Hey guys i really would like to buy the d90 or d7000 but a few things have come up and i may not be able to afford them so have been looking closer at the 3100. For those of you that have them do you like them or should i just wait and save. Would like one now with the new baby. The camera will be used for lots of kid pics and dogs retrieving birds as well as duck hunting pics. i am a beginner my first camera other then point and shoots.thanks again
#1. "RE: will i be happpy 3100" | In response to Reply # 0blw Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sat 05-Mar-11 01:37 PM
It's impossible to predict. Some folks are never happy unless they have "the best." Some users have a significant amount of angst shooting a premium lens such as the 70-200/f2.8 AFS VR-I because the (say) 200/f2 AFS VR is better.
Objectively, I know that I used a D100 for sheepdog trials and that emphatically got the job done very nicely, and I also used it for birding pretty extensively. Any SLR is capable of capturing baby pictures at an essentially professional level, if used with some skill.
The main things you'll be missing out of one of the better-spec'ed machines are:
- frame rate; the D3100 can only go about 3 fps, the D90 and D7000 can manage at least 4.5. You might want that for the dog trials, although from personal experience I can state that both dog trials and pro-level motorsport can be accomplished at 3 fps. I have been known to use a D100 on occasion paired with even a D3 (at 9 fps).
- the D7000 has a top shutter speed of 1/8000th. I doubt you'd notice. I looked through my files and about 0.3% of them were shot at speeds faster than 1/4000th. I discovered that only 36 actually non-mistakes. That's out of 115,000 frames. And I have three cameras with 1/8000th top shutter speed - and I shoot a lot of sports.
- somewhat higher ISO capability, maybe a half stop. A half stop won't change your life, although it would be useful on occasion. Far better to use a faster lens (a 35/f1.8 is more than three stops faster than f/5.6) or a flash (you can probably add 3-5 stops of light in most circumstances).
- more external controls. The D90 and D700 have more buttons and switches for things that the D3100 handles with menu entries.
I would guess that the one thing that you'd notice readily is the LCD quality, which is much higher resolution in the higher spec models.
> i am a beginner my first camera other then point and shoots
You might very well find the menu systems more appropriate than the external buttons and switches. Additionally, the D3100 has more of a guided approach in its menu systems than the D7000/D90.
The objective reality is that in most ways, a D3100 is a more capable camera than what the top Nikon professionals used as recently as 15 years ago. That means that you can probably capture anything that was captured with a Nikon before 1995 - which includes all those portraits, National Geographic spreads, and the ones hanging in galleries. Could you do MORE with the other models? Sure. But that requires experience, skill and supplemental equipment (lenses, tripods, flashes, filters, etc).
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
#2. "RE: will i be happpy 3100" | In response to Reply # 1d3100user Nikonian since 23rd Jan 2011Sat 05-Mar-11 02:18 PM
I purchased my D3100 to replace a 5mp Lumix FZ20 which in its day was an advanced point and shoot. I have to say I couldn't be happier. I find the D3100 to be very easy to handle and learn. Once you learn all the functions you will find the menus easy to navigate and adjustments easy to make on the fly. The more I practice and adjust settings the better my images are getting.
#5. "RE: will i be happpy 3100" | In response to Reply # 1Wed 09-Mar-11 11:52 PM | edited Wed 09-Mar-11 11:53 PM by sfbillm
>The objective reality is that in most ways, a D3100 is a more
>capable camera than what the top Nikon professionals used as
>recently as 15 years ago. That means that you can probably
>capture anything that was captured with a Nikon before 1995 -
>which includes all those portraits, National Geographic
>spreads, and the ones hanging in galleries.
Great point! But I'd say "as recently as 11 years ago," at least certainly in terms of overall IQ and ability to get usable images in not-so-good light (better high ISO performance and VR lenses) when you can't use a tripod or supplemental lighting.
#3. "RE: will i be happpy 3100" | In response to Reply # 0
The D3100 has about 95% of the capability of the D90 and about 90% of the capability of the D7000. All three bodies are more than capable of capturing outstanding images with the subjects you list. You can't capture images with a camera that you are saving for.
Only you can answer your question.
Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!
#4. "RE: will i be happpy 3100" | In response to Reply # 0
The only two features I can think of that are important to me but lacking on the D3100 and present on the D7000 (and my D200) are the ability to lock up the mirror before taking the picture and automatic bracketing. What 'automatic bracketing' means (if your p&s didn't have it - some do) is that you can set the camera to take a series of images captured at slightly different exposures simply by pressing the shutter release several times in row, w.o. having to manually change settings. The lack of MLU means you could not minimize camera vibration caused by the mirror swinging up - only important if you're using it on a tripod and long exposures.
I certainly would not let the lack of these features stop you from buying the D3100. For your uses, I think these are completely unimportant. I can't see someone using these in the situations you describe even if their camera had them. But I thought you should know, just in case.
From everything I've read, the D3100 is a great little camera - light (for a DSLR), more responsive than any p&s, better image quality than a p&s, and useful, with the right lenses, in more situations than a p&s. Plus you have the option of expanding your system if finances allow.
#6. "RE: will i be happpy 3100 - One probably important thing" | In response to Reply # 0
Sorry, I forgot to mention the one thing about the D3100 that would probably be the most important for you: According to some posts and Thom Hogan's comments about the quality of the video on Nikon DSLRs, the video from the D3100 seems to some to be a bit lacking. (Search here and on Digital Photography Review for specifics. Since I don't have a video-capable Nikon, I haven't paid attention to details.)
Also be aware that Thom is judging primarily by the need for professional-quality video, but he doesn't have much good to say about the video from the D3100 at any level. OTOH, he rates the video from the D7000 as being the best from any Nikon DSLR IIRC.
(In case you're new to forum abbreviations: 'OTOH' = "On the other hand"; 'IIRC' = "If I remember correctly".
#7. "RE: will i be happpy 3100 - One probably important thing" | In response to Reply # 6d3100user Nikonian since 23rd Jan 2011Thu 10-Mar-11 10:19 AM
I find it rather amusing how much emphasis is put on the video quality of the D3100. Yes it takes video and pretty decent video at that. If you want a video camera buy a video camera. If I remember correctly it is considered an DSLR camera.
I view the D3100 as a great camera to learn the fundamentals of DSLR photography on with the convenience of being able to shoot short non professional video clips with.
#8. "RE: will i be happpy 3100 - One probably important thing" | In response to Reply # 7clayolmstead Registered since 21st Jul 2010Tue 15-Mar-11 11:12 AM | edited Tue 15-Mar-11 11:14 AM by clayolmstead
I bought a D5000 for similar reasons a year ago - I couldn't be happier. The D3100 is in many ways a better camera.
I would recommend you get the D3100 and if there's any spare money in the budget, spend it on learning how to take better pictures. Doesn't sound like you'll have a lot of time for workshops, so here are some sources of information:
If you haven't read Ansel Adams' The Camera, now would be a good time to start. Support Thom by clicking through to Amazon from his site.
The lectures are easy to find on iTunes, but for some reason it's a little hard to find the show notes for each lecture. You can find them here:
Last but certainly not lease, check out the Nikonians forums for samples and critiques. You've come to the right place - enjoy that new baby and shoot shoot shoot!
#9. "RE: will i be happpy 3100" | In response to Reply # 0
So did you buy it? It is getting near the end of the month, so if you are like me, it won't show up on the credit card bill until late next month.
I bought a D3100 a little while ago to replace a p&s. The pictures are visibly better, even to inexperienced eyes. It is harder to carry around, so the point-and-hope still has its place, butifyou actually want a good picture for a good price, the D3100 is hard to beat.