Nikon D3000 review

Probably the most beginner-friendly DSLR on the market

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d3000 sample shots

Anyone who dismisses the D3000 as a dumbed-down newbie's camera will quickly be silenced by the quality of the shots.

Even when shooting in compressed JPEG mode, we were impressed by the camera's ability to work out the correct exposure in the dullest conditions, and the Matrix metering system is very smart indeed.

Shoot in RAW (NEF) mode and you get the full benefit of uncompressed shots; the level of clarity and detail that can be retrieved is very impressive for an entry-level camera.

This camera also impressive when it comes to ISO (light sensitivity). We shot right up to ISO 1600 without digital noise becoming a serious problem, and it's very well controlled at more sensible settings like ISO 400.

nikon d3000 sample
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ISO 400: Up to ISO 400, noise is hardly noticeable at all – great if you want to avoid using the flash for low light shots or get a faster shutter speed.

Nikon and Canon's noise-reduction technology is pretty evenly matched, but we reckon the D3000 currently delivers a better high ISO performance than the Canon EOS 1000D.

nikon d3000 iso 1600
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ISO 1600: Even at bonkers ISO levels, such as 1600, you can still get passable shots – you have to zoom in a bit to see any noise at all here, which is impressive for a budget SLR

The other advantage of being able to shoot at higher ISOs without fear of noise is that it enables higher shutter speeds - this will be a revelation to people graduating from a noisy, sluggish compact camera.

It's probably just as well that the ISO performance is so impressive, as we found the built-in flash pretty weedy. But of course, this is a Nikon DSLR so you can add a range of flash guns.

d3000 guide mode
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Guide mode: Taken with 'Soft background' on Guide mode – blurring the background while keeping the subject sharp couldn't be easier. A great optical performance for the money

Auto White Balance is pretty good for a beginner's SLR though it does tend to produce an orange cast when shooting indoors at night. Again, not a major problem if you shoot in RAW, as White Balance can be tweaked post shoot.

d3000 landscape
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LANDSCAPE: The Matrix metering system delivers consistently well exposed shots and the Active D-Lighting widget helps preserve detail in tricky lighting conditions

This being a Nikon, you can also use Active D-Lighting to improve performance in high contrast situations. We struggled to see a major difference with it on or off, and it's kind of irrelevant if you shoot RAW, but still, it's another handy tool in the beginner's arsenal.

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LANDSCAPE: Landscape mode in GUIDE selects a narrower aperture for greater depth of field and nicely saturates the colours in your landscape

Autofocus is available with AF-S lenses but not AF, so make sure you get the right kind as the camera lacks built-in image stabilisation.

Tech Specs

Product TypeDigital SLR Camera with Lens
Battery Size SupportedProprietary Battery Size
Effective Camera Resolution10.2 Megapixel
Product FamilyD
Memory Card SupportedSecure Digital (SD) Card, Secure Digital High Capacity (SDHC) Card
Image StabilizationOptical
Optical Zoom3.1x
Brand NameNikon
Screen Size7.6 cm (3")
Viewfinder TypeSLR
Weight (Approximate)485 g
Maximum Image Resolution3872 x 2592
Display Screen TypeLCD
Height97 mm
Width126 mm
Depth64 mm
Product SeriesD
Focal Length18 mm to 55 mm (Lens 1)
Image FormatsJPEG, RAW
Focus ModesAuto, Manual
ManufacturerNikon Corporation
Product ModelD3000
Product NameD3000 Digital SLR Camera
Manufacturer Part NumberVBA250K001
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

The D3000 is a high-performance DX-format SLR that delivers superb images and boasts a range of functions, which make photography simple and fun. Nikon's intelligent Guide Mode offers incredibly user-friendly in-camera assistance, enabling even beginners to capture wonderful images. Perfect for shots that you are not sure how to take, Guide Mode will ask you about the image you want to capture and automatically optimize the camera settings for the best possible results. The D3000 is the camera that shows you how to capture stunning shots with ease.

Package Contents
  • D3000 Digital SLR Camera
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR DX Nikkor Lens
  • EN-EL9a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery
  • Quick Charger MH-23
  • Eyepiece Cap DK-5
  • Rubber Eyecap DK-20
  • USB Cable UC-E4
  • Video Cable EG-D100
  • Camera Strap AN-DC3
  • Accessory Shoe Cover BS-1
  • Body Cap BF-1A
  • Software Suite CD-ROM
Limited Warranty1 Year