Is the Nikon D100 Worth The Savings For Amateur Photographers?

With the number of cameras currently on the market, it doesn’t take long for a newer photographer to become overwhelmed. If you’ve just started shopping for your first digital camera, you may not even know how to evaluate your potential purchase. We know how easy it is to jump on the cheapest price you see, so it’s likely the Nikon D100 has caught your thrifty eye. Let’s break it down to see if the camera is worth the bargain.

What Makes Nikon A Quality Brand?

Nikon has been in business since 1917 and first made its mark in the manufacturing of camera lenses. It wasn’t until halfway through the twentieth century that it began the production of full cameras and instantly became a pioneer in new photographic technology. Its contemporary competition with Canon has ensured that both companies continually reach for undiscovered innovations with each new model.

Camera enthusiasts will debate back and forth which brand is better, Canon or Nikon, but ultimately it depends on what the user is looking for. Some users assert that Nikon cameras are more user-friendly, which would make them great cameras for beginners, but the majority of users suggest that either brand will perform well at any skill level.

With Nikon’s tradition of quality and technological advancement, we’re off to a good start with the Nikon D100. Before even considering its features, we know it’s a well-built camera, but there’s a reason it’s so affordable.

Why Is The Nikon D100 Inexpensive?

The Nikon D100 was Nikon’s first attempt at producing a DSLR camera for amateur photographers. It was originally sold in 2002, making this particular model quite old. While there has obviously been an incredible amount of improvements in camera technology in the last couple of decades, you can’t discount its potential based on age alone.

For the casual or novice photographer who’s looking for a great value, the Nikon D100 may still fulfill its purpose. Its small size makes it incredibly portable, and the sheer weightlessness of it ensures that it’s easy to handle. At less than $100 at most retailers, it’s an affordable option for amateur photographers on a budget.

In reviewing such an old model, it seems only appropriate to compare the strength of its features to those of its contemporary competitors. With this information in hand, you can decide which factors are worth considering for your specific needs.

Image Stabilization

Nikon D100

Image stabilization is common on nearly every compact DSLR camera nowadays, but the Nikon D100 lacks this feature. No matter how steady your hands may seem, it is extremely difficult to prevent blurs in your photography from the minute shaking that image stabilization corrects. Using a faster shutter speed can minimize the problem, but in low-light situations where slow shutter speeds are ideal, you’ll likely end up with blurry photographs. Speaking of low light, the camera does come equipped with flash control and has a fairly standard ISO range of 200-1600.


Nikon D100

A poor-quality sensor can greatly impact the detail of your photos, and a large component in the efficiency of the sensor is the megapixel output. Many of today’s budget cameras tout a minimum of 16 megapixels, while the Nikon D100 only puts out 6 megapixels. What this ultimately amounts to is grainier pictures with noise that can be difficult to smooth out in the editing phase.

Zoom Capabilities

Nikon D100

The Nikon D100 features optical zoom as opposed to digital zoom, which is certainly the better of the two. However, it only measures 3x, meaning the zoom lens allows you to get three times closer to your subject without moving. Today’s highest quality zoom lenses can reach an excess of 65x, but even when you compare the Nikon D100 to other budget-friendly cameras that possess 15x and up, you’re still looking at considerably less magnification.

Depending on the type of photography you plan to take, you may decide that you don’t need a long-distance lens. If you have the flexibility to physically moving yourself closer to your subjects, 3x optic zoom may be enough, but when instances arise wherein your accessibility is limited, you’ll notice a significant loss in detail without the ability to magnify.

Video Quality

Nikon D100

Because this camera predates high definition, you’re looking at a pretty low-quality video output with a resolution of 3008 x 2000 pixels. For personal videos that you’re planning to share with a few friends or family, this may be sufficient, but if you’re hoping to use your camera to create a video blog or produce short films, you’ll miss the high resolution of a better camera.

Physical Specs

At a mere 1.72 lb., the Nikon D100 is one of the lighter cameras you’ll find. For someone that is planning to travel with it on a daily basis, this could be a plus. The screen is just under 2 inches, which is considerably tiny when you compare it to the market standard of at least 2.5 inches. Another disadvantage here is that the screen is only for viewing photos you’ve already taken. In other words, it doesn’t work as a viewfinder.

Nikon D100

The battery pack is removable so you’re able to carry a spare if you need it, and considering the battery life is estimated at approximately two-hour’s use, you likely will need it if you’ve got an event that’s expected to last all day.

The memory card slot does not support microSD. Instead, it uses a flash memory card. The differences between these two are negligible, but it’s something to consider if you’re planning on transferring the SD card between this camera and another. Not surprisingly, the Nikon D100 also lacks Wi-Fi capabilities, which means it uses a USB port to transfer data from the camera to a computer.

Where Can I Buy It?

The D100 is one of the Nikon models that has been discontinued, and while this can make the price skyrocket for the simple fact of its scarcity, this is one model that doesn’t have that problem. Amazon supports third-party retailers that price it around $75-90, but many of them only include the camera body, meaning you’d have to purchase the lens separately. This may be a good thing, considering you could upgrade the lens at any price point you’re comfortable with and get a boost in quality, but you do have to factor that into the final cost. The absence of the lens surprised many who purchased it, so it’s always smart to look beyond the product photo and review the specifications in the description.

On eBay, you may be able to find a used D100 for around $50. Because it’s no longer in production, it may be more difficult to find this camera in new condition, so you have to decide how you feel about purchasing a previously owned camera. Regardless, it’s not a bad price when you consider most new introductory cameras cost at least quadruple that.

Nikon D100 DSLR Camera (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

  • Built around a 23.7 x 15.6mm RGB CCD, the D100 captures images with an incredible, film-rivaling 6.1
  • 3D Matrix Metering
  • Built-in Speedlight featuring D-TTL flash control capability + standard ISO-type hot shoe
  • 5 Area Dynamic Autofocus with Focus Tracking and Lock-on
  • Pictures are amazingly detailed and color-rich, with resolutions up to 3008 x 2000 pixels

Are There Better Cameras Out There?

If you’re looking for a nice intro DSLR at an affordable price, then the Nikon D100 probably looks attractive, but its technology is too dated to be relevant in the abilities you’ll eventually expect from it. Consider who you’re giving it to and find a more current alternative. For example, instead of investing approximately $75 in a camera you’ll outgrow in months, spend $20-30 more and get a Nikon L105. This camera is almost ten years younger, and with that extra decade comes much-needed features like image stabilization, 15x optical zoom and a 12-megapixel output. It also has the ability to record with 720p resolution, which is a huge step up.

Another option, especially if you’re planning this purchase for a child or teen and you’re worried about an expensive camera getting broken, consider a digital point-and-shoot. It may not have the professional appearance of the classic DSLR camera, but it would be a good way to see if your child’s interest evolves before investing in a more expensive camera.

Is The Nikon D100 Worth The Money?

If the limitations presented here don’t deter you, then this may not be a bad option for you. User reviews for this camera are generally positive since most consumers know they’re buying an older model at a fraction of the cost. Many customers forgive its limitations because of this, so it all comes back to what you’re looking for in this purchase. If your budget is flexible, it’d be wise to look elsewhere for a starter camera that will produce better quality photography.

Ultimately, the low-price tag is really the only thing the Nikon D100 has going for it. While its features were once state-of-the-art, a lot has changed in the last two decades and it simply doesn’t compare with other introductory cameras on the market, even when you only include Nikon products. You’ll be disappointed that the image quality is far superior on your cell phone camera, and you’ll wonder why you invested in this DSLR.

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