Sunday, 22 August 2010

Nikon D3100 Observations

There has been some talk on the internet about the new 14megapixel sensor used in D3100, as it does not resemble past Sony sensors used in cameras like D90, D300, D3X, etc. Here are some images of the sensors used in recent Nikon cameras:
D90 Sensor

D300 Sensor
D3X Sensor
D3S Sensor
D3100 Sensor
It seems that the D3100 sensor has some similarities with the D3S sensor, whereas the D90, D300 and D3X sensors all have some family resemblance. This is very interesting as it may imply that Nikon has decided to use a different supplier for the D3100 sensor, probably the same supplier that makes the D3S sensor. If this is true, then it could mean a lot of things.

The rumored D90 replacement may turn out to be a 14mp camera after all, if it uses the same sensor as the D3100, or else it may use a Sony 16mp sensor. I can't quite believe that Nikon would have another APS size sensor with a higher resolution ready.

If Nikon is now taking more control of the sensor design in the cheaper models (previously they only designed the sensors in the professional models, starting from D1 to D3 series); then it means that some of the performance features of the professional sensors may trickle down to the cheaper models.

The other interesting aspect of the D3100 is that for the first time a model at this level is actually using the EXPEED processor. The D3000 model does not appear to use the EXPEED processor, although it may use the same software. Perhaps the new EXPEED processor is necessary to support full HD video, and therefore Nikon had to use it in the D3100. The good thing is that the with larger volume of sales, it should provide greater economies of scale and reduce cost.

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