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August 19, 2010

Nikon's New D3100: 1080p at 24fps, h.264, Real Autofocus, $700

It seems Nikon has finally caught up to Canon. They might even surpass their rival in the entry-level market when their just-announced D3100 debuts in September -- that is, if the camera delivers on its specs, which are the most filmmaker-friendly of any Nikon DSLR to date. The $700 prosumer model adds all of the most-requested features missing from Nikon's previous offerings. The D3100 ups the video resolution from 720p to 1080p, switches from a low-quality MJPEG codec to better h.264-based encoding (no word on bitrate yet), and tosses in a new feature Nikon claims is a "world's first."

Nikon claims the D3100 is "the world’s first D-SLR to introduce full time auto focus (AF) in Live View and D-Movie mode to effortlessly achieve the critical focus needed when shooting Full HD 1080p video." Like previous DSLRs that offered autofocus, the D3100 will use a contrast-detection method, which to date has been too slow to offer shooters (typically of nonfiction material) viable autofocus. Like the datarate of the video itself, the verdict on the autofocus feature will have to wait until we have more information, but the D3100 -- which has a APS-C sensor, plenty large for shallow depth-of-field shooting -- certainly looks great on paper. For Nikon shooters on a budget, this is the camera you've been waiting for. Here's the official word on price and availability:

The D3100 D-SLR camera outfit, including the versatile AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilization lens, is scheduled to be available at Nikon Authorized dealers beginning in mid September 2010, at an estimated selling price of $699.95.

Of course, that $700 price point is $200 less than the MSRP of the Canon T2i, which also has an APS-C sensor. Nikon's also trying to bring in a lot of first-time DSLR owners with a simplistic (but optional) guide-based menu system (seen at left). Welcome to the HDSLR game, Nikon! Given how competition tends to push featuresets forward and drive prices down, this is good for all DSLR shooters.

What do you think about the D3100? If you were thinking of getting a Canon DSLR, might the D3100 change your mind?

Link: Nikon Press Release

[via Gizmodo]

Your Comment

11 Comments

I can't tell if it has manual controls. There is no mic-in either. But there is a video on Amazon showing off the new autofocus feature, it is awesome!!!!!

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-D3100-Digital-18-55mm-3-5-5-6/dp/B003ZYF3LO

Dpreview has more: http://dpreview.com/news/1008/10081920nikond3100.asp

August 19, 2010

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* it records to 18 Mbps AVC, which might be too little
* the screen is 3" but only 230K dots, so 320x240 or so
* jell-o seems absolutely horrible

with the D95, they may catch up to canon, but this entry-level model seems too little too late

http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/microsite/d-movie/en/fa...
http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/lineup/microsite/d-movie/en/

(I can't wait for the D95 vs 60D duel, let's see if anyone gets rid of line-skipping...)

August 19, 2010

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Thanks for the links guys. 18 Mbps eh? Sounds like it will be ripe for some GH1-style bitrate hacking...

August 19, 2010

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

i thought the gh1 had autofocus in video mode?

is the lcd articulating on this one i wonder?

August 19, 2010

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stevep

The GH1 does -- Nikon must be making their claim based on "speed of autofocus" or something. Not an articulating LCD...

August 20, 2010

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

they claim it because the GH1 is not a DSLR, there's no mirror there

August 20, 2010

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> (not that I care about autofocus, all my lenses have manual aperture and focus)

August 20, 2010

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Ahhhh right! It's an EVIL cam.

August 20, 2010

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

If I hadn't already bought the T2i, I would definitely consider the D3100. That said, my whole approach has been to get what I need, when I need it (I used the T2i all summer, so it's already paid for itself), and not to get sucked into any one company's system. I only bought a couple of lenses and will see in a few years' time, when it's time to upgrade, which company has consistently stayed in front. At this point, my money's on Canon...

August 20, 2010

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Absolutely -- the best camera is the one you have!

I've got a D3100 on the way to review, so stay tuned...

August 20, 2010

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Ryan Koo
Founder
Writer/Director

Did you do the Nikon D3100 review?

January 25, 2013

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Iohanan