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Targeting itself as an entry-level DSLR, the D3100 appears to be a basic yet intelligent and friendly device to the newbies. Not only does it deliver excellent photo quality, the improved Guide Mode offers helpful step-by-step instructions to change camera settings. Let’s take a closer look and learn more about the model.Inside the box you can find: a Nikon D3100 DSLR Camera, a EN-EL14 Battery Pack, a MH-24 Battery Charger, a Data Cable (USB), a DK-5 Eyepiece Cap, a AN-DC3 Camera Strap, a BF-1B Body Cap, a BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cover, a ViewNX 2 CD-ROM, and an User's Guide.
At the first glance, the D3100 indeed resembles a lot like its predecessor, D3000. Yet significant changes in technology aren’t all that obvious visually. The grip of D3100 is deeper than that of D3000, and a microphone is added in the front upper-right shoulder for monaural audio and video recording. The new model also has the support for for infra-red wireless remote replaced by a wired remote control.
The AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens is included in the D3100 lens kit as well as those of D3000 and D5000. Without in-body image-stabilization like other brands do, the kit lens is supported by Nikon’s excellent Vibration Reduction technology to help avoid camera shake.
At the rear, one can find a newly added Live View switch, a Movie Record button above the multi-controller, as well as a Info Edit button. The diopter adjustment is no longer a slider but a dial. While for the 3.0-inch LCD screen, though it retains the relatively low 230,000-pixel resolution of its predecessor, the panel appears bright enough with good contrast and colour balance.
An Accessory port for connection can be found on the left. It can be connected to an external GPS unit or a cable remote. There’s also a mini HDMI output port together with CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) support which allows playback control via a TV remote control from compatible TVs.
The newly added liveview lever and movie record button can be found at the back of the camera. They are indeed well-positioned as you can easily activate them yet with little risk of pressing them accidentally. The addition is also a most obvious difference in layout between D3100 and its predecessor.
On the top, both the “info” button and the exposure compensation button locate somewhere your shooting finger can easily reach. The “info” button can easily turn the rear display on and off. While the new Drive Mode switch allows a quick switch between Single, Continuous, Self timer and the Nikon’s standard Quiet shutter release mode. Control is now made much convenient than the previous model.
The three-hole microphone grille can be found above the D3100 logo on the front panel. The equally small grilles can also be seen at the back. The former is designed for the new full HD movie mode recording while the latter functions as speaker for playback.
All in all, the Pentax K-5 is found even more satisfactory than expected. The K-5 may not be something extraordinary, yet we can see how Pentax keep refining and improving every details. K-5 is thus a proof of packing more and better functionality into a smaller compact body than before. If you are looking for a decent, competent camera, Pentax K-5 is definitely your choice.