Nikon D3100 DSLR – No Manual Video Control??

Ok, believe it or not, I get hate mail about some of my comments on this blog. (you know who you are, and I don't know why you bother to continue reading this blog?). Mainly because this blog seems Canon biased. Ok I admit I am biased, but i've been really trying to give Nikon a chance with the new cameras they have being released. In fact, just read my blog post over a month ago:

The Nikon D3100 was supposed to go toe to toe with Canon T2i shooters, but just check out the video review above. No Manual Video Controls?? Aside from that biggest deal breaker, the 1080 resolution leaves you with 'ONLY' 24fps and not the normal 29.97. There is no option for 60 frames per second, anywhere. Umm..i'll leave it at that to minimize the amount of Nikon hate mail coming in, but for those of you who question this blog, take a look at the latest Nikon release into consumer HD Video. But hey if you're only into photography, Nikon does make some pretty sweet lenses.

[Update] Just a reminder, here's two of my favorite Nikon videos posted on this blog that i've raved about.

26 thoughts on “Nikon D3100 DSLR – No Manual Video Control??

  1. Matthew Smiths

    Excellent post. Thanks for sharing. I am currently using a Nikon D3100 (borrowed-my son’s) and love it. Just learning how to use a dslr camera and finding it relatively easy. But my question is there a way to change the video output of the D3100 to MP4?
    I am having a very tough time getting the video output from this camera to a decent quality when converting to MP4.

  2. iutka (argentina)

    Thirrouard i thank you so much! i have ignored the AE lock botton and i really appreciate your comment!

  3. Ok, I don't have the D3100 yet, but some user wrote that to use manual setting for video you need to :
    be in M mode (or A if you prefer semi auto)
    hit the AE lock button
    then start recording

    Then the dial control the exposure compensation... the diaph is locked so it's most likely through opening speed, but not sure.

  4. Well, just to correct, D3100 DO have manual control. The only thing is that you cannot change the diaph or ISO settings while recording, but still can change the speed.

    I was going to get the D7000 though, that have FULL MANUAL CONTROL during recording, despite what's been said in this threat (but the 24p part is true, for me it's not an issue, but I would have liked 60fps too, 120fps would be really cool too... even in SD !), BUT... fuck it's impossible to get one, even in kit... damn... so I think I'll need to get the D3100
    Anyway, I'm really waiting for the D800, so either way I'm going to sell the camera in few months hopefully πŸ˜‰

  5. mojo

    Emm, I read your blog all the time. It's fantastic and I appreciate that you put so much time into this.

    I am sorry to hear that you are receiving bad (hate) emails... It's your blog. You should do as you please!

    And really... Nikon vs Canons? PFffffffttt... Who cares! GH13 is where it's at anyways πŸ™‚

  6. JR

    Nikon D7000 has some very compelling features, but lack of 60fps and only 30 fps at 720p is disappointing. Canon have proven they are committed to the HD community. Nikon, not so much.

    @ Matt... I think the point is to highlight ANY camera that has features the video making community want. The Nikon D3100 is the first DSLR announced to have continuous autofocus which does lend it some credibility (though it has yet to be tested and this camera is certainly lacking in many other areas).

  7. Matt

    No argue that Nikon is behind on film. But how can you expect a toe to toe competition with a camera priced about 40% more? And thats the introduction price of the d3100.

    To compare gear you have to take money and the products aim into account. If you pay more, you're supposed to get more...

    Compare it with Canons entry level, which i suppose is 500d? At least similar priced at this moment. Problem is that the 500d is rather old...

  8. Rob

    I'm old school: I've been shooting since before there was auto focus on slrs. I was a Canon guy; when the D90 came out I switched because video was the one thing I missed working with a DSLR. I travel, and there are times when the experience is moving and has sound, and a photograph can't quite capture it.

    Now I admit that Nikon under performs in video-- and they seem absurdly obstinant when it comes to the facts. They need to go true HD (thank you D3100 and 7000 to come); and they need a 60fps rate. Both companies have been pathetic in their approach to audio because it basically costs nothing. I've had $40 mp3 players that do better. But much of the complaints against Nikon seem like blaming the tool rather than the workman. The challenge of HDSLR (both Canon and Nikon) is that it is an "in between" vehicle-- you get the lenses of a pro system in a funky form factor with appalling audio. Nikon can shoot a basic "head and shoulders" shot as well as Canon. Rolling shutter is no more of an issue with a Nikon than a Canon if you know what you're doing. Audio is appalling in both. 90 percent of what the Canon line can do better you'll never see in a "real" film. No manual controls? On the D90 you can set your aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. It's not missing manual controls, it's missing auto controls. And it's missing 1080 resolution (which actually important). And 30fps (which is actually NOT important-- no more than having a fisheye lens-- it's useful for particular techniques but doesn't define good video).

    Most of what I do is still photography, and I actually prefer my Nikon for that. There's been nothing so compelling about Canon video that I feel inclined to switch. I don't want to give up my lenses again. But I am looking forward to better video, and hope I the D7000 bridges the gap. The 3100 makes too many compromises with the still photography functions to be of interest. As my photos have been published in newspapers, I'll say I shoot stills semi-pro, and video for blogs.

    And I love your blog, Cheesycam. I check it a couple times a day.

  9. I shoot nikon and i love nikon... but i hate nikon! I have $1200 set aside in my account for my d7000 preorder and if i walked into best buy and saw a 60d, you know i would get it instead. No manual control and only 24p is killing me. It really has become about the final video product, not the tool used to produce it.

    getting hate mail means your doing something write. and this is not a canon blog or a nikon blog, its a increadible hd dslr filmmaking blog, and everyone can appreciate that. The amount of information, product reviews, and tutorials i've gotten from this site has been unbelievable. Everything i have from my shoulder rig to my h1 to my lav mic, I all got from visiting this site. Without you broham, i'de be pretty lost.

    so ignore the hate mail, my hd dslr career depends on you stickin around.


    p.s., if this was a nikon filmmaking blog, it would consist of one post "hit ae-lock, press record, and dont move!" πŸ™‚

  10. Emm

    Post author

    Ah the 1D Mark II, still love that camera. Shortly after the 4 megapixel Canon '1D' was used by Sports Illustrated and got the cover of the magazine in some Bull Riding competition (not sure how many of you remember this), that totally won everyone over. I think that was really the turning point for serious media to start using Digital. It showed that in dim light the 4 Megapixel camera was able to produce a print quality for a cover of a major magazine. I bought the Canon 1D (body only) for about $6000 dollars and it was already over a year old. I don't know how they did it, but a media company took my 4 megapixel RAW file of a female model and interpolated it to print a 9 Foot Banner at a fashion show. I guess if you stand that far away you can't tell the pixelation. I bought the Canon 1D Mark II for $4500 when it was first released, so it's funny when people complain about an 18 megapixel camera for $800 dollars. I'm more of a gear head today because I love the way you can get more more more for less less less.

  11. Emm, I'm still waiting on a few more accessories as well before I fully document it. I still haven't been able to get a hold of a Zoom H1, which I was planning to strap on the top of the rig. It should work well once it's finished. I suppose I could just snap a few pictures of the raw rig and do a write-up on it.

    You are right - the Nikons do suffer from more rolling shutter than the Canons do. You can see it a little bit in the video I did, but with some careful editing you can get rid of a fair bit of it. It still beats something like a MiniDV camcorder for features though - having full control of the focus is awesome.

  12. I'm a Canon shooter myself, A friend of mine switched from Canon to Nikon, and I was going to switch, but didn't want to buy all new lens, Huge investment.
    I still shoot with mainly with a canon D1 mark II and a canon XTi, and I use a canon HV10 for video, But I'm seriously looking at selling all my bodies to buy a canon 60D, With the advent of HD on a Digital Camera I will not need to lug around 2 pieces of equipment. I'm so old school I still shoot video with my Canon L2 and LX-100. It’s hard to give up equipment that works well. Getting back to the subject though, I have to say, I'm glad for your blog, I check it out more then any-other at this time, its super informative, and its based on a company that we both use, CANON. Reading the stuff about Nikon I would say at this time, I made the right choice to stick with Canon. But in the future I might go with Nikon or Panasonic or Sony for that matter.

    Keep up the great work.

  13. Emm

    Post author

    Thanks, but to be clear I really really want to play with the new Nikon D7000!! I won't waste time, effort, or money though if the readers aren't interested.

  14. Emm

    Post author

    LOL, I get tons of emails but send over what DIY you got, i'll take a look. I agree that it takes a skilled and creative individual to make something grand, but the Nikon cameras have more of the 'jello' shakiness known as the 'rolling shutter' problem. It seems to be more visible in Nikon cameras (at least older ones), than in the Canon cameras. If you're looking to get paid for video work the older Nikon's aren't up to par with video. We'll see how the newer ones hold up.

  15. I'm a nikon guy all the way... until video. Now I'm a Canon guy. I guess in the end I'm just a guy - a guy that wants to create and doesn't care what he uses to do it. If Nikon would ever step up - I'd be all over it! Give us something amazing like 300fps @720 and it'll be a new game changer. So far they just can't even catch up. Alas I just added a new Canon 60d to my arsenal.

  16. I seem to be one of the few people who are shooting Nikon. I'm definitely no professional (at video - I have done a few paid still photo shoots). I'm a fan of Nikon, but I'm more than willing to admit that Canon's offerings are better. I really wish my D300s had the ability to shoot 60fps, but I only get 24. To me, 1080 isn't a deal breaker. The D3s is a pretty sweet piece of kit that doesn't get much attention, partially because they seem pretty rare and the 5D MKII seems to have just a few more features that really make it that much more usable for video.

    The only thing that I have really used the video so far was this:

    Having had the camera for less than a week and it being the first time I'd done anything video related (other than some cheesy short funny films shot with a non-HD MiniDV) I'd say it turned out well. I'm finding it isn't so much the limitations of the camera that are holding me back, but my skill in using it and skill in editing - both things with which I need more practice.

    I'm interested in seeing if the D7000 is any better at video, but at this point I'm not really wanting to invest in yet another camera body.

    On a different note:

    I'm currently in the process of editing a video I shot this weekend for a roommate. He had an idea that he wanted to do a music video with his nieces dancing to a particular song. I'm really hoping to get things edited in the next week or two and write up a post about how I made my own camera cage, like the ones here on CheesyCam (but to be honest, I think mine looks a bit better - welded frame, flat black paint with bright red grips). Some of the shots turned out pretty cool.

  17. Max

    Religious war debates between Canon/Nikon or Apple/Microsoft camps can get tedious in a hurry.

    Competition is good. So is debate. Some blog owners dislike having opinions they do not agree with posted on their site. This is a bad move in my opinion. Blogs can be an effective form of journalism in a way. If blog owners invite comments then then should expect and accept criticism now and then. The upside is that a lively debate can be healthy and useful for all.

    If someone says Camera XYZ is a Camera ABC killer that is fine. But some experienced people might counter with WHY Camera ABC is better. Input is input, no?

    Same principle goes with all the various products from expensive manufacturers, medium priced manufacturers, cheap manufacturers and companies who just produce cheap copies of other real products. There are benefits and worthy points of debate in all of this...

  18. Emm,

    Thanx a lot for all your effort I really appreciate your time and information. I have learn a lot from your blog and to me it has been a blessing. Like Dan said there's always going to be Fan boys and also heaters. Remember what "Don Quijote" said to his companion "Sancho Panza" when sancho told him that some dogs where barking when they where passing by.... Don Quijote: "Let the dogs bark that is a good signal that we are advancing"
    You are moving in the right direction and I pray that you are successful with anything you do in life.


  19. Emm

    Post author

    Thanks Dan, I really wanted to test the new Nikon cameras. I really wanted to get my hands on to review them, but I think I understand this audience on this blog, and no Manual Video controls would already make this a 'no-interest' product review on this website.

    Hopefully there will be more in the D7000 which is to compete against the 60D.

  20. Dan


    I really hate all this Nikon/Canon fanboy BS. Nikon and Canon (as do lots of other companies) make some outstanding products and I believe innovation, quality and falling prices are often the direct result of the strong competition between them and others. But, at the end of the day, you can be as biased as you like... why? Because it's your site, your opinion and you are perfectly entitled to it. I for one, have benefited a great deal from the ideas, products and reviews on this site, keep up the good work. For those who are not happy, as you say, change the channel!



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