As was rumored, Nikon has announced the Nikon D3100 today. It isn't a pro level camera, but the key (at least for me) is that they've finally entered the full 1080 video world and they've set a new standard of full autofocus in video mode (tho we've got to see how well it works as it is ‘contrast detect' based). From the Nikon PR “An entry level digital-SLR camera with a new CMOS image sensor, image-processing engine and helpful Guide mode that makes capturing beautiful images easy”.
There's no doubt that this is an entry level camera on par with the Canon Rebel T2i/550D (reviews). From Rob Galbraith's site: “The Nikon D3100 will ship in mid-September 2010 in a bundle with the AFâ€S 18â€55mm f/3.5â€5.6G VR at an expected street price of US$699.95 in the U.S.”
It does however show off features that should push Canon to produce similar features in the Canon line. Most expect continuous autofocus in video mode to make its way into Canon tho there's no guarantee. And as I said in the introduction, Nikon's continuous autofocus is contrast based and most people consider that slow (at least on the Canon's). The Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews) for example does have contrast based focus in live view, but you have to press a button to activate it and it does tend to hunt back and forth. It isn't continuous by any means once you start recording.
Some more tidbits from Rob Galbraith's info “Video 1080p at 24fps or 720p at 24fps/30fps, 10 minute continuous capture time, video files are .mov (MPEG-4 AVCHD). Full Time AF option during movie recording (and Live View) uses contrast detect autofocus. Audio recording is through a built-in mono mic only, there is no external mic jack. In-camera trimming of video files is possible.”
Other new features
- 14.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS Image Sensor
- Full 1080p HD Cinematic Video
- Fast 11-point Autofocus System
- Frame rate up to 3fps
- ISO sensitivity 100-3200, expandable to ISO 12800 equivalent
- Live View Scene Auto Selector
- In-camera Image Editing
- Active D-Lighting Restores picture-enhancing detail in shadows and highlights.
An overview video
(Photo credit: snap from the Nikon site)