Nikon has announced the arrival of the D3100, a new entry-level DSLR that sports, among other cool features, a 14.2-megapixel CMOS sensor and Full 1080p (1920 x 1080) HD video capture @ 24 fps with—now hang on to your hats, kids—full-time autofocus with monaural sound. Now we're talking (and autofocusing)!
Like its predecessor, the Nikon D3000, the new camera is compact, light and well thought out in terms of usability. Shutter-release times are near instantaneous and an 11-point AF system helps you nail sharp snaps every time. When shooting under less than desirable lighting conditions, the D3100's EXPEED 2 image processor allows you to tweak the camera's native 100-3200 range up to an equivalent of ISO 12,800.
Nikon's new D3100 with 18–55mm Nikkor VR lens
To enable easy, fumble-free composing, viewing and editing of stills and video, the D3100 features a bright 3" LCD with One-Touch Live View from which you can also call up the onboard Nikon Guide Mode, which explains, illustrates and walks you through the various Scene Modes made available on the new camera. There's also an Auto Scene Selector that automatically selects the best shooting mode when shooting in Live View mode. For "normal" shooting, the D3100 also has a bright penta-mirror, which displays approximately 95% of the image field (the 3" LCD displays 100% of the total image area).
The D3100 can capture JPEGs, NEF (RAW) or a combination of NEF(RAW)+JPEG at burst rates up to 3 frames per second. Shutter speeds range from 30 seconds through 1/4000th of a second and images can be recorded to your choice of SD, SDHC or SDXC memory cards.
Other standard features found on the Nikon D3100 include six Automatic Scene modes, Active D-Lighting, Automatic Image Sensor Cleaning, a built-in flash and in-camera picture editing.
Nikon's Easy Guide mode makes picture-taking intuitively easy for newbies and seasoned shooters alike.
The Nikon D3100 is available in a choice of two kits. The first kit includes an AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR zoom lens. A second Nikon D3100 kit includes an AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR zoom lens along with an AF-S DX VR Zoom-Nikkor 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED, which makes for a terrific two-lens travel kit that should cover all your bases.