Nikon D3100 camera announced
First dSLR with continuous autofocus video mode
This exciting new $700 Nikon D3100 dSLR camera from Nikon offers 1080p HD video with continuous autofocus capabilities.
In addition to 1080p HD video (1920x1080) at 24 frames per second, a first for a Nikon dSLR, this camera offers exciting new capabilities for underwater photographers to take underwater video with mid-range focal lengths and macro focal lengths without having to manually focus the lens. This is the first dSLR camera to offer continuous auto-focus capability in video mode. Movies are stored in the easy to use .mov format using the H.264 codec, and 720p HD video supports 30fps. This codec is a big improvement over the not-so-great motion jpeg codec the D90 and D300s use.
The camera also boasts a new EXPEED 2 image processing engine, and a new 14.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor.
Other improvements over the Nikon D3000 are live view, and an expanded ISO range. This camera has a built in "guide" that I've seen in other earlier models and I'm personally not a big fan of.
Unfortunately for underwater photographers, this camera does not have a built-in auto-focus motor, which means fisheye lenses like the Tokina 10-17mm will need to be used on manual focus mode.
If the Nikon D90 or the Nikon D300s get upgraded to 1080p HD continuous-focus video, and hopefully they will soon, then that will be exciting for underwater photography, and a great reason to upgrade!
Nikon D3100 Compared with the Canon 7D
Although the cameras are in different classes, we can still compare the video functionality. Both do 1080p HD video, and use the excellent H.264 codec. Only the Nikon D3100 will auto-focus in video mode, but the Canon 7D still has the edge in frame rates, doing 30fps in 1080p mode - which is better for action & panning, and 60fps in 760p mode, useful for creating slow-motion video at 30fps.
Here's the full press release from Nikon about the Nikon D3100
- Price: $700 in the USA with a 18-55mm VR kit lens
- Sensor: 14 megapixel CMOS
- Auto-focus: 11 point
- Video: 1080p HD @ 24fps, 720p @ 30fps, both with auto-focus
- LCD Screen: 3 inch
- FPS: 3 frames per second
- ISO range: 200 - 3200
- Available: Mid September