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Nikon D3000 review
|DATE REVIEWED: 25th Sep 2009||Add Camera To Comparison Chart|
|Camera Type||DSLR||Shutter Speeds||30 - 1/4000 sec|
|RRP||£430||ISO Range||100 - 1600|
|Megapixels||10||Focal Length||By lens|
|Dimensions||126 x 97 x 64mm (WxHxD)||Focus Distance||By lens|
|LCD Size||3 inches||Zoom (Opt)||By lens|
|Zoom (Dig)||None||Storage||SD / SDHC|
|Max Resolution||3872 x 2592||Battery Type||Li-Ion|
Nikon has a great track record when it comes to producing user-friendly digital SLRs to appeal to the entry-level market. Following huge success with the D40, with over a million users and a shelf life of over two and a half years, it’s about time a new model fills its place. Enter the Nikon D3000.
This latest digital SLR steps on to the bottom rung of the ladder in the Nikon line-up, appealing to those who want to progress from their compact camera onto something with a bit more creative freedom. It provides the learner photographer all the manual freedom they need to get creative, whilst heavily bolstered by an intuitive Guide Mode and optimised shooting function to help you find your feet photographically. This camera is designed to be as much a learning tool as it is a photographic tool and it certainly does its job well.
In the first instance, it is built with the beginner in mind. It has a compact plastic body, which feels solid and reassuring. Granted it does not have the elegance of the higher-end models with their magnesium alloy bodies, but on the other hand it does mean that you are inclined to feel precious if the D3000 suffers a little knock or bump. It has a fantastic ‘grab-and-go’ feel about it, which is surely what photography is all about?
On the top panel is the chunky mode dial, which clicks resolutely into place with each turn you make. Use this to access your aperture and shutter priority modes, Program, Manual, Auto, six scene modes and the Flash off mode. The final click of the dial sets you up in Guide Mode – the D3000’s crowning glory.
The Guide Mode is designed to tell you how to capture the pictures you don’t know how to take. Quite simply, this intelligent system will ask you about the kind of image you want to take via a series of menu screens and then automatically adjust your settings for the best results. It comes with a Scene Recognition System that creates the optimal settings just before you press the shutter button. This is a great feature for newbies, as it sets everything from the white balance, colour and auto focus by analysing the colour and light in the scene you want to shoot.
Obviously, budding photographers will want to expand their photographic repertoire and the Guide Mode holds your hand through the next step. When you want to learn more, it will show you how to set up these kinds of shots yourself. Instructions appear bold and bright and it’s a fantastic way of learning when you’re out in the field – much more convenient than dragging a book round with you.
We took the Nikon D3000 on a tour of central London and the camera handled brilliantly. From capturing wide-angle shots of the Thames in the midday sun, through to more challenging scenes such as the dark and artificially lit Ice Bar, the D3000 was up for all we could throw at it. The 11-point AF operates brilliantly and you can assure your subjects will look pin-sharp corner-to corner. It also comes with 3D AF tracking, which gives you the advantage over locking onto subjects even if you alter the composition.
Other features the D3000 has to shout about is the exclusive Nikon dust removal system. This operates on two levels; an Airflow Control System reduces the impact of dust on the sensor, whilst an image cleaning system kicks in every time you switch the camera on and off. This is a fabulous touch to include on an entry-level camera – something often omitted at this end of the scale.
Another great feature on board is Nikon’s well-regarded Active D-Lighting function. This helps improve the detail in the shadow and highlights of the scene to give you a better-exposed photo. This is a great asset to have on board when shooting in particularly harsh light or contrasty scenes and we called upon it frequently during our shooting.
The D3000 comes equipped with a 3” LCD, which boasts a 230K-dot resolution. We were impressed with its clarity in all light conditions, even in the midday sun. This nice, bright LCD is a welcome treat when delving into the Retouch menu too, as it provides good visuals when playing with crops, colour changes and lens effects.
The only downside is that the lens is fixed to the back of the camera. It would have been nice to see the inclusion of a tilting LCD or perhaps even Live View functionality as seen on other entry-level cameras.
The Retouch Menu even offers a mode, which mimics the tilt and shift effect used to make your subjects look miniature. This is great fun, and although hardly essential, it’s nice to see something different offered within the menu. Although the Retouch Menu is pretty extensive, it cannot replace the power of an image-editing program such as Photoshop.
As well as the post-processing tweaks available, we also enjoyed investigating the Picture Controls that you can set before you take your shot. These include Standard, Vivid, Neutral and Monochrome.
We tested the standard kit lens with an 18-55mm focal length, although the D3000 is also compatible with DX Nikkor Lenses and AF-S and AF-I lenses, leaving you with plenty of room for experimentation. The kit lens performed well and offered a good deal of versatility when shooting out and about. The quality of pictures showed no obvious signs of lens distortion, with clear, accurate images from corner to corner.
The D3000 is a great all-rounder, which we don’t think beginners could find much fault with. Admittedly details such as video capability, Live view and a tilting LCD would have been great if Nikon could have squeezed them in, but actually this is a very good product even with these features omitted. The Guide Mode is brilliant and offers newbies a really great wait to learn on the job, whilst the anti-dust system and extensive retouch menu gives this camera a touch of class.
This may not have the mammoth uptake and popularity that its predecessor the D40 had, but those making the leap from a compact to a digital SLR will find that the D3000 offers them everything they need.
This is one of our top choices for beginners looking to progress into DSLR photography – it’s easy to use, performs well and is the perfect teaching tool as well. A great all-rounder.
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|This is one of our top choices for beginners looking to progress into DSLR photography – it’s easy to use, performs well and is the perfect teaching tool as well. A great all-rounder.|
Rosie’s big passion is travel photography, with a love of capturing different cultures on camera, from scenery and landscapes through to people and food. She studied photography at college and hopes one day find time to submit her images to the Royal Photographic Society for accreditation.
|Total Camera Reviews||36|
|Average Camera Rating||3.4|
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