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Nikon D3100 14.2 SLR Camera

Updated on September 4, 2014

Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera

I have been investigating this camera and as I do I love it more and more. I thought I would share some tips for using this camera that I have been coming across. These tips could help sway your decision of whether or not to buy this camera which after comparing to others in the same price range this one seems the best to me and many others. There are a number of things I like about this camera for the newbie to SLR cameras like myself.

This camera ranks in the top 10 in SLR camera on Amazon. It was also on Oprah's favorite things list. Many of the reviews are favorable for this camera that I have come across.

Nikon D3100 14.2MP Digital SLR Camera - 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens

What is in the Box

D3100 digital SLR camera body

AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens

EN-EL14 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery

MH-24 Battery Charger,

DK-5 Eyepiece Cap

DK-20 Rubber Eyecap

AN-DC3 Camera Strap

BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cover

BF-1B Body Cap


Pictures Taken with my 55-300 Lens

If you have this camera or are thinking of buying it make sure you get the 55-300 lens. It makes a big difference in your photography and is my favorite lens. It gives a very nice bokeh or blurred background as you can see in many of my pictures.

You can zoom quite far with this lens also so I have been able to take pictures of birds much closer up. You can see the blue bird, black bird and the killdeer I have taken pictures of below.

Beautiful Spring Poppy Stretched Canvas Print

I decided to use the guide on the camera and see if I liked it. Usually I use the macro setting for flowers, but this day I decided to do half of the pictures with the guide where I changed the aperature to low. I think around 5 or 6. I can't remember the exact number, but I like the way it focused on the subject and blurred the back ground. It seems to do that much more with this setting than it does in macro setting.

This photo was also done in this setting.

Nikon 40mm f/2.8G AF-S DX Micro NIKKOR Lens

This is a new lens for this camera that is great for taking pictures of flowers and insects. I bought this lens this year and love it! It is great for macro photography. You do have to get close up which I am not used to because I use my zoom lens most of the time even as a walk around lens.


This is a favorite shot of mine I took with this camera.


This is a daisy I took a picture of. You can see daisies within the water drops. This is with the kit lens!

Nikon D3100

The dial you see in this picture gives easy access to deciding different scene modes.


This is the face with a hat on it icon on the dial. It is a good choice when doing a portrait when the subject you are taking a picture of is being still. It will smooth the complexion and blur the background so the person in the picture pops.


The flower icon captures small objects sharply and is great for flowers.


The icon is a square with a mountain in it for this choice. It is easy to guess that this is your best choice to put your dial if you want to photography landscapes.

Child Mode

This is a child face icon and is best for taking pictures of children. It gives alot of color and looks great.

Sports Mode

The icon on the dial that will do this function is the person that looks like they are running. It is best for when your subject is moving. Any sort of action scene you photograph will do good with this choice.

Night Mode

This is of course great for photographing night scenes, especially lights outside.

You might notice there is also 4 letters: A, P, M and S

These each have different functions:

M is for when you want to do all your settings manually or for the newbie when you are ready to. The great thing about this camera is it has a guide that will walk you through using the camera in a manual way which is one of the things I love about it.

A is for controlling the blur in the background of a picture. If you want no blur in the back ground but would rather everything come out clear in the picture. Choose a wide apperature while on the A to blur the background behind a subject. A smaller aperature will not blur the background.

S is for shutter priority on this camera. Use this to select shutter speed to freeze or blur motion in a picture such as a windmill turning around for instance.


I love this feature on this camera! This is great for the SLR newbie! It will walk you through what to do for settings, for deleting and viewing pictures and set up. This is the only camera out there that does this and I think it makes learning to use an SLR camera less intimidating.

There are three main AF modes:

AF-S (Single Servo AF), AF-C (Continuous Servo AF) and AF-A (an Auto mode which selects between them depending on whether the subject is in motion - this is the default option). These are selected from the main information display screen, where you'll also be offered a Manual focusing option. The single mode or AF-S is what you want if the subject you are photographing is not moving. The AF-C option is what you want to choose when your subject will be moving.

Set Picture Control

Standard : +2 Saturation (use this choice for people.)

Vivid : +3 Saturation (use this one for places and things.)

Live View

As you can see on the screen it is showing a live view of the picture. It will Automatically optimize exposure, autofocus, and white balance, allowing you to take beautiful photos without having to make camera adjustments yourself. For a newbie this a great feature to have. The Scene Auto Selector lets the D3100 decide the best mode to match the shooting situation when using Live View.

June Daisy and Ladybug

Do you prefer Canon or Nikon cameras?



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    • mel-kav 3 years ago

      Definitely Nikon. I love my Nikon Coolpix L110 - it takes exceptional macro shots. However, I have been ready for a DSLR for a while now. I really wanted the D5200, but it is really out of my price range - so out of the cameras I could (and I was only willing to look at Nikon) - I narrowed down to the D3200 or the D5100 - just settled for the D5100.

    • anonymous 5 years ago

      I would love to have either one!

    • LiveToEat 5 years ago

      Nikon all the way!

    • LiveToEat 5 years ago

      Both point & shoot and DSLR - it's Nikon all the way for me!

    • Bill Armstrong 5 years ago from Valencia, California

      Yup love my D3100 and recommend said. I will be purchasing the book, but are you aware of anything smaller I could fit in pocket fro the D3100, you know an idiots guide :-)

    • CoolFoto 5 years ago

      I only use Nikon. My current camera is the D700. Love your photos and blessed by Angel.

    • filmic 5 years ago

      i have a Nikon

    • Rob Hemphill 6 years ago from Ireland

      Love my Nikon D90 - but never tried Canon, so am bound to be biased!

    • AsianMarketplace 6 years ago

      Nikon for sure!

    • hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass


    • tgnyc00 6 years ago


    • anonymous 6 years ago

      I have never had a Canon, always had Nikon and over many years have upgraded until finally for this Christmas hubby and I bought our first DSLR, the new NikonD7000 woohoooo.

      I have been using the Nikon coolpix point and shoot for years now and I find the macro on it is very good but we wanted an even better quality, I feel ready for it now :)

    • David Gardner 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

      Well, I've used both.. but for about 25 years of my *professional* photography life, I used my *own* Nikon equipment--a Nikonos II (waterproof--for scuba diving and snorkeling and snowskiing), a Nikkormat 35mm SLR, a Nikon F 35mm SLR, and a Nikon F-2 35mm SLR (I've now switched to digital!). However, when I was a newspaper staff photographer, I used the newspapers' Canons. They were also okay--but I had to get used to using the different buttons and controls. (So, I was still more comfortable with the Nikons.)

    • Patricia 6 years ago

      I do like Canon, but after seeing what others think that have been using DSLR cameras I am starting to lean towards Nikon. Also I am liking the picture quality and ease of use I am hearing about with Nikon versus Canon.


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      • anonymous 5 years ago

        i used canon 600d /rebel t3i and i love it.

      • KarenCookieJar 6 years ago

        I've always had canon SLR's but I've been seeing photos shot with Nikon's lately and thinking about switching the next time I upgrade because I sold most of my gear anyway so it wouldn't be too hard to switch at this point. I like the focus and sharpness of Nikon pictures and the colors look more intense.

      • Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

        I prefer canon because that is what I have. i like to be content with what I have and not hanker after something else. Great lens.

      • Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

        Neither....I use a Sony A100 SLR and love it!

      • BrahmM 6 years ago

        I'm a very happy Canon user!

        While both Canon and Nikon make really great cameras and lenses, I think the free software suite included with Canon is excellent and very comprehensive and is upgraded and improved all the time.

        Of course, once you've invested in a few lenses and flashes you become pretty much locked in to a brand!

        My next camera will be a full frame Canon.

      • Annamadagan 6 years ago

        They both are really nice!!!

      • photofk3 6 years ago

        I own a Canon EOS 550D (Rebel T2i) myself which I bought in February 2010. I also have a Pentax X70. I love my Canon camera, though I have read lots of reviews on Nikon cameras as well. I would really be interested in buying a Nikon camera too. I am looking forward to the release of a Nikon D700 replacement. I prefer Canon for now, but my opinion might change if I try a Nikon camera. If I will buy a new camera, either a Canon or a Nikon, I am only interested in full frame cameras.

      Nikon D3100 Highlights

      14.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS Image Sensor

      Includes 3x 18-55mm Zoom-NIKKOR VR Image Stabilization Lens

      Full 1080p HD Cinematic Video


      Compact and Lightweight Design

      Split-second Shutter Respons

      Fast 11-point Autofocus System

      ISO sensitivity 100-3200, expandable to ISO 12800 equivalent

      3-inch monitor

      Scene Auto Selector

      EXPEED 2

      Scene Recognition System in Live View

      6 Automatic Exposure Scene Modes

      Just set the Mode dial to Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up or Night Portrait for stunning results in otherwise challenging conditions.

      Active D-Lighting

      Restores picture-enhancing detail in shadows and highlights.

      Nikon D3100 Digital SLR Highlights

      D-Lighting in action.

      Picture Control

      Choose from Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, or Landscape to apply a personal look and feel to your pictures.

      Automatic Image Sensor Cleaning

      Ultrasonic process and exclusive Airflow Control combats the accumulation of dust in front of the image sensor, safeguarding image quality shot after shot.

      Built-in pop-up flash

      Perfect for those times when there isn't enough light.

      In-camera Image Editing

      Allows creative freedom, without the need for a computer, offering easy editing functions.

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      The Nikon D3100

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      Do you have this camera?

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        • SciTechEditorDave profile image

          David Gardner 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area, California

          Not yet. :-)

        • TapIn2U profile image

          TapIn2U 6 years ago

          I don't have it yet but I'd like to own one. I love taking pictures of places and people especially when I travel and I always have my handy point-and-shoot digital camera with me. But once I download the picture, I always say to myself "darn, these would've looked better taken with an SLR". But don't you need to take photography classes to really be able to know how to use one? Hmm..Hey, Iâve just finished my second lens on a 3-step plan to achieve your Goals and New Years Resolutions.When you have a moment, I would love to hear what you think. If you have a suggestion- please let me know. Iâm learning as I go and so appreciate your help. Sundae ;-)

        • TapIn2U profile image

          TapIn2U 6 years ago

          I don't have it yet but I'd like to own one. I love taking pictures of places and people especially when I travel and I always have my handy point-and-shoot digital camera with me. But once I download the picture, I always say to myself "darn, these would've looked better taken with an SLR". But don't you need to take photography classes to really be able to know how to use one? Hmm..Hey, Iâve just finished my second lens on a 3-step plan to achieve your Goals and New Years Resolutions.When you have a moment, I would love to hear what you think. If you have a suggestion- please let me know. Iâm learning as I go and so appreciate your help. Sundae ;-)

        • photofk3 profile image

          photofk3 6 years ago

          I don't have this camera. If I will buy a new camera, I only want to buy a full frame camera, whether it's a Canon or a Nikon. Great lens by all means.

        • deyanis profile image

          deyanis 6 years ago from Oz

          This is a well-comprehensive lens about D3100. Lenroll-ed it to my Nikon D7000 lens =)

        • sukkran trichy profile image

          sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

          want to buy one.

        • blue22d profile image

          blue22d 6 years ago

          I am considering this camera. I want to say you have done an excellent job of informing us about this model and I am giving you a Squid Angel blessing. Great job!

        • PNWtravels profile image

          Vicki Green 6 years ago from Wandering the Pacific Northwest USA

          No. I've just a an inexpensive little point and shoot and I'm thinking of upgrading, but not yet ready for anything this expensive. Great information and fabulous photos on this lens are tempting me though.

        • profile image

          Annamadagan 6 years ago

          This is a great lens. I really want one!

        • bkarsono profile image

          bkarsono 6 years ago

          Awesome lens. I have just sold this NIKON on ebay. It was a great camera.

        • mbgphoto profile image

          Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

          Great review on this camera and I love your photos. If I were in the market for another camera you would have sold me :) Blessed.

        • hessa johnson profile image

          hessa johnson 6 years ago

          Hope to buy a Nikon SLR in the future. I'll bookmark this! Thanks!

        • Sylvestermouse profile image

          Cynthia Sylvestermouse 6 years ago from United States

          I have always thought your photography was phenomenally beautiful and this lens really makes me want to treat myself to the camera. I think I shall slip a little note to my son who always whispers in his dad's ear and they go together to get special gifts for me. This would be awesome! Dang, the next gift occasion is not until October though :( Oh, well, I shall love it then :)

        • profile image

          Runnn 6 years ago

          Beautiful pictures. I'm thinking to get a SLR camera, any recommended brand?

        • LizMac60 profile image

          Liz Mackay 6 years ago from United Kingdom

          This camera is too much for my pocket, but I enjoyed the lens and especially your lovely photography.

        • hlkljgk profile image

          hlkljgk 6 years ago from Western Mass

          i do, and it's my go to camera from traveling; it's so light and fast! but i still rely on my full sensor d700 for professional shoots.

        • darciefrench lm profile image

          darciefrench lm 6 years ago

          I don't own this camera but I have borrowed a Nikon like it and it's absolutely amazing - love the pics you've shown too. It is an awesome camera.

        • rob-hemphill profile image

          Rob Hemphill 6 years ago from Ireland

          Don't have this Nikon camera, but have the D90. I absolutely love it, as well as my bunch of Nikkor (Nikon's) lenses. Great DSLR cameras!

        • emmaklarkins profile image

          emmaklarkins 5 years ago

          Wow, these are some truly amazing photos! I just got myself a Canon Powershot s95, and I hope I can take some pretty pictures as well :)

        • filmic profile image

          filmic 5 years ago

          great lens, heaps of content!

        • adamfrench profile image

          adamfrench 5 years ago

          Impressive lens, thumbs up

        • Diana Wenzel profile image

          Renaissance Woman 5 years ago from Colorado

          Great camera and photos. I am Nikon all the way, but don't have this particular camera. I can tell I would like it, though. Thanks for this valuable review. Appreciated!

        • KathyMcGraw2 profile image

          Kathy McGraw 5 years ago from California

          You do some amazing flower photography, and nice review of your camera :)

        • rewards4life info profile image

          rewards4life info 5 years ago

          I think I need to upgrade my camera. Your photos are simply gorgeous! Great review, Patricia!

        • masaad profile image

          masaad 5 years ago

          gud nice, this will be my first dslr camera :D

        • bikerministry profile image

          bikerministry 5 years ago

          I have a Nikon D100, just learning. Your work is amazing. Blessings.

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          This is a great example what a gifted photographer can do with a great camera and beautiful flowers. I especially enjoyed your daisies in water droplets, daisies have always been my favorite flower and you made magic happen!...*

        • mel-kav profile image

          mel-kav 3 years ago

          Great lens - awesome photos!

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