Nikon D3000 Review
The D3000 was built with the beginner photographer in mind. If you're looking to make the transition from a point-and-shoot to a basic DSLR with DSLR-like image quality but the ease of a point-and-shoot, the D3000 is a great choice. Easy to use, shortcuts, solid performance and image quality make it one of the best entry level DSLRs.
In terms of design and appearance, the D5000 is comparable to most DSLRs. At 18.8 ounces, it is slightly heavier than others, but feels well made. It has a comfortable grip with rounded corners. The layout of the dials, buttons and controls are fairly intuitive. There is an Fn button by the left thumb used to set controls like ISO sensitivity, white balance, and self timer.
The dial on top of the camera has the typical settings like Program, Shutter, Aperture-priority, and Manual, as well as the new Guide mode. It's a beginner-friendly feature that guides you through the shooting process. It basically asks you a series of questions, and the camera than offers suggestions on what settings to set, and why. You activate it by pressing a button next to the mode dial. Experts will find Guide Mode useless, and even cumbersome. In general, the D3000 is at times a bit too beginner friendly. For example, when you hit the shoot button, you're directed to a menu where you tell the camera what type of situation you're shooting (no flash, auto, distant subjects, close-ups, etc). Most of the times we just want to shoot without being bothered.
The viewfinder is nothing to complain about, but nothing to rave about either. It features a pentamirror design with 95% coverage, and .8 times magnification. The D3000 does display a lot of information in the viewfinder, more than you'll find in most viewfinders.
Pictures taken on the D3000 are high quality. The camera allows for resolutions up to 10.2 megapixels, which is quite standard compared to its competitors. There is also a great autofocus system that uses 11 points to focus on the subject. Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100-1600 and can extend to ISO 3200, allowing for photography under low light.
The color, sharpness, and exposure are all good. In general, red, blue, and green are slightly over-saturated, while yellow and cyan are under-saturated a bit. Most consumer cameras nowadays use highly saturated colors to produce brighter, intense colors, as the most accurate color may not be the most visually pleasing. The D3000 follows this trend, but you can easily adjust the saturation through the settings.
The D3000 will produce very little noise in the low ISO settings, like most cameras. Noise won't be a glaring problem until we reach ISO 800, and to a bigger extend 1600 and 3200. Once you reach ISO 1600, there's noticeable blurring, and intenser chroma noise. If you're using ISO 1600, we'd recommend sticking with prints 11 X 14 or smaller. If going up to 3200, stick with prints 8 X 10, or smaller. Also, it's worth noting that even if you turn off noise reduction, the D3000 will still apply it if you use an ISO at 800 or above.
We do recommend buying the AF-S 18-55mm kit lens, especially if you're a beginner. Nikon added Vibration Reduction technology to better compete with other brands. The performance of the kit lens is pretty good, and is capable of good sharpness if you stop it down 1-2 stops. At full wide angle, details are generally okay, though we did notice some chromatic aberration in the corners. Full telephoto results are pretty good as well, and we noticed very few chromatic aberration. Image stabilization is built-in, so low-light shooting shouldn't be a major problem.
The camera also has a fast shooting rate, although it isn't the fastest. Power on to first shot is a solid .7 seconds. It focuses and shoots in 0.4 second in bright settings, 0.8 second in dim settings. Shot to shot takes 0.6 seconds, and the burst rate is 3 frames per second, which is good enough for shooting pets and kids. Buffer length is above average for a camera of this price. Buffer size measured at 16 frames for large JPEG, 6 for RAW and 6 for RAW + BASIC JPEG frames. While the startup time is a decent .7 seconds, the shut down time is a slow 2.4 seconds. We figure this is because of the sensor cleaning that has to be done.
- 10.2 megapixel DSLR
- 3.0 inch LCD screen
- Battery life of 500 shots
- 11 point autofocus system
- Sensitivity ranges from ISO 100-1600/expanded 3200.
- Step-by-step guide on editing photos
- Continuous shooting speed at 3 fps
- Dial with special guide mode on how to use the camera
- Retouch Menu that allow you to edit photos and create slideshows/videos
- Dust reduction system
- Made for beginners, comes with guide mode and simple interface display
- Great photo quality up to ISO 1600
- Advanced autofocus system
- Lightweight but does not feel cheap
- Anti dust system
- Large LCD screen
- Basic features
- No video recording
- Viewfinder may be small/hard to see through
- Higher levels of ISO may produce lots of noise
There you have it, the D3000: a playful, easy-to-understand camera. It may lack a video feature like some of its competitors, overall, it packs solid performance and image quality in a good price. The D3000 and the systems that Nikon has implemented in it allow beginner DSLR users to become familiar with how DSLRs operate. Because of its simplicity, it is a bit stripped down of the features you might see on other DSLRs.
If you're looking for a camera with lots of great features along with over-the-top quality, maybe this isn't your top choice. Nikon offers other cameras like the D5000, a slightly more expensive camera, which would be a better investment as it delivers better photo quality and takes pictures faster.
At its price below $600, the D3000 is a popular choice for those who want to make the transition from point-and-shoot to a basic DSLR.
Rating: 4.8 out of 5
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Prices last updated on: Thu, 26 Apr 2018 08:20:12 PDT