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Box Photo
  • Nikon D5000 body with body cap
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens
  • DK-20 rubber eyecup (on camera)
  • EN-EL9a rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • MH-23 Quick Charger
  • Camera strap
  • UC-E4 USB cable
  • BS-1 hot shoe cover
  • DK-5 eyepiece cap
  • Software CD
  • Quick Start Guide, in English and Spanish
  • User's Manual, in English and Spanish

The kit lens is an 18-55mm Zoom-Nikkor VR, with maximum aperture of f/3.5 at the widest setting and f/5.6 at full zoom; about what we expect to find bundled with an inexpensive SLR. The photos below show the relative framing when shooting at the widest, longest zoom and midrange positions.

The D3000 delivers 10.2-megapixel effective resolution (gross resolution is 10.75 megapixels), a huge jump from the 6.1-megapixel D40. This camera also incorporates Nikon's advanced dust reduction technology, which both shakes the low pass filter in front of the sensor and manages airflow to remove dust from the area -- no dust removal system was built into the D40. In addition, it's possible to take a dust off reference photo for use with the optional Capture NX2 software.

The pentamirror viewfinder offers approximately 95% coverage,with magnification at approximately 0.8x. The diopter adjustment ranges from -1.7 to +0.5m-1.

A grid pattern can be overlaid on the viewfinder display. The lines are light and unobtrusive, and very useful when trying to line up a shot precisely, particularly when shooting a scene with buildings or other visible reference points. We turned the grid on and left it on.

Here's what you'll see when peering through the viewfinder:

The LCD measures 3 inches diagonally, a nice step up from the 2.5-inch D40 and D60, though resolution is still limited to 230,000 dots. The brightness level is adjustable, with seven available settings.

The LCD information display offers two different styles. The Graphic layout has some fancy typefaces and a diagram visually representing the current aperture and shutter speed settings. The Classic layout looks more like a traditional monochrome LCD readout, abandoning the left-hand diagram in favor of larger, more legible readouts for aperture, shutter speed and number of photos remaining. You can even choose to have one style for shooting in auto or scene modes, the other for PASM modes. Whichever view you prefer, pressing the Information button turns the display into an interactive menu system for quickly changing shooting settings.

One feature we particularly savor when shooting with the D3000 is the way the information display pivots to a vertical format to match the camera orientation when shooting in portrait mode. It's correct no matter which end of the camera points up or down, and makes settings changes much faster and easier. It would be nice if the playback display did the same, but we're grateful for the current implementation.

Secondary Display

As with most low-cost SLRs, there is no monochrome LCD on top of the camera to make settings visible from above.

Nikon gives the guide number for the pop-up flash as approximately 12/39 in automatic mode, or 13/43 with manual flash, at ISO 100. We found the flash pumps out a lot of light, but it's very concentrated in the center, providing a bright hotspot and rapid fade toward the edges of the frame. It took quite a while to recharge between shots; we timed it at roughly four and a half seconds.

There is a hot shoe for an external flash, and compatibility with the Nikon Creative Lighting System. Maximum flash sync speed is 1/200 second.

The flash exposure can be adjusted in a range from -3EV to +1 EV. Flash output can also be manually set in six steps, ranging from full power to 1/32.

Flash Photo

The built-in flash is bright but highly targeted toward the center of your image.

An AV out jack and industry-standard mini USB port for data are both found under a tight-fitting cover on the left side of the camera. What's missing in the box, though, is the cable required for video output, which Nikon sells for $12, and Amazon for $10. There's no video recording mode on the D3000, so leaving the cable out isn't a mortal sin, but it does feel a bit chintzy for a $600 purchase.

The D3000 uses the same EN-EL9a Lithium-ion rechargeable battery as the D40, D60 and on several other Nikons, including the recently introduced D5000. The company says you should expect about 550 shots per charge based on CIPA standard testing.

Battery Photo

A raised ridge along the battery edge makes getting the battery ride-side up simpler.

The D3000 accepts both SD and SDHC format cards, meaning a maximum 32 gigabytes of storage per cards (versus the SD-only D40, which maxed out at 4 gigabytes).

Memory Photo

The D3000 takes high-capacity SDHC cards, unlike the D40 it replaces.

The top sharpness results were found in the center of shots taken at the widest-angle setting, with 1388 lw/ph horizontally and 1375 vertically. Performance was very similar when shooting at the midrange, but images became much softer when shooting at full zoom. More on how we test sharpness.

Unlike the Nikon D40, the D3000 ships with an image-stabilized lens, the 18-55mm Nikkor VR, and in our testing we found that the vibration reduction system produced significantly sharper images when used under relatively low-shake conditions, and was somewhat helpful with more intense camera movement.

To test image stabilization we mount the camera on a custom computer-controlled rig, which produces repeatable movement patterns. We've programmed it for a low-level shake (about what you'd get when the average person shooting handheld) and high-shake (which might occur if you were moving and shooting at the same time). For each shake pattern, we take a series of test photos at a range of shutter speeds, with and without the image stabilization system engaged, and compare the blur levels in each batch, using Imatest software to analyze the images. In addition to testing two levels of shake, we perform separate tests for horizontal and vertical camera movements.

The D3000 scored very poorly in our color accuracy testing, due in part to the apparent decision to oversaturate every color mode in this entry-level consumer camera. The most accurate color mode is Neutral, yet even here colors are oversaturated to 108%, and in the Standard mode most users will probably be inclined to use, the oversaturation climbs to nearly 120%. As for reproducing hues, the camera did well with purple, orange yellow and green, but purplish blue, red and cyan were way off. Even flesh tones, which are handled well by most cameras we test, were noticeably wrong.

We test for color accuracy by shooting an X-Rite Color Checker chart under controlled 3000 lux studio illumination. We shoot in all available color modes, analyze the test photos using Imatest software, and score based on the best color mode results. More on how we test color.

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

The Nikon D3000 delivered the least accurate color in our comparison group. We chalk this up in part to a conscious decision by someone at Nikon to oversaturate colors in an effort to please the presumably unsophisticated entry-level SLR buyer.

The Nikon D3000 supports the company's standard Picture Control system, with settings that adjust saturation and hue along with sharpening, contrast and brightness. The six presets provided are Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape. These Picture Controls and their customization options are discussed in the Picture Effects section.

The following table shows actual-size samples from photos of the X-Rite ColorChecker chart taken with the D3000 using each color Picture Control setting, except for Monochrome. The left column shows the original chart colors; the color names are the ones used by X-Rite.

The D3000 compensates well for the color differences between varied sources of illumination, with good results using the automatic system and exceptional accuracy when using a custom setting. We test white balance using the X-Rite Judge II light box, which produces illumination with consistent, repeatable color temperatures. We shoot the X-Rite ColorChecker chart under three types of lighting: incandescent (similar to traditional household bulbs), compact white fluorescent and daylight, first with the white balance set to Auto, then after taking a manual reading.

Automatic White Balance ()

Incandescent lighting is the greatest challenge to auto white balance systems, and like most cameras we've tested, the D3000 produced images that were noticeably warm, with a distinct orange tint under these conditions. Shooting in daylight, though, the white balance adjustment was effective, and compact white fluorescent results were nearly as good.

Custom White Balance ()

Taking a custom white balance reading banished the incandescent orange hue from our test images, and improved on the already good results we'd seen using the auto WB setting under fluorescent lighting. Of course, we expect to get good results from an SLR using manual white balance, so our scoring standards here are quite high. That said, the D3000 outperformed all of the other cameras in our comparison group on this part of the test.

The Pentax K2000 and Canon Rebel XS auto white balance systems handled daylight illumination exceptionally well, while the D3000 performance is respectable.

None of these cameras compensated for the color of incandescent lighting very well, but the Nikon D3000 is actually the best of the bunch.

With fluorescent lighting the Olympus E-620 and Canon Rebel XS again demonstrate their superior accuracy, though the Nikon D3000 does improve on the results for the Nikon D5000.

The poor performance of the automatic white balance system under incandescent lighting dragged down the D3000's overall score, but investing a few moments in taking a custom reading produced excellent results.

Nikon didn't hobble the D3000 when it comes to white balance presets, which include a wide variety of fluorescent light sources.

White balance settings can be precisely fine-tuned along the green-magenta and blue-amber axes, with thirteen available settings for each. What's missing here, compared to more sophisticated models, is the ability to enter a white balance setting in directly in degrees Kelvin, not much of a consideration given the target audience for the D3000.

Taking a custom white balance reading is a simple procedure. Only a single reading can be stored at a time, but it is possible to apply the same white balance setting used in a photo already stored on your memory card.

The D30000 performed reasonably well in our long exposure testing, which combines marks for color accuracy and image noise when shooting in low light, for exposures between 1 second and 30 seconds. Color accuracy still wasn't great, and even under low light colors were oversaturated, but noise was quite low, with and without noise reduction processing.

The color error is substantial; by way of comparison, the Nikon D5000 color error measured roughly 25% lower. However, there isn't much variation in color reproduction as the shutter speed increases, which is a desirable result.

At an illumination level of just 20 lux, the D3000 noise performance is solid at under 0.8% across the board. Noise reduction didn't have much effect one way or the other (on some cameras, the digital processing actually makes the situation worse). More on how we test long exposure.

The Nikon D3000 trails the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D5000 in our long exposure testing, but not by a wide margin, and entirely due to mediocre color accuracy. By contrast, the Olympus E-620 received the lowest score despite decent color accuracy due to very high image noise.

The noise reduction system on the D3000 is unsual for an SLR. A single On/Off setting controls both high ISO noise reduction (over ISO 400) and long exposure noise reduction (longer than 8 seconds), and there are no noise reduction level settings. When shooting at settings above ISO 800 some noise reduction processing is used, even if you've turned it off.

Noise reduction has no effect below ISO 800, and makes a significant difference at the two highest ISO settings. When shooting at ISO 100 and 200, image noise is about 0.6%, a decent performance. The blue noise is somewhat elevated above the rest, which could make it more visible even when the overall noise level is relatively low, depending on the colors in your photo. More on how we test noise.

Available standard ISOs range from 100 to 1600, plus an extended range Hi 1 setting equivalent to ISO 3200. This represents an increase on both ends of the range compared to the Nikon D40.

There's an Auto ISO mode available for situations where the user-defined setting won't allow a workable exposure. Maximum and minimum acceptable values can be set.

The Nikon D300 dynamic range performance isn't a train wreck by any means -- those usually occur with smaller-sensor cameras such as the Olympus E-620 -- but it's nothing to brag about either. When shooting high-contrast subjects, the camera will do a fair job of maintaining detail in both the highlights and the shadows.

We test dynamic range by shooting a 20-patch Kodak Stepchart at each standard ISO setting, then use Imatest to analyze how many individual patches were distinguished in each test shot, and calculate an aggregate score. More on how we test dynamic range.

Dynamic range inevitably decreases as ISOs rise. The progression here is very similar to what we found when testing the Nikon D5000, except that the D5000 started with a significantly higher range at ISO 200 (7.46 stops versus 6.22 for the D3000 at the same setting), and maintained this advantage throughout the ISO settings.

The D3000 is less able to deal with high-contrast situations than most of the other tested cameras, though the difference is nowhere near as significant as the gap between he rest of the pack and the Olympus E-620, where image noise overwhelmed the ability to pick out clear distinctions on the dynamic range stepchart.

The noise reduction system on the D3000 is unsual for an SLR. A single On/Off setting controls both high ISO noise reduction (over ISO 400) and long exposure noise reduction (longer than 8 seconds), and there are no noise reduction level settings. When shooting at settings above ISO 800 some noise reduction processing is used, even if you've turned it off.

Noise reduction has no effect below ISO 800, and makes a significant difference at the two highest ISO settings. When shooting at ISO 100 and 200, image noise is about 0.6%, a decent performance. The blue noise is somewhat elevated above the rest, which could make it more visible even when the overall noise level is relatively low, depending on the colors in your photo. More on how we test noise.

Available standard ISOs range from 100 to 1600, plus an extended range Hi 1 setting equivalent to ISO 3200. This represents an increase on both ends of the range compared to the Nikon D40.

There's an Auto ISO mode available for situations where the user-defined setting won't allow a workable exposure. Maximum and minimum acceptable values can be set.

The D3000 uses 11 autofocus points, versus just three for the D40 and D60, making continous autofocus more practical. Focusing speed feels a bit sluggish with the kit lens, though. There's a noticeable pause between pressing the shutter halfway and hearing the focus confirmation beep. On the plus side, the autofocus assist lamp is bright and effective: we found about the same AF speed in sunlight and dim indoor lighting, and never failed to achieve focus even when shooting in the dark.

The camera supports four focus modes: Single-servo, Continuous-servo, Auto-servo, and Manual.

The D30000 performed reasonably well in our long exposure testing, which combines marks for color accuracy and image noise when shooting in low light, for exposures between 1 second and 30 seconds. Color accuracy still wasn't great, and even under low light colors were oversaturated, but noise was quite low, with and without noise reduction processing.

The color error is substantial; by way of comparison, the Nikon D5000 color error measured roughly 25% lower. However, there isn't much variation in color reproduction as the shutter speed increases, which is a desirable result.

At an illumination level of just 20 lux, the D3000 noise performance is solid at under 0.8% across the board. Noise reduction didn't have much effect one way or the other (on some cameras, the digital processing actually makes the situation worse). More on how we test long exposure.

The Nikon D3000 trails the Canon Rebel XS and Nikon D5000 in our long exposure testing, but not by a wide margin, and entirely due to mediocre color accuracy. By contrast, the Olympus E-620 received the lowest score despite decent color accuracy due to very high image noise.

The worst chromatic aberration occurs at the widest lens setting, with horizontal fringing that escalates as you move outward from the center of the lens. When not shooting at the widest angle, though, chromatic aberration falls within an acceptable range.

At the 18mm setting we find good sharpness in the center, falling off somewhat with the lens fully stopped down. There is noticeable color fringing along the outer edges at all of the aperture settings.

At 35mm chromatic aberration becomes less of a problem, but the slanted edges are quite soft, even in the center except when the lens is wide open.

At 55mm, the chromatic aberration is effectively gone but the softness is at its peak.

The kit lens showed significant flaws at the widest setting, measuring 3.17% barrel distortion. At the midrange and full telephoto, though, distortion was negligible.

There aren't a whole lot of buttons on the D3000, which keeps it from looking intimidating, but also cuts down on the instant accessibility of certain key controls. There's no direct access to ISO, white balance, drive mode or autofocus settings, for example, all of which we frequently adjust. Many cameras use the four-way controller for this purpose in addition to its menu-navigating functions, but Nikon chose not to take this practical route.

Instead, you have a quick menu on the LCD while shooting, brought up by pressing the button left button on the back of the camera. This is a shortcut, but it still requires cursoring around a menu to find the setting you're seeking, which is much more time-consuming than just pressing a button labeled 'ISO' and making the change.

There's one control dial placed conveniently for right-thumb access on the camera back. When shooting in full manual exposure mode, the dial changes shutter speed by default, and holding down the exposure compensation button while turning the dial changes the aperture setting.

There is a single programmable Fn button, which does offer a user-selected shortcut to some of the controls mentioned above. However, it's been banished to the left side of the camera, along with the flash control button, where it's inconvenient to push and easily forgotten altogether.

The D3000 offers both a standard Nikon menu system plus a quick access shooting menu that transforms the LCD information display into an interactive panel for changing key shooting settings. After pressing the zoom in button on the bottom left of the camera back, you can navigate to each of the settings listed along the right and bottom of the screen, press OK, and choose from a screen of settings options.

The main menu system follows the tried-and-true Nikon design, with its lefthand tabs for navigating from section to section and clear, easy readability. We're not fans of having to scroll down several screens to see all the options in a given category, but at least the Nikon strategy lets you jump immediately from menu tab to menu tab, without having to scroll all the way back to the top of a page.

You can't fault Nikon when it comes to providing every snippet of information needed to make the most of your D3000 camera purchase, even if we were briefly baffled by what to find where.

You get a one-page fold-out Quick Start Guide (in English and Spanish) that's basically limited to camera setup (attaching the strap and lens, charging and inserting the battery, taking a picture in Auto mode) plus software installation, and using USB to copy photos and print.

There's also a printed 68-page User's Manual (again in both languages) to introduce users to the basics of the various camera modes and features. It's a nicely prepared publication, including lots of clear diagrams and screen captures, instructions that are step-by-step enough for anyone to follow, and a good balance between full explanation and fear-inducing complexity. The only significant problem here: there's no index, and even with a decent table of contents, there needs to be one.

Also in the box is a CD-ROM with a PDF version of the 216-page Reference Manual (in English, Spanish and French). This manual includes everything in the User's Manual plus further details on advanced camera operations, again with a well-structured words-and-pictures approach (and yes, a complete index, which even manages to have the terms you're actually likely to use when searching for information). For no apparent reason, this document is called the D3000 User's Manual on the Nikon web site, where it's available for download here.

But wait, there's more, as the man in the informercial says. In addition to the printed learning materials, there's a built-in Help system, accessed by pressing the question-mark button when '?' is displayed at the bottom left of a menu or shooting screen. The screens that pop up via this help system are brief and to the point, not an entirely adequate substitute for an actual user manual but a good step toward defining the choices at hand.

Finally, we can't find a thing in the D3000 box that points to a useful web-based learning system Nikon provides, which is a shame. The Digitutor site for the D3000 (which you can find here) basically provides a video-and-text walkthrough of all the camera's functions and capabilities. It's a painless way to get acquainted with all the camera features, almost like turning the camera manual into a lean-back-and-watch experience. And if the English language announcer seems to think he's working for Nick Cohen instead of Nikon, that only makes it more fun.

The D3000 body measures 5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 inches (126 x 94 x 64), making it identical to the D40 in size. The D3000 is a bit lighter, at 16.1 oz (485g) versus 17 oz (475g) for the D40, but we'd be hard pressed to tell the difference blindfolded.

The camera's handling is a definite strong point -- this feels like a serious Nikon camera. The righthand grip is large and deep enough for a comfortable grasp and, while it isn't rubberized, the plastic is textured effectively, with a top lip that balances well against the top of your middle finger. There's also a well-positioned sculpted thumb rest on the back, above the four-way controller. Combined with the front finger rest, this produces a very secure hold, even if you're shooting one-handed. And unlike some flyweight SLRs (the Canon Rebel series springs to mind), the Nikon D3000 has a nice heft in your hands, avoiding that uncomfortable feeling that the camera body was crafted by Fisher Price.

Handling Photo 1

It's compact and we have large hands, but we found the D3000 surprisingly comfortable.

Handling Photo 2

There aren't a whole lot of buttons on the D3000, which keeps it from looking intimidating, but also cuts down on the instant accessibility of certain key controls. There's no direct access to ISO, white balance, drive mode or autofocus settings, for example, all of which we frequently adjust. Many cameras use the four-way controller for this purpose in addition to its menu-navigating functions, but Nikon chose not to take this practical route.

Instead, you have a quick menu on the LCD while shooting, brought up by pressing the button left button on the back of the camera. This is a shortcut, but it still requires cursoring around a menu to find the setting you're seeking, which is much more time-consuming than just pressing a button labeled 'ISO' and making the change.

There's one control dial placed conveniently for right-thumb access on the camera back. When shooting in full manual exposure mode, the dial changes shutter speed by default, and holding down the exposure compensation button while turning the dial changes the aperture setting.

There is a single programmable Fn button, which does offer a user-selected shortcut to some of the controls mentioned above. However, it's been banished to the left side of the camera, along with the flash control button, where it's inconvenient to push and easily forgotten altogether.

Buttons Photo 1
Buttons Photo 2

The LCD measures 3 inches diagonally, a nice step up from the 2.5-inch D40 and D60, though resolution is still limited to 230,000 dots. The brightness level is adjustable, with seven available settings.

The LCD information display offers two different styles. The Graphic layout has some fancy typefaces and a diagram visually representing the current aperture and shutter speed settings. The Classic layout looks more like a traditional monochrome LCD readout, abandoning the left-hand diagram in favor of larger, more legible readouts for aperture, shutter speed and number of photos remaining. You can even choose to have one style for shooting in auto or scene modes, the other for PASM modes. Whichever view you prefer, pressing the Information button turns the display into an interactive menu system for quickly changing shooting settings.

One feature we particularly savor when shooting with the D3000 is the way the information display pivots to a vertical format to match the camera orientation when shooting in portrait mode. It's correct no matter which end of the camera points up or down, and makes settings changes much faster and easier. It would be nice if the playback display did the same, but we're grateful for the current implementation.

Secondary Display

As with most low-cost SLRs, there is no monochrome LCD on top of the camera to make settings visible from above.

The pentamirror viewfinder offers approximately 95% coverage,with magnification at approximately 0.8x. The diopter adjustment ranges from -1.7 to +0.5m-1.

A grid pattern can be overlaid on the viewfinder display. The lines are light and unobtrusive, and very useful when trying to line up a shot precisely, particularly when shooting a scene with buildings or other visible reference points. We turned the grid on and left it on.

Here's what you'll see when peering through the viewfinder:

Unlike the Nikon D40, the D3000 ships with an image-stabilized lens, the 18-55mm Nikkor VR, and in our testing we found that the vibration reduction system produced significantly sharper images when used under relatively low-shake conditions, and was somewhat helpful with more intense camera movement.

To test image stabilization we mount the camera on a custom computer-controlled rig, which produces repeatable movement patterns. We've programmed it for a low-level shake (about what you'd get when the average person shooting handheld) and high-shake (which might occur if you were moving and shooting at the same time). For each shake pattern, we take a series of test photos at a range of shutter speeds, with and without the image stabilization system engaged, and compare the blur levels in each batch, using Imatest software to analyze the images. In addition to testing two levels of shake, we perform separate tests for horizontal and vertical camera movements.

The D3000 can be used successfully by the SLR newcomer as a point-and-shoot camera in Auto mode; we found the camera usually delivered a well-exposed image, due in large part to the same sophisticated metering system used in pricier Nikon models. The Guide mode is a new addition to the Nikon lineup, a text-based system for determining camera settings that has its strengths and weaknesses.

The Guide mode is one of the key differences between this Nikon and its predecessors. It's basically a step-by-step system for changing settings, a kind of menu system overlay, as opposed to a new camera capability. Using these menus is a fairly time-consuming way to change a camera setting; we don't believe anyone is going to rely on this mode long-term and feel very good about the D3000 experience. However, particularly in the Shoot section, the available choices are well organized and well explained, and could serve as a nice training-wheels system helping a newbie along the path to greater photographic control and satisfaction. On balance, we give Nikon credit for trying a new approach and largely getting it right.

The D3000 uses 11 autofocus points, versus just three for the D40 and D60, making continous autofocus more practical. Focusing speed feels a bit sluggish with the kit lens, though. There's a noticeable pause between pressing the shutter halfway and hearing the focus confirmation beep. On the plus side, the autofocus assist lamp is bright and effective: we found about the same AF speed in sunlight and dim indoor lighting, and never failed to achieve focus even when shooting in the dark.

The camera supports four focus modes: Single-servo, Continuous-servo, Auto-servo, and Manual.

When focusing manually, the in-focus indicator in the viewfinder lights when focus has been achieved. The kit lens, though, has a very loose feel while turning, making precise manual focus difficult.

The D3000 offers three image size settings: Large, Medium and Small. There are three JPEG compression settings: fine (approximately 1:4), normal (approximately 1:8) and basic (approximately 1:16).

The D3000 also supports RAW files in the Nikon NEF format, either on their own or in RAW+JPEG mode. Only basic JPEG images can be recorded in RAW+JPEG mode, though.

The promised maximum burst mode speed is about 3 frames per second. A display in the lower right corner of the viewfinder indicates how many more photos at current resolution will fit in the buffer before continuous shooting slows down.

In our lab testing, the D3000 delivered a measured 2.996 frames per second, putting it on the nose with Nikon's claimed speed. For an entry-level camera, this is about the burst speed we expect to see.

Shooting best-quality JPEGs, we could squeeze off about eight shots before the shooting speed slowed; shooting RAW the slowdown occurs after about six shots. There's a convenient countdown display in the lower right corner of the viewfinder that lets you know how much more room there is in the buffer, so at least you're spared surprises while shooting an action sequence.

The self-timer can be set to 2, 5, 10 or 20 seconds. There is also a remote option for use with the (optional) ML-L3 remote.

One ongoing annoyance with the self-timer is the fact that it has to be reset after every shot. This is a royal pain if you're taking repeated tripod shots and want a 2-second delay to minimize camera vibration for each photo. There should be a setup option to either retain or reset the self-timer after each shot, but there isn't. There's also just one active self-timer delay available at a given moment, where many cameras put a 2-second and 10-second timer choice right on the menu. This is balanced out to some degree by the fact that you can choose from four different timer settings in the setup menu.

A cap to cover the viewfinder is provided with the camera, to prevent light from leaking in and affecting exposure settings when the camera is mounted on a tripod. Unfortunately you have to remove the rubber eyepiece to use this cap, making it a clumsy operation.

The D3000 uses 11 autofocus points, versus just three for the D40 and D60, making continous autofocus more practical. Focusing speed feels a bit sluggish with the kit lens, though. There's a noticeable pause between pressing the shutter halfway and hearing the focus confirmation beep. On the plus side, the autofocus assist lamp is bright and effective: we found about the same AF speed in sunlight and dim indoor lighting, and never failed to achieve focus even when shooting in the dark.

The camera supports four focus modes: Single-servo, Continuous-servo, Auto-servo, and Manual.

When focusing manually, the in-focus indicator in the viewfinder lights when focus has been achieved. The kit lens, though, has a very loose feel while turning, making precise manual focus difficult.

Box Photo
  • Nikon D5000 body with body cap
  • 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens
  • DK-20 rubber eyecup (on camera)
  • EN-EL9a rechargeable Li-ion battery
  • MH-23 Quick Charger
  • Camera strap
  • UC-E4 USB cable
  • BS-1 hot shoe cover
  • DK-5 eyepiece cap
  • Software CD
  • Quick Start Guide, in English and Spanish
  • User's Manual, in English and Spanish

Meet the tester

Steve Morgenstern

Steve Morgenstern

Editor

Steve Morgenstern is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

See all of Steve Morgenstern's reviews

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We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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