Just announced is Nikon’s new HDSLR offering, the D3100 which, on the surface, seems to be Nikon’s answer to Canon’s highly acclamed EOS 550d. However, when we dig under the surface, we have to wonder if Nikon really understand the High Definition DSLR market at all…
Finally Nikon have released a DSLR camera capable of recording video at 1080p, a massive step up from their previous best of 720p. However, the D3100 only offers frame size/rates of 1920 × 1080, 24 fps; 1280 × 720, 30 fps, frankly a peculiar choice of sizes and speeds.
If you’re in the US and are looking to shoot native NTCS, you must accept the lesser ‘HD Ready’ resolution but you can go ‘Full HD’ at 24fps. Fine if you’re after the coveted ‘film look’ and live in the US but in Europe’s PAL/SECAM world of 25fps, this just doesn’t help at all. Anyone wishing to broadcast anywhere other than online will need to conform their output to 25fps, introducing an unnecessary and unwelcome recompression point into their workflow.
Also questionable is the inclusion of auto-focus while shooting (to be confirmed). HDSLRs are widely regarded as digital ‘film’ cameras, not Camcorders. As such, there’s little or no use for continuous AF during shooting and I can’t help but wonder of Nikon have completely missed the boat on this one. Look out for a new wave of focus scanning which I for one was glad to have left to the world of home movies.
We’re hoping to get our hands on a D3100 in the near future and we’ll provide a hands-on review as soon as possible.