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Old 08-19-2010, 05:02 AM
Jason Dunn
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Default Nikon D3100 Gets Official: An Impressive Intro-Level DSLR

<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://www.nikon.ca' target='_blank'>http://www.nikon.ca</a><br /><br /></div><p><em>"Mississauga, ON, August 19, 2010 - Nikon Canada Inc. today announced the D3100 as the newest addition to its family of quality DX-format digital SLRs. It's the world's first digital SLR to introduce full-time auto-focus (AF) in Live View and D-Movie Mode, allowing users to effortlessly achieve the critical focus needed when shooting in full HD 1080p video. The 14.2 megapixel D3100 also makes it easier than ever to step-up to digital SLR photography with its enhanced in-camera Guide Mode."</em></p><p><a href="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dht/2010/NIKON-D3100-HIGHRES-1.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1282094273.usr1.jpg" style="border: 0;" /></a></p><p><em>[click the image above for a high-res image of the Nikon D3100]</em></p><p>Readers of Digital Home Thoughts, I give you the Nikon D3100. For the first time, I've been invited to be under Nikon Canada's press embargo, which means I was given access to images and the press release early. This has allowed me to pour over the information Nikon has provided, and give it some thought.</p><p>The D3100, released about a year after the D3000, represents an significant jump forward in intro-level DSLR technology. If you watched my <a href="http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/97374/nikon-s-d5000-dslr-small-and-feature-packed.html" target="_blank">video review of the Nikon D5000</a>, you'll know that my video experience with video on a DSLR was pretty much a complete failure - the lack of auto-focus made the video on the D5000 extremely hard to use. In a controlled environment - say, an interview subject that doesn't move much - it works great. But try any sort of scene with motion, and the whole thing falls apart.&nbsp;The D3100 is the first DSLR to introduce full-time auto-focus while shooting video. When combined with Nikon's 3D tracking, this should be a quantum leap forward in the ease-of-use department. Nikon's 3D tracking system allows you to lock onto a colour or pattern, and the focus system will track that subject as it moves through the frame as long as you keep the shutter release pressed halfway.</p><p>The 3D tracking system works pretty well most of the time - and the D3100 also brings face detection technology into the mix, allowing it to recognize and focus on up to 35 faces at once. Those three things combined should make the D3100 the first DSLR where video can be shot reasonably easily. That's a very big deal in my book - prior to the release of the D3100, I've openly told friends and family to avoid buying a DSLR for the video function because it's so hard to use. Looks like I finally have something to recommend to them! <MORE /></p><p>Other improvements include a maximum standard ISO of 3200 (up from ISO 1600 in the D3000) - or ISO 12,800 in the High ISO mode - 1080p 24fps h.264 video (sadly, in a .MOV container - I'd have preferred to see .MP4) with beginning and ending clip editing, SDXC card support (because 32 GB just isn't big enough for some people?), and an enhanced guide mode that helps beginners to take better photos - offering slow shutter speed presets for waterfall photos for instance. The image sensor gets a big bump from a 10.2 megapixel CCD sensor to an 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor using Nikon's new EXPEED 2 digital processor. It should be night and day in terms of image quality between the D3000 and the D3100. The move from CCD to CMOS is significant, and I'm certain that all of the fantastic high ISO performance we've seen from high-end Nikon bodies recently will have partially trickled down to the D3100 in some fashion. Continuous shooting mode remains the same as the D3000: 3 frames per second.&nbsp;Other changes include a slight drop in weight: the D3100 is 455 grams, while the D3000 was 485 grams.</p><p>Interestingly, the press release mentions that if you put the camera in Live View mode, it will utilize the Auto Scene Selector and analyze what you're shooting and optimize the settings for that type of photo. I'll have to see that to believe it! Carrying over from the D3000 are many of the same features; a quiet shutter release mode (I wish my D300 had that!), the same 11-point auto-focus system, and the same basic body design. You'll notice though in the image above, there's a four-step switch that allows you to switch from single image to burst mode to self timer mode to Quiet Mode. You had to press a few buttons to make that change on the D3000, so that's a significant improvement in the ease-of-use department. There's also a dedicated movie button, and a dedicated Live View switch.</p><p>Worth noting is the bump in price; the D3000 came out at an MSRP of $640 CAD when it was released, and today it can be had for $448 CAD with the 18-55mm VR kit lens. The D3100 is coming at an MSRP of $699 CAD, which likely means a street price of $650 or so. That's a full $200 more than the D3000 is at today, and reverses the thoughts I had about <a href="http://www.digitalhomethoughts.com/news/show/98863/has-canon-ceded-the-low-end-dslr-market-to-nikon.html" target="_blank">Nikon effectively undercutting Canon</a> in the entry-level DSLR market. It's a bit surprising to me that Nikon will no longer have a product in the sub-$500 price range once the D3000 is discontinued.</p><p>The remainder of the press release is below.</p><p><em>"The D3100 provides an easy-to-use and affordable entrance into the world of Nikon digital SLRs with its powerful features, such as the enhanced Guide Mode that makes it easy to unleash creative potential and capture memories with still images and full HD video. With the D3100, it's like having a personal photography tutor at your fingertips. The unique Guide Mode feature provides a simple graphical interface on the camera's LCD that guides users by suggesting and/or adjusting camera settings to achieve the desired end result images.</em></p><p><em>Packed into the compact and lightweight body of the D3100 is a host of advanced Nikon technologies, such as the new EXPEED 2 image processing engine. EXPEED 2, in conjunction with Nikon's new 14.2megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor, is the driving force behind the camera's enhanced performance and rich image quality. The D3100 features split-second shutter response and a blazing fast 11-point AF system to help ensure tack-sharp images. For shooting in challenging lighting conditions such as indoors or in the evening hours, ISO 3200 (expandable to 12,800) enables versatility to capture the moment.</em></p><p><em>"Consumers are making the leap to digital SLR cameras for the enhanced performance, high image quality and the creative options NIKKOR lenses and accessories provide," said Gregory Flasch, National Advertising and Communications Manager at Nikon Canada Inc. "The D3100 is a camera that makes it easy to capture beautiful images and HD video, and allows the user to hone their skills with the camera's Guide Mode."</em></p><h2><em>A Leg Up On Consumer Camcorders with World's First Features</em></h2><p><em>The Nikon D3100 digital SLR allows users to capture stunning full HD, 1080p resolution (1920x1080) video.Users can record cinematic quality 24 fps video clips, or shoot at 24 or 30 fps at 720p, ideal for online sharing. With the array and versatility of NIKKOR lenses, users can create a variety of photographic effects to video, such as isolating subjects with a shallow depth of field or recording in low-light conditions. NIKKOR lenses also deliver the sharpness needed for HD video and Nikon's Vibration Reduction (VR) II technology helps to eliminate camera shake.</em></p><p><em>Nikon was the first to introduce HD video in a digital SLR and now Nikon is the first to apply full time AF for D-movie video shooting and while in Live View mode. Using contrast-based AF, the D3100 automatically focuses on subjects when Live View is activated to assist in shooting when using the LCD. The D3100 also uses Face Detection technology to lock focus on up to 35 human faces, a feat not even accomplished with consumer camcorders. To further simplify movie shooting, Live View is activated with a single flick of a switch, and a simple press of a button achieves HD video recording.</em></p><p><em>Sharing and editing video clips is also much easier with the D3100, as it records movies in the versatile H.264 AVCHD codec (.mov file). While playing movies back in the camera, users are able to edit recorded videos by clipping footage from the beginning or end of a movie. High Definition movies and stills can be shared with family and friends on an HD television via HDMI output. Users can control slide shows and videos using the HDMI CEC interface that is a part of most modern remote controls from HDTV manufacturers. Additionally, the D3100 is compatible with the new SDXC memory card format to store large amounts of photo and video data so users can shoot multiple scenes without interruption.</em></p><p><a href="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dht/2010/NIKON-D3100-HIGHRES-2.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1282094289.usr1.jpg" style="border: 0;" /></a></p><p><em>[click the image above for a high-res image of the Nikon D3100]</em></p><h2><em>The Guide Mode Will Inspire You</em></h2><p><em>Whether new to digital SLR photography or desiring to learn new shooting techniques, the D3100'senhanced Guide Mode with an easy-to-use interface helps users advance their skills through on-demand,step-by-step assistance. The Guide Mode is easily accessed through the Mode dial on the top of the camera.This enhanced help function features sample assist images that change with camera settings to inspire consumers to achieve a desired look and feel to their images, while guiding through easy-to-understand photographic techniques. For example, to instill the majestic appearance of moving waters, users can select"show water flowing" from the Guide Mode and simply follow the prompts to create the ideal camera settings to capture an image.</em></p><p><em>By following the assistance on the bright 3-inch LCD screen, users can achieve professional-looking photographs. Whether it's softening backgrounds, freezing the moment, or conveying motion, the Guide Mode assists users in exploring effective picture-taking solutions at their own pace to make capturing great shots even easier and more enjoyable.</em></p><h2><em>Renowned Nikon Technology</em></h2><p><em>The D3100 leverages proven Nikon technologies to create the most positive picture-taking experience for consumers of any skill level. With its new 14.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor and Nikon's new EXPEED 2image processing system, the D3100 delivers exceptional image quality with low noise. The EXPEED 2image-processing engine enhances camera performance and helps to ensure high image quality while managing colour, contrast, exposure, noise and speed for optimal results. The D3100's normal ISO range extends from ISO 100 to 3200, allowing users to capture sharp images, even in low-light conditions.Additionally, the D3100's ISO range can expand to a Hi-2 setting of ISO 12800, furthering the opportunities for low-light shots that other cameras miss.</em></p><p><em>Other exclusive Nikon technologies include the Active D-Lighting system, which automatically rescues dark or backlitbacklit by lights or the sun to provide an even exposure. What's more, Nikon's Scene Recognition system draws upon the 420-pixel RGB colour 3D matrix meter for outstanding exposures under a variety of lighting conditions by integrating a database of tens of thousands of sample images. The result is a camera intelligent enough to recognize when photographing a specific scene (such as a portrait or landscape) and automatically choose the proper camera settings.</em> images to achieve even tones. This is especially useful when photographing subjects that are</p><p><em>To make taking great pictures even easier, the D3100 elevates Nikon COOLPIX technology and incorporates an Auto Scene Selector feature in Live View. This innovative function automatically selects the best scene mode to match shooting conditions. When engaged, the camera will automatically recognize when shooting a lush landscape or fast action sports and adjust the camera settings to create an astounding image. Six preset scene modes can also be accessed with the command dial on top of the camera to overcome many common shooting challenges.</em></p><p><a href="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/dht/2010/NIKON-D3100-HIGHRES-3.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1282094325.usr1.jpg" style="border: 0;" /></a></p><p><em>[click the image above for a high-res image of the Nikon D3100]</em></p><h2><em>Compact Design, Huge Performance</em></h2><p><em>With comfortable yet intelligent ergonomics, the D3100 packs powerful technology that's easy to use into a compactauto focus system of the D3100 makes it easy to find and focus on a subject through an enhanced viewfinder design with new "hollow" focus points to give a clear view of the subject.</em> form factor. The advanced 11-point</p><p><em>In the playing field or the backyard, the benefits of Nikon's advanced 3D Subject Tracking become clear, as theclear action shots. Additionally, the D3100 offers split-second shutter response, eliminating the frustration of shutter lag - the annoying delay that ruins so many pictures. With the ability to capture images at up to three frames-per-second, users never miss a moment.</em> camera continuously focuses on fast-moving subjects throughout the frame, resulting in crisp,</p><p><em>Added to the D3100 is a Quiet Shutter Release mode, which substantially reduces the sound of the mirror whilethe photographer who wishes to remain unobtrusive, for example during quiet ceremonies or photographing sleeping children.</em> shooting. Quickly accessed by selecting "Q" on the release mode dial, this feature is ideal for</p><p><em>Nikon empowers users to prepare their photos for sharing quickly using Nikon's extensive in-camera Retouch Menu, which easily applies a variety of fun and dramatic effects to images without a computer.These include a miniature effect to photos, image overlay, colour outline and softening filters for flattering portraits and realistic skin tones.</em></p><p><em>Additionally, the D3100 incorporates Nikon's Integrated Dust Reduction System, which offers a comprehensiveimage sensor. The shutter is tested to 100,000 cycles for maximum durability.</em></p><p><em><img src="http://images.thoughtsmedia.com/resizer/thumbs/size/600/dht/auto/1282604528.usr1.jpg" style="border: 0;" /></em></p><h2><em>Gateway to Legendary NIKKOR Optics and Accessories</em></h2><p><em>Nikon has also introduced the ideal companion to the D3100, the new AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm VR lens, which gives users super-telephoto zoom capability for an affordable price. This is a perfect complementary lens when combined with the AF-S 18-55mm VR kit lens, and is great for capturing images of sports and wildlife. Photographers can also appreciate the D3100's system expandability, as it is compatible with more than 40 legendary NIKKOR AF-S interchangeable lenses. While the D3100 offers a versatile built-in flash, the camera also operates with Nikon's Creative Lighting System and is capable of Advanced Wireless Lighting when using the SB-900 Speedlight or the SU-800 Wireless Commander.Included with the camera is a new version of Nikon's powerful image-editing application, View NX2. The latest edition of this software allows users to organize and edit both photos and video files easily. TheD3100's design also supports Eye-Fi memory card functionality, enabling the convenient wireless transfer of images from the camera to a computer, when using Eye-Fi memory cards.</em></p><h2><em>Availability and Pricing</em></h2><p><em>The D3100 kit, including the versatile AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilization lens, is scheduled to be available at Authorized Nikon Canada Dealers beginning September 17, 2010, at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $699.95. The AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens is scheduled to be available beginning September 2, 2010 at an MSRP of $429.95.</em></p><h2><em>Exclusive Canadian Warranty</em></h2><p><em>Nikon Canada offers an exclusive two-year warranty for the D3100 purchased from an Authorized Nikon Canadapurchased from an Authorized Nikon Canada Dealer. Consumer's investment is protected by Nikon Canada's warranties with in-Canada service.</em> Dealer. Additionally, Nikon Canada offers a five-year warranty for all NIKKOR lenses</p><h2><em>About Nikon</em></h2><p><em>Nikon, At the Heart of the Image, is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technologyits award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Canada distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and System Accessories; Nikon COOLPIX&reg; compact digital cameras; COOLSCAN&reg; digital film scanners; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics. At the heart of every Nikon camera is Nikon's Exclusive EXPEED advanced digital image processing system technologies. All Nikon Canada products are sold through a network of Authorized Nikon Canada Dealers. For more information on Nikon Canada and its products and services or to find an Authorized Nikon Dealer, visit www.nikon.ca."</em></p><p><em>**Photos are available upon request</em></p><p><em>Note: Specifications, design, product name, standard accessories and release schedule may differ by country or area.</em></p><p><em>-30-</em></p>
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Old 08-19-2010, 05:54 AM
Jason Dunn
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Here's an image of the back:

http://press.nikonusa.com/gallery/ni...D3100_back.jpg
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Old 08-19-2010, 06:26 AM
Jason Dunn
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My two disappointments with the D3100?

1) Still no in-body vibration reduction. Yeah, I know I'm dreaming, but there are a lot of Nikon lenses that don't have VR, and I really wish Nikon would wise up and add this feature. Just because Canon doesn't do it doesn't mean they shouldn't do it.

2) The screen, while a nice size at three inches, is still the same resolution as the D3000. A higher-res screen would have been great.
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Old 08-19-2010, 02:27 PM
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I gotta say, this is quite impressive. Finally a DSLR with decent consumer video potential. Funny to say "finally" for such a relatively new feature, but still...

Great to see them jump from CCD to CMOS. I look forward to seeing how good the high-ISO performance is. I think even the little things like quiet shutter release may be big deals, as well. I've often wondered why we had to endure the quick and noisy "flap-flap" of the shutter for DSLR's when the shutter itself really isn't needed to control the exposure timing (this is electronically controlled). It is there simply to divert the view from sensor to viewfinder. No reason to even flap it for continuous shooting, and it could easily be slowed a little during regular shooting without affecting usability. Even a 10th of a second should be enough time to muffle the opening and closing claps--certainly the closing one.

Price is perhaps the biggest hill for them to climb. It'll definitely be $100+ more than the comparable Canon, at least for a few months. Still, assuming they didn't break the things that Nikon already did well, this should definitely have leapfrogged Canon to become the (current) entry-level DSLR of choice.
 
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Old 08-20-2010, 12:27 AM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptyork View Post
I've often wondered why we had to endure the quick and noisy "flap-flap" of the shutter for DSLR's when the shutter itself really isn't needed to control the exposure timing (this is electronically controlled). It is there simply to divert the view from sensor to viewfinder. No reason to even flap it for continuous shooting, and it could easily be slowed a little during regular shooting without affecting usability. Even a 10th of a second should be enough time to muffle the opening and closing claps--certainly the closing one.
But if it was really that easy of a problem to fix, don't you think they'd have done it by now? When my D5000 is in quiet shutter mode, it's single-shot only - there's no burst mode. So there's probably some sort of technical limitation there...unless the D300s can do bursts in quiet mode (I'm not sure about that).
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Old 08-20-2010, 05:12 AM
ptyork
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jason Dunn View Post
But if it was really that easy of a problem to fix, don't you think they'd have done it by now?
I don't know. I'm sure they had other, higher priorities. But perhaps you're right and there's something else at play. It just seems a pretty artificial issue. I mean, the EVIL's all do burst with no mirrors, right? What's the diff aside from the reliance on the phase detect sensor? At least assuming you're not trying to use "servo" focus during your bursts, shouldn't it just be a matter of keeping the mirror up? Sure you'd lose TTL during the burst, but technically it's all about how fast you can fill and clear the buffer from the image sensor, right? Lee Yuan????
 
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Old 08-20-2010, 06:37 AM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptyork View Post
I mean, the EVIL's all do burst with no mirrors, right? What's the diff aside from the reliance on the phase detect sensor?
Good point. On the other hand, I've never understood why my GF-1 make a mirror-slapping type noise when there's no mirror. I wonder if they add it artificially to make us photographers feel better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ptyork View Post
Lee Yuan????
Yeah, agreed. Explain it to us Lee.
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:46 AM
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Hi guys. You called, I'm here. :P

Firstly I'm Chinese; surname comes before given name, so surname's Lee, but name is Yuan Sheng.

Secondly, the sound you're hearing in the GF1 (and any of the mirrorless cameras) is not the mirror, but the mechanical shutter coming down, making the exposure, and retracting again.

Now, I don't have the exact reason (don't usually bother reading sensor spec sheets), but I'm guessing that the electronic shutters don't do well when making high-speed data dumps to the camera's buffer. What usually happens is that the sensor will still pick up light during the data transfer process, causing smearing. There're some examples on the 'net, so a search will find them out.

There's also the problem of blooming for CCD sensors; not having a shutter means the sensor will be exposed to light even before the exposure. In very bright scenes this can be a problem. A shutter allows the sensor to be completely in the dark just as the exposure starts.

CCD and CMOS sensors behave a little differently as well; CCD sensors can have global electronic shutters (remember CMOS jello on video cameras), so for very fast shutter speeds (1/250 or faster) the CCD sensor can use its electronic shutter to make the exposure, and then have the shutter close down while the data transfer occurs. While blooming can be a problem, this also allows very fast flash sync speeds. This is the reason why Nikon specified a 1/500 x-sync speed for their earlier cameras like the D1 and D70 (and with a modern flash that has a shorter flash duration you can unofficially take this to 1/1000 to 1/2000), but the CMOS cameras are limited to the mechanical shutter sync speed of 1/250 or less!

Does that mean fully electronic shutters are not possible? Well, maybe not now, but you never know in the future. After all, it gives camera companies to push upgrades for us to buy. :P
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Old 08-21-2010, 12:48 AM
Jason Dunn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng View Post
Hi guys. You called, I'm here. :P
Fascinating - thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-21-2010, 03:21 PM
ptyork
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng View Post
Firstly I'm Chinese; surname comes before given name, so surname's Lee, but name is Yuan Sheng.
I think I knew that, but it seems most of the Chinese natives who come to live over to live in North America choose a name like "Bob" or "John" and then use our surname-last convention. So we don't get much practice. Add to that the fact that Lee is a popular given name over here, and you can see how we can get a bit confused. Thanks for the reminder and for still coming when called.

So if your friend says "Ni Hao ____" to you, is the blank "Yuan Sheng" or the full "Lee Yuan Sheng", or are there other, more "familiar" used in close friendships?

Back to "digital thoughts," very interesting. It makes sense, and helps explain why stills from video suck so bad. I guess I'm still confused, though. I thought one of the often stated negatives of the CMOS sensor in the EVILs was that it was exposed to the elements when you changed lenses. What you're saying is that in reality there's a shutter in front of it and that this is really an overblown issue?
 
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