 and D5100 , both offer 1080p HD video, the D5000 can do 720p but not 1080 ( again, you can ignore this if you want to keep the file size small and don’t need the full HD 1080p video ). Both the D3100 and D5100 have a little better image quality due to the newer sensor tech , but unless you really dissect the images at 100% , this is not noticeable in prints or in scaled down/down-sampled images. Do keep in mind, that DSLR video is not the optimum solution for video recording, DSLRs have trouble with auto-focus during video capture, and the sound too is not great. You can focus manually , but it’s not something everyone likes/wants to do. Serious video shooters use different audio equipment, but for general use the sound is fine and most people would rather not spend extra for better audio.

      As for additional lenses, if you will shoot indoors, you would likely require faster lenses. First try the kit lens and see if the images resulting from that are fine for you. If too dark or blurry , you need faster lenses. The 35mm f/1.8G DX lens is one that should do well indoors but could have too narrow a field of view for small rooms, in which case you need a wider angle lens. Try the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 if the kit lens does not suffice for indoor shooting.

      Non-Nikon alternatives in similar price range , the Canon EOS 550D and 600D( around INR 37000 and 50000 respectively), the 600D is similar to 550D except for articulated screen and built-in flash commander, so I’d recommend the 550D given the price difference. There is also the EOS 1100D, which has 720p video capability but not 1080p and costs around INR 31000, similar to D3100. The Canon 550D offers 50 and 60 fps video shooting in 720p mode, the Nikons do not.

      Summing up : I would recommend (overall, for stills & video) Nikon D5100 > Canon 550D > Nikon D3100 > Nikon D5000 > Canon 1100D. For stills, Nikons are generally better, while Canon offers some more video options than Nikon.

      • 146
        ) sudha

        Thanks rahul for your clear explanation. Nice blog nasim, it is helping a lot for beginners even. I would prefer NIKON and D5100 is not falling under my budget so I would like to take D3100 itself. I didn’t know that D3100 is offering 1080p HD video. And sure, will plan for wider lens once i tried with kit lens. Thanks once again for the information.

        • 147
          ) Rahul

          The Nikon D5100 MRP is INR 39950, under your stated budget. Street prices should be a little lower, but being just announced, it will take a while for street prices to drop substantially. The bigger problem right now would be availability, it may take a month before it comes into shops.

  49. 148
    ) sudha

    Thanks rahul, i have seen arround 57000 as far as i remember previously.

  50. 149
    ) sudha

    Rahul, I have one doubt, D5100 is just released right. May be if this release also having some flaws then am taking risk again though it is having better image quality than d3100. Wat do u say? Nobody didn’t test this till now :-(

    • 150
      ) Rahul

      hi,

      There is a difference between design defect and manufacturing defect , and the story about the D5000 is that of manufacturing defect, which is why some batches were affected, not all D5000s ever produced. Similar defects happen in batches of other products, be it cars or cellphones or cameras. In such cases, defects are fixed under warranty ( as long as it’s not a grey market purchase) once a size-able number of similar complaints are reported.

      So if you’re thinking of not buying the D5100 expecting it’s a new product and could have defects, it’s not the case. Design defects are rare, and manufacturing defects could occur even in old products which are in production for a while, such as the D3100 or D90. By all means, go ahead with the D5100, go with the D3100 if you want something smaller/lighter/cheaper, and want to put some of budget aside for lenses, though the price difference is around INR 7-8000, which can only buy the 50mm f/1.8D ( and that will not auto-focus on D3100/D5100) so you will have to set aside some more for additional AF-S lenses.

    • 151
      ) Rahul

      Nikon India’s MRP is 39950 for the D5100.
      http://www.nikon.co.in/productitem.php?pid=1423-f4320ceaf9

      Street prices will not significantly lower right now, it takes a few months before there is significant difference between the street prices and MRP. Also, it may not be in stock is most places right now, as it’s been less than month since the D5100 announcement. Keep checking online and local stores for availability and pricing , such as JJ Mehta and SmartShoppers.

      You can purchase from these Indian online stores, or perhaps B & H and Adorama which would help Nasim too ! I don’t know if they will ship to India though, and there may be additional charges are levied by the customs/local government.

      Online is not necessarily cheaper – some brick & mortar stores do sell cheaper than online , so look around in your city ! I prefer not having such expensive and breakable goods trusted in the often careless hands of courier/logistics services , so I don’t buy such things online but that’s your decision.

  51. 152
    ) Ahmed

    hi i m using nikond3100 sometime it gives me a good quality picture and sometime not
    and i m noticing from past few day that on 100 iso i m getting noise and grain
    help me to solve this problem

  52. 153
    ) billy reyes

    I got the D3100 and I love it!

  53. 154
    ) shaii

    pwede po kayang gamitin ung charger ng d3100 kahit ung batt mo eh pang d5000? parehas ba sila ng charger nawanakaw kasi charger namen ee X(

  54. 155
    ) Bob

    Since when is a smaller sensor with MORE megapixels a better sensor? Haha The D5000 actually has better image quality with it’s bigger sensor. It also has more pro-like features. The D3100 has a slightly brighter viewfinder and better video capabilities but other than that I don’t see any advantages it has. I’d go with the D5000. We should all know by now that more megapixels does not equal better quality.

  55. 156
    ) Kay

    Hi,
    I’ve been researching on these two DSLR’s for a while now. I had decided to go with the Nikon D3100 since it was cheaper and more light weight. The light weight part is an important factor to me. I had asked my dad to help me get one but he ended up getting the D5000 as he said it has better/more features. I found before that the D3100 had newer technology and helpful beginner guides. This is going to be my first DSLR. Do you think it’s worth it to trade up the D5000 for a D3100 because of 105grams? (And the other features of course). I found myself doing lots of landscape and closeup photography with my point and shoot camera.
    Please give me your feedback, much appreciated! :)

    • 157
      ) Rahul

      Yes, I see no real advantage in a D5000 over D3100 except for the swiveling LCD.

      The D5000 too has a beginner/guide mode , along with some more features absent on the D3100 such as exposure bracketing and DOF preview, the D5000 also shoots faster at 4fps vs 3fps, has some more settings such for noise reduction and ADR while the D3100 has just on/off .

      All in all, the D5000 is a slightly higher class of camera with more features, but not everyone has a use for those features. It boils down to what you need more – an LCD screen that swivels or better image quality. The D3100 has a better sensor and viewfinder, and offers more movie fps options in 720p and shoots 1080p, whereas the D5000 only does 720p at 24fps. Looking at your post, it seems movies don’t interest you. For landscape and especially macro, the lens is the key factor and both have the same compatibility list.

  56. 158
    ) planning to buy

    hi im planning to buy slr camera which camera will you recommend?d3100 or d500. i already red the forum but still i want other opinion from you guys.. thank in advance..

    • 159
      ) Manish

      Go for the upgraded D5100

  57. 160
    ) keshav

    Thanks guys,specially Rahul and Nasim.I was making a mistake by opting for Nikon D5000 but I am more prone to D3100 now.
    I have zeroed down to NikonD 3100 with 18-55mm NIKKOR VR lens kit, whats the current rate in US shops (not online, I believe they should be a bit cheap in stores.)
    Additionally I also want to purchase a lens which should be multipurpose but I am confused as I do not have much budget for a brand like Nikon then. I dont know why but I am very attracted towards Tamron lenses.They are looking a bit cheap.
    Is there any Tamron lens or any other brand which can offer a wide range of zoom and different purpose, like telephoto and wide angle in a single lens.My budget is maxm upto 300USD.I know I am asking something very impossible but whats a best deal in this budge for lens-USD 300.

    • 161
      ) Rahul

      If by multipurpose you mean wide zoom range, then for $300 your practically have no one-lens-for-all-needs. The closest you get is around is still $500-600 for 18-250 or 18-270 lenses from Sigma and Tamron, the Nikkor 18-200 is much more expensive around $900-1000.
      For upto $300 you can get non-VR 70-300 or 55-250VR , stretch a bit more and you can get the 55-300VR. Tamron and Sigma also have 70-300 lenses in that range but I think the VR ones are more more than $300.

  58. 162
    ) keshav

    Thanks Rahul.
    What about SIGMA 50-200mm f/4-5.6 DC OS HSM lens. I think term VR is for Nikkor lens, and Sigma uses OS (optical stabilization) for the same.
    On internet, it is showing around USD150 in Us.

    • 163
      ) Rahul

      So the Sigma 50-200 OS is that cheap ? Surprising. You can go ahead with it, but I suspect it’s an older lens and doesn’t use some of better glass/coatings. One thing I often hear about Sigma is their quality varies widely even within the same lens.

  59. 164
    ) EldeonROSE

    This has been really helpful thanks :) Finally decided that ill be getting a 3100 :)

  60. 167
    ) E-Lusion

    Hello, guys. I’ve just purchased this camera (d3100) and I can highly recommend to buy it if this is your max. budget. The camera has GREAT picture quality. I was (as everyone) between d3100 and d5000. The reason I’d chosen d3100 is the 14.2 megapixels and the new processor. In my opinion don’t take as an advantage the HD video. If you want good video capture buy a camdorder! The only thing you should know that d3100 does NOT have – comparing with the d5000 – is the bracketing feature (which is no matter for me as you can make it manually with EV changes).

    To summarise: Fantastic pictures, even you are a beginner, great price, new technology! I think this purchase has no risk at all!!

  61. 168
    ) mark anthony

    Very nice and detailed comparison. thank you very much. Now I have an idea and decided to buy Nikon D3100.

  62. 169
    ) Mike Group

    I have a D3100 and a D5K. I beg to differ on your opinion of the D5K’s swivel screen. When shooting in a crowd necessitaes overhead photos or when a low angle is much more in line with your objectives I’ve got the D5K as my working camera. That swivel screen is a biggie for me! But to be quite honest I’m largely an outdoor photographer though. In most situations I prefer using the veiwfinder on a DSLR. The D5K’s screen is easily “swiveled & reversed” back out of the way. “I like that!”..Don’t get me wrong. I love the little D3100, But in the situations as described above, I’ll have that D5K in my hands.

  63. 170
    ) suranga tennakoon

    thank you for giving advice about between D3100 & D5000

  64. 171
    ) suranga tennakoon

    thank you for giving advice about between D3100 & D5000 cameras

  65. 172
    ) Marek

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for your comparison. I am however not sure, what are the main point to support your conclusion. You enumerate bracketing and 4 fps as advantages of D5000 and better high iso performance as an advantage of D3100 (I am leaving movies function aside). Besides, you do not think that resolution difference nor articulated LCD display are important factors. So what do you actually mean when you write that “in every other way, it [D3100] is clearly superior than the D5000″. I am asking this question because I am having hard time deciding which one to buy (for photography rather than recording movies) and would appreciate a comment.

    Kind regards.

  66. 173
    ) Lumelino

    Hi Nasim,
    I’ve just bought a D3100, is it possible for you to tell me where i can get basic tutorials for beginners on how to get nice and clear shots please?
    Thanks

  67. 174
    ) Neal

    Ok Nasim, I found a deal on a d5000 (refurbed) for under 400 for the body only, and I can get the 3100 for about 510, body only. I am on a budget (student) and that hundred could go towards a better lens?

    If you could get the D5000 for a hundred less would you maybe change your recomendation of the 3100?

    Obviously i would like the d5100 or even a d90, but the prices are just too much for me to justify.

    Thanks

  68. 175
    ) ashwani parik

    hi,
    i’ have nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lense…but i want a high zoom lense so wat u suggest
    would i take nikon 55-300mm,or tamron 18 to 270mm and i m very much contegent about clearlty of picture ….plzzzzzzzzz help….

  69. 175
    ) ashwani parik

    hi,
    i’ have nikon D3100 with 18-55mm lense…but i want a high zoom lense so wat u suggest
    would i take nikon 55-300mm,or tamron 18 to 270mm and i m very much contegent about clearlty of picture ….plzzzzzzzzz help….

  70. 177
    ) Brittany

    Hi. I am wondering if I should go with the nikon d5100 or the d3100. I am a beginner and have never owned a dslr camera. I basically wanna take photos of my 3 year old..so, whats the best quality image for these kinda photos…if I wanted to start a business doing portraits and such of people? please help as I have no idea, I’d buy the bundle that comes with the 18-55mm VR Lens just to begin with, would that lense suffice for now until i can upgrade to another lense? whats the best lens for closeups of people, flowers..etc?

  71. 178
    ) zoe

    Will the Nikon 35mm f/1.8G auto focus with the D3100? If anyone could help I would really appreciate it.

  72. 179
    ) Sohini

    kindly let me know that for much will i get Nikon D3100 in dubai. i mplanning to visit dubai shortly.
    kindly let me know the exact price.

    • Why are you asking me, how should I know? This is not a gear-selling website in Dubai.

  73. 182
    ) Kelvin

    is it still advisable to buy D3100 in this time of the year??
    wanna buy my 1st Dslr

    thx

  74. 183
    ) Lkr

    In your expert opinion if you found a manufacturer refurbished d5000 that includes the 18-55 mm lens and a 1 year warranty priced at $450.00 would you buy that or a gently used d3100 privately sold so no warranty also with the 18-55 mm lens prices running between $450.00 to over $500.00

    I am buying because I enjoy taking photos and scrap booking as a hobby only and my point and shoot does not cut it now that I have kids. I want something that takes photos quicker as my babies don’t hold still as you can imagine.

    I have been looking at various cameras for over a month now initially looking at the Canon models but reviews seem to show Nikon as more favorable so I just started the last week watching their prices.

    Your comments would greatly be appreciated.
    Thanks

  75. 184
    ) Celine

    hi, im planning to buy a camera, and im going to take photography courses next year. im in grade 8, and i would like to know which would be better; Canon EOS Rebel T2i or Nikon D3100?

  76. 185
    ) jhun

    i Nasim,

    I hope you will be the one who can respond to this personally. I would like to get your opinion about the camera set up that I would like to get.
    I only require at least 2 lenses, I’m on tight budget and just wanted a camera for hobby and past time as well as cut down the expenses.

    I went through all the pages of your website and the pictures were great specially the panorama and portrait. As a whole all shots were great.

    I’d like to shoot, Landscape,panorama,macro, portrait,events and moving objects (including children playing, waterfalls,birds,etc anything that is moving as long as the scene is beautiful)

    Please provide me your opinion or thoughts about the following below choices. All of these are cheap :D. For the gadget I require ZOOM lens and portrait.

    Body: D3100

    Choice of Lens most of them were cheap. :D
    NOTE: “I’m not going to buy all these four lens just 2 out of 4 or probably an all in one lens.”

    AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G

    AF-S DX NIKKOR-55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

    AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED

    AF-S DX Micro-NIKKOR 40mm f/2.8G

    Filters/Density

    And can you make a sample shot for all 4 lenses using d3100. LOL, I’m quite demanding though hahaha but only if you have time to do so or if you really wanted too ^_^….

    You’ve stated in one of your post that “It is not about the camera or lens but how creative are we using these gadgets.”

    Your inputs is greatly appreciated. LOVE YOUR BLOG :)

    Thanks

    • 186
      ) jhun

      P.S. I’m also considering going for D90 which is a Semi-Pro camera but it cost twice than the d3100. Though it has autofucos motor on it unlike the D3100.

      However, AF-S lenses has autofocus motor on it, which is not a big deal? Is It? or what is it in your own opinion? Is it better to have autofocus on the body or what? Just a thought though.

      Just a beginner here, I’m starting to like and getting interetsted into photography for a hobby :)

  77. 187
    ) ram

    Every body going for Nikon or canon. No body owns Sony or used Sony. If i buy D3100, then should i use lens with motor to make it a good for decent shots

  78. 188
    ) Ali

    All you fools, there are three categories in DSLR, 1)Entry level 2) Semi Pro and 3) Pro.
    More or less all are similar in their respective categories the only thing is the lens which make real difference.
    choose your category than buy best lense as u can afford.

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