Nikon D3000 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- Excellent detail and resolution at low ISO settings (especially in raw mode)
- Very capable AF system, including 3D AF tracking, on a par with much more expensive DSLRs
- Versatile and fun retouch options including in-camera raw processing
- Effectively unlimited shooting in JPEG mode (with ADL turned off)
- User-friendly ergonomics, without sacrificing control
- Good build quality for the price - no creaks
- Active D-Lighting helps recover the maximum tonal detail from tricky scenes
- Reliable exposures, with and without flash (albeit a little bright)
- Excellent exposure compensation range of -+5EV
- Good battery life for its class
- Refreshingly conservative approach to high ISO noise reduction (at default settings)
- View NX software hugely improved over Picture Project (Not as good as Capture NX2 though)
- Built-in AF assist lamp
- Competitive pricing
Conclusion - Cons
- Unreliable white balance under artificial lighting
- Slight tendency to overexpose in contrasty conditions
- No Live View
- Screen resolution slightly too low for checking accurate focus
- Very little control over high ISO noise reduction
- No front control dial
- No depth-of-field preview button
- No exposure bracketing
- No in-body stabilization (although VR is included in many of Nikon's current entry-level lenses)
- Luminance noise becomes a problem above ISO 800
- Slightly soft JPEG output at default settings (but this is far from unusual)
- Screen-centric interface won't appeal to everyone
- No AF support for non AF-S (or third-party equivalent) lenses
- No GPS (via Nikon's GP-1 accessory) support
The Nikon D40 was a groundbreaking camera, not only for Nikon, but for the entire entry-level sector of the DSLR market. What made the D40 so different to what had gone before was its untraditional interface, which was intended to explain, rather than simply display, key shooting parameters. The D3000 takes this pedagogical approach to the next level with its new 'guide' mode, but in essence, the basics are unchanged. In recent years, Nikon has followed a 'trickle-down' policy in its DSLR line, gradually introducing features from its top-end models into the lower-level offerings. Ergonomically, the D3000 is clearly a close relation of the D40 and D60, but in some respects - especially when we start digging around inside its setup and shooting menus - it is much closer to the D5000 and D90.
There is no doubt that the D3000 is an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary update, but the few features that have been added to the D3000 compared to the D60 are of real value, and the 11-point AF system alone makes the D3000 a bargain at its current asking price. It's a shame that the bundled 18-55mm kit lens doesn't show off the AF capabilities of the camera to a better extent, but the same is true of most kit lenses. A greater frustration - at least to anyone with a collection of older Nikon lenses - is that AF is unavailable with non AF-S optics. Fortunately, the D3000 does offer an effective (and very accurate) manual focusing rangefinder indicator in the viewfinder, but it's of little help when you're faced with a moving subject.
As far as image quality is concerned, the D3000 is a thoroughly satisfying camera, without being exceptional. The white balance system doesn't cope all that well with artificial lighting, but the same is true of the D5000 and D90 as well, and it isn’t significantly worse than anything else in the entry-level sector. Like a lot of recent Nikon DSLRs the D3000 has a tendency to deliver rather bright mid tones, which can threaten highlight detail, especially in JPEGs, but on the plus side, images are nice and bright and look great when printed straight from the camera. Something that is noticeable, compared to the D5000 and D90, is a greater amount of coloured fringing around high-contrast edges in images shot with the D3000's bundled 18-55mm zoom. The higher-end cameras feature in-camera chromatic abberation reduction in JPEGs, but the D3000 does not.
High ISO performance is nothing to shout about, but with noise reduction turned 'off' (note: some noise reduction is still applied at this setting), images shot at ISO 3200 have a grittiness that really suits certain subjects, especially when shot in (or converted to) black and white. Within the most often used ISO range of 100-800 though, the D3000 gives excellent image quality, and as you can see from the studio tests we've published here, despite its relatively low pixel count, the D3000's CCD sensor is capable of impressive resolution.
In general use, the D3000 is a very agreeable companion. There are a few frustrations, naturally - the smallish viewfinder and lack of depth of field preview and exposure bracketing spring to mind - but these are not necessarily things that would concern a novice DSLR user. And this, of course, is the audience to which the D3000 is designed to appeal.
Photographers with long experience of other Nikon DSLRs may not enjoy the D3000's dissimilar handling experience all that much, but to a novice DSLR user coming straight from a compact camera or a camera phone, the D3000 offers an excellent combination of advanced features and ease of use. My only serious complaint about the D3000's handling is that although its screen is bright and contrasty, its resolution is a little too low to accurately confirm critical focus when the subject is relatively small in the frame.
The final word
The D3000 is an excellent camera, and great value at its current street price. What the D3000 conspicuously lacks however, compared to competitive cameras like the Canon EOS 1000D and the recently announced Pentax K-X, is a Live View mode. Nikon is gambling on the assumption that first-time DSLR buyers don't really need Live View, and the success of the D40/D40x and D60 (none of which offered Live View either) could be taken as supporting evidence. However, moving into 2010, Live View is fast becoming a standard feature. It is certainly true that many DSLR owners whose cameras have a Live View function rarely use it, but that doesn't mean that a camera without Live View is just as attractive as one with - especially to someone buying their first DSLR.
In fact, those that are new to a particular hobby are often more likely to fixate on features than those with enough experience to gauge what they actually need. Whether this will seriously impact upon the success of the D3000 or not I don't know, but even without Live View, the D3000 still offers one of the best all-round feature sets of any entry-level DSLR, and is definitely worthy of consideration.
Category: Entry Level Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The D3000 may not have all the latest bells and whistles feature-wise, but what it does it does extremely well. If you can live without live view and movie modes it's the perfect beginner's camera.
Original Rating (Dec 2009): Highly Recommended
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean
Dec 11, 2009
Jul 30, 2009
Dec 5, 2012
Dec 7, 2012
|Steamin' Mad by ahrensjt|
from Angered Subjects (Street Photography)
|Smile by Olymguy|
from Ultra Asian Indian Female Faces
|Space Shuttle Cockpit- by vbuhay|
from Aircraft Control Stick
The Polish town of Katowice is not known as an area of beauty, but as all photographers know, that doesn't mean that beauty can't be found if you know where to look. Mariusz Pietranek used a drone to look down on the colorful sedimentation tanks at an ironworks.
New York Times video journalist Ben Solomon spent a harrowing three weeks accompanying Iraqi Major Sajjad al-Hour as he and his men fought to retake Mosul from I.S. forces.
The 3D VR camera launched through a crowdfunding campaign in 2015 goes on sale beginning June 26.
Noctilucent clouds, a crescent moon and Venus were visible in the pre-dawn sky over Budapest yesterday. Photographer György Soponyai captured NASA's astronomy picture of the day.
Squirming pets won't sit still for photos? A Kickstarter campaign is looking to help.
Find out how Chris Burkard shifted from editorial photography to his true passions: landscapes, conservation and, of course, surfing.
The updated EyeEm app scans your camera roll and picks images that are composed particularly well, have the best quality, or highest chance of selling on EyeEm Market.
It's three years old but still a solid option for a Micro Four Thirds shooter looking for a high-quality, fast, wide-angle prime. Take a look at how we got along with it.
Tamron has announced the longest all-in-one zoom lens currently available, the 18-400mm F3.5-6.3 Di II VC HLD. Designed for Canon and Nikon crop-sensor cameras, the lens will be available in July.
When you're ready to step-up to full-frame from an entry-level or midrange camera, the choices can be overwhelming. Find out which models came out on top in our $1200-2000 enthusiast ILC roundup.
Just a guy wearing a VR headset, smashing invisible Goombas in Central Park.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this gorgeous aerial photo of the Martian landscape. And if you look really close, you can actually see the Mars Curiosity rover in the very middle.
The city of Laguna Beach, California has provided some clarification around the kinds of photography permits it offers.
Later this year, a VR180 camera will be Joining Yi's Halo and 360 VR cameras, which will offer stereo 3D capture, yet be as easy to use and compact as a 2D camera.
Caltech researchers have developed an 'optical phased array' chip that uses time delays instead of a lens to focus the incoming light.
Pricing and shipping have finally been revealed for two highly anticipated lenses from Sigma, announced in February.
These macro photos of clouds of paint billowing through clear water might look like high-quality CGI, but they're real photographs. And photographer Alberto Seveso told us how they were made.
Facebook is testing a feature that prevents people from saving, sharing, or even taking a screenshot of your profile picture.
We've reshot the Sony a9 in our studio. The short story: it's sharper! The long story... well you can read it all here.
The collection will be officially launched during the Europeana Transcribathon Campus Berlin 2017 crowdsourcing event which will be held on 22 and 23 June at the Berlin State Library.
Light gives us some insight into the preparations for the launch of the pre-order shipments of its much anticipated L16 multi-lens camera.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed in a tweet that the second lens on the back of the OnePlus 5 uses a 1.6x optical zoom and that digital zoom is used to reach the claimed 2x zoom factor.
Fujifilm recently unveiled the second in its series of affordable cine lenses, the MK50-135mm T2.9. We got our hands on it for a couple days and took it for a spin.
Leica's first attempt at an M-series digital rangefinder was rough around the edges, but set a pattern for all of the cameras that came after it. In this week's Throwback Thursday article, Barney remembers the M8.
No stranger to extreme situations, legendary climber and filmmaker Jimmy Chin talks to Outside Magazine about his career, and the challenge of filming Alex Honnold's rope-free solo climb of El Capitain.
A company backed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin is attempting to make video conferencing less terrible.
Rangefinder magazine asked five professional portrait and wedding photographers about posting on Instagram; no surprise, they got five different answers.
This captivating stop motion film was created by stripping away one layer of wood at a time. It's hard to look away.
It will enable users to simulate the presence of the sun, moon and Milky Way and see how they interact with an area's topography.
Since its introduction in November last year Instagram's live streaming feature has been used by millions, but videos could not be archived for watching at a later stage. A new update has now added the capability.