Nikon D3100?

This is a discussion on Nikon D3100? within the Which DSLR should I buy? forums, part of the Digital Cameras, Lenses & Accessories category; Hello everyone, (about to buy process) I've already went back and fourth to my favorite camera shop (because the saleslady is very nice> bought my ...


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Thread: Nikon D3100?

  1. #1
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    Nikon D3100?

    Hello everyone,

    (about to buy process)

    I've already went back and fourth to my favorite camera shop (because the saleslady is very nice> bought my current Exilim there). I browsed and tested some DSLR on the display... and caught my eyes on a entry level Nikon D3100. Well, it's a good handling DSLR and fits well in my hand. After all, I prefer Nikon SLR because I used to play around with my fathers' Nikon F50 much and also his Yashica FX-3 super 2000 (both SLR) about 15~18 years ago.

    New major standard equipment > Nikon D3100 DSLR body + auto focus/VR 15~55 lens.

    I already have these lenses which can fit Nikon D3100 (hopefully, cause this two lenses can fit Nikon F50)>

    AF NIKKOR 70-210MM 1:4



    VIVITAR - don't know the exact spec.



    I think I'll go with this Nikon D3100 entry level DSLR, BUT with some few questions and I hope friends here in photoforum may give some insights.

    With these 3 lenses plus Nikon D3100 body (14MP),
    1> can I able to shoot veryveryvery near macro?
    2> Can I get crispy crisp & sharp pictures?
    just trying to get some nice pictures. With Best Regards, Captured...


  • #2
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    The lens will dictate the image quality -- that and your abilities as a shooter. To shoot "crispy crisp & sharp" pictures means that you focus carefully, use a shutter speed which is so fast that you don't need a tripod OR use a tripod if you have to use a slower shutter speed, and set an exposure that gets everything in your image that needs to be "sharp" within the depth-of-field.

    Old lenses can sometimes develop a hazy filmy residue on the optics or sometimes mold. You'd want to look carefully through the glass and inspect it. If the lenses do have problems, chances are they can be cleaned but you might need to take them to a specialist. There's a shop in my city that performs this sort of thing. The last time I had it done, it was $75 to have a lens disassembled and cleaned.

    I'll warn you about that Vivitar... they are a low-end economy lens maker. Don't expect anything fabulous. I own a Vivitar lens that I would have purchased roughly back around 1980. It managed to get some internal debris and it turns out that it was not possible to clean it. Vivitar will "epoxy" element groups together -- this is permanent. Once created, they do not come apart (not without destroying them.) If it has any problems with the optics it probably cannot be cleaned, but the good news is that at least it would not have been an expensive lens.

    Also... older Nikons had a focus motor in the camera body. The lens would have relied on the body to focus the camera. Newer lenses have the focus motor in the lens. Newer "entry" level Nikon DSLRs do not have focus motors in the body anymore, but the more expensive Nikon bodies still do have the focus motors in the body. That means that it's possible that your D3100 (which does not have a focus motor and expects the lens to have it's own focus motor) would not be able to auto-focus when using an older lens. The lenses will still fit and work... but focus will be manual.

    As for "macro"... there are those who would say that a "true" macro is one that captures 1:1 image scale. That means the size of the image of an object on the SENSOR (or film if it were a film camera) is the SAME size as the object is in real life. For example, a penny is roughly 19mm in diameter. The height of an APS-C sensor is about 23mm wide by 15mm tall. That means that if you were take a true 1:1 macro photo of a penny, the entire penny would not fit in the image -- it's that close.

    When a "zoom" lens claims to have a "macro" mode it's usually marketing hype to help sell the lens. Usually it'll only do 1:2 if you're lucky and maybe only as much as 1:4.

    If you want to shoot true macro and want the very best results, then it's best to buy a true 1:1 macro lens. But there are other ways to shoot "close up" without buying a real macro lens. There are close-up filters (diopters that screw onto the end of the lens) and there are also things called "extension tubes" -- they are just hollow barrels that fit between the lens and the body. Their job is to let you mount the lens farther away from the camera than normal. By doing this, the entire focal range is scaled in closer... the lens can now focus on subjects closer than would otherwise be possible, BUT... it also scales in the far end of the focus (meaning the lens won't focus to infinity when an extension tube is in use.) But since it's just a hollow barrel -- no glass at all -- they are cheap.
    Tim Campbell

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    Hello TCampbell,

    Thanks for the input.

    Yes, the AF nikkor 70-210 will be undergo some cleaning process due to fungus and dust.

    Regards to Vivitar, I not yet decide what to do, use it or keep it in a drawer> as you said,Vivitar lense can't be dismantle for cleaning> poor me.
    I didn't have a chance to use it before except 70-210mm nikkor lens.

    I fully aware that the 70-210mm lens will not auto focusing with D3100 body. For me its fine. Thanks.

    Regards to extension tube, by using it with standard 15-55mm AF/VR lens> will it disabling the autofocus?

    Thanks again.
    just trying to get some nice pictures. With Best Regards, Captured...

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    Quote Originally Posted by captured View Post
    Hello TCampbell,

    Regards to extension tube, by using it with standard 15-55mm AF/VR lens> will it disabling the autofocus?
    Autofocus will be disabled. Also it's only recommended for use at focal lengths of 50mm and above (which you'd probably want to do anyway since it's kind of ridiculous to want to get in really really close to a subject and then use a wide-angle to make it seem farther away.)

    There are electrical contacts on either side which pass the signals through from body to lens so that the camera can tell the lens to stop down to the correct aperture. Metering usually works although I noticed a note on the Nikon extension tubes indicating that metering won't work on some Nikon bodies. For example they list that metering won't work on a D3000 (they do not list the D3100 -- hopefully that's because it works on a D3100 and not because Nikon hasn't updated the list since introducing the D3100).

    Although the auto-focus won't work, some extension tubes support a notion called 'focus assist' -- meaning that the focus point lights in the viewfinder will light up to let you know when the camera thinks you've correctly focused at that point.

    Check this YouTube video for an example of extension tubes being used with a Nikon D3100 and the Nikon 18-55mm (at 55mm focal length) kit lens:




    (Note to mods: Ok this is odd. I pasted the link to the Youtube page and the website converted it to an embedded video on this page. This isn't "my" video -- just a video I found on YouTube. I thought we weren't supposed to embed anything that wasn't our own work. I tried to edit it and force it to just use a link and, in the editor, it looks like it works. Until I post -- at which point the website converts it back into an embedded video. Not sure how to fix that -- this new forum software is a lot different than the old software.)
    Last edited by TCampbell; 09-10-2011 at 10:50 AM.
    Tim Campbell

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    Great reply Tim - thanks

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    Thank You very much Tim, your info helps me alot..
    just trying to get some nice pictures. With Best Regards, Captured...


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