Part of my job, at a newspaper, is to rely on heavy cameras we have at our disposal, but when it comes to my personal stuff, I prefer to go very light. That's why for the last years I just kept ultracompact digicams with me that worked (and still work) fine fine. Recently I got some money from a gift, and decided to buy the new Nikon D3100 for taking better portraits of people in my life... to take quality pictures of what I'm used to do with my small digicams, in situations when I can comfortably carry the DSLR without worrying about the bulk. Basically, I bought this camera to use it exclusively with one or 2 prime lens I'll be buying in the near future.
After more than 1,000 shots with Nikon D31oo in the last 2 weeks, I'm very glad with the purchase. This lightweight and fast device is a joy to use! Very lightweight, and great looking design.This Nikon feels great in my hands, the build quality seems sturdy and looks kind of pro even for it's smallness compared to bigger DSLRs. I love how I can set the func button to control ISO or other stuff like White Balance.
The lens included with the camera is very very sharp, so far I cannot complain. I'm amazed at the clean images I get with ISO 3200 indoors!! Wow, that's something that we couldn't say a few years ago with these cameras. I've already had pictures published in the newspaper set at those high Isos, and no problem... They look great!!
I also love the option of setting Picture Controls and Auto ISO. I usually set my camera to Portrait or Standard plus a little bit (1) of saturation.
I have already taken lots of photographs indoors without flash, portraits outside, candids indoors and outdoors, and even handed the camera to my brother (who knows nothing about operating DSLRs) for shooting parts of a concert and he got some beautiful pictures!! And that's one of my favorite things abut the camera: I can give it to other people to take pictures as a point and shoot, and they enjoy using it and taking nice photos without worrying about setting stuff.
I really don't care about video capabilities, nor liveview. I rarely use them but when I have done it, I've liked what I've seen. My only complaint is the battery, as I think it drains quickly compared with other cameras in the similar category I've seen.
So, for recording my life (and my family - friends - myself) in those moments I don't mind carrying something bigger than my ultracompact, the Nikon D3100 is perfect. I wouldn't bother to carry something bigger or heavier. This is the perfect balance.
My next buy will be the Nikkor 35mm 1.8 lens, and the small sb400 flash, that I will use all the time instead of the kit lens. I have nothing against the kit lens, but I love primes and the idea of getting the best quality possible for the least money. Then, in a few months, I may get a prime telephoto for complimenting the 35mm in the candid stuff. And that's all I think I will ever need for the rest of my life in personal photography.
I'm very very happy with my purchase, thanks Nikon!