Nikon Coolpix 3100 Review
The Coolpix 3100 appears to use a similar white balance algorithm to other Nikon Coolpix digital cameras, its response was almost identical. In natural light automatic white balance was almost perfect (apart from a very faint pink cast), however in incandescent or fluorescent light there was a strong visible pink color cast. The preset white balances for natural light and incandescent worked well, not so well the fluorescent preset. Thankfully the 3100 has a manual preset option which worked well under any light.
|Outdoors, Auto||Outdoors, Cloudy (or Sunny)||Outdoors, Manual|
|Incandescent, Auto||Incandescent, Incandescent||Incandescent, Manual|
|Fluorescent, Auto||Fluorescent, Fluorescent||Fluorescent, Manual|
The 3100 carries on the strong macro performance of previous Coolpix digital cameras. It's best frame coverage is an amazing 32 x 24 mm at wide angle, however lens barrel distortion and corner softness are both high here and really only the center 50% of the frame is really usable. Zoom to about mid way between wide and tele and you can still get a fairly respectable frame coverage (better than most digital cameras), this delivers no distortion although still fairly high corner softness. The macro tests below are using our new macro focus test chart and measurement system; each line on the grid is 10 mm, taken at shortest subject distance in macro mode.
|Wide angle - 32 mm x 24
63 px/mm (1600 px/in)
Corner softness: High
|Mid zoom - 57 mm x 42
36 px/mm (914 px/in)
Corner softness: High
The A70's internal flash unit has a quoted range of 3.0 m at wide angle and 1.7 m at telephoto (Auto ISO). Our tests showed good color balance but underexposure (poor flash power metering) notably more on our 'normal' skin tone flash shot.
|Skin tone - Natural color, no blue cast, underexposed.||Color patches - Good color balance, no color cast, underexposed.|
The Coolpix 3100 has a dedicate night exposure mode, the 'Night landscape' scene mode. This allows for exposures of up to two seconds, however it also pushes the camera's sensitivity to ISO 400. My experience of taking night exposures with digital cameras is to use the lowest sensitivity, a long exposure and the lens stopped down at least one stop (to avoid softness). As you can see from the sample below the Coolpix 3100 didn't perform well with this combination of high ISO and maximum aperture (softer).
|'Night landscape' exposure: ISO 400, 2 sec, F2.8|
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
The Coolpix 3100's lens exhibited 1.4% barrel distortion at wide angle (this is above average although considering the small size of the lens system not unexpected) and 0.3% (very low) pincushion distortion at telephoto.
|Barrel Distortion, 1.4% @ wide angle||Pincushion Distortion, 0.3% @ telephoto|
Vignetting / Lens shading
Our vignetting / lens shading test is very simple, a shot
of a blank wall from two meters away, vignetting will always be most visible
at wide angle and maximum aperture and will start to disappear at smaller
apertures and/or further zoom. Kudos Nikon, the 3100 had almost no noticeable
(there is some but it's really so slight as not to be seen) shading at
wide angle and of course nothing at telephoto.
|Hardly any noticeable shading at wide angle and maximum aperture (F2.8)||No noticeable shading at telephoto (F4.9)|
Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)
Our standard CA test shot taken with the 3100 had virtually no shading however there was a fair amount of blooming emanating from the overexposed areas of the chart. In our everyday shots it was tough to find a clear example of CA, Kudos Nikon.
|Hard to find evidence of CA in everyday shots||Our standard chromatic aberration test shot|
Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues
For most shots the Coolpix 3100 delivered contrasty images with pleasing color and low noise. Nikon appear to have tuned the Coolpix 3100's color response to deliver nice foliage greens, this was noticeable in any shot with leaves or grass. I did find the 3100 to appear slightly softer than other similar three megapixel digital cameras, resolution was average for this level of camera. My only potential gripe would be that I personally found the 3100's tone curve to be a little to contrasty leaving darker areas of the image virtually black, knocking out most shadow detail. It would have been nice to have some control over tone on this camera.
Note: We could not produce our normal noise comparison test because the 3100 does not allow the user to manually select ISO sensitivity.
|It's good to be at home by Nightcrawler12|
from Best photo of the week...
|Tiny tree by Kaappo|
Maybe you want better photos in low light. Maybe you're tired of digital zoom. Whatever the reason, if you're looking for a capable, beginner-friendly camera to grow and learn with, we've got you covered.
The Olympus 17mm F1.2 promises to open up new possibilities for Micro Four Thirds shooters seeking razor-thin depth-of-field and smooth, 'feathered' bokeh. Take a peek at our extensive sample gallery.
Are you a speed freak? Hungry to photograph anything that goes 'zoom'? Or perhaps you just want to get Sports Illustrated-level shots of your child's soccer game. Keep reading to find out which cameras we think are best for sports and action shooting.
Still yearning for an Aperture replacement? Here's a quick overview of RAW Power, a Raw image editor for iOS that pairs with the Mac application introduced in 2016. Take a look at some of its capabilities.
Video features have become an important factor to many photographers when choosing a new camera. Read on to find out which cameras we think are best for the videophile.
Tech lover Albert Lee was one of the first to pre-order the intriguing 16-camera module Light L16. Two months in, here's what he has to say about using this not-so-little computational camera.
The public art installation featured blurred portraits, ostensibly captured by the artist under that same underpass... except they weren't. They were actually portraits of comedians, pulled from the 2015 Edinburgh Fringe Festival program.
Edelkrone has upgraded its SliderOne with a SliderOne Pro and introduced a new generation of Wing and Wing Pro models, all while simultaneously improving the app that controls its entirely lineup.
People have waiting a long time for the Canon 85mm F1.4L IS lens, but how does it compare to Canon's 85mm F1.2L and Sigma's 85mm F1.4 Art? Phillip Pettit of Lensrentals took all three lenses for a spin to find out.
Affinity Photo for iPad, one of the first full-featured Raw editors designed specifically for tablet use, has been named Apple's Best iPad App of 2017. And what's more, it's currently 50% off!
VSCO Messages allows VSCO X subscribers and free users alike to share text, images, photo editing 'recipes', VSCO journal entries and more.
Flickr has revealed their top 25 photos of 2017, and there are some truly stunning shots in the mix.
Testing of the Canon G1 X Mark III is well underway, inside of the studio and out. We've just added it to our test scene comparison tool, where you can take a look at its performance side-by-side against peers like the Sony Cyber-shot RX100 V.
Whether it's a trip to the beach for some snorkeling or scrambling up a 10,000 ft volcano, the Olympus Tough TG-5 proved to be a great travel companion for Jeff. That's why it's his 2017 Gear of the Year.
Last year, the DJI Mavic Pro and the Phantom 4 Professional took top honors in our end of year buying guide. Read on to find out who it this year for beginners, consumers, prosumers, and professionals at a price tag less than $2,000.
Meyer Optik Goerlitz is resurrecting yet another classic lens. This time, the company has set its crowdfunding sights on the Primoplan 75mm F1.9, a lens originally manufactured in a run of just 2,000 back in the 1930s.
The folks at Kolari Vision—an infrared camera conversion company based in New Jersey—recently tore down a brand new Sony a7RIII, giving everybody a peek at the camera's much-improved weather sealing.
Resource Travel's Brandon Cunningham recently joined The Giving Lens for a 10-day adventure in India. A trip he won't soon forget, to a country that left him in "sensory and soul overload."
Meet the new Freefly Movi, a handheld gimbal stabilizer designed by cinema stabilization pros for use with the iPhone. Freefly is calling this little beast "the world's most portable, adaptable, and intuitive cinema robot."
Photography portfolio site PhotoShelter is adding their voice to the growing group of online companies that are speaking out in favor of net neutrality, and against the FCC's upcoming vote to kill it.
The Direct app would replace the current Inbox on the Instagram app, doing for Instagram what the Facebook Messenger app did for Facebook on mobile.
Qualcomm's latest high-end mobile chipset offers higher frame rates and a wider color gamut, among other important camera improvements you can expect to see in next year's flagship smartphones.
Photographer Josselin Cornou recently got trapped in a blizzard in the Snowy Mountains of Australia with his Fujifilm GFX 50S and new Tamron 15-30mm F2.8 lens. Find out how they held up to 110km/h winds and -15°C temperatures.
While film nostalgia reaches an all-time high, Seattle-based pro photographer Sofi Lee is turning back to 'digicams' made between 2008 and 2011.
The fixed prime lens camera market may be a bit niche, but it's here that you'll find some of the best cameras you can buy. Sensors ranging from APS-C to full-frame are designed to match their lenses, which cover ranges from 28-75mm equivalent, so image quality is top-notch.
With a capacity of 512GB, Samsung's new UFS chips take built-in storage on smartphones to desktop-PC levels. Will this eliminate the need for microSD slots?
Photographer Josh Rossi decided to go big for this year's Christmas card, so he recreated the Star Wars: The Last Jedi poster using himself, his wife, and their two kids.
In response to a NY Times article about how some traffickers were using Instagram as part of the illicit animal trade, Instagram has added a content advisory screen that pops up to warn users any time they search for hashtags "associated with harmful behavior to animals."
Kodak is expanding its instant photography lineup today with the release of the Kodak Mini Shot Instant 10MP camera. A tiny little digital camera that spits out either 2.1 x 3.4-inch or 2.1 x 2.1-inch prints.
Huawei'e next high-end smartphone could be the first to take computational imaging to the next level with a triple-camera that spits out 40MP files.