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Viewfinder

The viewfinder of the D3000 is of the pentamirror type, and offers 0.8x magnification and 95% coverage in each dimension. Grid lines can be superimposed on the focusing screen for ease of composition when shooting linear subjects.

11 area AF

The focusing system of the D3000 is impressively advanced considering the camera's entry-level billing. With 11 AF points in total, it is possible to use the D3000 in one of four modes - single-area AF, dynamic area AF, auto-area AF and 3D AF tracking. This last mode is borrowed from Nikon's professional DSLRs and when activated, the D3000 uses subject color and distance information to track a subject across the AF array.

Viewfinder view

1 Focus achieved 9 Exposure compensation indicator
2 Exposure lock indicator 10 ISO / Auto ISO indicator
3 Program shifted 11 Card space/Buffer indicator/Exp Comp value/
4 Shutter speed 12 Flash comp value/Mode indicator/ISO setting
5 Aperture (f number) 13 Over 1000 shots remain
6 Exposure scale / focus rangefinder 14 Flash-ready indicator
7 Battery indicator 15 Warning indicator
8 Flash compensation indicator    

Viewfinder size

Typically, entry-level DSLRs are equipped with fairly small, cramped viewfinders compared to their more advanced cousins. This is partly a result of their use of penta mirror's rather than pentaprisms, which tend to produce a dimmer, and - because of size constraints - a smaller viewfinder image. The D3000 offers essentially the same viewfinder experience as the D5000, which in turn has a viewfinder typical of most cameras of this class.

Because of the way viewfinders are measured (using a fixed lens, rather than a lens of equivalent magnification), you also need to take the sensor size into account, so the numbers in the diagram below are the manufacturer's specified magnifications divided by the respective 'crop factors'. As you can see, the result is that the D3000 has a viewfinder a fraction smaller than the Canon EOS 500D but larger than the current entry-level Four-Thirds offering, the E-450.

The diagram below shows the relative size of the viewfinders of the Nikon D5000, the Canon EOS 500D, Olympus E-450 and - for reference - the EOS-1Ds Mark III (currently the biggest viewfinder on the DSLR market, fractionally larger than the Sony Alpha 900).

The Nikon D3000's viewfinder is slightly smaller than the Canon EOS 500D's (though the difference is virtually impossible to see). Both are slightly larger than the E-450's viewfinder, thanks in part to the wider aspect ratio they use.

Viewfinder crop

The Nikon D3000 shows approximately 95% of the scene to be captured. So-called '100%' viewfinders are expensive to produce, and Nikon reserves them for the higher-level D300, D3s and D3x. The 5% 'margin of error' is of little consequence in normal use, but can make framing critical subjects difficult.

Nikon D3000: 95% viewfinder.

Battery, Compartment and Charger

The D3000 uses the same EN-EL9a battery as the D5000, itself a revised version of the battery from the D40 and D60. It's backwards compatible and can be used in the older cameras and with the same charger. The new EN-EL9a has a capacity of 7.2 volts and when used in the D3000, the battery should last for roughly 550 shots, assuming 50% flash use.

Secure Digital Compartment

Just like the D5000 and D90, the card compartment of the D3000 is located on the outside of the grip, and operates on a sprung hinge. The bay accommodates a single SD (or SDHC) card, which is installed and removed by pushing it down into place.

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