Nikon D3100 review

Nikon's 14.2MP D3100 is a great choice for novices and those on a budget

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We shoot a specially designed chart in carefully controlled conditions and the resulting images are analysed using DXO Analyzer software to generate the data to produce the graphs below.

For more more details on how to interpret our test data, check out our full explanation of our noise and dynamic range tests.

Signal to noise ratio

A high signal to noise ratio (SNR) indicates a cleaner and better quality image.

Nikon d3100 review jpeg signal to noise ratio
Nikon d3100 review: jpeg signal to noise ratio

JPEG images from the Nikon D3100 compare reasonably well with the Pentax K-r and Sony Alpha 390 up to a sensitivity value of ISO 800. However at higher sensitivity values the Nikon D3100 lags behind. Up to around ISO 1600 the Canon EOS 1100D leads the way.

Raw signal to noise ratio

Nikon d3100 review tiff signal to noise ratio
Nikon d3100 review: tiff signal to noise ratio

Raw images (after conversion to TIFF) from the Nikon D3100 show lower signal to noise ratio scores than the Pentax K-r, Sony Alpha 390 and Canon EOS 1100D. This means that the Nikon D3100's images are likely to contain more noise and have a little less detail.

Dynamic range

Nikon d3100 review jpeg dynamic range
Nikon d3100 review: jpeg dynamic range

This chart shows that the Nikon D3100's JPEGs capture a wide tonal range up to a sensitivity of ISO 1600, at higher ISO settings detail is easily lost in the shadows and highlights.

Raw dynamic range

Nikon d3100 review tiff dynamic range
Nikon d3100 review: tiff dynamic range

This chart indicates that the Nikon D3100's raw images (after conversion to TIFF) capture a wide tonal range up to a sensitivity of ISO 3200, beating the Sony Alpha 390 and coming close to the performance of the Canon EOS 1100D. However, it can't match the Pentax K-r for dynamic range across its entire sensitivity range.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Maximum Video Resolution1920 x 1080
Effective Camera Resolution14.2 Megapixel
HD Movie ModeYes
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card, Secure Digital Extended Capacity (SDXC)
Optical Zoom3.1x
Digital ZoomNo
Brand NameNikon
FeaturesLive View, Aperture Priority, Face Detection, External Flash Shoe, Manual White Balance
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Video FormatsQuickTime MOV
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)505 g
Image Sensor Size23.10 mm x 15.40 mm
Maximum Image Resolution4608 x 3072
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height96 mm
Width124 mm
Depth74.5 mm
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelD3100
Product NameD3100 Digital SLR Camera
Exposure Control
  • Program (P)
  • Shutter-Priority Auto (S)
  • Aperture-Priority Auto (A)
  • Manual (M)
Manufacturer Part NumberVBA280KU02
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The stunningly simple-to-use D3100 is every family's answer to beautiful images. Whether the moment calls for a family portrait or a sharp shot of toddlers on the run, Guide Mode shows you how to capture stunning photos in no time at all. D-Movie lets you record full HD movie clips and capture the action in superb quality day or night. Nikon's advanced EXPEED 2 image processing engine maximizes the performance of the 14.2 megapixel CMOS sensor for amazingly clear images with vivid colors. Incredibly lightweight for an SLR, the D3100 makes it easy to capture your family looking wonderful wherever you go.

Package Contents
  • D3100 Digital SLR Camera
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6GII AF-S DX Nikkor Lens
  • Rechargeable Li-ion EN-EL14 Battery
  • Battery Charger MH-24
  • AN-DC1 Neck Strap
  • Hot Shoe Cover BS-1
  • DK-5 Eyepiece Shield
  • BF-1B Body Cap
  • DK-20 Eyecup
  • CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year