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4.7 out of 5 stars415
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 14 December 2010
Having been away from 'proper cameras' for the best part of 10 years I decided to venture into the world of DSLR's. My Dad and Brother had both bought Nikon D40s last year and I was impressed with their results, so I had already decided on a Nikon. I spent a couple of months weighing up whether to buy the D40's replacement, the D3000 or blow my budget and buy the new D3100. In the end, after reading lots of reviews and a slight drop in price I went for the D3100. I made the right choice!!!

The updated guide mode (improved from the D3000) makes taking superb pictures simple, even for a novice such as me. Picture's are superb, warm and clear, and I am thoughly pleased with the results. Live view is a good addition if setting up group shots on a tripod to then be taken on the self timer, but for all other shots I've found the viewfinder to be much better and quicker at focusing.

The bonus for me was also the inclusion of full HD video (which can only be used in Live view mode). I had read reports that the video was a bit shakey or wobbily, and that the video record button was in an awkward place, but I've got to say that I have found video to be fine taking 'normal videos' (I have never felt the need to shake the camera vilently from side to side to make the film shakey whilst filming; as shown on some video reviews I had seen - to prove that video was shakey?). As for the record button being in an awkward place... I've found it to be fine. In fact, no different to most compact camera's (with video) that I've owned.

This camera is everything that I had hoped for, and a little bit more. I probably wont buy another 'proper camera' for quite a few years and so I wanted something that would not only last, but would help me rediscover photography and allow me to grow. If you are a novice and/ or, returning to photography after a considerable time away, then I would highly recommend the Nikon D3100.
1010 comments925 of 949 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I have owned and used a number of Nikon digital SLR's. My first was a D50, then D80, D200 and more recently the D300. All great cameras and the D300 is amazingly good. But like all digital SLR's they are only as good as the sensor (chip) inside. For example, the 1999 D1 is better built than any modern consumer SLR but effectively useless due to the relatively poor pictures it takes.

The big change recently for Nikon was the switch to CMOS sensors from their previous Sony CCD sensors. CMOS is what Canon's have used for the last 10 years and offer a marked improvement in low light photography and power consumption. The D300 can take ISO 6400 pictures that will print out just fine. To put that in perspective that is a photo taken by candle light, hand held at 1/20 second.

Q: So why buy the D3100 then?
A: Because it has the latest sensor inside.

It is 90% of the Nikon D300 for less than half of the cost. It is also about half the size and weight. I am not a professional photographer and being able to carry a camera more often means I take more photos. The D3100 and 35mm DX lens I purchased fit in a large coat pocket. The D300 requires a strong bag and a stronger neck.

The D3100 is fast to use, has great autofocus and metering and takes photos in low light that embarrass the previous generation of Digital SLR's. It can also be used by anyone who can point and shoot. Sure, it cannot use old AF lenses or manual focus lenses but to be honest that is not a great problem. The bundled 18-55mm VR lens is light and sharp and if you spend another £150 and buy Nikon AF-S DX 35mm f1.8G you can take photos by moonlight hand-held.

The movie mode is also a big plus. You need to focus manually when using it but the results are film like rather than camcorder like. That is to say that things that are out of focus are REALLY out of focus. This is nice for videoing people as they are separate from their background. Don't buy this to be a camcorder replacement but if you want to shoot a short film you can do worse than this.

The construction is a bit plasticky and it is a shame that the LCD is not the 920,000 dot one from the D300 but really does it matter? These cameras are by their very nature disposable. In 4 or 5 years time the next generation will be even better but as of 2010 the D3100 has the best sensor at the best price.

[Update - August 2011]
I have been using this camera for nearly a year now. It has been on the beach, at kids parties, thrown in a rucksack and used for hundreds and hundreds of pictures and video. Yes, lots of video. Once you get used to the focus being more manual than on a video camera it is possible to get great results. For example, my son's birthday party indoors in dim light. I videoed the cake being brought out with the candles lit. Because the camera is so good at high ISO levels I got a much better result than my Canon DV camera - and got a still shot at the same time.
88 comments483 of 500 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 March 2013
I decided it was time to upgrade from my ancient D60 to a newer camera. After much research, this one was my choice.

What I wanted?

I am a member of a local camera club. I love taking photos but, lack the time to improve my skills. I needed a camera that would give me the scope to improve my skills. This one goes one better and with it's guide mode, helps me to learn the right choices to make when deciding on manual settings. I wanted a camera with a more extensive range of manual settings than my D60. I wanted a camera that would take great pictures. I wanted a camera that would perform well in all sorts of conditions and at taking different types of photos. I wanted Live View. For occasional use, I wanted the ability to record HD video. I wanted a camera that I could just stick on auto and that would still take great pictures, if I couldn't be bothered or didn't have the time to think about settings.

What I didn't want?

I didn't need a really high resolution as I would rarely want to print larger than A4. I didn't want that latest model - just one that met my requirements. I didn't want a camera that was too large as I only have small hands.and I wanted to be happy carrying it around everywhere with me.

And most importantly, I didn't want to spend lots of money - I wanted to choose / buy my own zoom lens and I was working to a budget of less than £500.00 for both. I purchased this camera (body only) and a Tamron zoom lens with macro functionality. My spend came in at around £423.00 for both. Bargain!!!
0Comment8 of 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon 3 July 2012
I m useless as far as pictures and cameras are concerned.. I ve been using a bridge camera for the past 8 years, and still, could barely find my way around it .. So why on Earth did I decide to jump the gun and buy a DSLR ?
Well, Lay your hand on a Nikon D3100... and you will instantly understand why

I always thought that DSLR were tricky, complicated hard to use cameras.. The sort of cameras that requires a Master or a PhD to be able to find your way through it..

all I can tell you is that, the Nikon D3100 is the complete opposite.. Thanks to its Guide Mode, even if you don t have much of a clue about photos, aperture, shutter speed etc.... you can find your way through it.. the Guide mode, really guides you to help you achieve the sort of picture you like. I have bought mine with its usual VR Nikkor 18 - 55 lens, and I can t stop using it..
Serious, if you re like me, new to the DSLR world, this is REALLY the camera to get.. It won t ruin you, it is easy to use, and the picture quality is stagering.. I never thought that there would be such difference in picture quality between a Bridge [had a fuji hs20 exr]... and a DSLR, even an entry level DSLR. but I m just gob smacked when i look at the quality of the shots i ve been taking since I bought it.

Also, something that is a big help for people like me who jumps from bridge to DSLR is Digitutor Nikon online course about the D3100.. It is a sere of "watch and learn" manuals in movie form, and it is available from the following website


In a word.. I love that camera...
0Comment6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 19 August 2013
I purchased this camera for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because I've wanted an SLR for a while now and wanted to get into amateur photography. Secondly, every time I go on holiday I always wish I had something better than a point and shoot to capture images. Lastly, because I required a decent camera to take pictures at my brother's wedding.

I chose the D3100 over the D3200 because I didn't feel the need to spend extra for more megapixels and perhaps slightly enhanced features and spec because I was after a beginner SLR after all. The spec of the D3100 was more then enough in my opinion and it was also cheaper than the D3200.

For somebody that has never used a DSLR before, the D3100 was easier to use than what I thought it would be. I used the camera in AUTO mode to start off with. I shot all of my brother's wedding photos in Auto and I've had so many comments from people stating how great the clarity of the images were.

The camera has the capability to offer so much more in Manual modes, so I've spent a lot of time watching YouTube videos teaching myself how to use the camera in Manual modes. It is daunting and I am learning something new everyday. I now use the camera in a mixture of Auto and Manual so I can get to grips with the camera's capabilities and learn more about photography.

The camera has the added feature of a Guide to assist you in learning the camera and taking certain type of shots, which I think is very handy.

The D3100 is by no means the best DSLR out there but it's miles better than a point and shoot and worth the extra investment in my opinion. I'm already looking to purchase a D7000 and better lenses and I've only had the camera a few weeks.

Loving my new camera and new found hobby :-)
11 comment5 of 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 October 2011
After looking at possibly hundreds of reviews for cameras I settled on this one, despite it being slightly more expensive than other entry models at the time, and I have to say it was the right decision. This is my first DSLR but I am by no means a beginner having used many other cameras and particularly bridge cameras until now.

1) Picture Quality
This really is very good, especially with the 'Active D Lighting' which can really brighten and enhance some shots. I have taken many photos with this camera and have not been disappointed by them at all, although I think the kit lens sometimes let's the side down, it has some distortion round the edges. Furthermore I have a friend with a Canon 500D and we both think the Nikon seems to take better photos.

2) Low light
The camera generally performs well in these areas although you will see noise on anything at 800 ISO and above. 800 is generally ok though and at 1600 it is more noticeable, particularly when blown up.

3) Build Quality and handling
Overall the camera seems well built, although some might think it a bit plasticy, but for me it is fine. The camera itself is actually quite small for a DSLR and those with bigger hands may find the grip not as comfortable, but it's not a major issue.

4) Battery life
This is the only thing that seems to let the side down. Quite often I have turned it on to check and it has full power but within 30 mins of use it falls right down. While this is clearly a drawback I would recommend just making sure you always charge the battery before going out, which isn't really much of a hassle

5) HD video
Not really used this feature as its not what I bought the camera for but a brief test did seem to produce good results, however the lens isn't silent so can be heard if you use autofocus.

Overall this really is a very good camera for the money, and I can see that the Guide Mode would be very useful to those who are new to DSLRs. Therefore I recommend it to anyone considering it as it has all things I think an entry level camera should.
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on 30 October 2010
After reading many reviews and comparisons with Canon, Sony etc I decided to jump in and buy this camera. First of all to clear the below complaints a lot of the answers can be found if you read the manual! Lets face it this is a DSLR, the full HD video is a nice to have and by no means the main reason why you buy a DSLR. You have to understand the settings which are very straight forward even without reading the manual (if you have prior digital camera experience)
Build: solid and really comfortable to hold, I haven't found any wrongs in the ergonomics of this camera and the buttons are where they are meant to be
Menu/Navigation: navigation flows and options are easy to find and change
This maybe a entry level camera but it certainly packs a punch in terms of functionality and quality photos, my personal advice - don't read to many reviews else you will go round in circles! Read the professional reviews on which camera etc and make your decision. I am 100% content with my choice.
33 comments312 of 337 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
I bought the D3100 after seeing how much sharper and more vibrant the pictures are (especially if they are bigger than 6x4) from a DSLR. I had been put off a DSLR in the past by the apparent complexity, and, the feeling that I might miss the "perfect shot" after seeing another novice photographer struggle with one on safari.

This Nikon camera is, in my view, the perfect entry level DSLR which delivers quality pictures and offers scope for creativity as you develop your technique. I take the majority of shots in "Automatic Mode" which delivers good quality pictures in almost any situation. However, the D3100 also has a "Guide Mode" which effectively walks you through set up and shooting which is very helpful in helping you understand the camera and build confidence. Naturally, it has numerous other options such as shutter/apeture priority etc.

The camera feels robust and is comfortable to hold being significantly lighter than my girlfriend's Nikon D90. The controls all seem logically laid out and the camera has both a high quality LCD screen and viewfinder. Video can only be taken using the "Live View" LCD screen but the quality (being full HD) is good plus you can zoom etc. during video recording. Battery life is also good - I am quite trigger happy and find the battery lasts a full day (a spare genuine Nikon battery is around £40 with generic versions around half that). There are also a good range of connectivity options including mini HDMI/USB etc. although, curiously, the camera does not come with a mini USB lead which I think is a useful extra. The supplied Nikon album/photo editing software is of very high quality, although, it does not have the pedigree of Adobe Photoshop Elements.

A few other things I'd mention (which probably betrays my novice photographer status further)-

- Think carefully about whether you buy the camera with the kit lens or body only. I bought the kit and love the standard 18-55mm lens which is fine in most situations. However, I also bought the Nikon 55-300mm zoom lens which is useful for wildlife. With this combination you have to be prepared to carry and change lenses in the field but the zoom is almost as powerful as my previous superzoom camera. The VR (Vibration Reduction)in both lenses is very effective. My father who also bought a D3100 took a different approach - he bought the body only and a 18-270mm third party lens which gives a effective wide angle/zoom performance without the need to change lenses.

- You may be used to a 16:9 picture aspect ratio if you have a compact or superzoom camera and have set it that way for your TV or digital photo frame. Remember, with DSLRs there is no 16:9 (widescreen) picture setting as such. I understand all SLRs display their pictures in a conventional aspect ratio.

- You may want to buy a clear plastic LCD screen protector for the D3100 - I bought the Lexerd one through Amazon which is excellent.

- The D3100 does not (in my understanding), have an IR eye for the Nikon IR remote shutter release but there are other options plus the camera has the usual timer function built in.

- The battery charger is unusual in that it fits directly into the mains socket - there is no lead to the charger. I mention this because you need space either side of the charger, something that might be limited in, say, an extension socket block.

The D3100 has been very well reviewed by the photographic press. In summary, the camera is well built, easy to use, produces quality output, and, has scope for most novice photographers to grow into. I would, on the basis of my experience, highly recommend it.
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on 4 February 2011
I decided to upgrade/replace my Nikon D40, which has served me very well over the last three years. I was looking at the D90 and had the opportunity to try out a friend's. Given the difference between what I paid for the D40 and the cost of a D90, the difference in what I could achieve with the two cameras did not seem to me enough to justify the higher cost of the D90. Add to that the likelihood that the D90 will be updated and replaced by Nikon this year, or the possibility that it already has been by the new D7000, I decided against it. The D7000 was within my price range, but in the end I decided that I could do everything I want with Nikon's most up to date entry level dslr and the few extra lens I already have. Thus, I bought the D3100 and I am impressed. But, I hear you ask, is the D3100 really an upgrade from the D40, which was itself an extremely good entry level dslr? My answer is yes. The D3100 does everything that the D40 could do, and it does it all that little bit better. This is most pronounced in its far better handling of contrasty light, with its greater range of white balance, etc. settings and the Active D Lighting function. See Ken Rockwell on the importance of Nikon's Active D Lighting innovation (which he calls Adaptive Dynamic Range and categorizes Nikon cameras as either Generation One or Generation Two in terms of digital technological advancement' according to whether they have ADR or not). The D40's less than satisfactory performance with shadow and light contrasts was my only issue with what is otherwise a very good camera. The D3100 has solved this for me. it's a great camera for a beginner in dlsr photography, as I was with my D40, with its Guide mode, which the D40 did not have, and it is proving to be great for me as my knowledge and technique develop. Some reviews I have read online criticize the absence of depth of field preview, but I can manage fine without it. The D3100 is about 600 pounds cheaper than the D7000 and between the two I chose the cheaper and spent some of what I saved on the Nikon 55-200 zoom and put the rest in the kitty for the wide angle lens I want next. The D7000 and what will come after it? Maybe in a few years time, but for now I am more than happy with my new D3100!
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on 11 August 2012
Just purchased this the other day from a High Street Store not Amazon. I'm New to the world of DSLR's and am learning as I go along. So far the picture results speak for themselves, this camera takes fantastic pictures even on auto or guide mode. I'm still learning about all the manual modes etc. so will report more when I get more experienced.

First impressions:
*Well put together
*Guide mode is handy for Newbies ;)
*Takes fantastic photos
*Decent price as the new D3200 has been released and brought prices down.

I would so far recommend this to those looking for their first DSLR and to learn proper photography with before upgrading.

More to follow...
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