Yesterday Nikon announced the D3100 and four new lenses. The D3100 is a game changer for those who shoot video and here’s why.
1. Price – The Nikon D3100 will be available in September for $699.95, which includes AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilized lens. That’s a LOW price for a camera with these features.
2. Nikon FINALLY – FINALLY – FINALLY dumped Motion JPEG. It was a horrible video codec and the primary reason why you hear about major motion picture and television production companies using Canon gear to shoot video and not Nikon. The new AVCHD – H.264 codec is a step up from Motion JPEG. This new codec will propel Nikon video into contender status and will put pressure on Canon to keep developing its video capabilities.
3. Continuous autofocus during video capture is a really big deal. No Canon DSLR hybrid camera offers this feature – as of this moment anyway. The Nikon D3100 offers a new level of autofocus for video shooters at a very attractive price. If Canon doesn’t match this feature it could start to change the balance of power on the video side.
4. Nikon steps up to 1080p/23.97 frame rates. This is an improvement over past specs on Nikon cameras that also shoot video.
For those who don’t shoot video, the D3100 announcement probably won’t be quite so profound. And we can’t forget that so far, all we have is a news release. I haven’t tested Nikon’s new autofocus and how well it works will have a big impact on how well this camera performs at the sales counter. Likewise, AVCHD codec implantation isn’t always done well. Depending on how Nikon implemented the new codec, it could be anywhere from a slight step up to a reasonably big step up.
One thing is for sure. This is exciting because it means that a major company like Nikon has committed to keeping the video/DSLR hybrid quality race alive and well.
As soon as I can get my hands on one of these cameras, and the new Nikon 85 f/1.4 lens, I’ll provide a review here at Photofocus.com.