Previous page Next page

Nikon D3000 Review

December 2009 | By Barney Britton
Buy on Amazon.com From $299.00


Review based on a production Nikon D3000

There is a temptation amongst those of us that shoot with and test DSLRs for a living to be more than a little dismissive about entry-level cameras like the Nikon D3000. However, first-time DSLR buyers are enormously important to camera manufacturers, and the competition amongst them for a share of the entry-level market is intense. The D60, which is replaced by the D3000, was Nikon's best-selling DLSR, and it is the success of products like this that drives the development of everything from low-end Coolpix models to the recently announced professional level D3s. But the success of entry-level DSLRs isn't just good news for camera manufacturers - today's 'low end' offerings are highly specified, powerful tools, which - had they been released a few years ago - would have commanded much higher prices than they do today.

With the 6 million pixel D40, released in 2006, Nikon made a decision to create a completely different type of DSLR to its previous low-end offerings. The D40, and the D40x and D60 that followed it, was designed specifically to be user-friendly, as well as merely wallet-friendly. Gone were the 'traditional' top-plate mounted LCD screen and many of the external control points, in favor of a stripped-down, minimalist design and a largely screen-driven interface. The D3000 continues in this mold, but if anything, is even easier to get to grips with thanks to the introduction of a new 'guide' mode. The D3000 shares the same 10 million pixel CCD sensor as the D60, and almost exactly the same body and design, but this camera is more than a cosmetic revamp of the older model. Crucially, the D60's adequate but uninspiring 3-point AF system is gone, replaced by the same 11-point system as found in the D90. This venerable AF module (the Multi-cam 1000, if you were curious) has impressive provenance, and was originally developed for the professional-level Nikon D200. Some photographers may be disappointed, however, by the lack of live view and video modes in the D3000, which makes it the 'odd one out' compared to many of its entry-level peers.

So is a revamped AF system and new, even more user-friendly interface enough to make first-time DSLR buyers part with their cash? Or does the D3000 pale before live-view equipped competitors like the Canon EOS 1000D and Olympus E-450?

Nikon D3000 Key Features

  • 10.75 megapixel DX-format CCD sensor (effective pixels: 10.2 million)
  • 3" fixed LCD monitor (230,000 dots)
  • Image sensor cleaning (sensor shake and 'airflow')
  • 11 AF points (with 3D tracking)
  • IS0 100-1600 range (100-3200 expanded)
  • 3 frames per second continuous shooting (buffer: 6 raw, unlimited JPEG)
  • Expeed image processing engine
  • Extensive in-camera retouching including raw development and straightening
  • 72 thumbnail and calendar view in playback

Nikon D3000 vs D5000: Key Differences

The D3000 is pretty closely related to the D5000. There are important differences though, which are detailed here.

  • 10 MP CCD sensor (D5000: 12.3 MP CMOS)
  • Fixed LCD screen (D5000: Tilt/swivel screen)
  • No Live View (D5000: Live View with contrast detect AF)
  • No movie mode (D5000: Movie Mode with contrast detect AF)
  • More limited ISO range (100-3200 as opposed to 200-6400)
  • No control of Active D-Lighting intensity (D5000: choice of 'low, normal, high')
  • No automatic lateral chromatic aberration correction (available in D5000)
  • No choice of JPEG quality in RAW+JPEG shooting (JPEG basic available only)
  • Slower continuous shooting (3fps compared to 4fps from the D5000)
  • No exposure bracketing (available in D5000)

Compared to the Nikon D5000 and D60: major feature and specification differences

As you can see from the table below the D3000 shares a lot of functionality with the D5000, including a versatile 11-point AF system. In some respects though, especially in terms of resolution and frame rate/buffer, it is closer to the now-discontinued D60.

 

Nikon D3000

Nikon D5000

Nikon D60
Sensor • 10.2 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD (DX format)
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS (DX format)
• 10.2 million effective pixels
• 23.6 x 15.8 mm CCD (DX format)
Image sizes • 3872 x 2592 (10MP)
• 2896 x 1944
• 1936 x 1296
• 4,288 x 2,848 (12 MP)
• 3,216 x 2,136
• 2,144 x 1,424
• 3872 x 2592 (10.0 MP)
• 2896 x 1944
• 1936 x 1296
Sensor cleaning • Image Sensor Cleaning
• Airflow control system
• Image Dust Off reference data (optional Capture NX 2 software required)
• Image Sensor Cleaning
• Airflow control system
• Image Dust Off reference data (optional Capture NX 2 software required)

• Image Sensor Cleaning
• Airflow control system
• Image Dust Off reference data (optional Capture NX 2 software required)

Autofocus • 11 area TTL
• Nikon Multi-CAM1000
• 11 area TTL
• Nikon Multi-CAM1000
• 3 area TTL
• Nikon Multi-CAM530
In-body focus motor • No • No • No
AF area modes • Single point
• Dynamic area
• Auto area
• 3D Tracking (11-points)
• Single point
• Dynamic area
• Auto area
• 3D Tracking (11-points)
• Single point
• Dynamic area
• Auto area (closest subject priority)
Live view AF modes N/A • Face priority
• Wide area
• Normal area
• Subject tracking
N/A
Sensitivity • ISO 100 - 1600
• ISO 100-3200 with boost
• ISO 200 - 3200
• ISO 100-6400 with boost

• ISO 100 - 1600
• Up to ISO 3200 with boost

Continuous • 3 fps
• 100 / 7 frames (Fine JPEG / raw)
• 4 fps
• 63 / 11 frames (Fine JPEG / raw)
• 3 fps
• 100 / 9 frames (Fine JPEG / raw)
Viewfinder type • Pentamirror • Pentamirror • Pentamirror
Viewfinder magnification • 0.78x • 0.78x • 0.8x
Viewfinder Frame coverage • Approx. 95% • Approx. 95% • Approx. 95%
LCD monitor • 3" TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixel TFT
• 2.7" TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixel TFT
• Articulated
• 2.5" TFT LCD
• 230,000 pixel TFT
Dimensions 126 x 97 x 64 mm (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in) 127 x 104 x 80 mm (5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in) 126 x 94 x 64 mm (5.0 x 3.7 x 2.5 in)
Weight • No battery: 485 g (1.1 lb)
• With battery: 536g (1.2 lb)
• No battery: 560 g (1.2 lb)
• With battery: 611g (1.3 lb)
• No battery: 471 g (1.0 lb)
• With battery: 522g (1.2 lb)
Image processing engine • Expeed
• 12 bit
• Expeed
• 12 bit
• Expeed
• 12 bit
Active D-lighting On/Off Can be selected from Auto, Extra high, High, Normal, Low, or Off On/Off
Automatic chromatic aberration correction No Yes No
In-camera retouching • D-Lighting
• Red-eye reduction
• Trimming
Monochrome & filter effects
• Color balance
• Small picture
• Image overlay
• NEF (RAW) processing
• Quick retouch
• Color outline
• Miniature effect
• Stop-motion movie
• D-Lighting
• Red-eye reduction
• Trimming
Monochrome & filter effects
• Color balance
• Small picture
• Image overlay
• NEF (RAW) processing
• Quick retouch
• Straighten
• Distortion control
• Fisheye
• Color outline
• Perspective control

• D-Lighting
• Red-eye reduction
• Trimming
Monochrome & filter effects
• Color balance
• Small picture
• Image overlay
• NEF (RAW) processing
• Quick retouch
• Straighten
• Distortion control
• Fisheye
• Stop-motion movie

Movie mode No Yes No
Live View No Yes No
Bracketing No Yes No

Foreword / notes

If you're new to digital photography you may wish to read some of our Digital Photography Glossary before diving into this article (it may help you understand some of the terms used).

Conclusion / recommendation / ratings are based on the opinion of the author, we recommend that you read the entire review before making any decision. Images which can be viewed at a larger size have a small magnifying glass icon in the bottom right corner of them, click to display a larger image in a new window.

To navigate this article simply use the next / previous page buttons or jump to a specific page by using the drop-down list in the navigation bar at the top of the page. You can support this site by ordering through the affiliate links shown at the bottom of each page (where available).

This article is protected by Copyright and may not be reproduced in part or as a whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the author.

Dpreview use calibrated monitors at the PC normal gamma 2.2, this means that on our monitors we can make out the difference between all of the grayscale blocks below. We recommend to make the most of this review you should be able to see the difference (at least) between X,Y and Z and ideally also A, B and C.

Previous page Next page
91
I own it
0
I want it
62
I had it
Discuss in the forums

Comments