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The Nikon D3100: Why you need to have it

Why do you need to have a Nikon D3100? I don’t know your circumstances so I can’t tell you for absolutely sure. All I can do is tell you why I needed the Nikon and hope it strikes a familiar chord with you.

Cameras and I had enjoyed a curious relationship before I discovered the Nikon D3100. I could see why people took photographs all right, and sometimes I wanted to copy them and have my own go at catching the passing moment and immortalising it in the form of a picture. I could also see why people made their own movies and I tried that to. The trouble was that I was not a very good cameraman.

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No, that’s not quite right. I was an absolutely awful cameraman. Given a posed group at a wedding I would chop the happy party off at the shins but include an impressive upwards stretch of church wall, or I would manage to exclude the people standing at one end of the group, or I would get the party out of focus, or I would choose the moment to press the button when the father of the bride was stifling a yawn and one of the ushers was picking his nose.

I was similarly ineffective when on holiday abroad. Magnificent buildings, celebrated throughout the world for their beauty, would look oddly unimpressive in my photographs, would be out of focus or badly exposed or would have important bits missing.

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I was similarly unimpressive when I switched from still camera to camcorder. I still shudder at the memory of one sequence taken in the beautiful French town of Chartres, as the image jumps, weaves, staggers, tries to find its subject and fails and finally focuses on a passing street cleaning machine. Or the time when I was taking a few shots at home, walking backwards to keep my subject in focus; you can guess what happened from the soundtrack and the way sequence ends with the camera pointing at the ceiling and out of shot groans from me and laughter from others.

The Nikon D3100 cannot save me from stepping on and tripping over an abandoned roller blade, but it has saved me completely from my own photographic incompetence. That is why I need it. With the Nikon I can take good, proper photographs that I can look at later without embarrassment.

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I can also make pretty decent home movies that are clearly about something and that contain not the slightest trace of the surreal.

It is the Guide Mode that I really appreciate. It is like having a photography teacher on hand all the time, but one who does not baffle me with jargon or expect me to have details about focal lengths and shutter speeds at the tip of my tongue. The Nikon D3100 is a patient and clear teacher. It tells me how to take the picture I want. With it in my hands I feel like a competent photographer, and that is no bad thing.

Once you are sure that your efforts are going to be rewarded, then you start to take a closer interest in the mechanics of your camera. Now I can talk about CMOS sensors and EXPEED 2 image processing engines and 14.2 effective megapixels with the best of them, and the continuous subject-tracking auto-focus and the 1920 x 1080 pixels at 24 frames per second capability of the movie making part are subjects about which I often boast.

I needed the Nikon D3100 because it let me take good pictures. Perhaps that’s the real reason why we all need it.

About the author: 

David writes about the changing world of how classic brands continue to offer the same range of successful products decade after decade and survive the ever changing storm in one of the world’s most competitive and fad-focussed consumer markets.

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