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Old April 9th, 2013, 08:32 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 110
Nikon D3100

Hello everybody. I wanted to post my experiences with shooting with the Nikon D3100.

This is based off of my experience as a DP on a short film we just wrapped 2 nights ago. I don't consider myself an awesome DP. I DO consider myself as a couple steps ahead of beginner, but lower than a pro.

This camera is not marketed to me, and I didn't buy it. The director wanted to use it because he owned this camera.
What I liked:

1. The camera had a great feel and was very light.
2. The camera worked very well on a homemade steadycam rig.
3. The camera got the job done.

What I didn't like:

1. Exposure via changing F stops did not have real time display feed back. The display had to "think" about the change. Same thing happened when plugged in to my monitor.

2. Pushing the film via EV had to be done in a separate menu. So I couldn't see the results in real time. I would change the setting and then go back to check the visual.

3. The "M" mode (manual) is not completely manual. The camera was always trying to change exposure to insure a good image so you never really could tell for sure what your settings produced. I later found out, that in M mode, the camera would change the exposure in order to show you what it suggested. The suggested value is shown in () to the right of my settings. But again, you can't turn that off so you can't tell for sure what your getting for an image. Good news is that the camera produced an image (found on import to fcpx) close to what I wanted.

4. This camera HATES low light. I went for manual white balance and the camera could never get it. So I blew out the scene by removing all scrims & diffusion, set white balance, and then determined it would be better to use AWB! I don't usually trust it, but it worked well for this film.

Other notes: The location was a laundry mat with daylight fluorescents all on and 3 Arri tungsten lights. The Gaffer did not get any CTO or CTB gels, so that made an interesting color combo!

I told the Dir. I will work with the camera again, but if I'm finding its limits with my level of expertise, then please pay me to get you a better camera or buy a good used 5dMkII or rent something.
Other cameras I used in the past: Canon 5d MKII, XL1, XL2, Pana PDX200 (most of the time)
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