Fujifilm X-A1 vs Nikon D3100
The Fujifilm X-A1 and the Nikon D3100 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in September 2013 and August 2010. The X-A1 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the D3100 is a DSLR. Both cameras are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Fujifilm has a resolution of 16 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.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Fujifilm X-A1 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.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Fujifilm X-A1 and the Nikon D3100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The X-A1 can be obtained in two different colors (black, blue), while the D3100 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, red).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3100 is considerably larger (52 percent) than the Fujifilm X-A1. Moreover, the D3100 is substantially heavier (53 percent) than the X-A1. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the X-A1 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. Both cameras have similarly sized sensors, but DSLRs have a larger flange-to-focal plane distance than mirrorless cameras, which imposes contraints on the optical engineering process and generally leads to bigger and heavier lenses. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Fujinon X Lens Catalog (X-A1) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3100). Mirrorless cameras, such as the Fujifilm X-A1, have moreover the advantage that they have a relatively short flange to focal plane distance and can thus use many lenses from other systems via adapters.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. 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.
|Fujifilm X-A1||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.6 oz||350||n||Sep 2013||399|
|Nikon D3100||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|Fujifilm X-A5||4.6 in||2.7 in||1.6 in||12.7 oz||450||n||Jan 2018||399|
|Fujifilm X-A3||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.0 oz||410||n||Aug 2016||399|
|Fujifilm X-A10||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||11.7 oz||410||n||Dec 2016||399|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Jan 2016||699|
|Fujifilm X-A2||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.6 in||12.3 oz||410||n||Jan 2015||399|
|Fujifilm X-T10||4.6 in||3.3 in||1.6 in||13.4 oz||350||n||May 2015||799|
|Fujifilm X-E2||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Oct 2013||999|
|Fujifilm X-M1||4.6 in||2.6 in||1.5 in||11.6 oz||350||n||Jun 2013||699|
|Fujifilm X-E1||5.1 in||3.0 in||1.5 in||12.3 oz||350||n||Sep 2012||999|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||5.5 in||3.2 in||1.7 in||15.9 oz||300||n||Jan 2012||1,699|
|Nikon D3200||4.9 in||3.8 in||3.0 in||17.8 oz||540||n||Apr 2012||599|
|Nikon D5100||5.0 in||3.8 in||3.1 in||19.8 oz||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D7000||5.2 in||4.1 in||3.0 in||27.5 oz||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Nikon D3000||5.0 in||3.8 in||2.5 in||18.9 oz||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D5000||5.0 in||4.1 in||3.1 in||20.8 oz||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The X-A1 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the D3100, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies 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 4 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
With 16MP, the X-A1 offers a higher resolution than the D3100 (14.2MP), but the X-A1 has smaller individual pixels (pixel pitch of 4.80μm versus 5.01μm for the D3100). However, the X-A1 is a much more recent model (by 3 years) than the D3100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.
The resolution advantage of the Fujifilm X-A1 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the X-A1 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 24.5 x 16.3 inches or 62.2 x 41.5 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19.6 x 13.1 inches or 49.7 x 33.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 16.3 x 10.9 inches or 41.5 x 27.6 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3100 are 23 x 15.4 inches or 58.5 x 39 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 12.3 inches or 46.8 x 31.2 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 10.2 inches or 39 x 26 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Fujifilm X-A1 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. 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.
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 adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the X-A1 provides a higher frame rate than the D3100. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 1080/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D3100 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the X-A1 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Fujifilm X-A1 and Nikon D3100 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
The X-A1 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D3100 uses SDXC cards. The X-A1 supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D3100 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
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 Fujifilm X-A1 and Nikon D3100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
It is notable that the X-A1 offers wifi support, while the D3100 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both the X-A1 and the D3100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3100 was replaced by the Nikon D3200, while the X-A1 was followed by the Fujifilm X-A2. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Fujifilm and Nikon websites.
So how do things add up? Is there a clear favorite between the Fujifilm X-A1 and the Nikon D3100? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Fujifilm X-A1:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (16 vs 14.2MP) with a 6% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/30p versus 1080/24p).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (5.6 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (117x67mm vs 124x96mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 175g or 35 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- More legacy lens friendly: Can take a broad range of non-native lenses via adapters.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 3 years of technical progress since the D3100 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D3100:
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (550 versus 350) out of a single battery charge.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in August 2010).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the X-A1 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Fujifilm X-A1 and the Nikon D3100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the X-A1 and the D3100 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera 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.
|Fujifilm X-A1||..||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Sep 2013||399|
|Nikon D3100||+ +||72/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|Fujifilm X-A5||+||..||4/5||4/5||3.5/5||Jan 2018||399|
|Fujifilm X-A3||..||74/100||4.5/5||..||4/5||Aug 2016||399|
|Fujifilm X-A10||..||..||4/5||..||4/5||Dec 2016||399|
|Fujifilm X-E2S||..||77/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2016||699|
|Fujifilm X-A2||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||399|
|Fujifilm X-T10||+ +||80/100||5/5||4/5||5/5||May 2015||799|
|Fujifilm X-E2||..||80/100||4.5/5||..||5/5||Oct 2013||999|
|Fujifilm X-M1||+||77/100||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jun 2013||699|
|Fujifilm X-E1||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||999|
|Fujifilm X-Pro1||+ +||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||1,699|
|Nikon D3200||+ +||73/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2012||599|
|Nikon D5100||+ +||76/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|Nikon D7000||..||80/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|Nikon D3000||+||72/100||4/5||3.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|Nikon D5000||+ +||75/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted 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. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price 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.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 250D vs Nikon D3100
- Canon 500D vs Nikon D3100
- Canon 5D Mark II vs Nikon D3100
- Canon 5DS R vs Nikon D3100
- Canon G3 X vs Fujifilm X-A1
- Canon G5 X vs Fujifilm X-A1
- Canon T4i vs Fujifilm X-A1
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Fujifilm X-T1
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Olympus E-M1X
- Fujifilm X-A1 vs Sony HX80
- Nikon D3100 vs Nikon D3300
- Nikon D3100 vs Olympus E-620
Specifications: Fujifilm X-A1 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 Model||Fujifilm X-A1||Nikon D3100|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Fujifilm X mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||September 2013||August 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 399||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Nikon D3100|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||23.1 x 15.4 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||355.74 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||27.8 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||16 Megapixels||14.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4896 x 3264 pixels||4608 x 3072 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.80 μm||5.01 μm|
|Pixel Density||4.33 MP/cm2||3.98 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||1080/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||200 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXR Processor II||EXPEED 2|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||67|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||22.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||919|
|Screen Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Nikon D3100|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||920k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Nikon D3100|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||Focus Peaking||no Peaking Feature|
|Continuous Shooting||5.6 shutter flaps/s||3 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDHC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Nikon D3100|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Fujifilm X-A1||Nikon D3100|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||350 shots per charge||550 shots per charge|
117 x 67 x 39 mm
(4.6 x 2.6 x 1.5 in)
124 x 96 x 75 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||330 g (11.6 oz)||505 g (17.8 oz)|
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