An affordable DSLR with a lot to offer.
You can get a lot of Nikon for your money—the $780 (body only) D90 pops readily to mind as a near-unbeatable deal. But what about the lowest-price entry point into the Nikon system, the D3000 ($550, street, with 18– 55mm f/3.5–5.6 VR lens)? Despite the obvious savings, it’s not nearly as compelling a deal.
Replacing both the Nikon D40 and D60, the D3000 shares the D60’s 10.2MP sensor with its 12-bit A/D converter, the current standard for entry-level DSLRs.
That’s plenty of imaging power, and the D3000 fared well in our image-quality tests against its main rivals, particularly in color accuracy. But sluggish autofocusing and other flaws set it back in the bargain pack.
Handling and Controls
Not that we’re sour on this Nikon. As entry-level DSLRs go, it has a quite good body design. A well-formed grip has an indentation on the inside that nicely cradles your finger tips, and a ridge up top for leverage when tilting up and down.
The body is quite small, and at just over 1 pound, very light. But the small size also means a short grip, which may leave your pinky dangling below the body, and a nose-heavy balance with any but very light lenses. We did a fair amount of shooting with Nikon’s 10–24mm f/3.5–4.5 AF-S DX lens—which can hardly be called enormous—and it noticeably tilted the body downward. The same can be said for the Tamron 17–50mm f/2.8.
Controls are comparable to similar DSLRs, relying on a virtual control panel Nikon calls the Information Display in the 3-inch, 230,000-dot LCD. While we prefer more dedicated buttons, this has become the de facto standard for this level of camera. Once you get used to it, though, Nikon’s user interface provides a quick way to change settings. And a button lets you easily adjust exposure compensation with the lone control wheel on the camera back.