I’m a newcomer to the world of digital cameras and to be honest when I first looked into the field I was a little daunted. All the websites I checked seemed to be written entirely in jargon that probably meant a lot to the experienced camera operator but which just left me confused. What was a CMOS sensor? What were effective megapixels? Were there also ineffective megapixels? SLR could not really stand for Self Loading Rifle. What did it all mean?

Eventually I latched upon a phrase: ‘Entry level SLR’ Obviously I was at entry level. (A little bit of research revealed that SLR stands for Single-Lens Reflex and refers to the way that you can see what the camera lens sees when you are taking a picture.) Several articles said that the Nikon D3100 had some claim to be the best entry level SLR camera on the market and I decided to take their advice and buy one.

I have seldom made a better purchase. The Nikon D3100 is the camera for me and I am going to tell you why I think that it would be the camera for you also.

What first attracted me to the camera was the Guide Mode. I have since learned that the D3100’s well liked predecessor, the D3000, had a similar feature, but that the newer camera’s guide mode had been upgraded to make it friendlier for beginners. That was just the sort of thing that I needed.

You see the Guide Mode in the D3100 helps you to take the sort of picture that you want to take and explains it to you in simple terms. For instance, when I wanted to soften the background there was an option for doing that, which led me to a screen that explained how you achieve that effect by varying the aperture. The Guide then told me that I should use a focal length of at least 80mm. Finally it asked me to choose an ‘f’ number, and reminded me that a lower number would blur the background.

No doubt all this is very basic to experienced people, who know all about how and when to vary focal lengths and apertures and shutter speeds, but it was news to me. So I found that I was learning a bit about photography while still taking pictures that I found pleasing. That must be one of the reasons why you should buy a Nikon D3100. If you are new to digital cameras then it will show you what to do.

As I became more experienced, I discovered a lot of other reasons to like the D3100. Most importantly, I liked the D3100 because it is simply a good camera. It does what all good cameras do by giving you excellent picture quality. That CMOS sensor which so baffled me to begin with (it turns out CMOS stands for Complementary Metal-Oxide Semiconductor) working in combination with the new EXPEED 2 image processor gives you a very clear, well-defined and accurately coloured image.

There are lots of other features which I don’t really have space to more than mention, like the LCD screen at the back with the standard review and playback controls and also a Live View Switch which incorporates the instant-on switch for when you are video recording. The videos you take are in full HD 1080p and there is a range of NIKKOR lenses and also a subject-tracking AF (auto-focus) that keeps a moving subject in proper focus.

I think I may be lapsing into jargon. Simply put: buy the Nikon D3100 for jargon-free pictures and video.

David writes about the changing world of how classic brands continue to offer the same range of successful products decade after decade and survive the ever changing storm in one of the world’s most competitive and fad-focused consumer markets.