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Nikon D3000 Digital SLR - Nikon D3000 Digital SLR

By Cliff Smith



  • Recommended by TR
Nikon D3000 Digital SLR


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Entry-level digital SLRs are not exactly well known for their fast performance, but the D3000 inherits some of the high-speed power of its senior stablemates. In single shot mode it can sustain nearly two shots a second, with autofocus for every shot, while in continuous shooting mode it can manage a fairly respectable three frames a second. Unlike the EOS 1000D is can maintain the same shooting speed in Raw + JPEG mode, although the buffer does fill up after six shots, causing it to slow down a lot.

I've already mentioned the autofocus system, which unquestionably one of the best of any current entry-level camera. It is extremely fast and accurate, and works well in low light even when zoomed in. The AF assist lamp has a range of several meters, and the camera will focus reliably even in total darkness. The pop-up flash is also very good, with nice even frame coverage, a useful range of at least five metres and a recharge time of approximately five seconds.

Image quality is, on the whole, excellent. Exposure metering is pretty much flawless and is able to cope with a wide and varied range of exposure conditions. The 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 AF-S VR kit lens is much better than most plastic-mount standard zoom lenses, with excellent edge-to-edge sharpness, good contrast and very little wide-angle distortion. It's the same kit lens offered with the D60 and D5000.

One problem that has plagued the Sony 10.2MP CCD sensor in every camera in which it has appeared, is image noise at higher ISO settings. The Nikon Expeed processor appears to be able to wring a little extra out of the sensor data though, because the high-ISO image quality is greatly improved over the slightly disappointing D60. Pictures are usable up to 800 ISO, and even the 1600 ISO samples aren't a complete write-off.


The Nikon D3000 is pretty much the perfect entry-level DSLR. It offers robust build quality, excellent handling, superior performance and good image quality, while leaving out superfluous gimmicks like video and live view. The Guide mode will help newcomers discover the basics of SLR photography, while a good range of manual options, as well as the excellent metering and AF systems, will provide plenty of scope for more experienced users.


October 23, 2009, 7:49 pm

"Entry level" !!!!! This description sounds so smug and patronising. This and many other "entry level" cameras are highly sophisticated picture taking machines that can last a lifetime's photography! Just because they don't have the added array of complicated and confusing claptrap built in doesn't mean they are "entry level" If anything they are probably closer to the spirit of photography.


October 23, 2009, 11:20 pm

Terry, don't be so touchy! At least to me, "entry level" means an affordable price to allow the less well-heeled to enter the DSLR world where the real performance cameras reside. I entered clutching a Pentax K110D and when I could afford to be soled as well as heeled, I upgraded to a Nikon D300. Can't see much difference in the technical quality of the pics they both produce though which neatly supports your last paragraph.:)


October 24, 2009, 1:13 am

Terry, I agree that so-called "entry level" SLRs are excellent devices in their own right. However I disagree on the use of the phrase. For the purposes of clarity and comparison we need to have some kind of description for "the least expensive digital SLRs". This is the level, in terms of price point, at which the majority of consumers can "enter" any given digital SLR system.

For me the question is: how else would you describe this category? "Basic"? "Beginner level"? Such alternatives clearly sound disparaging, while I feel that negative connotations can be read into the phrase "entry level" but are not inherent. Meanwhile words like "affordable" are far too subjective. The only really fair description would be "Those dSLRs which are less expensive and with fewer controls and features than other dSLRs of the same brand, but nevertheless more than adequate for the majority of users". A little unwieldy, no?

I do understand your concern, but at the moment I cannot think of a suitable replacement for this phrase. I'm open to suggestions. Ultimately I suspect that whatever word or phrase you pick, people will read all sorts of connotations into it. Think of "amateur" versus "professional". There is no logical reason why someone should be offended by the suggestion that their equipment is designed for "amateurs", as "professional" simply indicates receiving payment for one's images, and is not necessarily an indicator of quality or talent. Yet still some take offence at being called "amateurs", while others will take disproportionate pride in the fact that they own "professional" equipment. It only becomes a real problem if you actually are a professional and ill-informed potential customers turn you down because your equipment is "amateur". Otherwise it's a purely psychological issue.

Sorry I have gone on quite a bit... I've been passing the time while backing up my own images, many of which were shot with an "entry level" dSLR. Others were taken with a so-called "advanced amateur" camera. They each have their advantages and disadvantages, and I would rather enjoy using either than worry about what someone else thinks.

Cliff Smith

October 25, 2009, 8:24 am

An interesting discussion, but until you esteemed gentlemen can come up with an alternative phrase that everyone understands to mean "relatively inexpensive, and designed to be easy to use for for first-time buyers", I'm going to stick with "entry level". The D3000 has a Guide mode specifically aimed at inexperienced photographers, not a feature you're likely to find on something like the D3X.

David 38

January 9, 2010, 11:36 pm

I have always been interested in Photography, im 50 now and my son bought me the Nikon D3000 camera for Xmas. I found it a lovely camera and ive read with interest all comments on it. BUT: the words entre level is quite right and its a learning device and does that perfectly as well as being an excellent camera for first time users of DSLR,s. Im actually going to buy the D90 now, and use my D3000 for travel which i do extensively with my job. If i could afford it, i'd buy the D700 or at least the D300s. Within a month ive learnt how to use a DSLR camera, now all i need is talent ha. But i feel confident only as a bit of fun or as a hobbie to attempt some higher levels of photgraphy, like birds flying off etc and capuring that perfectly, otherwise within a short month ive mastered the D3000 without any tuition and feel ready for a Mid range Amatuer DSLR like the D90. IM ALWAYS VERY HAPPY WITH CLIFF SMITHS REVIEWS WHICH ARE INFORMATIVE AND USUALLY SPOT ON, REMEMBERING ITS ALL AN OPINION ONLY.!!! Im a chef, some people love my cuisine, some dont, its all an opinion. www.davidcourtneyjones.co.uk

I love my D3000 and wouldnt part with it. But i would like to add to it a D90 if anyone knows of one going second hand kindly let me know. Thank you.


August 24, 2010, 12:55 am

The D3000 has recently dropped in price, probably in anticipation of the D3100. Compared with what is available, do you think the D3000 is now a bargain, considering that newer models now just add stuff like HD video & live-view which really doesn't affect the end quality of a what the camera was supposed to do?


August 4, 2011, 3:45 am

Hmm... the iso/noise levels seem a bit depressing to me looking at those photos. A timely reminder why I got rid of my D5000...(and why I still have my "old" 20D...).

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