Hands on: Nikon D3000 review

A first look at Nikon's new entry-level DSLR

UPDATE: we have now published our full and in-depth Nikon D3000 review

Pitched squarely at the base of the DSLR market, Nikon's new D3000 made its official debut this morning.

We nabbed a very quick hands-on with the camera at Nikon's launch event in London yesterday.

The company wants the D3000 to be "the DSLR made simple" and as such has implemented a simple-to-use menu system.

The camera will set you back £430, while there'll be a kit available featuring the D3000 plus the 18-55mm VR lens for £500.

It's available from 28 August and replaces the existing and hugely popular D60, which is being discontinued. It seems very similar to that model in terms of feel, yet looks more like its more expensive stablemate, the D5000.

There's also a guide mode, selectable from the dial. Select the type of subject you're shooting and the camera will auto-adjust the settings, while it can also present you with helpful explanations of everything.

Selecting Guide and then Shoot enables you to choose between easy or advanced operation, the former giving you access to the scenes.

On first thought, the concept of the Guide seems a bit strange – surely if you're going to go for a DSLR you need to know what you're doing? – but it will certainly help those who don't yet have the knowledge to learn more about advanced digital photography.

The 3-inch screen (larger than the D60's 2.7-inch LCD) is clear and crisp and the menu system simple to use. Larger type helps with this – Nikon reckons it has made it 20 per cent larger. Handily, you can also thumbnail 72 images at once, too.

The camera also packs image processing enhancements such as Active D-Lighting – balancing up the tone and detail in pictures that have extreme contrasts – such as those shot in sunlight where there are also areas of darkness. 11 point autofocus also adds to the appeal.

All in all, there are 15 on-camera image retouch options including a 'miniature effect' designed for pictures taken from tall buildings or the air. Not exactly useful, but fun nether the less.

Nikon has also announced the D300s high-end DSLR this morning.

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Dan (Twitter, Google+) is TechRadar's Former Deputy Editor and is now in charge at our sister site Lifehacker UK. Covering all things computing, internet and mobile he's a seasoned regular at major tech shows such as CES, IFA and Mobile World Congress. Dan has also been a tech expert for many outlets including BBC Radio 4, 5Live and the World Service, The Sun and ITV News.