We had a feeling we'd be seeing the well-leaked Nikon D3100 this week after the Coolpix S1100pj and S5100 were officially launched on Tuesday, and here it is, right on cue. Just as we'd heard, the big news is the addition of a 1080p/24 H.264 AVCHD movie mode with continuous contrast-detect autofocus, complete with face detection and subject tracking. That's a major first in the DSLR world, although we're extremely curious to hear how much focus motor noise you can hear in the clips -- we've definitely had issues with other continuous autofocus systems in the past. That new focus system carries over to regular Live View and the 720p movie mode, which shoots at both 24 and 30fps, and the new 14.2 megapixel sensor can be boosted from its native max of ISO 3200 up to 12,800 for some low-light action. Around back there's a three-inch screen, and Nikon's also beefed up the Guide mode, which the company says was extremely popular on the D3000 -- it shows you how to use the various features of the camera, complete with comparison shots showing the effects of different settings. The D3100 will run $699 with the usual 18-55mm VR kit lens when it hits in September -- we've got grand plans to put that video AF system through the wringer when we get one, but for now check some pics in the gallery and PR after the break.
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Nikon D3100 gets real, adds 1080p movie mode with continuous autofocus

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THE NEW NIKON D3100 D-SLR EMPOWERS AND INSPIRES USERS AS THE SIMPLE SOLUTION TO STUNNING PICTURES AND AMAZING
HD VIDEO

Enhanced Guide Mode and the Ability to Shoot 1080p High Definition (HD) Video with Full Time Auto Focus Allow Users to Capture with Confidence

MELVILLE, N.Y. (AUGUST 19, 2010) – The new Nikon D3100 digital SLR camera speaks to the growing ranks of enthusiastic D-SLR users and aspiring photographers by providing an easy-to-use and affordable entrance to the world of Nikon D-SLR's. The 14.2-megapixel D3100 has powerful features, such as the enhanced Guide Mode that makes it easy to unleash creative potential and capture memories with still images and full HD video. Like having a personal photo tutor at your fingertips, this unique feature provides a simple graphical interface on the camera's LCD that guides users by suggesting and/or adjusting camera settings to achieve the desired end result images. The D3100 is also the world's first D-SLR to introduce full time auto focus (AF) in Live View and D-Movie mode to effortlessly achieve the critical focus needed when shooting Full HD 1080p video.

Packed into the compact and lightweight body of the D3100 camera is a host of advanced Nikon technologies, such as the new EXPEED 2TM image processing engine. EXPEED 2TM in conjunction with Nikon's new 14.2-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor is the driving force behind the enhanced performance and rich image quality. Ready to go wherever life leads, the D3100 features split-second shutter response and a blazing fast 11-point AF system to help ensure tack-sharp images. For shooting in challenging lighting conditions, ISO 3200 (expandable to 12,800) enables versatility in environments such as indoors or in the evening hours.
"People are stepping up to digital SLR cameras – consumers are embracing the enhanced performance, amazing image quality and options for lenses and accessories that only a D-SLR can provide," said Lisa Osorio, general manager of marketing at Nikon Inc. "The D3100 is a camera that makes it easy to take beautiful pictures and will grow with the user, unlocking their potential and assisting in creating lasting memories or amazing art."

Get Inspired With The Guide Mode

Whether new to D-SLR photography or exploring new shooting techniques, the D3100 features an enhanced Guide Mode with an easy-to-use interface to help customers build confidence in using their D-SLR through on-demand, step-by-step assistance. A stand out feature in the D3100's predecessor, the D3000, the Guide Mode is easily accessed through the Mode Dial on the top of the camera. This enhanced help function now features sample assist images that change with camera settings to inspire consumers to achieve a desired look and feel to their images, while guiding through easy to understand photographic techniques. For example, to instill the majestic appearance of moving water, users can select "show water flowing" from the Guide Mode, and simply follow the prompts to create the ideal camera settings to capture an amazing image.
By following the guidance on the bright 3-inch LCD screen, users can achieve professional looking photographs to be proud of. Whether looking to soften backgrounds, freeze a moment in time or convey motion, the Guide Mode assists users in exploring effective picture taking solutions at their own pace to make capturing great pictures even easier and enjoyable.

Full HD Video Made Easy with D-Movie

The Nikon D3100 D-SLR allows users to capture stunning Full HD, 1080p resolution (1920x1080) movies. Users can record cinematic quality 24p video clips, or shoot at 24 or 30 frames-per-second at 720p, ideal for sharing online. By incorporating versatile NIKKOR lenses to the equation, users can now create a variety of photography effects to video such as isolating subjects with a shallow depth of field, and recording in low light conditions. NIKKOR lenses also deliver the sharpness needed for HD video, and Nikon's Vibration Reduction (VR) II technology helps to eliminate camera shake.
While Nikon pioneered HD video in a D-SLR, Nikon is now introducing another industry first to enrich the user experience: The D3100 is the first D-SLR to implement full time AF for D-Movie video shooting and while in Live View mode. Using contrast based AF, the D3100 automatically focuses on subjects when Live View is activated to aid shooting when using the LCD. The D3100 camera also uses Face Detection technology to lock focus on up to 35 human faces, a feat not even accomplished with consumer camcorders. To further simplify movie shooting, Live View is activated at a single flick of a dedicated switch, and HD video recording is achieved by a simple press of a button.

Sharing and editing video clips is also easier than ever, as the D3100 records movies in the versatile H.264 AVCHD codec (.mov file). While playing movies back in the camera, users are able to edit recorded videos by clipping footage from the beginning or end of a movie. High Definition movies and stills can be shared with family and friends on an HD television via HDMI output, and control slideshows and video using the HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) interface that is a part of most modern remote controls from HDTV manufacturers. Additionally, the D3100 is compatible with the new SDXC memory card format to store large amounts of photo and video data so users can shoot multiple scenes without interruption.
Renowned Nikon Technology
The D3100 leverages proven Nikon technologies to create the most positive picture taking experience for consumers of any skill level. With its new 14.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor and Nikon's new EXPEED 2TM image processing system, the D3100 delivers exceptional image quality with low noise. The new EXPEED 2TM image-processing engine enhances camera performance and helps to ensure brilliant image quality while managing color, contrast, exposure, noise and speed for optimal results. The D3100's normal ISO range extends from ISO 100 to 3200, allowing users to capture stunning images, even in low light environments. Additionally, the D3100's ISO range can expand to a Hi-2 setting of ISO 12,800, furthering the opportunities for low-light shots that other cameras miss.

Other exclusive Nikon technologies include the Active D-Lighting system, which automatically rescues dark or backlit images to help create flattering images with even tones. This is especially useful when photographing subjects that are backlit by the sun or lights to provide an even exposure.

What's more, Nikon's Scene Recognition system draws upon the 420-pixel RGB color 3D Matrix Meter for outstanding exposures under a variety of lighting conditions by integrating a database of tens of thousands of sample images. The result is a camera intelligent enough to recognize when photographing a specific scene such as a portrait or landscape and automatically choose the proper camera settings.

To make taking great pictures even easier, the D3100 elevates Nikon COOLPIX technology and incorporates an Auto Scene Selector feature in Live View. This innovative function automatically selects the best scene mode to match shooting conditions. When engaged, the camera will automatically recognize when shooting a lush landscape or fast action sports and adjust the camera settings to create an astounding image. Six preset scene modes can also be accessed with the Mode Dial on top of the camera to overcome many common shooting challenges.

Compact Design. Huge Performance.

With comfortable yet intelligent ergonomics, the D3100 packs powerful technology that's easy to use into a compact form factor. The advanced 11-point autofocus system of the D3100 makes it easy to find and focus on a subject through an enhanced viewfinder design with new "hollow" focus points to give a clear view of the subject.

In the playing field or the backyard, the benefits of Nikon's advanced 3D Subject Tracking become clear, as the camera continuously focuses on fast moving subjects throughout the frame, resulting in crisp, clear action shots. Additionally, the D3100 offers split-second shutter response, eliminating the frustration of shutter lag-the annoying delay that ruins so many pictures. With the ability to capture images at up to three fps, users never miss a moment.

Also added to the D3100 is a Quiet Shutter Release mode, which substantially reduces the sound of the mirror while shooting. Quickly accessed by selecting "Q" on the release mode dial, this feature is ideal for the photographer who wishes to remain unobtrusive, for example during quiet ceremonies or photographing a sleeping baby.

Nikon also empowers users to prepare their photos for sharing quickly and easily using Nikon's extensive in-camera Retouch Menu, which easily applies a variety of fun and dramatic effects to images without a computer. Fun and easy-to-use adjustments include a miniature effect to photos, image overlay, color outline and softening filters for flattering portraits and realistic skin tones.

The D3100 also incorporates Nikon's Integrated Dust Reduction System, which offers a comprehensive solution that combats the accumulation of image-degrading dust from the camera's image sensor. The shutter is tested to 100,000 cycles for maximum durability, ensuring years of captured memories.

Gateway to Legendary NIKKOR Optics and Accessories

Nikon has also introduced the ideal companion to the D3100, the brand new AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm VR lens, which gives users super-telephoto zoom capability for an affordable price. This is a perfect complementary lens when combined with the AF-S 18-55mm VR kit lens, and is great for capturing images of sports and wildlife around town or on vacation. Photographers can also appreciate the D3100's system expandability, as it is compatible with more than 40 legendary NIKKOR AF-S interchangeable lenses. While the D3100 offers a versatile built-in flash, the camera also operates with Nikon's Creative Lighting System and is capable of Advanced Wireless Lighting when using the SB-900 Speedlight or the SU-800 Wireless Commander. The D3100 D-SLR's design also supports Eye-Fi memory card functionality, enabling the convenient wireless transfer of images from the camera to a computer when using Eye-Fi memory cards. Also included is a new version of Nikon's powerful image editing application, View NX2. The latest edition of this software allows users to organize and edit both photos and video files easily.

Price and Availability
The D3100 D-SLR camera outfit, including the versatile AF-S NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR image stabilization lens, is scheduled to be available at Nikon Authorized dealers beginning in mid September 2010, at an estimated selling price of $699.95.* The AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens will be available starting in September for $399.95*. For more information, please visit www.nikonusa.com

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Nikon D3100 gets real, adds 1080p movie mode with continuous autofocus