Nikon D3100 DSLR: Review – First Impressions

For many years I have been using a Nikon F60 35mm camera getting some great results in my amateur hands. Late last year I decided to upgrade and get a DSLR, and after trawling the internet for hours decided to stick with Nikon and purchased the D3100 18-55mm VR kit.

The main reason for getting a new camera was for a family holiday to Disney World over Christmas, I did have access to my wife’s compact digital but wanted something better for capturing those special moments. I ordered a new SD card via the internet but due to the weather it didn’t arrive before we left, so I made do with a 4GB class4 I already had.

First impressions of the D3100 is how light and compact it is, the body is made from plastic but still feels sturdy enough. First thing I had to do was charge the battery with the supplied charger. This is a rather neat piece of equipment that is quite compact ideal for traveling.

When I first started to use the camera I had it set on auto mode, and found the shots to be of a good standard. The LCD screen on the back is a nice size to allow you to look at what you have just shot, even in bright sunlight. Even though I could have done with a better SD card, I didn’t come across any problems with the one I was using.

Night time shots were quite good, but I found the camera produced better quality images without the flash. This becomes more apparent when I was taking shots of the Disney lights and fireworks. Being just an amateur the D3100 has a great in-built guide which gives you tips for taking the perfect shots.

I used the video mode a couple of times, and all though not as good as a dedicated camcorder for short clips, it was more than capable. One thing I am considering in the future is to purchase a bigger lens, for those further away shots the 18-55mm lens couldn’t quite zoom in enough.

The D3100 is ideal for me personally as I will be mainly using it for family holidays and outings. Whether it will fill the needs of the more professional user is another matter, but it is an entry level DSLR and for the beginner will be an ideal choice.

Key Features

  • ViewNX 2 software – Your imaging toolbox
  • Long-lasting lithium-ion battery
  • Date imprint
  • Convenient playback – Find images instantly by date
  • Image playback with transitions
  • Nikon Integrated Dust Reduction System
  • Rangefinder – Quick and easy focusing
  • New shutter mechanism – Quiet shooting, even with Live View
  • Easy-to-view finder
  • Eye-Fi support
  • Continuous 3 fps shooting
  • Nikon’s original VR system
  • High-performance NIKKOR lenses
  • Ample image and movie editing functions
  • Scene Recognition System
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Advanced white balance control
  • 11-point AF system
  • AF-area modes for live view and movies
  • D-Movie – Breathtaking full HD 1080p movies
  • Scene Auto Selector and Scene Modes
  • Picture Control
  • Active D-Lighting
  • ISO sensitivity 100-3200
  • EXPEED 2 – Nikon’s new image processing engine
  • 14.2 effective megapixel CMOS image sensor
  • Click here for the full D3100 specifications

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Written by Gary Johnson

Gary has a background in engineering and passion for motorcycles, gadgets, and home cinema. In his early years, his obsession for Hi-Fi technology would see him creating the perfect setup with a good ear for sound quality. While Gary is keen to write about most topics that PR covers, his love for phones finds him reporting a lot of news about applications for iPhone, Android, and other popular operating systems

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