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Home arrow Digital Camera Reviews arrow Nikon > arrow Nikon D3000 DSLR Digital Camera Review
Nikon D3000 DSLR Digital Camera Review
nikon091029.jpgDigital Camera Review by: Katrina Putker 

In reviewing the D3000 it becomes immediately clear that Nikon have specifically designed this camera for the consumer looking to upgrade from the digital compact market into the DSLR realm and advance their photography skills and knowledge along the way.

Keeping that in mind, it is fair to say the D3000 is a successful little unit across the board.

It remains compact and lightweight enough for new DSLR users to easily handle, its image quality is very good thanks in part to the 10.2 megapixel DX CCD sensor, and its unique internal guide mode figuratively takes the new DSLR user by the hand and walks them through a more advanced style of photography than they are likely to be used to.

The generous 3-inch LCD screen is fully utilised to clearly present a comprehensive display of settings and functions that are, for the most part, quickly recognisable.

A circular diagram is used on the information screen to visually explain the concept of aperture and indicate the current shutter speed, which proves to be a very handy feature to help DSLR beginners learn two of the key concepts in manual-based photography.

The built-in guide mode is immediately accessible via the mode dial and acts as an in-house photography tutour by, once given the lead by the photographer, automatically adjusting settings to allow for optimum results and then explaining why it has done so.

For example, if the photographer selects ‘no flash mode’ the D3000 explains, “The camera is now in “Auto (flash off)” mode. Use to capture natural light or where flash photography is permitted.”

If you know you want to shoot a subject and have only the foreground in focus but are unsure of how to do so, access guide mode and select the option to ‘soften backgrounds’ and the D3000 will automatically switch into aperture-priority auto mode and suggest you, “Use a lens with a focal length of at least 80mm,” and, “Choose lower f-numbers to blur the background.”

Mini tutorials are also available to help best photograph sleeping faces, distant and close-up subjects, moving subjects, landscapes, portraits, night portraits, and to help freeze the action of fast moving people and vehicles.

The idea behind the in-built instructions being that the more users access and utilise these lessons over time, the better they will be at operating the D3000 to its fullest ability and the greater knowledge they will gain of the art of photography in general.

In this way, the D3000 is extremely user-friendly but not necessarily in the traditional sense.

Not only is it easy to use at the point-and-shoot level to begin with but it offers numerous advanced features and manual settings specific to DSLRs and encourages users to get to know them, learn how to use them and as a result, get the most from the investment they put into the D3000.

By becoming increasingly familiar with the guide mode and as a result all of the available settings on the D3000, users will unquestionably reap the rewards of doing so both with beautiful images and an increased photography knowledge that they can take with them when or if they choose to advance further up the DSLR line.

As well as the guide function, the 13-option mode dial includes full manual control, aperture and shutter speed priorities, program, auto, and no flash modes as well as popular presets for portrait, landscape, child, sports, macro and night shooting.

The pop-up flash on the D3000 often automatically fires even under bright, sunny conditions in order to act as a fill light to help avoid dark shadow areas on your subject and a host of in-camera retouch options will ensure things such as red-eye and under or overexposure can be partially, if not fully, repaired in camera.

Nikon’s active D-lighting technology is available to help brighten an underexposed subject or add contrast to an overexposed subject in an image and can be switched on to operate automatically and as required during shooting or instead, can be applied to images already shot via the retouch menu.

Occasionally when shooting indoors, the pop-up flash will underexpose slightly in which case the exposure compensation settings can be utilised to produce an extra third or two or a full stop/s of exposure offering that extra little bit of power.

Like its predecessors the D90 and D5000, the D3000 has a fast and accurate 11-point autofocus system, which helps produce pin sharp images and is quite the jump from the 3-point AF system in the D60.

Unlike the D90 and the D5000 however, the D3000 doesn’t offer either live view mode or any video recording capabilities so for those that grew attached to the movie mode on their compact camera, perhaps one of the former Nikon models would suit best.

The D3000 body itself is quite a lightweight for a unit of its ability, weighing in at just 485g without a lens attached.

Its meaty handgrip helps ensure stability in hand although the ergonomics, or lack thereof, of aperture control is somewhat disappointing.

A single control dial is used to select shutter speed (by default) and to access aperture selection you must depress the exposure compensation button and then use this same dial to now control the f number.

Because the D3000 is such a compact unit however, the location of the exposure compensation button behind and to the right hand side of the shutter requires the controlling forefinger to curl up fairly tightly in towards the palm during use and into what is somewhat of an uncomfortable position.

Of course, this may change from user to user and become less of a discomfort with ongoing use but it is something to be considered regardless.medal-gold-r.jpg

As with purchasing any camera, DSLR or compact, you should always get your hands on one to physically trial before you buy.

The Nikon D3000 is a well-built, highly portable DSLR perfect for those considering making the jump from their digital compact camera and at just $999 RRP is one of the more affordable DSLRs on the market.

It offers the complete gamut of usability from point-and-shoot simplification right through to more advanced manual control and image design expected of a DSLR and produces a standard of image that far outperforms anything a digital compact could produce.


Appearance rating 4 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
4 stars
Lens quality
4 stars (reviewed with 18-55mm kit lens)
View finder / LCD screen 4.5 stars
Value for money 4 stars
RRP (AUD) $1,499
Effective Pixels 10.2 Million mega pixels
Image Sensor
Nikon DX format (23.6 x 15.8mm) RGB CCD sensor
Image Sizes 3 Sizes
Resolution Settings 3,872 x 2,592 [L], 2,896 x 1,944 [M], 1,936 x 1,296 [S]
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Priority Yes
Shutter Priority Yes
Shutter Speeds Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter, 30 to 1/4000sec in steps of 1/3 EV plus bulb, Time (Optional Wireless Remote Control ML-L3 required
Exposure Metering System
1) Scene-recognition system compatible 3D color matrix metering Ⅱ (type G and D lenses), color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses), 2) Center-weighted (weight given to 8-mm circle in center of frame), 3) Spot metering (meters 3.5-mm circle centered on selected focus point)
Exposure Modes Auto modes (auto, auto [flash off]), scene modes (Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close up, Night portrait), programmed auto with flexible program (P), shutter-priority auto (S), aperture-priority auto (A), manual (M)
ISO ISO 100 to 1600 in steps of 1 EV, plus HI-1
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 3.0", 230,000-dot, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD
Viewfinder Yes
Hot Shoe Yes
White Balance Auto (hybrid control with image sensor and 420-segment RGB sensor) 12 manual modes, preset manual, fine tuning
Self Timer Electronically controlled timer with duration of 2, 5, 10 or 20s
HD Movie Option No
Movie Sizes -
Video Out Yes
Storage Type SD memory card (SDHC compliant)
Still Image Format/s NEF (12-bit compressed RAW), JPEG (Baseline-compliant)
Movie Image Format/s -
Audio Format/s -
Connectivity USB2.0
Power Source Quick charger MH-23
Battery Options Rechargeable Li-ion battery EN-EL9a
Battery Life
Approx 510 shots
Dimensions 126 × 97 × 64 mm
Weight 485g




About Nikon


The history of Nikon dates back to 1917 when three of Japan's leading optical manufacturers merged to form a fully integrated optical company. By the end of the century Nikon would have accumulated an immense poll of know-how and experience to become a world leader in not only optics and imaging but also industrial equipment and health and medicine sector.

Today Nikon designs, develops, manufactures and markets a gamut of optical, photographic and optoelectronic products globally. You will find them at work in virtually every corner of the earth. If it has something to do with light, Nikon has something to do with it.

The driving force behind Nikon is technology. Not only in manufacturing and assembling the finest lenses or most comprehensive photography system in the world, but also in making the glass itself. That is why Nikon products have gained worldwide customer satisfaction, and even professional recognition worldwide.

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