Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nikon annouces the D3100 with full HD video!

In a highly unexpected move Nikon finally released a DSLR with full 1080p video in an ENTRY-LEVEL camera! Not only that, it features full-time autofocus similar to a camcorder. Nikon is breaking barriers once again with the AF video! Nikon claims that this is possible due to the EXPEED 2 processor.

The D3000 which is barely a year old received a full workover. The 10MP CCD sensor has been replaced with a 14.2MP CMOS which has the highest resolution of any Nikon camera save for the D3X. Let's hope that the D3100 is better in low-light than the D3000 which was abysmal. We can assume the the EXPEED 2 processor makes the most of this CMOS sensor since the ISO range was greatly enhanced. The ISO range is a native 100 - 3200 and you can push it two stops to 12,800.
The best thing about the D3100 in my opinion are the redesigned features of the buttons and switches which ad more functionality and ease of use than is commonly found in a camera of this level. A function button has been added, it has limited settings, but something is better than nothing. 

One very cool addition is the Drive Mode switch which allows you switch from Single, Continuous, Self-timer, and Quiet mode. To access these you used to have to go into a menu. I really hope this trickles down (or up?) to the pro models in the future. This is a good spot to have those settings at.

Probably the best new switch is the Live View / Video switch. Very conveniently set right by your thumb for quick access. A quick flick turns on the Live View and a press of the button starts the video.

Along with the D3100 Nikon also announced four new lenses aimed at the FX market. The most awaited for lens is the 85mm f/1.4G. It's gotten a complete redo as well. Magnesium body, weather sealing, Crystal NanoCoat, and a 9 bladed aperture for super silky bokeh. Nice...

The other lens of note is the 24-120 f/4. Canon has had these types of constant f/4 mid-range lenses for awhile. Nikon's first foray into this region was the 16-35 f/4. This lens has an impressive range and would be a great all-around lens for any D700 user. This lens has VR which will help a little with the not-super fast f/4 aperture and also received the Nano CrystalCoat treatment.

The other two lenses are pretty standard fare. The 28-300 f/3.5-5.6 super-zoom and the super slow 55-300 f/4.5-5.6. This is Nikon's way to get some affordable glass for the hobbyist who just must have the full-frame camera.

Of course with the release of all these new FX lenses one could also speculate that an affordable FX camera body is on the way...

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