The Nikon D3000 is the company’s attempt to bring a digital single-lens reflex camera (DLSR) into the hands of consumers who, when confronted with a high-end camera of that caliber, might feel out of their depth.
Nobody has exactly figured out how to make digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs) very simple to use for amateur photographers, despite the fact that there are a lot of fantastic DSLRs on the market.
Even self-assured and inventive users of small cameras often get intimidated when presented with a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR). There is something about the intimidating black body and the abundance of knobs and dials that turns people off.
Therefore, Nikon should be congratulated on the D3000, as it is the single-lens reflex camera (SLR) that is easiest to use for novice photographers. This digital single-lens reflex camera has a resolution of 10.2 megapixels and costs 500 pounds. It is a direct competitor to the Canon EOS 1000D, which has received positive reviews, as well as other entry-level competitors such as the Sony Alpha A330, the Olympus E-450, and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-G1.
As such, it is in an ideal position to entice the still-considerable number of owners of small cameras who are interested in making their first purchase of an SLR. For one very straightforward reason, the consumer market for entry-level SLR cameras continues to generate enormous profits for manufacturers. When you have a customer hooked on your SLR system, you can keep making money off of them throughout their whole photographic career by selling them lenses and other accessories.
The Nikon D3000 has a compact size and a simple but effective 18-55 zoom lens, which is quite close to the specifications of Canon’s entry-level kit lens. At first glance, the Nikon D3000 appears to be normal fare due to these characteristics.
When you look at the top shooting dial on the camera, you will first notice the distinctive selling point that it possesses. In addition to the conventional PASM exposure modes, there is a brand-new mode referred to as GUIDE. When you choose GUIDE as your shooting mode, your DSLR will suddenly resemble a tiny camera. The user is then presented with a large, colorful screen that contains three options: Shoot, View/Delete, and Set-up.
The previous two options are simple and explanatory, but the third option, “Shoot,” is an innovative feature that gives you the ability to select from a variety of shooting possibilities, including close-ups, action pictures, night shots, and portraits with blurred backgrounds.
Each shooting option explains how to achieve the effect you’re after, rather than just being a dumb pre-set. As a result, it’s a useful learning tool for getting to grips with the creative exposure controls on a digital single-lens reflex camera (DSLR), despite the fact that it’s nearly foolproof. Fisher Price, on the other hand, is a toy.
In addition to that, there is a choice for More Settings that leads you directly to the Flash and AF modes. It is completely clear how everything works. What features, then, does the camera not possess? Live View and the capability to record high-definition video are two of the most notable features that are missing, in addition to a top LCD.
This is quite a hazardous tactic, but it is clear that Nikon is banking on the fact that first-time users of SLR cameras will be content to forego these useful add-ons in exchange for a stills camera that is simple to operate.
As was noted earlier, this is not the camera for you if you want a cutting-edge SLR that can capture high-definition video and offer a live-view mode.
Since it is primarily intended to facilitate the move from compact cameras to digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLR), we will evaluate it from this perspective. The D3000 is an excellent single-lens reflex camera for those just starting out.
It is just the correct size, being small enough to bring along on a trip with the family but not so little that it will be difficult for those with larger hands to operate. The build quality is excellent, and the 18-55mm kit lens appears to be more robustly constructed and of higher quality than the comparable Canon lens.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at the major selling point of the camera, which is the GUIDE option. The first choice, “Shoot,” contains three suboptions: “Easy Operation,” “Advanced Operation,” and “Timers and Remote Control.”
Remember that Nikon is a Japanese company, so it would be a letdown if there wasn’t some cloying cuteness somewhere. Easy Operation contains all of the most basic “points and clicks” modes, before moving on to more challenging tasks such as Distant Subject, Close-Ups, Portraits, Landscapes, and, er, Sleeping Faces. If nothing else, at least it’s not Sleeping Puppies!
You will first be presented with a screen that provides a concise explanation of each of these options before being given the option to begin shooting. After you have gained some experience with the camera, you may click the second tab labeled “More Settings” to make adjustments to the flash as well as other characteristics.
Therefore, we believe that Nikon has achieved the appropriate level of harmony here. You can then fine-tune the settings if necessary, although impatient beginners can obtain the results they want quickly by going straight to the “Start Shooting” button instead of fiddling with the other settings.
And of course, beginners are able to take full advantage of all the benefits of shooting with a digital single-lens reflex camera, including the use of more advanced lenses and image-processing technology.
So far, we’ve covered Easy Operation; the next level, Advanced Operation, goes a step further. To soften the background of a portrait while maintaining the sharpness of the subject, for example, you need to select the “Soften backgrounds” option and read the accompanying description.
After that, the aperture of the camera will be opened up for you to adjust so that you may create the desired effect, and then you will be instructed to take the picture. Now, skeptics could say that in the time it took someone to work through all of these panels, they could have just switched the camera to the A (Aperture Priority) mode, dialed in a bigger aperture themselves, and taken the photo – a task that would have taken them no more than five seconds.
Therein lies one of the camera’s inherent inconsistencies, and there lies another drawback associated with Nikon’s method of operation. It’s possible that to an impatient beginner, it won’t be immediately evident that you can alter the width of the aperture (and, consequently, the depth of focus of an image) by selecting the A mode on the top dial.
This will be a problem for anyone upgrading to another single-lens reflex camera that is less user-friendly for beginners. Perhaps a picture of the top dial would be helpful in this situation. To be fair to Nikon, though, trying to explain everything to someone who is just starting out is nearly difficult, and the ‘Guide’ mode is a solution that has been very carefully thought through.
We have placed a significant amount of emphasis on the user-friendly widgets that are included with this camera; however, what about the other features?
The camera’s exposure system and autofocusing are both as outstanding as one would expect from a Nikon product, and the metering modes performed admirably even under challenging lighting situations.
It is obvious that this camera is not quick enough or sturdy enough to handle the demands of professional sports photography, but it works just fine for capturing wonderful photos of, for example, the kids playing football.
However, there is a rather bothersome lag when it comes to image playback, despite the fact that AF is really rapid and fluid. To maintain the camera functioning normally, you will need to make some adjustments to the power-saving modes, which can be a real pain.
How big of a deal is it that there aren’t any other options, like filming in high-definition or using the live view function?
Lack of a Live View
Although it is possible to get by without either one of these features, the fact that a camera that costs $500 doesn’t have either of them is a bit of a letdown, and we expect that Nikon will add them to the next version of the product.
The ability to record in high definition (HD) is unquestionably advantageous, whereas the Live View feature is quite helpful when it comes to taking candid photographs or still life compositions, for example.
It is a nuisance not to have these additional features, but it has to be seen how much of a turnoff this omission will be for SLR beginners weighing up their camera options.
Quality of the Image
The high quality of the images produced by the D3000 will immediately quiet anyone who disparages it as a beginner’s camera with simplified controls.
We were really surprised by the camera’s capability to calculate the optimum exposure even when shooting in the compressed JPEG mode. The Matrix metering technology is very clever indeed.
When shooting in RAW (NEF) mode, you will get the full benefit of uncompressed images; the amount of clarity and information that can be extracted from an image is really astounding for a camera that is considered to be an entry-level model.
The ISO capabilities of this camera are also really outstanding (light sensitivity). We shot at settings as high as ISO 1600 without encountering any significant issues with digital noise, and it was extremely well controlled at lower, more practical settings such as ISO 400.
Nikon D3000 Specifications
|Sensor||• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD sensor|
• Nikon DX format (1.5x FOV crop)
• 10.2 million effective pixels
• 10.75 million total pixels
• RGB Color Filter Array
• 12-bit A/D converter
|Anti-dust measures||• Image sensor cleaning system|
• Airflow control system
• Image dust off from reference frame (using optional Capture NX software)
|Image sizes||• 3872 x 2592 (L)|
• 2896 x 1944 (M)
• 1936 x 1296 (S)
|Image quality||• NEF (12-bit compressed RAW)|
• JPEG fine (1:4)
• JPEG normal (1:8)
• JPEG basic (1:16)
• NEF (RAW) + JPEG
|Color space||• sRGB|
• Adobe RGB
|Lens mount||Nikon F mount (with AF contacts)|
|Lens compatibility||• AF-S, AF-I|
• Other Type G or D AF Nikkor
• Other AF Nikkor/AI-P Nikkor• Type D PC Nikkor• Non-CPU• IX Nikkor/AF Nikkor for F3AF
• AI-P NIKKOR-All functions supported
– All functions supported except autofocus
– All functions supported except autofocus and 3D Color Matrix Metering II
– All functions supported except some shooting modes
– Can be used in mode M, but exposure meter does not function; electronic range finder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster
– Cannot be used
-All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering II
|Autofocus||• 11 area TTL phase detection|
• Nikon Multi-CAM1000 autofocus module
• Detection range: EV -1 to +19 (ISO 100 equivalent, at normal temperature)
• Manual focus [M], Electronic range finding supported
|Lens servo||• Single-servo AF (AF-S)|
• Continuous-servo AF (AF-C)
• Automatic AF-S/AF-C (AF-A)
• Manual focus (MF)
|AF Area mode||• Single Area AF|
• Dynamic Area AF
• Auto Area AF
• 3D Tracking (11 points)
• Closest Subject Priority Dynamic Area AF
|Focus tracking||Predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status in continuous-servo AF|
|Focus area||Can be selected from 11 focus points|
|Focus lock||Focus can be locked by pressing shutter-release button halfway (single-servo AF) or by pressing AE-L/AF-L button|
|AF Assist||White light lamp|
|Exposure mode||• Auto|
– Flash off
• Scene Modes
• Programmed auto (P) with flexible program
• Shutter-priority auto (S)
• Aperture priority auto (A)
• Manual (M)
• GUIDE mode
• Easy operation
• Advanced mode
Soften backgrounds (aperture priority)
Freeze motion (people) (shutter priority)
Freeze motion (vehicles) (shutter priority)
|Metering||TTL exposure metering using 420-pixel RGB sensor|
• Matrix :3D color matrix metering II (type G and D lenses); color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses)
• Center-weighted: Weight of 75% given to a 8mm circle in center of frame
• Spot: Meters 3.5 mm circle (about 2.5% of frame) centered on active focus area
|Metering range||• EV 0 to 20 (3D color matrix or center-weighted metering)|
• EV 2 to 20 (spot metering)
|Meter coupling||CPU coupling|
|Exposure comp.||• +/- 5.0 EV|
• 1/3 EV steps
|AE Lock||Exposure locked at detected value with AE-L/AF-L button|
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
• ISO 800
• ISO 1600
• ISO 3200 equiv. (Hi 1)
|Auto ISO options||• On/Off|
• Maximum ISO (200, 400, 800, 1600 or Hi1)
• Minimum shutter speed (1 to 1/2000 sec)
|Shutter||• Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal-plane shutter|
• 30 to 1/4000 sec (1/3 EV steps)
• Flash X-Sync: up to 1/200 sec
• Time (requires optional Wireless Remote Control ML-L3)
|White balance||Auto (TTL white-balance with 420 pixels RGB sensor)|
• Twelve manual modes with fine-tuning
Day white fluorescent
• Direct sunlight
• Preset white balance (immediate or from photo)
|WB fine tuning||Yes, (except preset manual)|
|Image parameters||• Picture controls: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape|
• Quick Adjust: 5 settings (adjusts Sharpening, Contrast and Saturation by preset amounts)
• Sharpening: Auto, 10 levels
• Contrast: Auto, 7 levels
• Saturation: Auto, 7 levels
• Hue: 7 levels
|Viewfinder||• Optical fixed eye-level|
• Pentamirror type
• Built-in dioptre adjustment (-1.7 to +0.5 m-1)
• Eye point: 18 mm (at -1.0 m-1)
• Frame coverage 95% (approx.)
• Viewfinder magnification approx. 0.8x with 50mm lens at infinity; -1.0 m-1
• Focusing screen: Type B BriteView clear matte screen Mark V with superimposed focus brackets
|LCD monitor||• 3.0″ TFT LCD|
• 230,000 pixel
|Built-in flash||• Auto, Portrait, Child, Close-up, Night portrait|
• Auto flash with auto pop-up,
• Manual pop-up in P, S, A or M modes
• Guide number approx. 12/39 at ISO 100 (am/ft)
• Guide number approx. 13/43 at ISO 100 (m/ft) in manual mode
|Sync contact||X-contact only; flash synchronization at shutter speeds of up to 1/200 sec|
|Flash control||• TTL flash control by 420-segment RGB sensor. i-TTL balanced fill-flash for digital SLR and standard i-TTL fill-flash for digital SLR available when CPU lens is used with built-in flash, SB-400, SB-800, and SB-600|
• Auto aperture with SB-800 and CPU lenses
• Non-TTL auto with SB-800, 80DX, 28DX, 28, 27 and 22s
• Range-priority manual with SB-800
|Flash mode||• Auto, Portrait, Child, Close-up: Auto, auto with red-eye reduction; fill-flash and red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight|
• Night portrait: Auto, auto slow sync, auto slow sync with red-eye reduction; slow sync and slow sync with red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight
• Landscape, Sports: Fill-flash and red-eye reduction available with optional Speedlight
• P, A modes: Fill flash, rear-curtain with slow sync, slow sync, slow sync with red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction
• S, M modes: Fill flash, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction
|Flash compensation||• -3 to +1 EV|
• 1/3 steps
|Nikon Creative Lighting system||• Advanced Wireless Lighting supported with SB-900, SB-800 or SU-800 as commander|
• Flash Color Information Communication supported with built-in flash and all CLS-compatible flash units
|Shooting modes||• Single frame shooting (S) mode|
• Continuous shooting (C) mode: approx. 3.0 frames per second
• Quick-Response Remote
• Delayed Remote
|Continuous buffer||• JPEG: 100 frames in a burst but limited only by storage|
• RAW: Approx. ~ 6 frames (shooting continues at a slower rate)
|Self-timer||• 2, 5, 10 or 20 sec|
|Remote control||• Remote Control ML-L3 (optional, Infrared)|
• Camera Control Pro software (optional)
|Text input||Up to 36 characters of alphanumeric text input is available with LCD monitor and multi-selector; stored in EXIF header|
|Playback functions||• Full frame|
• Thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images or calendar)
• Playback with Playback zoom
• Playback of stop-motion movies created with D3000
• Slide Show
• Histogram Display
• Auto Image Rotation
• Image Comment (up to 36 characters)
|Orientation sensor||Yes (Rotates user interface when using camera in portrait orientation)|
|Storage||• Secure Digital / Secure Digital HC|
• FAT / FAT32
• Supports firmware update via SD card
|Video output||NTSC or PAL selectable|
|Connectivity||• USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed)|
• Mass storage / PTP selectable
• Video out
• DC-IN (optional AC adapter and adapter connector)
|Languages||Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish|
|Power||Lithium-Ion battery pack EN-EL9a (7.2 V, 1080 mAh)|
|Working environment||• 0 to 40°C (32 to 104°F)|
• Less than 85% humidity
|Dimensions||126 x 97 x 64 mm (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)|
|Weight (no batt)||485g (1.1 lb)|
|Weight (inc. batt)||536 g (1.2 lb)|
|Supplied accessories||• Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL9a|
• Quick Charger MH-23
• Eyepiece Cap DK-5
• Rubber Eyecup DK-20
• USB Cable UC-E4
• Video Cable EG-D100
• Camera Strap AN-DC3
• Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1
• Body Cap BF-1A, Software Suite CD-ROM
|Optional accessories||Wireless Remote Control ML-L3, Capture NX2, Camera Control Pro, AC Adapter Connector EP-5, AC Adapter EH-5, Video Cable EG-D100, Semi Soft-Case CF-DC1, Speedlight SB-900/600/400/T041/R1C1|
The experience of using this single-lens reflex camera (SLR) is quite enjoyable. It is quick and clever, has a kit lens of high quality, and comes with all of the benefits that come with Nikon’s legacy in the optical industry. The ISO performance is excellent for the price, and the display screen’s clarity makes it simple to make modifications as you use the product.
If only Nikon could see fit to include Live View or competent video recording (or both), we would have the ideal first SLR in our possession. However, in its current form, it is not far from being perfect.
Nikon D3000 Price
Pros & Cons
- User friendly
- Excellent performance with ISO
- Strong construction
- Excellent value
- Guide mode requires improvement
- Lack of a Live View
- The preview of the image moves rather slowly.
- No ISO button