Nikon D3100

Nikon D3100 front

Nikon D3100 overview

Nikon D3100 is Nikon's Entry-Level DSLR camera initially released on December of 2010. It has got a 14 MegaPixel, CMOS APS-C size sensor with a peak resolution of 4608 x 3072.

Nikon released this camera in order to upgrade the previous Nikon D3000 (Read Full Comparison) & subsequently released the updated Nikon D3200 (Read Full Comparison) as a way to upgrade this model.

The D3100 comes in at #44 out of 80 in Entry-Level DSLR cameras & all-around #365 out of 1465 for cameras in our database. You can test our Smart camera search to get camera rankings based on your personal criteria.

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Below is a graph of specific criteria used in the scoring system.

Nikon D3100 family

The Nikon D3100 has a history of related cameras. Underneath, you can find all earlier and new models as well as key features.

ModelVisualizeResolutionSensor SizeMax fpsReleased
Nikon-D3500 front thumbnailNikon D3500
D3100 vs D3500
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2018
Nikon-D5600 front thumbnailNikon D5600
D3100 vs D5600
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2016
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Nikon-D3400 front thumbnailNikon D3400
D3100 vs D3400
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2016
Nikon-D5500 front thumbnailNikon D5500
D3100 vs D5500
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2015
Nikon-D3300 front thumbnailNikon D3300
D3100 vs D3300
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2014
Nikon-D5300 front thumbnailNikon D5300
D3100 vs D5300
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2014
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Nikon-D5200 front thumbnailNikon D5200
D3100 vs D5200
24MPAPS-C5.0 fps2013
Nikon-D3200 front thumbnailNikon D3200
D3100 vs D3200
24MPAPS-C4.0 fps2012
Nikon-D5100 front thumbnailNikon D5100
D3100 vs D5100
16MPAPS-C4.0 fps2011
Nikon-D3100 front thumbnailNikon D310014MPAPS-C3.0 fps2010
Nikon-D3000 front thumbnailNikon D3000
D3100 vs D3000
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2009
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Nikon-D5000 front thumbnailNikon D5000
D3100 vs D5000
12MPAPS-C4.0 fps2009
Nikon-D60 front thumbnailNikon D60
D3100 vs D60
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2008
Nikon-D40X front thumbnailNikon D40X
D3100 vs D40X
10MPAPS-C3.0 fps2007
Nikon-D40 front thumbnailNikon D40
D3100 vs D40
6MPAPS-C3.0 fps2006

Nikon D3100 Pros and Cons

Here is a list of advantages and disadvantages of the Nikon D3100 based on features which are normally seen as essential in a camera.

exports RAW files
flash built-in
has HDMI port
has manual focus
has phase detect auto focus
high quality video (1920 x 1080 pixels)
interchangeable lenses (Nikon F mount)
offers face detection focus
offers tracking autofocus
pretty good screen size (3")
resolution is good (14MP)
sensor size is nice (APS-C)
very good min ISO (100)
display isn't selfie friendly
does not have image stabilization
no external microphone port
no headphone port
no Timelapse recording
screen has low resolution (230 k dot)
screen is fixed
slow continuous shooting (3.0 frames/s)
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Nikon D3100 Sensor information

The Nikon D3100 is powered by the Expeed 2 processor. The sensor dimension in the Nikon D3100 is 23.1mm x 15.4mm (APS-C). The 356 mm² sensor has the ability to resolve 4608 x 3072 pixels using aspect ratios of 3:2.

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The CMOS sensor has 14MP and provides a native ISO range of 100 - 3200. The ISO can be widened digitally to a maximum of 12800. RAW files are supported which means that you have more room to maneuver in post.

The image underneath displays the D3100's sensor size in comparison to other common sizes. The D3100 sensor has a crop factor of 1.6 and is showcased in green.

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To get an understanding of specific aspect ratios, you can refer to the visual below.

Camera sensor aspect ratios

Nikon D3100 dimensions

Nikon D3100 weighs around 1.11 lb (505 grams or 17.81 oz) & has exterior size of 124mm x 96mm x 75mm (4.9" x 3.8" x 3.0"). The weight of general Entry-Level DSLR camera is 540 grams so the Nikon D3100 is very similar when compared to various competitors.

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Underneath is a image of the Nikon D3100 beside a softdrink to help you get a feel for its size.

Nikon D3100 dimensions scale

The top view underneath will show you the button layout on the D3100.

Nikon D3100 topview buttons dials

Nikon D3100 Lens information

The D3100 uses the Nikon F mount and has 315 lenses available on the market. Here is a few of the lenses we have in our database that will work with the D3100.

ModelVisualizeFocal LengthApertureStabilizedWeight
Sigma-70mm-F2.8-DG-Macro-Art-Nikon-F-FX lensSigma 70mm F2.8 DG Macro Art70mmf/2.8515g
Sigma-70-200mm-F2.8-EX-DG-OS-HSM-Nikon-F-FX lensSigma 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM70-200mmf/2.8 1430g
Photography Glossary
Carl-Zeiss-Planar-T1.4-50-Nikon-F-FX lensCarl Zeiss Planar T 1,45050mmf/1.4 350g
Tamron-100-400mm-F4.5-6.3-Di-VC-USD-Nikon-F-FX lensTamron 100-400mm F4.5-6.3 Di VC USD100-400mmf/4.5-6.3 1135g
Carl-Zeiss-Distagon-T2-25 lensCarl Zeiss Distagon T 22525mmf/2 570g
Nikon-AF-S-DX-Nikkor-18-140mm-f3.5-5.6G-ED-VR lensNikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-140mm f3.5-5.6G ED VR18-140mmf/3.5-5.6 490g
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Nikon-AF-S-Nikkor-17-35mm-f2.8D-ED-IF lensNikon AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8D ED-IF17-35mmf/2.8 745g
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Nikon D3100 Connectivity

The D3100 has the following connectivity:

  • USB Yes
  • Wireless Yes
  • HDMI Yes
  • GPS Yes

Cameras that include NFC and Bluetooth support can easily be used wirelessly by smartphones. You can easily send pictures and oftentimes change camera settings without the hassle of connecting directly with the camera.

Several apps also stream a Liveview and press the shutter whenever you aren't close to the camera. If the camera comes with a HDMI port, it could be hooked up to an external display. Virtually all cameras enable you to charge the battery using the USB socket.

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Nikon D3100 Video information

The highest video resolution in the Nikon D3100 is 1920 x 1080 and you can record in MPEG-4 format. 1080p resolution can provide a good balance for quality and file size but FULL HD will not give you any room to downsample. The body doesn't include a microphone and headphone socket which means you have absolutely no control over the audio. It is probably best to order a different model if you want decent audio for your video clips.

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Nikon D3100 Weather Sealing

Nikon D3100 doesn't have weather proofing so wet conditions can affect the camera.

Nikon D3100 Display and Viewfinder

The Nikon D3100 has got a 3" fixed display screen having a resolution of 230k dots.

Please be aware that the display has no touch support.

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The View Finder details for Nikon D3100 are as follows:

  • ViewFinder Optical (pentamirror)
  • Coverage 95 percent
  • Magnification 0.53x

For sunny outdoor situations that make the camera screens washed out and tricky to see, viewfinders are pretty useful.

Nikon D3100 Shutter information

Nikon D3100 has the ability to shoot continuously at 3.0 frames/s. The maximum shutter speed is 1/4000 sec.

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Nikon D3100 Flash and Hot shoe information

Nikon D3100 features both integrated flash as well as external flash ability. The maximum flash sync is 1/200 sec.

Nikon D3100 Autofocusing information

Nikon D3100 features both Phase Detect Autofocus as well as Contrast Detect Autofocus. Phase Detection autofocusing is a lot faster and accurate as compared to Contrast Detect autofocusing. The camera has got Face detect which makes it helpful for taking photos of people.

The AF system has got 11 focus points to select from. It also comes with Tracking Autofocus for objects that move. Nikon D3100 features manual focus if required for low light or you want to have more exact control on focus.

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Nikon D3100 Battery life

The battery power (EN-EL14) for the Nikon D3100 is designed to last for 550 photographs based on the CIPA specifications making it comparable with it's competition. The typical Entry-Level DSLR camera battery life is 589. Pentax K-x has got the highest (1900) battery life for this group of cameras.

Here is a list of Entry-Level DSLR cameras with the highest battery life:

Nikon D3100 for varying styles of photography

The following graph displays a analysis of the Nikon D3100 for varying styles of photography. To understand more, go to the specific paragraph underneath.

Portrait photography with Nikon D3100

The Nikon D3100 gets a points total of 72 which is nice, meaning that it is a fine choice to use for portrait images. Taking portraits favors heavily to sensor size, support for RAW files together with the flexibility to work with external lighting.

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manual focus
decent sensor resolution (14MP)
sensor size is decent (APS-C)
has face detect focus
exports RAW files

Street photography with Nikon D3100

Getting a decent rating of 58, the Nikon D3100 is reasonably appropriate for street photography. A very good street photography camera features a fine balance of picture quality and portability.

Photography Glossary
sensor size is good (APS-C)
saves RAW formats
screen does not articulate
does not have image stabilization

Nikon D3100 as a Sports photography camera

A reasonable sports photography score of 60 means the Nikon D3100 is somewhat suited for taking pictures of sports. A camera needs fantastic autofocus plus fast shutter speeds for sports photography.

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MP count good (14MP)
good sensor size (APS-C)
supports tracking focus
has phase detect AF
max fps low (3.0 frames per second)
lack of image stabilization

Nikon D3100 Travel photography highlights

Size is really important when buying a camera for travel. In general, the Nikon D3100 gets a average 58 as a travel camera which is relatively adequate to buy for your trips.

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megapixel count decent (14 megapixels)
has built in flash
does not have Time Lapse mode
screen is not selfie friendly

Nikon D3100 Landscape photography factors

For anyone looking to purchase a camera for landscape photos, the biggest aspect will be image quality. The Nikon D3100 and it's nice grade of 65 for a landscape camera is a fine option in the current market.

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manual focus
interchangeable lenses (Nikon F mount)
nice screen size (3 inch)
good MP (14MP)
decent sensor size (APS-C)
delivers RAW files
does not have image stabilization
no Time Lapse mode

Nikon D3100 Vlogging details

A camera for vlogging should really posses a moving display, microphone input and if possible IBIS. Taking everything in to account, the Nikon D3100 is just not acceptable as a vlog camera as it delivers a terrible rating of 27.

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offers face detect focusing
video res high (1920 x 1080 pxls)
screen is not selfie friendly
no image stabilization
does not have mic support

Nikon D3100 Alternatives

If you want replacements to the D3100, below is a selection of the highest placed cameras that fall within the family of Entry-Level DSLR.

The graph below provides you a summary of the D3100 versus it's top rated rivals listed above.

Following are several cameras you may take a look at as alternative options. To read a comprehensive comparison, just click on the "compare" link.

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General Information
Nikon D3100
Entry-Level DSLR
Body design
Compact SLR
Sensor Information
Sensor type
Powered by
Expeed 2
Sensor size
Sensor measurements
23.1 x 15.4mm
Sensor area
Sensor resolution
14 megapixel
Anti aliasing filter
Aspect ratio
Full resolution
4608 x 3072
RAW images
Max native ISO
Max boosted ISO
Lowest native ISO
Manual focus
Touch to focus
Continuous autofocus
Autofocus single
Autofocus tracking
Autofocus selectice
Center weighted autofocus
Autofocus multi area
Live view autofocus
Face detect focus
Contract detect focus
Phase detect focus
Number of focus points
Cross focus points
Lens mounting type
Nikon F
Number of lenses
Focal length multiplier
Display type
Fixed Type
Display size
Resolution of display
230k dot
Selfie friendly
Touch display
Display tech
TFT LCD monitor
Viewfinder Information
Viewfinder type
Optical (pentamirror)
Viewfinder coverage
95 percent
Viewfinder magnification
DXO scores
DXO All around score
DXO Color Depth score
DXO Dynamic range score
DXO Low light score
Lowest shutter speed
30 secs
Highest shutter speed
1/4000 secs
Continuous shooting speed
3.0 frames/s
Shutter priority
Aperture priority
Manual exposure
Exposure compensation
Change white balance
Image stabilization
Built-in flash
Flash range
12.00 m (at ISO 100)
Flash modes
Auto, Red-Eye, Slow, Red-Eye Slow, Rear curtain
External flash
Auto exposure bracketing
White balance bracketing
Highest flash sync
1/200 secs
Multisegment exposure
Average exposure
Spot exposure
Partial exposure
AF area exposure
Center weighted exposure
Video features
Supported video resolutions
1920 x 1080 (24 fps), 1280 x 720 (30, 25, 24 fps), 640 x 424 (24 fps)
Max video resolution
Video format
Microphone jack
Headphone jack
Eye-Fi Connected
USB 2.0 (480 Mbit/sec)
Environmental seal
Water proof
Dust proof
Shock proof
Crush proof
Freeze proof
505 gr (1.11 pounds)
Physical dimensions
124 x 96 x 75mm (4.9" x 3.8" x 3.0")
Battery life
550 photos
Battery form
Battery Pack
Battery model
Self timer
Time lapse feature
Storage media
Storage slots
Retail cost