Nikon Coolpix 3100 Review
Date: Oct 1, 2003
Nikon Coolpix 3100 is a digital camera targeted
to point-and-shoot photographers and its image
quality is comparable to other quality 3 megapixels
resolution digital cameras.
For this review, I used the following settings
as my preferred settings (in fact, the Coolpix
3100 sets metering mode and ISO automatically):
Shooting Mode: Auto
Quality/Size: 3M* High (Fine/2048x1536 pixels)
All the pictures on this and the other pages (including
the navigation pictures at the top of each page)
have been taken by the Coolpix 3100 for this review.
The pictures on this page provide a good sample
of what the Coolpix 3100 is capable of and I have
provided the 800x600 version. Remember that this
version is of slightly lesser quality than the
original 2048x1536 version. Please open and download
only once to your hard drive -- and save me some
precious bandwidth. Thanks!
on a picture will display the 800x600 image
in a separate window. Leave that separate
window up for all the other original images
will also display in that same separate window.
p.m. with a blazing sun is usually not the right
time for taking pictures, but it's perfect to
test out how the Coolpix 3100 handles extreme
lighting conditions. Details on the wood grain
are nicely captured. Shadow details can be easily
coaxed out in Photoshop. It is very bright and
I expected the sky to be washed out, but some
cloud details have been captured. Focal Length
5.8mm, Programmed Auto, shutter speed 1/142.5
sec., aperture F5.6 and ISO Auto, will fill-in
flash. [File size: 959 KB]
is another shot taken at around the same time.
The sun is behind me and you can see the bright
reflection straight on the "V". Here
again, I expected the sky to wash out completely,
and am pleasantly surprised that some cloud details
are captured. I've never been able to make out
the metal figures at the top on the roof but the
Coolpix 3100 is able to resolve them even at this
distance. Focal length 5.8mm, Programmed Auto,
shutter speed 1/212 sec., aperture F5.6, ISO Auto.
[File size: 926 KB]
Coolpix 3100 is at its best when there is enough
bright lighting, in this case at around 5:30 p.m.
Colours are well saturated without blown highlights.
Details to the nuts and bolts and paint scratches
are captured. I wonder why school buses have not
changed design since time immemorial (so it seems)?
Isn't it time to use a more modern design with
large windshield and flat nose for maximum visibility?
In my humble opinion, it might prevent a lot of
unnecessary accidents. Focal length 10.9mm, Programmed
Auto, shutter speed 1/121.3 sec., aperture F3.7,
ISO Auto. [File size: 926 KB]
grab some tools from my garage and place them
haphazardly on the floor for a quick shot. It's
a hand held shot at very slow shutter speed, and
there's barely a hint of camera shake. Colours
and details are very good. Now, quick, which tool
does not belong to the group? Focal length
5.8mm, Programmed Auto, shutter speed 1/18.1 sec.,
aperture F2.8, ISO Auto. [File size: 1.0 MB]
new glass tower seems to menacingly sprout out
behind an old one made of stone. The multi-pattern
metering does a pretty good job here of balancing
the bright sky and darker building. I use fill-in
flash to ensure the plant foliage does not appear
a solid black. Depth of field is small enough
to ensure sharpness all around. Focal length 5.8
mm, Programmed Auto, shutter speed 1/352.1 sec,
aperture F5.6 and ISO Auto, with fill-in flash.
[File size: 971 KB]
tapestry is painted on a garage door at the Textile
Museum of Canada and is coated with dust.
I hand hold the shot. Even though the Coolpix
3100 is small and light, its handgrip makes all
the difference in the world in allowing a hand
held shot at slow shutter speed without camera
shake. The colors are washed out and I decide
to post-process it to show what difference a little
processing can do to a "soft" picture.
I adjust level and apply USM in Photoshop Elements
for the two smaller versions; the original is
unretouched. Focal length 5.8 mm, Programmed Auto,
shutter speed 1/20 sec, aperture F2.8 and ISO
Auto. [File size: 967 KB]
medicinal roots and dates are popular and are
prescribed for a host of ailments. So, whenever
I pass by a stall or goes into one of the specialized
store, I make sure I take in a deeeep breath.
I always feel much better after that. ;o)
Focal length 5.8 mm, Programmed Auto, shutter
speed 1/98.2 sec, aperture F2.8 and ISO Auto,
with fill-in flash. [File size: 1.0 MB]
Rocket" street cars ferry thousands of passengers
to and from work. Spadina Avenue is probably the
most confusing street downtown, with various reserved
lanes, passengers getting off streetcars literally
in the middle of the street, and cars jockeying
for precious parking space. Focal length 12.3
mm, Programmed Auto, shutter speed 1/649.3 sec,
aperture F4 and ISO Auto. [File size: 952 KB]
fruits and vegetables are displayed on a makeshift
table in this China Town street market. I bump
into someone stationary on the pavement, and looking
up, I see he has his arms outstretched above his
head snapping the same picture (?) with a Nikon
Coolpix with a twist body (could not tell if it
was a 995 or 4500). This is a quick snap because
the surging crowd just carries you on. Focal length
5.8 mm, Programmed Auto, shutter speed 1/335.5
sec, aperture F2.8 and ISO Auto, with fill-in
flash. [File size: 1.1 MB]
is a challenging shot because of the bright noonday
sun, the lighted spot lamps on the sign and the
dark interior of the pub. The menu sign on the
left is washed out by the bright sunlight and
is a bit difficult to read: Steak and Kidney Special;
the spot lights are strong enough to register
on "film"; and patrons in the dark interior
are barely visible, though the lone figure at
the window gets enough light for a proper exposure.
The pole and wire cutting vertically through the
picture will need to be cloned out for a cleaner
look. Focal length 14.5 mm, Programmed Auto, shutter
speed 1/30 sec, aperture F4.4 and ISO Auto. [File
size: 917 KB]
to finish off, here is our panorama shot of a
Catholic School in Mississauga, just across my
favourite lunch spot. It is sunny and cloudy at
the same time (sun behind me). Since the Coolpix
3100 does not allow me to fix shutter speed and
aperture, I just take 5 portrait snapshots, handheld.
I have to say that Panorama Maker 3.0 from ArcSoft
is the best panorama software I have used so far
(that is included with a digital camera). It combines
three of the shots seamlessly and only has difficulty
with the leaves of the tree in the foreground
because try as you may, the different perspectives
of image four and five mean that they just won't
match. Fortunately, Panorama Maker 3.0 has a Fine
Tune function where you specify three matching
spots on each of the two images you are trying
to match. It then superimposes image #5 on top
on image #4 at your matching points and voila!
Focal length 16.7mm, shutter speeds ranging from
1/360.4 to 1/170 sec., aperture F4.8 and ISO Auto.
a place to upload your photos? Free photo sharing
and photo hosting web site at cassepoze.
Nikon Coolpix 3100 has a number of good points
that a point-and-shoot photographer will like:
it is very light yet the handgrip means I can
easily take one handed shot without camera shake;
it is easy to use on Programmed Auto mode giving
quality 3MP pictures; it's macro capability beats
that on much more expensive digital cameras; and
Nikon also includes free of charge some of the
best digital imaging software you can buy: NikonView,
Adobe Photoshop Elements, ArcSoft Panorama Maker.