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Nikon D3100 Accessories for Better Photos

Updated on February 22, 2012
Nikon D3100 SLR
Nikon D3100 SLR | Source

The Nikon D3100 is an excellent DSLR camera capable of producing high quality images, but adding key accessories makes the photos even better. There are several obvious components to add to a Nikon D3100 to improve photographs including a new lens, but the most important accessory to add may be a surprise.

External Nikon D3100 Flash

The stock Nikon D3100 digital SLR flash is only effective for a distance of approximately 10 feet. In addition, the stock flash is limited in the number of time it can burst each minute. Adding a new external flash improves available light, resulting in improved photo quality. Post processing time is therefore reduced. In low light conditions the D3100 will respond faster, resulting in timely shots. Some add-on flash units support continuous shooting on the Nikon camera. Adding a higher quality flash to the Nikon D3100 is the component that will improve photo quality the most. Unless you plan to take most of your photos outdoors in sunlight, light is an issue with many photos taken with this camera. The sensor in the camera is one of the best for low light conditions, but it can only do so much.

Nikon D3100 camera lens upgrade

The Nikon D3100 DLSR kit comes with the 3X zoom 18-55mm Nikkor VR Image Stabilization lens. While the stock Nikkor lens has very good quality and the built-in image stabilization improves photo quality, there are additional lenses available for the camera. What is quickly found when using the standard lens is the zoom capability is limited. For example, the distance from the sidelines to players on the soccer or baseball field typically cannot fill the frame. Post processing is needed to crop a photo on a field with action. The Nikkor 55-200mm or 55-300mm zoom lenses fit the need for close up photos from a distance. Both lenses have the same Nikkor VR quality, which is designed specifically for Nikon digital cameras.

A fast SDHC memory card

Data transfer between a Nikon D3100 and a memory card is demanding. A slow memory card limits the performance of the camera. Use a Class 6 or better SDHC memory card. Preferably, use a memory card capable of transfer speeds of at least 30 MB/sec. This rate of transfer speed is equivalent to a Class 10 SDHC memory card. Cards with this specification support the D3100's data transfer of RAW image files and HD movies.

Camera bag to avoid missed photos

Consider a professional camera bag to store the Nikon camera. The Lowepro Slingshot bag offers perfect storage for D3100 along with extra memory cards, a monopod, and an extra camera lens in a compact mini-backpack. The Slingshot bag slings around the body so it does not need to be removed or set down to quickly access the camera. This feature is very helpful so you will not miss an important photo. It also has a built-in rain cover for added protection.

Monopod for stable photos

For a stable shot, consider a monopod. Monopods offer stability, like a tripod, but are much easier to carry. Most high quality camera bags have a built-in holder for a monopod. For long zoom shots or long shutter time in low light, a stable camera is the key to taking a good quality photo.

Post Processing Software

Even the best DSLR camera cannot take a magazine quality photo on every shot. Post photography software processing is useful for adjusting a photo to achieve a better image. Adobe Photoshop is the standard in post processing software, but it is a little pricey. Photoshop Elements is a more affordable version, and still has many of the effects and adjustments available on the full version. GIMP is a open-source (free) program, like Photoshop. GIMP has been around a long time for Mac users and now has a growing Mac and Windows support community.


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    • Shravan Picsonia profile image

      Shravan K Acharya 4 years ago from India

      This hub was very helpful, thanks for posting this! I have Nikon D5100 and I'm going to buy 55-300mm lens for it!

    • profile image

      ridwan shafal 5 years ago

      Beautiful: The camera that amazes. Shoot with D3100 and enjoy the beauty. D3100 employs Nikon's latest breakthrough technology to deliver superb results.

    • Allen Douglas profile image

      Allen Douglas 6 years ago from Midwest USA

      I have my sights set on the Nikkor 18-200mm lens, but will need to wait until it clears the budget. Thanks for the tips.

    • TrahnTheMan profile image

      TrahnTheMan 6 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

      Helpful and informative hub. If you are really serious about Nikons, then you might consider the Nikkor 18-200mm VR lens. It's pricey as far as prosumer stills lenses go (around $1000) but it's magnificent for the focal range. I have used this lens for not only stills but also shooting motion on a Red One cinema 4K camera and the images were comparable with a $8000 cinema lens (of course the cinema lenses are designed for a different purpose which accounts for the extreme price difference, but nonetheless it's some kind of comparison). IF you're still recovering from the thought of spending almost 4 figures on a lens, then consider the ol' thrifty fifty: 50mm f1.8 prime at about $100. Superb images for the price.