Nikon Zoom 310

Film Camera Review: Nikon Zoom 310 AF

Film Camera Review:

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD Panorama

'The most compact 35mm AF zoom film camera with a 35-70mm Macro lens when it was introduced

Introduction and Overview

Talk about 35mm AF Zoom cameras that are really compact, then you might agree with the claim by Nikon that their Nikon Zoom 300 AF film camera when it was introduced in 1994, was the world's most compact zoom compact camera. The updated Zoom 310 AF and Zoom 310 AF QD (Lite Touch Zoom 70 in the USA) couldn't have been much bigger either.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD, Front right

On being small and compact, the Zoom 310 AF QD is even smaller than the Pentax Espio AF Zoom and comes with an equally smaller viewfinder, which, to my point of view, is more of a setback rather than being an advantage.

While the Zoom 310 AF QD is available with panorama feature, and comes in two color trims - metallic silver, and greyish green, the Zoom 310 AF, the other sibling, has a different body decor, comes in pure gray and is not fitted with the panorama feature.

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On the Zoom 310 QD, the QD (Quartz Date) function, which you would normally find on a panel on the film back of a camera, are integrated within the functions of the Power and Mode setting switches and the LCD panel of the camera.

Basic Camera Features

The Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD is borne out of the 1990s where compact zoom cameras are all the rage. The Zoom 310 is fitted with an ultraviolet filtered (lens cover) F3.5 35mm - F6.5 70mm zoom lens of 4-elements in 4 groups construction and comes with a programmed electronic shutter.

The camera accepts DX-coded film which is automatically set for films with ISO ratings of 100, 200, 400, or 800. Setting for films with ISO 50 and ISO 1600 films are done manually.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD, Front

The clean and clutter-free front panel of the Zoom 310 is clearly an elaborate exercise in minimalist design. The front panel is fitted with a slight crescent-shaped ridge as the finger grip, next to which is the circular lens housing set flush to the body when the camera is in power-down mode.

Located within the black glass wave feature across the top of the front panel are the Auto Exposure window, a pair of Autofocus triangulation windows, the smallish real image viewfinder window, and Flash/Self-Timer Indicator/Red-Eye Reduction lamp unit.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD, Top

The main functions of the Zoom 310 QD are managed from the top plate of the camera, which is populated by rubber-tipped buttons that are fairly recessed into the body, which may prove to be quite a hassle to use.

To the left of the top plate is the Power On/Off button and a pair of multi-function buttons used for camera flash and timer functions, which also doubles up for the QD (quartz date) settings.

In the center of the top plate is the LCD panel, while on the right is the shutter release button, backed by a pair of zoom in/out buttons and a very small mid-roll film rewind button nestled in the midst.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD, Back

The backplane is plain except for the viewfinder window, panorama slide switch, and film ID window which is on the film back itself. To the right of the hinged back is the battery chamber with its door opening mechanism located on the left shoulder of the camera body.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD, Bottom

Again, a minimalist bottom with only a tripod socket present.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD, Film box

The film box is the standard quick load system common to most cameras of that era. All you have to do is to place the film canister in its chamber, pull the film tab across the film frame to the tip of the red indicator arrow and close the back.

Film forward to frame 1 is automatic, so is film rewind at the end of the roll. Mid-roll rewind is done by pressing the mid-roll rewind button.

Camera Mode Functions

Aside from the settings for the QD function, which is best understood by going through the instruction manual (i.e. if you are going to use it, something which people hardly do currently), and settings for ISO 50 and ISO 1600 films, operating the camera is fairly straightforward.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD Panorama 01
(Click to view image in a higher-resolution mode)

The camera mode settings are not coded into memory and will have to be set each and every time the camera is powered on.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD Panorama 02
(Click for high-resolution view)
Flash Mode Setting

The Auto Flash mode on the Zoom 310 QD is automatically activated when the camera is powered up. Use the flash mode button located next to the Power On/Off button to cycle through the following setting:
  • Auto Flash - Flash is automatic in low-light conditions.
  • Infinity Focus - Flash is deactivated and focus is set to infinity.
  • Flash Off - Flash is deactivated
  • Flash On - Flash fires at every shot
  • Auto Flash with slow sync - Shutter speed of the Zoom 310 QD is set to 1/2.4 second. This will allow darker ambient light backgrounds to be properly exposed.
Icons for each setting, when activated, will be displayed on the LCD panel.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD Panorama 03
(Click for higher-resolution view)
Red-Eye Reduction/Self-Timer Mode

Red-Eye Reduction and Self-Timer is set via the second button located next to the Power On/Off button:

  • Red-Eye Reduction - Works in conjunction with Flash On mode. The Red-Eye Reduction will light up for approximately 1 second before the shutter is released. The shot is taken when the main flash fires. 
  • Self-Timer - 10-second delay. The In Focus/Flas Ready LED will light up when the shutter button is pressed, and an indicator (on the lower part of the flash unit) light ups approximately 2 seconds before the shot is taken.

Setting Film Speed to ISO 50 or ISO 1600

To set the camera to use ISO 50 films, first turn the camera On, and while pressing the Zoom W button (Zoom W for ISO 50, and Zoom T for ISO 1600), press the Power On button again for at least 5 seconds. When set, the numerical '05' (or '16') will be displayed on the top right corner of the LCD panel.

After you finished the roll of film, remove and re-install the battery to release the setting.

LCD Panel Display

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD, LCD Panel display
The LCD panel display of the Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD is an integrated display which includes icons for Red-Eye Reduction, Battery Strength, Flash Mode, Self-Timer, Infinity Focus, Film Frame, Month, Year, Time, and Data Imprint setting.

Viewfinder Readout

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD, Viewfinder readout

The viewfinder is a real-image type, with autofocus spot and parallax correction lines at 83% image coverage. Zoom magnification is automatic (motor driven).

Panorama Feature

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD Panorama 04
(Click for higher resolution view)
The panorama feature is set by a slider switch located on the back of the top plane to the right of the viewfinder.

In panorama mode, the film frame size is 13x36mm.


The Zoom 310 QD is powered by a single unit of CR123A Lithium battery pack. Battery life estimate is about 12 rolls of 36-exposure film with 50% flash.

Dimension and Body Weight

The Zoom 310 QD measures 117 x 63 x 36mm and weighs 220 grams without battery.

Nikon Zoom 310 AF QD Panorama 05
(Click to view image in a higher-resolution mode)
These images were shot on a recently expired roll of Kodak ColorPlus 200, post-processed, and converted to black-and-white (the two lower images) on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3).

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  1. can i use nikon zoom 310 w/o battery?

    1. Sorry, no. The Zoom 310 is an auto everything camera and it does not work without batteries, thanks.

  2. I tried setting the date, but the year only goes from 95-19. I am unable to set the year for '20. Is there any way i can fix this?


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