How to change shutter speed and aperture on Nikon D3100

The Nikon D3100 is probably one of the best “go-to” cameras for newbies, families, hobbyists, and outdoor lovers. It is lightweight, at only 1 pound and 1.8 ounces, making it easy to bring around to capture your special moments.

In this post we will discuss about how to change shutter speed and aperture on Nikon D3100

But the lightweight quality doesn’t affect the power or performance. This camera has a lot of features that will allow you to bring special and ordinary moments to life. Whether you use automatic or manual settings, in stills or videos, the D3100 is a great upgrade to your photography.

To maximize the use of your camera, we will teach you some of the basics in manual setting. Know how to change the shutter speed, aperture and the relationship between the two.


How to change shutter speed on Nikon D3100

One of the things you can control in the Nikon D3100 is the shutter speed. The term refers to how long the camera shutter stays open to allow the light to hit the sensor. It is typically counted in seconds or a fraction of a second. The faster the shutter speed is, the less time the sensor gets light. Therefore, it results in lower exposure. The slower the shutter speed is, the more time the sensor gets lights, resulting in higher exposure.

You can adjust shutter speed on either the manual mode (“M” on the dial) or shutter-priority auto exposure mode (“S” on the dial). The “M” allows you to set both the shutter speed and aperture. The shutter speed and the aperture work very closely together. As you read on, you will learn that the aperture also affects the light that gets in.


The “S” only allows you to set the shutter speed, then the camera will adjust the aperture accordingly to produce a good exposure. To adjust the shutter speed on your Nikon D3100, follow these steps:

  • Turn on your camera. Your screen will turn on and show the info on the display. If the screen blacks out, click the info button on the top right part of the camera (near the mode dial). The screen will turn back on.
  • Turn the mode dial to “M” or “S” to change the shutter speed manually. Then use the command dial, which is on the upper right of the screen, to adjust the shutter speed. Moving the command dial to the right will increase the shutter speed. Moving it to the left will decrease it. On the “S” mode, you will notice that as you adjust the shutter speed, the numbers beside, which is the aperture, also changes.

How to Change Aperture on Nikon D3100

The aperture refers to the hole or the opening of the lens, where light enters. Naturally, the bigger the hole, the more light that can pass through to the sensors. The smaller the hole, the less light that enters to the sensor. Together with the shutter speed, you can control how much or how little light enters to the sensor.

Aperture also affects the depth of field. The depth of field refers to the sharpness of what is in front or behind the focus point. In other words, how blurry or how sharp the foreground and background are.

Aperture is expressed in f-stops or f-number, such as f/1.2, f/1.4, f/2, f/16, and so on. Technically, the higher the f/stop(f/22), the smaller the opening and the greater the depth of field. Therefore, the background is sharper with a higher f/stop. On the other hand, the lower the f/stop, the larger the lens opening. The larger the lens opening, the less depth of field. Therefore, the background is blurrier with a lower f/stop.


The maximum aperture depends on the kind of lens you are using. The Nikon D3100 kit includes a lens with a minimum aperture of f/22 and maximum aperture of f/3.5. To change the aperture on your Nikon D3100, follow these steps:

  • Turn the camera on then turn the mode dial to either “M” or “A.” As mentioned earlier, the “M” option allows you to change both shutter speed and aperture. “A” means aperture priority autoexposure. It allows you to adjust aperture, and the camera will adjust the shutter speed accordingly to get a good exposure.
  • After changing turning the dial to “M” or “A,” hold the “Exposure Compensation” button (the one with a plus and minus sign) on the top right part of the camera. While holding it, scroll the command dial to the left to lower the aperture or right to increase it. You will see the adjustments on the screen.

How to take wonderful photos of your camping holiday with D3100

One of the best things about photography is that you can look back at some wonderful memories. Now that you know more about shutter speed and aperture, you can have more control over the outcomes of your photos.


For wonderful photos of your camping holiday, get creative! The outcome is literally in your hands because you are the one holding the camera. Use the light wisely, explore options, and experiment with the settings. And if you’re tired and not getting the results you want, don’t worry. You can use the “Auto” option on the D3100. You can use the “S” or “A” option so you can still manipulate a little bit. However, don’t give up on manual. It just takes time to practice with it.


You can have the best camping grill stove in the world, but then you don’t know how to grill. Or maybe your recipe isn’t that great? The point is, it’s not all about the quality of the tool but how well you use it too. The same goes for your D3100. It’s a great camera. But if not used to it’s potential, it’s not really that great. Just remember that you can do so much more with the manual mode. Practice, practice and practice.


Most DSLRs have an automatic mode where the camera automatically adjusts to the right shutter speed, aperture and ISO. However, this “Auto” mode puts you in a box and limits of what you can do with your camera. Learning the basics of shutter speed and aperture allows you to personalize your photos more. It allows you to take more control of how you want the picture to turn out.

The best way to get learn how to use your camera is by exploring the settings. Put it on manual mode, experiment with the shutter speed, aperture as well as ISO, and take lots of photos. After learning the basics, the best tip we can give you is to go out and shoot.

You may also like