By Diane Berkenfeld
An editor’s job is never done, and today—which at the time I’m writing this—is only about 40 minutes old is no exception. Scouring the internet while watching TV late yesterday I came upon a mention of a possible new camera introduction by Nikon. Intrigued, I decided to go onto the Nikonrumors.com website and found not only a DSLR was expected today, but four lenses as well. Figuring that no leaks would appear so close to midnight, I checked the Nikonusa.com and Nikon.com websites regardless. At 12-midnight exactly I was finally rewarded when the pages I’d seen on both sites updated to include the D3100 and four new lenses.
Drumroll please… The brand new equipment includes the D3100 DSLR body and AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR, AF-S 24-120mm f/4G ED VR and AF-S 85mm f/1.4G lenses.
14MP D3100 DSLR
The D3100 is designed as an easy-to-use and affordable camera by the press release Nikon distributed at 12:01am. The camera features a DX-format CMOS sensor with14.2MP in resolution, full HD video capture and the new EXPEED 2TM image processing engine. The camera offers photographers full time AF in Live View and D-Movie mode—and according to Nikon, it is the first DSLR offering full time AF while shooting video.
Other features of the D3100 include an 11-point AF system, ISO range of 100 to 3200, expandable to 12,800, an enhanced Guide Mode that offers step-by-step assistance for newbie DSLR users, a 3-inch LCD, and Face Detection that can lock focus on a whopping 35 faces, among other features. The D3100 records images to SD media and is compatible with the SDXC memory card format. The camera also supports use of the Eye-Fi wireless media card.
Like other Nikon cameras, the D3100 incorporates such proprietary Nikon technologies as Active D-Lighting, Nikon’s Scene Recognition system, in-camera Retouch Menu, and more.
The D3100 features Nikon’s Integrated Dust Reduction System, and a shutter tested to 100,000 cycles.
The camera features a Quiet Shutter Release mode, which allows photographers to be as unobtrusive as possible, as it reduces the sound of the mirror flipping up and down while shooting.
The Nikon D3100 D-SLR gives users the ability to capture Full HD, 1080p resolution movies, in cinematic quality 24p video clips, or shoot at 24 or 30 frames-per-second at 720p. Movies are recorded in the H.264 AVCHD codec (.mov file) format. The camera can be connected to HDTVs via the HDMI port, for viewing of both movie and still images.
Pricing and Availability
The D3100 D-SLR camera outfit, including the AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens, is scheduled to be available at Nikon Authorized dealers beginning in mid September 2010, at an estimated selling price of $699.95.
Nikon also announced the addition of four new lenses to the Nikkor line—one DX lens, designed for the smaller DX image sensor and three lenses designed for use with both the full frame FX and smaller DX format sensors.
The AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
The AF-S DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR is an ideal complement to the kit lens that is available with DSLRs such as the newly announced D3100. Additional features include a Tripod Detection Mode, which allows users to keep VR image stabilization activated and automatically compensates for minute vibrations when mounted on a tripod.
Additionally, a High Refractive Index (HRI) lens element is implemented to keep the lens compact while offering high contrast even at maximum aperture. The optical construction consists of two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Elements that effectively minimize chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings.
AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
The AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR is Nikon’s first FX-format lens with a 10.7X zoom range for both enthusiasts and pros. The lens has an equivalent focal length of 42-450mm when attached to a DX-format DSLR.
It’s optical formula includes two ED glass elements that effectively minimize chromatic aberration, even at the widest aperture settings, and three Aspherical Lens Elements that virtually eliminates coma and other aberrations at wide aperture settings as well.
This lens also incorporates an M/A Focus Mode Switch that enables quick changes between manual and autofocus operation, and Internal Focus (IF) providing fast and quiet autofocus without changing the length of the lens while retaining working distance through the focus range.
AF-S 24-120mm f/4 G ED VR
The AF-S 24-120mm f/4 G ED VR zoom lens maintains a constant maximum aperture of f/4 throughout the entire zoom range. The 24-120mm f/4 also features two ED elements, three aspherical lens elements, a M/A Focus Mode Switch, Internal Focus and Nano Crystal Coat to reduce ghosting and flare for greater image clarity throughout the entire frame.
AF-S 85mm f/1.4G ED
The AF-S 85mm f/1.4G ED is an ultra-fast classic portrait prime lens boasting amazing picture quality, high performance and the ability to create dramatic background effects (bokeh). The AF-S 85mm f/1.4 is optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness on both FX and DX-format D-SLR cameras, and features two focus modes, M/A (manual-priority autofocus) and M (manual) to further enhance versatility and adapt to a shooters needs.
Additional features include Internal Focus (IF) that allows the lens to focus without changing the barrel length, Nano Crystal Coat to reduce instances of ghosting and flare, and a rugged construction build to endure aggressive field use.
Pricing and Availability
The AF-S Nikkor DX 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens has an estimated selling price of $399.95; the AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4 G ED VR has an estimated selling price of $1049.95; the AF-S Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR zoom lens has an estimated selling price of $1,299.95; and the AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G has an estimated selling price of $1,699.95. These four lenses will be available starting in September.
For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com.