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Left side view, Nikon D3100. .

Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Double-Zoom Lens Kit with 18-55mm and 55-200mm DX Zoom Lenses (Black) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

$216.58


[click the image above for a high-res image of the Nikon D3100]

While burst speed is unchanged from the D3000, the combination of a new image sensor and image processor has brought an increase in sensitivity for the D3100, which offers ISO sensitivities from 100 to 3,200 equivalents in 1 EV steps, with the ability to increase this to ISO 6,400 equivalent using the Hi-1 setting, or ISO 12,800 equivalent with the Hi-2 position. The Nikon D3100 can shoot image bursts at three frames per second. Just like the D3000, the Nikon D3100 can shoot not only JPEG or .NEF RAW image files, but can also simultaneously record each image in both formats. Three JPEG compression levels are available, although only the highest quality Fine compression level is available when shooting in RAW+JPEG mode.

The Nikon D3100's movies are captured using MPEG-4 AVCHD / H.264 compression, with the file format being .MOV. Each video clip has a maximum length of ten minutes, and the Nikon D3100 does provide for basic in-camera editing of videos, with the ability to trim unwanted content from both the start and end of each clip. The Nikon D3100's internal microphone is monaural, and with no external microphone connectivity, there's again no way to capture stereo audio without swapping the audio for that from an external device in post processing. Movie capture is started and stopped with a new dedicated Movie Shutter button, located in the center of the Live View switch on the rear panel.

[click the image above for a high-res image of the Nikon D3100]

Nikon D3100 at ISO 1,600

Nikon D3000 at ISO 1,600

Despite its rise in megapixel size, the Nikon D3100 does considerably better at ISO 1,600 than its predecessor, the D3000. Shadow detail is comparatively smooth. The key is the reduced noise from the sensor, enhanced by a better approach to noise suppression as well. I'd call the D3000's effort to retain detail in the red leaf swatch superior, though; a tradeoff I'd accept for better detail and less noise overall in the Nikon D3100's files.

Other functions and features new to the Nikon D3100 SLDR Camera

While burst speed is unchanged from the D3000, the combination of a new image sensor and image processor has brought an increase in sensitivity for the D3100, which offers ISO sensitivities from 100 to 3,200 equivalents in 1 EV steps, with the ability to increase this to ISO 6,400 equivalent using the Hi-1 setting, or ISO 12,800 equivalent with the Hi-2 position. The Nikon D3100 can shoot image bursts at three frames per second. Just like the D3000, the Nikon D3100 can shoot not only JPEG or .NEF RAW image files, but can also simultaneously record each image in both formats. Three JPEG compression levels are available, although only the highest quality Fine compression level is available when shooting in RAW+JPEG mode.

Sensor and processor. On the inside, the Nikon D3100 sports the pairing of a newly developed, Nikon-designed DX-format CMOS image sensor, and a new generation of Nikon's EXPEED image processor. The sensor size -- roughly equivalent to that of a frame of APS-C film -- is unchanged, but where the D3000's CCD imager offered 10.2-megapixel resolution, the Nikon D3100's CMOS chip now provides 14.2 megapixels (4,608 x 3,072) from its 14.8-megapixel sensor. That makes the D3100 the third-highest-resolution Nikon DSLR behind the 24.5-megapixel, FX-format, D3X professional DSLR and the 16.2-megapixel, DX Format, D7000 prosumer model -- at least for the time being. With that said, the difference in resolution between the D3100 and the bulk of Nikon's DSLR lineup at twelve megapixels is relatively modest, with only a little over 7% more linear resolution available from the fourteen megapixel imager.