Nikon D3100 vs P900
The Nikon D3100 and the Nikon Coolpix P900 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2010 and March 2015. The D3100 is a DSLR, while the P900 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (D3100) and a 1/2.3-inch (P900) sensor. The D3100 has a resolution of 14.2 megapixels, whereas the P900 provides 15.9 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon D3100||Nikon P900|
|Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Nikon F mount lenses||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5|
|14.2 MP, APS-C Sensor||15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor|
|1080/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO 100-3200 (100-12800)||ISO 100-6400 (100-12800)|
|Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder (921k dots)|
|3.0" LCD, 230k dots||3.0" LCD, 921k dots|
|Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)||Swivel screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|3 shutter flaps per second||7 shutter flaps per second|
|550 shots per battery charge||360 shots per battery charge|
|124 x 96 x 75 mm, 505 g||140 x 103 x 137 mm, 899 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3100 and the Nikon Coolpix P900? 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.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D3100 and the Nikon P900 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The D3100 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the P900 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon P900 is notably larger (21 percent) than the Nikon D3100. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3100 nor the P900 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the P900 has a lens built in, whereas the D3100 is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the D3100 and their specifications in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the D3100 gets 550 shots out of its EN-EL14 battery, while the P900 can take 360 images on a single charge of its EN-EL23 power pack. The power pack in the P900 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Nikon D3100»||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon P900«||140 mm||103 mm||137 mm||899 g||360||n||Mar 2015||599||Nikon P900|
|Canon SX60« »||128 mm||93 mm||114 mm||650 g||340||n||Sep 2014||549||Canon SX60|
|Kodak AZ901« »||139 mm||104 mm||119 mm||777 g||400||n||Jan 2016||499||Kodak AZ901|
|Nikon P950« »||140 mm||110 mm||150 mm||1005 g||290||n||Jan 2020||799||Nikon P950|
|Nikon P1000« »||146 mm||119 mm||181 mm||1415 g||250||n||Jul 2018||999||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon D5600« »||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400« »||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300« »||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3200« »||125 mm||96 mm||77 mm||505 g||540||n||Apr 2012||599||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5100« »||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D3000« »||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000« »||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60« »||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40X« »||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||520||n||Mar 2007||729||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D40« »||124 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||470||n||Nov 2006||499||Nikon D40|
|Ricoh GR II« »||117 mm||63 mm||35 mm||251 g||320||n||Jun 2015||699||Ricoh GR II|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
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. 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.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have 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.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3100 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon P900 a 1/2.3-inch sensor. The sensor area in the P900 is 92 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 5.6. The sensor in the D3100 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the P900 offers a 4:3 aspect.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the P900 offers a higher resolution of 15.9 megapixels, compared with 14.2 MP of the D3100. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 1.33μm versus 5.01μm for the D3100). However, it should be noted that the P900 is much more recent (by 4 years and 6 months) than the D3100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the P900 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The Nikon D3100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Coolpix P900 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-12800.
Consistent information on actual sensor performance is available from DXO Mark for many cameras. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D3100||APS-C||14.2||4608||3072||1080/24p||22.5||11.3||919||67||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon P900||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||1080/60p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P900|
|Canon SX60||1/2.3||14.2||4608||3072||1080/60p||19.2||10.8||127||39||Canon SX60|
|Kodak AZ901||1/2.3||20.2||5184||3888||1080/30p||..||..||..||..||Kodak AZ901|
|Nikon P950||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P950|
|Nikon P1000||1/2.3||15.9||4608||3456||4K/30p||..||..||..||..||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon D5600||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.1||14.0||1306||84||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.8||13.9||1192||86||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||APS-C||24.0||6000||4000||1080/60p||24.3||12.8||1385||82||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3200||APS-C||24.1||6016||4000||1080/30p||24.1||13.2||1131||81||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5100||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.5||13.6||1183||80||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D3000||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.3||11.1||563||62||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000||APS-C||12.2||4288||2848||720/24p||22.7||12.5||868||72||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.5||11.4||562||65||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40X||APS-C||10.0||3872||2592||none||22.4||11.4||516||63||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D40||APS-C||6.0||3008||2000||none||21.0||11.0||561||56||Nikon D40|
|Ricoh GR II||APS-C||16.1||4928||3264||1080/30p||23.6||13.7||1078||80||Ricoh GR II|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the P900 provides a faster frame rate than the D3100. It can shoot movie footage at 1080/60p, while the D3100 is limited to 1080/24p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the P900 has an electronic viewfinder (921k dots), while the D3100 has an optical one. Both systems have their advantages, with the electronic viewfinder making it possible to project supplementary shooting information into the framing view, whereas the optical viewfinder offers lag-free viewing and a very clear framing image. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D3100 and Nikon P900 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon P900||921||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P900|
|Canon SX60||922||n||3.0||922||swivel||n||1/2000s||6.4||Y||Y||Canon SX60|
|Kodak AZ901||202||n||3.0||920||swivel||n||1/2000s||5.0||Y||Y||Kodak AZ901|
|Nikon P950||2359||n||3.2||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P950|
|Nikon P1000||2359||n||3.2||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||7.0||Y||Y||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2||1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3200||optical||n||3.0||921||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0||921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7||230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40X||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D40||optical||n||2.5||230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n||Nikon D40|
|Ricoh GR II||optional||n||3.0||1230||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n||Ricoh GR II|
The Nikon P900 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the D3100 and the P900 write their files to SDXC 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 Nikon D3100 and Nikon Coolpix P900 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
|Nikon D3100||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3100|
|Nikon P900||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Nikon P900|
|Canon SX60||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-||Canon SX60|
|Kodak AZ901||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||-||Kodak AZ901|
|Nikon P950||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon P950|
|Nikon P1000||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||micro||2.0||Y||-||Y||Nikon P1000|
|Nikon D5600||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y||Nikon D5600|
|Nikon D3400||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y||Nikon D3400|
|Nikon D3300||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3300|
|Nikon D3200||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3200|
|Nikon D5100||Y||mono||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5100|
|Nikon D3000||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D3000|
|Nikon D5000||Y||mono||mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D5000|
|Nikon D60||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D60|
|Nikon D40X||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40X|
|Nikon D40||Y||none||none||-||-||none||2.0||-||-||-||Nikon D40|
|Ricoh GR II||Y||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-||Ricoh GR II|
It is notable that the D3100 has a hotshoe, while the P900 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.
Travel and landscape photographers will find it useful that the P900 has an internal geolocalization sensor and can record GPS coordinates in its EXIF data.
Both the D3100 and the P900 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D3100 was replaced by the Nikon D3200, while the P900 was followed by the Nikon P950. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Nikon D3100 and the Nikon P900? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Advantages of the Nikon D3100:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Brighter framing: Features an optical viewfinder for clear, lag-free composition.
- More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
- More compact: Is smaller (124x96mm vs 140x103mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (550 versus 360) on a single battery charge.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2010).
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix P900:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Better video: Provides higher movie framerates (1080/60p versus 1080/24p).
- More framing info: Has an electronic viewfinder that displays shooting data.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (921k vs 230k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a swivel screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
- More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the D3100 requires a separate lens.
- Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
- Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
- Easier geotagging: Features an internal GPS sensor to log localization data.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D3100 launch.
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the P900 emerges as the winner of the match-up (14 : 11 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 Nikon D3100 and the Nikon P900 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Superzoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3100 or the P900 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. 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.
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
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 your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D3100 vs Nikon P900
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||Nikon D3100||Nikon P900|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Fixed lens compact camera|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||24-2000mm f/2.8-6.5|
|Launch Date||August 2010||March 2015|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 599|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D3100||Nikon P900|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||1/2.3" Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.1 x 15.4 mm||6.17 x 4.55 mm|
|Sensor Area||355.74 mm2||28.0735 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27.8 mm||7.7 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||14.2 Megapixels||15.9 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3072 pixels||4608 x 3456 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||5.01 μm||1.33 μm|
|Pixel Density||3.98 MP/cm2||56.73 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/24p Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||100-3200 ISO||100-6400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100-12800 ISO||100-12800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 2||EXPEED C2|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||67||..|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.5||..|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.3||..|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||919||..|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D3100||Nikon P900|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Electronic viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Viewfinder Resolution||921k dots|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0 inch||3.0 inch|
|LCD Resolution||230k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Swivel screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D3100||Nikon P900|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Contrast-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||No Peaking Feature||Focus Peaking|
|Max Shutter Speed (mechanical)||1/4000/s||1/4000/s|
|Continuous Shooting||3 shutter flaps/s||7 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||Build-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D3100||Nikon P900|
|External Flash||Hotshoe||no Hotshoe|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||micro HDMI|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||no NFC||NFC built-in|
|Geotagging||no internal GPS||GPS built-in|
|Body Specs||Nikon D3100||Nikon P900|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||550 shots per charge||360 shots per charge|
|In-Camera Charging||no USB charging||USB charging|
124 x 96 x 75 mm
(4.9 x 3.8 x 3.0 in)
140 x 103 x 137 mm
(5.5 x 4.1 x 5.4 in)
|Camera Weight||505 g (17.8 oz)||899 g (31.7 oz)|
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