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Digital Camera Nikon COOLPIX 3100 / 2100

Almost immediately following the release of the cameras, we spoke with YAMADA, Yukako, the marketing staff for the two new digital compact cameras. She explained the key features of the cameras, and also shared some behind-the-scenes stories about their development.

YAMADA, Yukako
joined Nikon Corporation in 1996, and was assigned to the Sales Section of the Photo Products Division, where she focused on sales activities for North America.
She later moved to the Product Management Department (1st Marketing Section of the Marketing Div.), and was tasked with support for communications between sales subsidiaries in various countries.
She now works in the Marketing Management Department of the Imaging Company (2nd Marketing Section of the 1st Marketing Div.), where most of her time is consumed by COOLPIX-related marketing activities.
When not hard at work, YAMADA enjoys hiking and cycling. "I love to spend time outdoors and get some exercise -- and naturally, I've always got my camera with me. Taking pictures outdoors gives me a feeling of freshness and spontaniety that makes it more enjoyable than handling cameras at work (laughs) !"

We aim to develop a camera that can easily be used by anyone, allowing more and more people to enter the world of digital photography.

Please describe for us, in your own words, the features of the COOLPIX 2100 and COOLPIX 3100.

This is a rear view of the COOLPIX 2100. Much thought and planning went into the size and placement of buttons and controls, in order to achieve optimum ease in operation.
The circled button is the [DELETE] button.

YAMADA, Yukako:

Well, the main feature of both cameras is that they are so easy to operate than anyone can pick one up and start enjoying digital photography.
The functions of the cameras are almost the same, but the resolution is different -- the COOLPIX 2100 offers 2.0 effective megapixels, and the COOLPIX 3100 has 3.2 effective megapixels.
The digital camera market is currently expanding very rapidly. We are finally seeing more people who've used film cameras exclusively showing interest in exploring digital. These new cameras are meant to be attractive and non-intimidating to this group of people.

These cameras were designed to be easy to use even for all first-time users, but is there a more specific group or category of user that you would like to recommend this camera to ?

The user's age, gender, and so on are completely irrelevant. My hope is that we can attract users who have shied away from digital because they thought it might be difficult, or those who've just grown so comfortable with film cameras, to be able to easily explore the potential of digital photography.

What kinds of features did you add that make the COOLPIX 2100 and 3100 cameras that anyone can use ?

First of all, operation was made easy to understand.
For instance, a [DELETE] button was created so that the user can quickly delete unnecessary images as desired, regardless of the situation.
Some people like to save many images to a Compact Flash TMmemory card and just carry it around with them. One advantage of using a digital camera is that you can quickly delete unwanted images and take more photographs. However, I think that the method for deleting photographs was hard to understand, and people were not able to make the most of this feature. That's why we added a simple [DELETE] button that can be pressed to delete images no matter what the situation is.

A broad range of functions to suit a wide variety of conditions makes it possible for anyone to easily take photos as nice as those that appear in the brochure!

The COOLPIX 2100 and COOLPIX 3100 cameras are easy to use, even for beginners, but they also sport a full complement of quality features.
Isn't it true that the more complicated the feature, the harder it is to operate ?

Select the "Portrait Left" mode to display the outline of a person in the LCD monitor.
Obtain optimum focus by moving the camera so your subject is within the outline.

Well, while our primary goal was to develop cameras that were a breeze to use, we also wanted them to be as highly functional as possible. That's why we've packed such a diverse range of features into the compact bodies.
Features were added to make sure that operating the camera would not be difficult, however. For instance, the methods for selecting image quality and image size were simplified. Until now, the image quality selection method has varied from model to model in the COOLPIX compact digital camera series. You could choose HI, FINE, NORMAL or BASIC image quality; image sizes available included FULL, XGA, SXGA and VGA; and there were other values you could set as well.
This is fine for people who are used to digital cameras, but it's a little hard for beginners to understand, as I'm sure you'll agree. That's why the COOLPIX 2100 has combined image quality and size into four settings: High (1600*), Normal (1600), PC Screen (1024), and TV Screen (640), and the COOLPIX 3100 has five settings: High (2048*), Normal (2048), Normal (1600), PC Screen (1024), and TV Screen (640). Giving the user essentially the same degree of control over image quality with fewer settings to worry about makes camera setting and operation more intuitive.

I see. While we're on the subject of easy operation, many cameras in the COOLPIX series include Scene Modes, in which the camera automatically adjusts detailed settings.
Do the COOLPIX 2100 and COOLPIX 3100 offer Scene Modes as well ?

The menu design emphasizes ease of viewing, employing large, colorful text.

Yes, each camera incorporates the following ten Scene Modes: Party/Indoor, Close Up, Back light, Fireworks show, Beach/Snow, Night landscape, Museum, Sunset, and Dawn/Dusk. The camera will select the ideal exposure, focus, white balance, and other settings for the scene being photographed.
The COOLPIX 2100 and COOLPIX 3100 also feature Scene Modes that are supported by the new Scene Assistance function: Portrait, Landscape, Sports, and Night portrait.
For instance, when you select the "Portrait Left" mode, the outline of a human figure appears in the LCD. To take a quality photo of your subject, move the camera so the subject is within the outline and the background is to the right, then shoot.
Beginners often take photographs by placing the subject in the center of the LCD. In the case of a portrait, however, you can take a clearer, more stable photograph with the focus on the subject and the background blurred, if you take it with the subject somewhat to the side rather than in the center. I would like people to try and take many different types of photographs with this function.

So, not only do these cameras allow easy entry into the world of digital photography, but also offer a number of features to satisfy more experienced shooters who want to get creative ?

Yes, I'm proud of these cameras. I think people will be very satisfied with them (laughs) !
Both cameras provide many image editing functions that let you enhance, or make adjustments to photographs you've taken. For instance, there is an Photo Trim function that you can use to cut out portions of the image that you don' want to keep, and a Halo filter function that puts an off-white frame around the photograph. You can also convert your image to black & white or sepia, and make other adjustments to captured images without having to transfer them to a computer.
Of course, there is also a Small Picture function, offering three modes which allow you to create movies and small images to send as e-mail attachments. In short, these cameras are designed to do a great deal more than just capture images.

The COOLPIX 2100 and COOLPIX 3100 sure are packed with features, aren't they ?

They sure are. They sure are. That's why we really had to put a lot of work into designing the menus that are displayed on the LCD, since they are the main interface for operating all these features. I think the display that we've created is simple, colorful, and easy for anyone to view and understand.