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Canon D30 vs Nikon D3100

The Canon EOS-D30 and the Nikon D3100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in May 2000 and August 2010. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 3.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 14.2 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon D30 VS Nikon D3100
Canon D30 Nikon D3100
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
3.1 MP, APS-C Sensor 14.2 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 1080/24p Video
ISO 100-1600 ISO 100-3200 (100-12800)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8" LCD, 114k dots 3.0" LCD, 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
540 shots per battery charge550 shots per battery charge
150 x 107 x 75 mm, 750 g 124 x 96 x 75 mm, 505 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS-D30 and the Nikon D3100? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon D30 and the Nikon D3100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

The D3100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the D30 is only available in black.

Size Canon D30 vs Nikon D3100
Compare D30 versus D3100 top
Comparison D30 or D3100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3100 is notably smaller (26 percent) than the Canon D30. Moreover, the D3100 is markedly lighter (33 percent) than the D30. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D30 nor the D3100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (D30) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3100).

Concerning battery life, the D30 gets 540 shots out of its BP-511 battery, while the D3100 can take 550 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack.

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon D30» 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 26.5 oz 540 n May 2000 2,999iCanon D30
 
Nikon D3100« 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Canon T7« » 5.1 in 4.0 in 3.1 in 16.8 oz 500 n Feb 2018 449 iCanon T7
 
Canon SL2« » 4.8 in 3.7 in 2.8 in 16.0 oz 650 n Jun 2017 549iCanon SL2
 
Canon T7i« » 5.2 in 3.9 in 3.0 in 18.8 oz 600 n Feb 2017 749iCanon T7i
 
Canon 80D« » 5.5 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 25.8 oz 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199iCanon 80D
 
Canon 40D« » 5.7 in 4.3 in 2.9 in 29.0 oz 750 n Aug 2007 1,299iCanon 40D
 
Canon 30D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.9 in 27.7 oz 750 n Feb 2006 1,399iCanon 30D
 
Canon 20D« » 5.7 in 4.2 in 2.8 in 27.2 oz 700 n Aug 2004 1,499iCanon 20D
 
Canon 10D« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.0 oz 500 n Feb 2003 1,999iCanon 10D
 
Canon Rebel« » 5.6 in 3.9 in 2.8 in 22.9 oz 400 n Aug 2003 899iCanon Rebel
 
Canon D60« » 5.9 in 4.2 in 3.0 in 30.2 oz 620 n Feb 2002 2,999iCanon D60
 
Nikon D3200« » 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 540 n Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749iNikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000« » 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 27.5 oz 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499iNikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000« » 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000« » 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D3100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 80 percent) than the D30, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

 

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3100 is 9 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (D30) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon D30 and Nikon D3100 sensor measures

With 14.2MP, the D3100 offers a higher resolution than the D30 (3.1MP), but the D3100 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.01μm versus 10.29μm for the D30). Yet, the D3100 is a much more recent model (by 10 years and 3 months) than the D30, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D3100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D3100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23 x 15.4 inch or 58.5 x 39 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 18.4 x 12.3 inch or 46.8 x 31.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.4 x 10.2 inch or 39 x 26 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon D30 are 10.8 x 7.2 inch or 27.4 x 18.3 cm for good quality, 8.6 x 5.8 inch or 21.9 x 14.6 cm for very good quality, and 7.2 x 4.8 inch or 18.3 x 12.2 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS-D30 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3100 are ISO 100 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.

D30 versus D3100 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
 
Canon D30 APS-C 3.1 2160 1440none........Canon D30
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967Nikon D3100
 
Canon T7 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p........Canon T7
 
Canon SL2 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.4104179Canon SL2
 
Canon T7i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p........Canon T7i
 
Canon 80D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364Canon 40D
 
Canon 30D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.510.873659Canon 30D
 
Canon 20D APS-C 8.2 3504 2336none21.911.072162Canon 20D
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebel APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.010.854455Canon Rebel
 
Canon D60 APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none........Canon D60
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.2113181Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000 APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The D3100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D30 does not. The highest resolution format that the D3100 can use is 1080/24p.

 

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D30 and the D3100 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D30 has a higher magnification than the one of the D3100 (0.54x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon D30 and Nikon D3100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
 
Canon D30optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon D30
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3100
 
Canon T7optical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon T7
 
Canon SL2optical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n Canon SL2
 
Canon T7ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 6.0 Y n Canon T7i
 
Canon 80Doptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/8000s 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
 
Canon 30Doptical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 30D
 
Canon 20Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n Canon 20D
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon 10D
 
Canon Rebeloptical n 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n Canon Rebel
 
Canon D60optical Y 1.8 114 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Canon D60
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000

One feature that is present on the D30, but is missing on the D3100 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.

The D30 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D3100 uses SDXC cards.

 

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS-D30 and Nikon D3100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
 
Canon D30Ynonenone--none1.0---Canon D30
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D3100
 
Canon T7Ymonomono--mini2.0YY-Canon T7
 
Canon SL2YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon SL2
 
Canon T7iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YYYCanon T7i
 
Canon 80DYstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
 
Canon 40DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 40D
 
Canon 30DYnonenone--none2.0---Canon 30D
 
Canon 20DYnonenone--none1.1---Canon 20D
 
Canon 10DYnonenone--none1.1---Canon 10D
 
Canon RebelYnonenone--none1.1---Canon Rebel
 
Canon D60Ynonenone--none1.1---Canon D60
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000Ynonenone--none2.0---Nikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Canon D30 (unlike the D3100) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

Both the D30 and the D3100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D30 was replaced by the Canon D60, while the D3100 was followed by the Nikon D3200. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.

Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon D30 and the Nikon D3100? Which camera is better? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Advantages of the Canon EOS-D30:

  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.54x vs 0.53x).
  • Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
  • Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in May 2000).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (14.2 vs 3.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 113%.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/24p video.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (230k vs 114k dots).
  • More compact: Is smaller (124x96mm vs 150x107mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 245g or 33 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (2.0 vs 1.0).
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (80 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 10 years and 3 months of technical progress since the D30 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D3100 is the clear winner of the contest (9 : 4 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D30 04:09 D3100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon D30 and the Nikon D3100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D30 or the D3100 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cam
era
  labs  
dp
re
  view  
e
photo
  zine  
ima
ging
resource
photo
graphy
  blog  
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
 
Canon D30..+ +...... May 2000 2,999iCanon D30
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599iNikon D3100
 
Canon T7o..3.5/5..3.5/5 Feb 2018 449 iCanon T7
 
Canon SL2+ +78/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Jun 2017 549iCanon SL2
 
Canon T7i..80/1004.5/54/54/5 Feb 2017 749iCanon T7i
 
Canon 80D+ +84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199iCanon 80D
 
Canon 40D+ ++ +4.5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299iCanon 40D
 
Canon 30D+ ++ +oo.. Feb 2006 1,399iCanon 30D
 
Canon 20D..+ +..o.. Aug 2004 1,499iCanon 20D
 
Canon 10D..+ +..o.. Feb 2003 1,999iCanon 10D
 
Canon Rebel..+ +..o.. Aug 2003 899iCanon Rebel
 
Canon D60..+ +o.... Feb 2002 2,999iCanon D60
 
Nikon D3200+ +73/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599iNikon D3200
 
Nikon D5100+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749iNikon D5100
 
Nikon D7000..80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499iNikon D7000
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599iNikon D3000
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749iNikon D5000
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon D30:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D3100:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon D30 vs Nikon D3100

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon D30 Nikon D3100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date May 2000 August 2010
    Launch Price USD 2999 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon D30 Nikon D3100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.0 x 14.9 mm 23.1 x 15.4 mm
    Sensor Area 327.8 mm2 355.74 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.6 mm 27.8 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 3.1 Megapixels 14.2 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 2160 x 1440 pixels 4608 x 3072 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 10.29 μm 5.01 μm
    Pixel Density 0.95 MP/cm2 3.98 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/24p Video
    ISO Setting 100-1600 ISO 100-3200 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100-12800 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 67
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 22.5
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 11.3
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 919
    Screen Specs Canon D30 Nikon D3100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.53x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel no Top Display
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8 inch 3.0 inch
    LCD Resolution 114k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon D30 Nikon D3100
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    Connectivity Specs Canon D30 Nikon D3100
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash PC Sync socket no PC Sync
    USB Connector USB 1.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon D30 Nikon D3100
    Battery Type BP-511 EN-EL14
    Battery Life (CIPA)540 shots per charge550 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 150 x 107 x 75 mm
    (5.9 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
    124 x 96 x 75 mm
    (4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
    Camera Weight 750 g (26.5 oz) 505 g (17.8 oz)

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