In an entry-level DSLR, the user invariably looks for an easy-to-use model but one that offers a substantial leap in functionality in comparison to a compact camera. To win our entry-level DSLR category then, the camera would have to succeed in all these areas, while also offering that extra something. While the Sony A390 and Pentax K-x are both worthy of mention this year, it's the successor to last year's winner in this category that really impresses and takes the gong.
The Nikon D3100 picks up where the D3000 left off, and adds a bunch of extra functionality to boot. A new 14.2MP CMOS sensor, combined with EXPEED 2 image processing engine, allows an extended ISO range up to 12,800, as well as Full HD video capture. All this advanced functionality is not only packed into a compact DSLR body but is also supplemented by a Guide mode that serves as an in-camera tuition service perfect for the DSLR newcomer.