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Rear of camera controls

The D3000 has comparatively few direct-access control points, and they are almost all on the rear of the camera. The control dial at top right is the main interface for altering key shooting parameters like aperture and shutter speed, as well as doubling up with the four-way rocker switch beneath it as a means of scrolling through images in review mode. This 4-way switch allows menu and settings navigation, with the 'OK' button at its center acting in much the same way as the return key on a computer keyboard - confirming a selection once it is made. An AE-L/AF-L button sits just where your thumb will rest during shooting, and allows the exposure and/or focusing to be locked if required.

The two buttons at the bottom left of the camera, left of the LCD screen serve dual purposes. As well as zooming in and out of images in playback, they initiate the help screen and info screen respectively. The info screen, shown below, is the main interface by which key shooting settings other than aperture/shutter values are adjusted.

On-screen settings adjustment (Info screen)

The info screen is the easiest way to get to, and change, key shooting parameters. Settings are navigated using the 4-way rocker switch to the right of the LCD, and set with the 'ok' button.

Pressing the 'i' button brings up the Info screen, which is the main interface for adjusting key shooting parameters Once an option is selected, the sub-options are cycled using the up/down buttons on the 4-way switch on the camera's rear

Guide Mode

New in the D3000 is a 'Guide' mode designed to simplify the operation of the camera for the benefit of those new to DSLRs, without taking all of the control away from them. When the camera is used in 'Easy Operation' mode, the photographer chooses settings based on the requirements of the situation as they understand it - such as 'distant subjects', or 'sleeping faces'. At this point they are directed towards one of a the D3000's generic 'vari-program' exposure presets. The 'Advanced' setting basically just nudges the photographer towards either aperture or shutter priority mode, although both are skinned with a simplified interface.

Easy Operation Advanced Operation

Single press buttons (Shooting mode)

Button  Description
Playback mode

Enters or exits from Playback mode, pressing this button displays the last image taken (or the last image on the card) in the last used display mode.
MENU Camera menu

Display or cancel the camera menu

Help

Press and hold this button in Auto or one of the Vari-Program modes to display a page of help, this also works in the cameras menu system. In certain circumstances (such as low light) this button will provide special context sensitive help such as 'Lighting is poor; flash recommended'.

Setting

Press this button to activate the information display and edit any displayed setting, such as image quality, white balance, ISO sensitivity etc.
4-way controller

In shooting mode where AF point selection is enabled, the 4-way controller is used to choose AF points. In playback mode this control reverts to image navigation / menu movement.
OK OK

Jumps to the central AF point. Also used to confirm selections from within the interactive control panel.

Single press buttons (Playback mode)

Button Description
MENU Camera menu

Display or cancel the camera menu (detailed later in this review).

Zoom out / Thumbnail view

If a single image is displayed on the screen pressing this button switches to 2x2 and then 3x3 thumbnail views. In zoom view mode pressing this button steps out of magnification.

Zoom in

If a single image is displayed on the screen pressing this button enters zoom view mode and steps into the first level of magnification, there are 8 levels up to 19x (although it's clear looking at the screen that there's no more detail beyond about 8x). In thumbnail view mode pressing this button steps back towards a single image view.

Delete

When an image is displayed pressing delete will display a "Delete?" prompt, press this button once more to delete the image.
4-way controller

Press left or right to browse through images, up or down to change display mode. There are up to seven different playback screens available, which can be engaged from the custom settings menu.
OK Retouching menu

Pressing the OK button in Playback mode cancels any zoom in or out that may have been applied and brings up the retouch menu.

Overall handling and operation comments

There is no such thing as 'perfect' handling, just as there is no such thing as 'perfect' image quality. With the D3000, Nikon has opted against drastic ergonomic changes compared to earlier entry-level models, and the overall experience of shooting with the D3000 is almost exactly the same as the D60, D40x or D40. Whether or not this is a good thing depends on how you prefer to use your camera. If you like lots of control points, the D3000 probably isn't for you, but the benefit of the D3000's more streamlined design compared to the D90, for example, is that if you're coming from a relatively limited knowledge base, it is much easier to pick up and 'just shoot'.

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