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Firmware Crippling: D3100

Started Feb 17, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Regular MemberPosts: 101
Firmware Crippling: D3100
Feb 17, 2011

Hi everyone, I've been lurking and soaking up info for the past few months, and I'm hoping I might not have a bone to pick with Nikon as I think I do.

I own a D3100, which is my first DSLR, but not my first SLR. I can understand Nikon trying to simplify the experience for novice users, given it has guide mode and other auto modes, however, why cripple the manual and semi-automatic modes? Nikon I believe made some poor choices in disabling features in firmware that are clearly just a grab to differentiate the different models.

First, video mode. This is auto exposure ONLY, without any information about what settings its choosing, it's like mystery mode. You also can't change aperture on a G lens while shooting. Why? If I'm shooting manual, why take away control? Control here is simply feature disabling. I'm actually inclined to use my non AI lenses for shooting video because I can control the aperture...which brings up the next issue...

I have a small collection of old lenses, both F mount and M42 (with adapters). The D3100 has a very important feature disabled for anything but chipped lenses: metering! Now, time and time again I see people parroting the same thing, that either you need a coupling prong, ring, or electronic contacts in order for the camera to know your aperture setting and adjust the metering accordingly. There are simple ways Nikon could allow users to meter with non-system/"obsolete" lenses, however. The first of course is entering non-CPU lens data like on the D300, D7000 et al. There is no AI coupling ring, however, stop down metering should certainly be possible. The camera is clearly capable of metering in aperture priority in live view/video mode (granted, it is using the CMOS censor for metering here rather than the metering sensor). Of note, I'm using non-AI lenses because they can actually mount on these cameras unlike the D7000...which I think is interesting...stop down metering would be lovely.

As an entrepreneur I do a lot of marketing for my own brands as well as my friends', so I understand why Nikon might disable certain features for the novice user. As I said though, Manual and Semi-Auto modes have no sane reason to be crippled in these ways. Canon has no issue with these on the T2i, the D3100's direct competitor, as well as the myriad of EVIL cameras coming in at the same price range. These new generation of cheap HDSLRs are letting people be more DIY and creative, using old lenses and nontraditional lenses (Lensbaby comes to mind as a good example). To me, the crippling comes off as a money grab for people to buy the D7000 instead, or buy new lenses only. I'm doing okay with the workarounds (AE-lock in video, non-G lenses only in video, M mode only for non-CPU lenses).

Some input would be appreciated.

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