Coolpix 3100


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Coolpix 3100
Manufacturer Nikon
Page By The North Face
Page Type Dec 17, 2005 / Dec 17, 2005
Object ID 1538
Hits 3903
The Nikon Coolpix 3100 we're looking at here is a better specified version of the Coolpix 2100. These type of cameras are aimed at a growing market of people new to digital photography who want an easy to use camera which is reasonably priced and capable of high quality image capture.

Nikon Coolpix 3100 Specifications

* 3x optical Zoom-Nikkor lens

* 256-segment Matrix Metering

* 14 Scene modes

* Compatible with CompactFlash I only

* One touch upload of images

* In-camera cropping

* USB interface

* Takes two AA rechargeable batteries

Handling and Controls

The Coolpix 3100 is one of the more conservative Nikon cameras, in that there is no swiveling LCD or swiveling body. It is however light, very compact and should fit in most jacket pockets. For what is quite a low priced camera, the build quality is good.

Although it is a small digital compact the Coolpix 3100 sits quite comfortably in the hand thanks to an ergonomic design.

The user interface is very simple and well laid out. The main modes the camera offers are selectable through the dial on the top of the body whilst the fourteen scene modes are selectable from an in-camera menu.

Whilst many cheaper digital cameras are slow to operate the Coolpix 3100 flies along. The lens is out in under two seconds and in about four seconds you can take a picture. Switching between images you've taken in the playback mode is fast, as are the in-camera menus.

The LCD is small but it's clear and bright. The viewfinder is basic and doesn't offer any diopter adjustment for spectacle wearers.

Considering the low cost of the Coolpix 3100 the image quality it produces is excellent. In low light when the higher ISOs are automatically selected there is little noise and in better light the lowest ISO provides smooth noise-free images. The 3x optical zoom lens is reasonably versatile and helps the camera to produce sharp images and the macro mode is excellent. There is manual control over the image sharpening performed by the camera, but the automatic setting will be reliable enough for most people's needs.

Colour accuracy is good enough to produce pleasing images and Nikon have been good enough to include a custom white-balance mode, something many manufacturers neglect on their cheaper cameras. Unfortunately there is no manual control over the colour settings in-camera, so if you don't like the default colour levels you'll have to resort to manual editing in a program like Photoshop.


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The North Face - Dec 17, 2005 9:46 am - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
The Coolpix 3100 is a very good example of a low-budget digital camera. It is easy to use, well specified, has a good range of features, decent image quality and most importantly for the budget conscious, is competitively priced. So if you're not looking for a great deal of manual control and can live without some of the features pricier cameras offer such as high resolution movie modes, or histogram details, the Coolpix 3100 is a very capable camera.

Positive points of the Nikon Coolpix 3100 are:

Compact and lightweight design

Fast operation and easy to use

Good image quality

Competitively priced

Good range of features for the price

Supplied with rechargeable batteries

Negative points are:

Focussing can be slow in low light

Lack of manual modes may frustrate some

BSPclimber - Feb 5, 2007 7:33 pm - Hasn't voted

good for its time, but outdated now
I bought one of these 3 years ago, and was a very solid camera for the time, but is quite outdated now. You can get a camera with double the pixels, double the zoom, and lighter for around $250. If you find this used for 50 bucks or under and you dont mind the low pixels and magnification, i'd say go for it. Otherwise, go with a new Nikon P & S like the coolpix L5.

Cascade Scrambler - Aug 23, 2008 9:37 pm - Voted 5/5

I love this camera
What can I say? I love this camera. In a truly freak accident, I dropped my first Nikon Coolpix 3100 in a parking lot in Hawaii as I was walking, and I booted it halfway across the parking lot. The shell was scratched, but it still takes great pictures. I like this camera so much that I picked up a second one on eBay for $16 including shipping. They're compact and lightweight, and they'll fit where I feel like putting them in my pack. I'm happy with the resolution, too. What it all boils down to is that I'd rather lose a ~$20 camera (that takes great shots) than a brand new ~$300 camera (that also takes great shots).

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