D3000 is Nikon beginner / entry level camera. It replaces Nikon D60.
There are three major upgrade of D3000 from D60. There are 11 Auto
focus system with dynamic tracking and 3D tracking. This AF system is
the same as Nikon mid-range/enthusiast camera, D90. Also, the LCD
screen has been enlarged to 3 inches from 2.5 inches. However, the
screen resolution remains the same at 230,000 dots. Also new is the
Guide mode, this new mode is working as your tutor on basic
photography. It helps you set up your camera, in the same time, it
tells you about basic photography setting and concepts. Other than
that, everything looks the same, buttons, placement, viewfinder and
It is an average size for beginner
DSLR camera. But if you are coming from compact camera, you might a bit
surprise of the size. On the other hand, if you are coming from
advanced DSLR cameras, then you will feel this camera is compact and
Nikon D3000 has a thumb dial, which you will use most of
the time to change shutter speed and aperture. There are mode dial on
the top of the camera. Several basic buttons such as playback, delete,
menu, magnifiy/zoom, and exposure compensation. There is also a
function (Fn) button on the left side, near the flash that you can
customize according to your need.
Coming from more advance Nikon
camera like Nikon D90, what missing are the ISO button, Image Quality
button, Release mode button, AF mode button and White Balance button.
If you want to change above settings, you need to go to shooting menu
(green camera icon). I recommend you to customize the Fn button so you
can change you favorite button faster. I change my D3000 Fn button to
Build quality and Ergonomic
Nikon D3000 body is
built by rugged plastic. There is texture in the grip area to ensure
comfortable grip. The built quality of outer shell is the same or
almost the same as Nikon D90. The difference is there are more textured
finish in Nikon D90 body. Ergonomically, it is good to hold, but the
space between lens mount and the grip is pretty tight. If you mount
bigger lens or if you have big hands, then you might not feel it
comfortable. Compare to Nikon D60, I noticed that the pistol grip is
more curvy instead of pointy. This is a small improvement that you
D3000 has 3 inches LCD screen
with 230k resolution. This is considered basic, but the screen is
clear, sharp. If you like to check on the details or pixel levels, it
is best to check the images on your computer. In the bright light
condition, this screen is relatively good. There is minimal
Nikon D3000 has 95% coverage and 0.8x
magnification viewfinder. It is considered small for DSLR size, but for
people who moves from superzooms or advanced compact, this viewfinder
are big and a lot clearer. Manual focusing is more challenging than the
other Nikon's more advanced DSLRs.
Like Nikon D5000, Nikon D3000
does not have top LCD screen like D90 or more advanced camera. Unlike
many of competitors entry level DSLR cameras, Nikon D3000 does not have
any live view feature.
Lens and Compatibility
comes with Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. This lens has a plastic
mount, but the image quality and the light is recommendable. It never
get super sharp like pro grade lens, but pro grade lens might costs
more than ten times, so 18-55mm VR is one of the best value lens out in
The lens has image stabilization feature which is
called Vibration Reduction (VR). It works well and quietly up to 3
stops. If you hold the camera tight and still, you can shoot up to a
quarter second without motion blur.
Unfortunately, D3000 does
not have built in focus motor in the camera, therefore, it can't auto
focus older lenses such as the venerable Nikon 50mm f/1.8 or the
legendary Nikon 85mm f/1.4D. Lenses that compatible with this camera
are lenses that has built in motor (usually has AF-S code on it) and
for third party lenses, look for HSM (Sigma lens).
Image Quality and ISO
D3000 employs 10 megapixel image sensor. This sensor is a bit inferior
than sensors in the D90 and D300. But still this is more adequate for
Image quality is excellent up to ISO 800. At 1600,
a lot of noises start to creep in especially in shadow area. At 3200
(or Hi setting), the image is unacceptable only for very small print of
If you turn on Noise Reduction or NR (unfortunately no
low-medium-strong option), the camera with smooth out the noises, but
the image become softer and lose some details. If you concern about the
lost of details, I suggest you to shoot with NR off, and then take care
the images with image editing software to treat the noise.
other Nikon DSLR cameras, D3000 also has Auto ISO limiter. You can
effectively limit the ISO and minimum shutter speed. The Auto ISO works
very well and accurate most of the time. My favorite way to use this is
to set the camera to Auto ISO, and then use Aperture mode and let the
camera adjust the rest for me.
D3000 does not have 1/3 stops ISO
increments, so you only can set ISO to the regular base level or 100,
200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200 (HI). But to be fair, most of the entry
level DSLR cameras does not have that too.
Auto Focus and Continuous burst
new 11 AF points are miles better than old 3 points AF system. It helps
a lot in composition and fortunately, it also comes with dynamic
tracking and 3D tracking which is great for moving objects and sports.
The auto focus is very fast and responsive. However, D3000 has only 3
frame per second, so you might miss some shots when shooting sports or
fast moving objects.
Nikon's Guide mode is a tutor
for absolute beginner. It does a good job on helping you to set up the
camera and also help you to get the best setting for particular kind of
photography. For example, when you choose sports mode, it suggest you
to set high shutter speed to eliminate motion blur.
is basically a super duper friendly menu that consists of three major
options: Shooting, playback and camera setup. Shooting menu (the most
important of all), divided into two, easy operation and advanced
Easy operation consists of Auto, no flash, distant
subjects, sleeping faces (children), moving subjects, landscapes,
portrait, and night portrait.
Advanced operation consists of
soften background, freeze motion (people) and freeze motion (vehicle).
Unlike the usual mode, Guide mode explains to you what kind of setting
is important for particular kind of photography, so you can gain
insight and knowledge of basic photography concept.
However, keep in mind that although his guide menu is very helpful, but it does not replace basic photography course or seminar.
offers some basic camera processing such as quick retouch (camera
automatically enhance or optimize the image). Miniature effect which is
fun to play with. Basically you will need to choose a point in the
image, and then the rest of the image will be blurred, giving a depth
of field illusion.
Other basic retouches are also available such
as crop/trim, filter effects, color balance, BW, sepia, etc. The
downside is the processing time of one image could take up to 10
I applaud Nikon for D3000 because the
design is very user friendly through Guide Mode. With the help of this
mode, beginners will able to learn basic photography faster. Various
photo retouches ignite creativity and fun. I also love the the
installment of 11 AF system which is usually reserved for higher end
cameras. D3000's competitors does not have this sophisticated AF system.
the other hand, Nikon D3000 have two main weaknesses, first it does not
have built-in AF motor for older but great lenses. D3000 also does not
have live view mode which actually can help tremendously in focusing
those old lenses.
If you have Nikon D60 you might want to look
for more advanced camera such as Nikon D90 or D300. However, if you
have Nikon D40 or compact cameras, this camera is a very good upgrade
In short, Nikon D3000 is a solid camera for beginner
that is simple, fun, and has great image quality. It is definitely
worth your money.
Subjective Rating - Relative to entry level DSLR cameras
Image Quality : 4/5
Features : 4/5
Performance : 5/5
Body and Handling : 4/5
Value for Money : 4/5
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