Sunday, May 29, 2011

Nikon D3100 The start of a beautiful relationship

Just picked up a Nikon D3100 today. This camera is really a gem, Day 1 and I'm already sure that I've made the right choice. Was looking to upgrade from my D70, another great camera by Nikon. However, experience over the past few years has seen my Canon G10 seeing more action since it offers a more lightweight and portable option for day to day shooting than the D70.

Liked the D90, but that seems even bulkier and heavier than the D70. Didn't want to invest in a full-frame digital; as a "prosumer" who loves photography as a hobby, I pretty happy with the "compromise" of the smaller sensor of the DX series.

Pondered the D5000, was swayed by Rockwell's review of it, but it was just a little too lite on the features I enjoyed on the D70. Looked at the promising 4/3rd cameras, but felt the G10 was just as good as many/most of them.

Saw the Nikon D3100 announcement and that looked promising. Waited to see what D90 replacement would look like and felt too big and too expensive for what I was looking for. The D7000 is a marvelous looking camera on paper and I'm sure will make a lot of people happy.

However seeing the feature set on the Nikon D3100, and the weight and size, was pretty convinced that it was the route to go. After getting it today, am absolutely sure about it.

If you read the prior two well written reviews, you'll get a sense of the technical features of this camera. What I'd add are these features that I like:

1) Overall feel: This camera fits perfectly for me, and I've got pretty big hands. Very well designed ergonomically.
2) Size/weight/balance: Very lightweight body that balances with kit lens very well, and really nails to size factor for me.
3) Build quality: I know I'm not going to get a battle-ready body at this price, but wasn't looking for that. For the materials used, feels very solid and high-end.
4) Help system: I like the built-in help system. I doubt I'll use the guide mode, but will be useful for my wife. But you can get help in any mode, so it's a nice built in reference system.
5) Well designed menu system: I love this. Compared to the D70, it's like moving out of the dark ages.
6) Good button design: Not too many, and easy to get too. Laid out well, and intuitive to use.
7) HD Video: Nikon throws in a HD video recorder. Happy to have that too.

I really don't have any criticisms as of yet. Been happy with the test pictures so far, and really consider this camera a step up from the D70. I've no problem with the lack of bracketing, although that "missing" feature seems to be freaking some folks out. I do miss the wireless remote, but you can get a wired one.

Note: Really wanted to get this from Amazon, but needed it soon for an upcoming trip so went the BB/10% coupon route. Not sure what happened to inventory management on the Amazon side. No worries, I'm sure Amazon will see plenty of lens orders from me soon enough. :-)

Definitely check this camera out next time you see it, think you'll be impressed. I bet this is the camera that gets the buzz at Photikina this year.

Nice job Nikon!Order Nikon D5100

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