updated 03:10 pm EDT, Thu July 15, 2010
Nikon D3100 to bring video with major upgrades
One of Nikon's next major DSLR revisions received a large, detailed leak today that hints at a major rethink of the entry-level camera. The D3100 (rumored before as the D4000) should place a heavy emphasis on video and should be one of the first Nikon DSLRs to implement continuous autofocusing: the camera will constantly adjust the focus either when recording movies or when using the live view mode. Nikon was reported by Nikon Rumors as having already reportedly confirmed that continuous AF will come to future cameras, but hasn't said when.
Video's other upgrades would come through the use of the much more efficient AVCHD codec (instead of Motion JPEG) and support for both 1080p at 24 frames per second or a faster 30 frames per second for 720p. Basic on-camera editing would be an option for the first time.
As a still camera, the D3100 would get large upgrades of its own with a switch from CCD to the better illuminated CMOS as well as a new 11- or 12-point AF system that covers much of the viewfinder. Nikon would limit the camera compared to higher-end models primarily through the same 3FPS maximum shooting rate as the D3000 and by using a fixed LCD where the D5000 and possibly the D90 sequel use a swiveling display.
A launch is said due in the next "few weeks" and would have the camera ship with an 18-55mm kit lens. Nikon often unveils new major cameras in the weeks just before the Photokina expo in Germany and often tries to have them in stores by the time the show opens, which this year is in late September.