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You are hereHome > Best Digital Cameras > Nikon D3000 Review

Nikon Digital Cameras


Nikon D3000 Review

Review Date: Aug 24, 2009

Category: Beginner Amateur - Family DSLR

Nikon D3000

Nikon D3000 with 18-55mm lens and 55-200mm lens

Photoxels Editor's Choice 2009 - Family DSLR
Photoxels Editor's Choice 2009 - Family DSLR


Thursday, Aug 13, 2009 - Here's what I receive in the box:

  • Nikon D3000 DSLR w/Body Cap BF-1A
  • No memory card [though I received a 2GB SanDisk SD Card for the review]
  • Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1
  • Viewfinder Rubber Eyecup DK-20
  • Eyepiece Cap DK-5
  • Shoulder Strap AN-DC3
  • Li-Ion Battery EN-EL9a 7.2V 1080 mAh 7.8Wh with terminal cover
  • MH-23 Quick Charger & power cable
  • USB Cable UC-E4 [Note: Video Cable EG-D100 is optional]
  • Instruction Manuals (English and French): Quick Start Guide, User's Manual
  • Software CDs: Nikon Software Suite, Reference Manual
  • Kit Lens: AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Lens [US | CAN] with front lens cover and rear cap [5 Year Nikon Canada Warranty]

The Nikon D3000 combines excellent image quality with ease of use in an entry-level DSLR. If you are not interested in having Live View or Movie, then the D3000 with its kit lens is hard to beat as an affordable upgrade from point-and-shoot photography.

Most users who are upgrading from a point-and-shoot digicam are interested in low light image quality. Well, image quality on the D3000 is excellent with details preserved up to ISO 400, with ISO 800 very usable.

The two features high on the beginner photographer's list are Live View and Movie, which are both "missing" on the D3000. I put "missing" between quotes because many of you do not care for either, and for good reason because these are currently not implemented too well on most DSLRs.

One feature that helps the D3000 produce consistently good photos is Active D-Lighting, which adjusts exposure before you take the picture, then processes it in-camera before recording it on the memory card. Active D-Lighting preserves details in highlights and shadows, and so is best applied when taking high contrast shots.

What is the difference between "Active" D-Lighting and just plain D-Lighting? Active D-Lighting evaluates the scene, adjusts the exposure and takes the picture; then it adjusts the highlights, shadows and midtones before saving the picture to memory card. D-Lighting is applied to an already saved image in the Retouch Menu. The point being that it is always better to apply D-Lighting before taking (and saving) the picture (i.e. Active D-Lighting) than try to fix blown highlights after the picture is taken and saved (i.e. D-Lighting).

One thing I've noticed with my evaluation kit lens is that landscape pictures focused at infinity (using autofocus) sometimes do not seem to be as sharp as I would have expected them to be. Depth of field also seem to be quite shallow.

Improvement suggestions:

  • The time it takes for a picture to appear on the LCD once you've taken it is far too long.
  • The kit lens ships with VR set to OFF (the reason is that VR must be OFF when mounting or removing the lens -- see page 17 of the Reference Manual). All the pictures I took on my first outing were taken without the benefit of VR. Then, after I did a session indoors on my tripod (and VR therefore set to OFF), I forgot to set VR back to ON -- another outing without the benefit of VR. There is no indication on the Super Panel or in the viewfinder that VR is OFF. It would be good to have an indicator on screen whether VR is ON or OFF.

The AF-S DX Zoom-Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens is optically image stabilized. Zooming and focusing is fast. If you intend to buy additional lenses for your D3000, just remember to check whether they have their own built-in focus motor (i.e., the AF-S and AF-I series lenses) so you can use auto focus.

Filter/Attachment Size is 52mm. For those of you who intend to attach a Polarizing filter, do note that the focusing design on the kit lens is such that any filter screwed in will rotate as you focus (manually or using autofocus). So you'll have to focus first, then rotate the Polarizing filter for the effect you desire.

The viewfinder is bright and clear, surprisingly so since it uses a pentamirror.

Nikon ViewNX 1.4.0
Nikon ViewNX 1.4.0

Use TransferNX to transfer your pictures from the D3000 to your PC. Use ViewNX to view your pictures. You can rotate, tag, add info and show the focus point(s). ViewNX 1.4.0 now allows you to edit your picture: you can apply an exposure compensation, adjust white balance, sharpness, contrast and brightest, apply D-Lighting, and boost color.

The User's Manual is large, well written and illustrated, though not complete. To get the complete info about the D3000's extensive features, you'll need to consult the Reference Manual on CD.

The Nikon D3000 has the right size and weight, the right features and price that will appeal to many P&S photographers thinking of upgrading to a DSLR. Its excellent performance and image quality makes it an attractive Family DSLR.

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