Are you glad you bought the Nikon D3100?

edited September 2014 Posted in » Nikon D3100 Forum
I would appreciate all general comments about buying and using your Nikon D3100. I am really looking forward to buying this camera.


  • The D3100 isn’t a bad camera. If you’re getting one, I hope you’re getting it at a really low price since it’s already 2 generations behind. If you’re buying it at retail price, you should seriously consider its successor, the D3200. It’s a much higher spec'ed for just about $50 more.
    Of course, you could also step up to the D3300 but I think the D3200 is the sweet spot for entry-level these days.
  • edited September 2014
    I like mine. I upgraded from a D40. I looked at the D3200 and others, but the price on older D3100's was just too good to pass up! It's great as a new camera also. The only thing is I have not used the video much, so I can't comment on that.
    Good Luck!
  • edited September 2014
    Thank you oyeahar and littlesigh for your replies. I have also looked at the D3200 and personally I prefer the set up of the D3100 much more. Also, I don't think that you need 24 million pixels.
    I do understand that it is 2 or 3 years old, but it doesn't alter the fact that it got fantastic reviews when it came out.
    Once again, thanks, and I look forward to anybody else's experiences of using this camera.
  • edited September 2014
    I think if you're satisfied with the D3100 images and do not expect to need the high ISO and greater density, there's not a lot of point to spending more. With that said, I like my D3200. If you do think you might need greater dynamic range, more density, and quieter high ISO, then it's worth considering given that it's only about 50 bucks more. Of course then the D3300 comes with even more ISO range, which is nice too sometimes. Most of the time, it's a feature you don't need.

    If mine were to break or disappear, I think I might be tempted to get a D3300 for a few small but real reasons:

    The first is that, as in the D7100 and some other recent models, they have removed the anti-aliasing filter. As pixel density goes up, aliasing problems go down, and the tradeoff is that without the filter it's a wee bit sharper. It's a non-problem almost all the time, but it's not imaginary.

    The second is personal and probably not an issue with the D3100. On the D3200 the multi selector is placed just enough higher that a stray thumb moves the focus point, and if not checked it can spoil shots unexpectedly. On the D3300 it's moved down, but on the D3100 it looks a little lower too.

    Two other small reasons for the D3300 are that the kit lens has a non-rotating front element, making it possible to use a polarizer more easily. The viewfinder is ALSO bigger.

    The placement of the self-timer and multi-shot switch is better on the D3100, I think. The D3200 requires not only that you look to find it, but that you toggle through it with the multi-selector.

    Upshot: if you think the D3100 will satisfy and you're watching the budget, I'd find one and put the money you save toward a nice prime lens.

    Edit to add: the price difference between a D3200 and a D3300 is much greater than that between a D3100 and a D3200.
  • edited September 2014
    Hi and Thanks bruno.
    I Appreciate your comments and I will now look again at the D3200.
    I agree with you about the layout of the cameras and that was one reason I was looking at the D3100.
    I am truly confused as this is my first DSLR.
    I have used a D7100 for a couple of hours and really enjoyed it, but there are just too many buttons and it is far too technical for me. There's no reason for having a D7100 and having it stuck in Auto.
    Thanks again bruno, now back to the drawing board.
  • edited September 2014
    Just my thoughts on purchasing a DSLR (specifically Nikons).

    Get this series of cameras if you’re just looking to get a DSLR for image quality better than your cell phone and most point and shoot’s but have no real interest in learning the intricacies of photography. (More on this later…)

    Edit: I was reading over this and realized I sounded like a dick which was not my intention. This is a beginner camera, so you can learn about photography with this camera. In fact, Nikon advertises this camera as the ultimate beginner camera, but it’s very easy to outgrow this camera. That’s what I meant to say.

    I would skip this series of cameras which is odd for me to say because I’m a D5100 user. The major difference between this and the D3xxx is the articulating screen which is useful, but isn’t something that’s a must-have feature. Nikon touts the screen as great for shooting video (which it is), but the Nikon firmware doesn’t allow full manual control over video shooting. Real videographers know to use Canon because of this. This has other features over the D3xxx (such as time lapse, etc) but I don’t feel like those things really justify the price difference.

    D7xxx (more specifically, the D7100)
    Get this camera if you’re interested in learning about photography. Other than the obvious spec improvements over the D3xxx or D5xxx cameras, this camera really allows you to grow with it. Don’t let all the knobs and buttons intimidate you! Don’t use them if you don’t know what they do, but as you learn about photography, you’ll appreciate those extra controls.
    One major thing that many people overlook about the D7xxx is that it can use its pop-up flash in commander mode to wirelessly trigger external Nikon flashes in i-TTL exposure mode. So if you ever want to get into flash photography, you’re all set!

    If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve passed over the D5100 in favor of the D7100.

    D3100 vs D3200
    As bruto alluded to, the D3200 is better than the D3100 in many ways; not just simply 14MP vs 24MP. You’re right in that you don’t necessarily need the extra MP. Heck, my D5100 has a low MP count by today’s standards with just 16MP and I find it absolutely fine even for aggressive cropping.
    In my opinion, the 4x higher resolution screen alone is worth the price difference. Other than that, you get better dynamic range, lower noise at high ISO, and one-stop higher max ISO. Again, it’s just about $50 more so it’s definitely worth it.
  • edited September 2014
    The question of what sort of camera to get is tricky. The D7100 is grand and if you can afford it; I would vote for that. It's essentially the best DX format digital out there, and very powerful. It also will allow you to fully utilize older screw-focusing AF lenses, and to meter properly with many manual lenses.

    One might dispute the question of what constitutes the intricacies of photography. Any one of the cameras in question will allow full manual control and leave room for a lot of learning. The D7100 will make it a little easier because the viewfinder is better and more options exist for custom settings. Certain other functions, such as focus modes, are better, and some, such as ISO choice, easier.

    Remember that even if you don't use all the features, you can learn. If they're not there, you may eventually miss them.

    I find the D3200 good, in part because I don't have any older AF lenses anyway and I wanted a DSLR for traveling that would not break the bank, or be a disaster to break or lose. My wife got a D7100 because she has some fine older screw-focusing AF lenses and needs the compatibility. I have a stash of old MF lenses, including pre-AI, which do not meter on the D3200 but do fit. An old film shooter used to rudimentary meters or none at all; my requirements are different. The D3200 combines low cost with high image quality.

    If you can afford a D7100, reconsider. It's a better machine all around, and one of its virtues is that it is at least somewhat weather resistant. If there's a drizzle I worry about my D3200, but the D7100 can get a little wet. It's a lot of machine, and on a whole other level for expense, but if you expect to shoot in DX format for a long time, you won't outgrow it.
  • edited September 2014
    Thanks for all the replies. Just to throw a spanner in the works, what is your opinion on the Nikon D5100? I have seen this on eBay for a similar price and like the specs on it.
    Sorry for being a pain but I cannot make up my mind for my first DSLR.
    I do consider myself to be quite knowledgeable about photography having had lots of point and shoot and a couple of bridge cameras.
  • edited September 2014
    The D5100 has been great for me. I've no complaints at all about the image quality. You'll notice that most reviews rate it favorably, but I think it's not a good idea to get one new at this point in time. The next generations of cameras are greatly improved and priced competitively. If you can find one used for cheap, then it may be worth considering.
    A new D3200 costs slightly less than a new D5100, and it offers significantly more resolution and slightly better overall image quality. The only thing the D5100 has over the D3200 is the articulating screen and slightly better high ISO performance.

    For buyers looking to full frame bodies, they probably already know which one is right for them.
    For DX buyers, I strongly feel that it's between the D3200 or the D7100. Just get the one within budget, or perhaps wait a little bit since Nikon is expected to make a couple of new product announcements soon at Photokina. Even if they're not of interest, they may drive existing prices down.
  • edited September 2014
    Here's my few cents. The D3100 is an excellent beginner camera. I'm a D7000 user now, but sometimes I miss lightweight D3100 and its simple features for daily shooting. If you're willing to spend money on photography, then first get a basic body and invest in lenses. Lenses are much more important! The D3100 is enough for almost everything!
  • edited September 2014
    Hi Kravattisolmu, thanks for your comment.
    Basically that is all I needed from a reply; simple, easy to understand comments about the D3100.
  • edited October 2014
    I have had a D3100 for a few years now, it being my first DSLR and I am very pleased with it. The main thing is the quality of the lens rather than a body that has lots of buttons that you may not use. I have used the video and I am very please with that also. The D3200 and D3300 still come with the 18-55mm lens as does the D3100, so you can save the extra cost and invest in another lens to suit your style of photography.
    Recently I was taking photos in a darkened theatre at a burlesque show from up in the gods at ISO 800 and the lady came out quite clear and sharp for hand held at 1/80, no flash.
    I also covered the back screen up so it didn't affect other patrons. It was more an exercise in what the camera could do in low lighting rather than subject matter as this got a bit old after a while.
    Which ever of the three you buy, I would recommend you investing in a manual on the specific camera; I found it was £15 well spent. There are a few authors out there that write books for these entry level cameras and they explain everything in detail with plenty of color photos to back up the text. Spend 30 minutes browsing in a quality bookshop to see which author suits you, rather than buy something blind off the internet.
  • edited October 2014
    I don't know how it is with the D3100, but the D3200 comes with a printed manual, but it is not the complete manual. The much more complete manual is in a PDF file on CD. They look alike, but they're not.

    I agree that an aftermarket manual may well be worth getting. Even the full manual is not very good at explaining some things. Unless you experiment and/or read it somewhere else, for example, you'll never figure out the way ISO choices work in different modes. The manual simply does not tell you everything, and some of the things it does tell are confusing.
  • edited October 2014
    Hi to bluestar and bruto,
    Thanks for your replies. I have not read any books yet about these cameras, but I think I've seen every possible video on you tube, and deep down I still like the D3100 most.
    My thoughts are, "would I outgrow the camera relatively quick?", or on the same thought, "would I outgrow the D3200 just as quick?".
    I am not wanting to become a pro photographer, I just want to be very happy with my hobby.
    Thanks, Malc.
  • edited October 2014
    Hey @mally, if you’re going to outgrow the camera, there won’t be much difference whether you have the D3100 or D3200 (or even the D5xxx cams).

    Anyway, no personal agenda here. It’s not like I work for Nikon or I get a prize when you get either of these cameras, but I really feel the D3200 is the clear choice over the D3100. You mentioned that you like the ergonomics of the D3100 more, so you’ll just need to weigh that against the higher specs of the D3200. Price difference is almost negligible.
    By the way when checking out reviews, you need to keep in mind that all the D3100 reviews were done before the D3200 existed.
  • edited October 2014
    I think if you can afford the difference, the later model is preferable, as you don't give anything up. The D3200 advantage is small, but it's better to have what you don't need than to need what you don't have. The D3300 is a bigger price jump, though it has a few small advantages. I don't anticipate being so eager to make that leap myself, but I gather that the viewfinder is a bit better, and it's a bit sharper due to the dropping of the anti-aliasing filter. Not enough to justify an upgrade, but if I accidentally drop my D3200 overboard or something, it might be a consideration.

    As @ohyeahar says, if you outgrow it the reasons are likely to take you well into another realm. If I get something past the D3200, it will likely be full frame, and more weather resistant. The added convenience features aren't that big of a deal to me, and the image quality is plenty good. Within the DX format, unless you need the video capabilities of a higher model, the slightly better weather protection for use in the rain, or the screw drive (for older AF lenses), there's little downside to the cheaper models.
  • edited December 2014
    Hi to all who have replied to my original question.
    I have news. My wife has bought me for Christmas the Nikon D3200 with twin kit lens 18-55mm VR11 and the 55-200mm VR.
    I'm so excited for Christmas to come as I cannot wait use it.
    Any new comments, thoughts or guidance welcomed.
    Thanks, Mally.
  • I posted a little on your other thread. You'll have lots of fun. It's a good choice.
  • edited December 2014
    Thanks bruto. I have commented on the D3200 forum page. I think all my future posts will appear there. Thanks again and happy shooting.
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