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In this post, I am going to review the pros and cons of the Nikon D3000. This was my first DSLR that I bought for myself and I have had it for about 6 months and have used it for almost every purpose from journalistic work, to sports photography, to portraits and personal artistic shots. At the end of this post, I will post some shots I took with the D3000.

Lets start with the cons (cause it is so easy to boast about something first and I figured we can change it up. If you just want to read the Pros, scroll down.) Although there aren’t really that many cons, but some of them could deter perspective buyers.

  • The body is made out of mostly plastic, but I have yet to see any real problem with it. I am sure, though, that if I drop it, I will have a few heart attacks before it hits the floor. I’m not sure how well it will hold up against a 3 or 4 foot fall.
  • Also, the lack of an autofocus motor is a big hassle when it comes to picking and choosing the right lens for your camera, especially if you are looking to upgrade into the more professional lenses — making some a few hundred dollars more expensive (for more information on compatible lenses for the D3000 visit my ‘What will Autofocus on the lower end Nikons?’ post.)
  • Another annoyance I found was the lack of a an adjustment screen on the top of the body next to the settings knob. When you are working professionally, to have to keep on activating the LCD screen to make adjustments is a little tedious, and also drains the battery.
  • As we know, the D3000 has a 3 frames per second burst but does not live up to my picky standards. For one, I noticed that there is a lag after shooting about 10 frames due to the writing speed of the camera (this also could also be affected by the speed of your memory card). Secondly, the burst keeps the focus point of the first shot, so if the object you are shooting comes closer to the camera it will come out blurry.
  • One of the raved additions to the D3000 is the new GUIDE mode  in which one can tell the camera to “Soften the Background” or “Shoot Close Ups” and will give hints as to how to do it (to check out a little tutorial on the the GUIDE mode, check out the Nikon site for the D3000). I think that if your going to buy a camera for someone who is going to just use the GUIDE mode, then you might as well get them a Point and Shoot. Although I would argue against myself that this is a nice mode for learning students who forgot how to stop motion or blur movement (I guess I am just being pompous and wish I would have saved a bit of cash in exchange for this program.) So if you already know the basics of shutter speed, aperture and ISO, this will be of no use.
  • The ISO is good up to 400 and then you can start seeing noise in 800 and is really noisy at 1600. HI-1 is just ridiculous. If you are shooting for a magazine, this is not good. The D60 has a better ISO sensor and a lot less noise than the D3000. Below are some photo examples of the ISO range of the D3000 (click to enlarge). You can really see the difference in the cover of Paradise Lost and the Counter-Strike box:

Not too many cons right? Now onto the Pros. This camera is probably the most versatile of the entry level DSLRs and will give you the most bang for your buck.

  • The body feels solid when you hold it and is easy to grip with your right hand, allowing you to fiddle around with the lens or menu.
  • A 3″ LCD screen gives you more view than the D60’s 2.5″.
  • You have full function of the camera, from ISO, to shutter speed, to aperture.
  • It is very easy to access the menu during MANUAL mode for quick adjustments when needed.
  • Shutter speed and aperture can be adjusted by one hand.
  • Max shutter speed is 1/4000 sec, great for sports.
  • The color of the images are very vivid and saturated, especially the greens and blues.
  • The camera wakes from sleep mode in fractions of a second.
  • Battery life is noticeably quite long. 500 shots per charge as according to Nikon’s Tech Specs for the D3000, though I have gone a full week without charging it.
  • An 11 point focus system that you can adjust.
  • New modes such as Portrait and Child mode add versatility.
  • Camera also shoots in RAW for those who like to edit.
  • A 10.2 megapixel sensor that cranks out photos that you can print up to 8×12 inch photos before you notice some blur on the edges, and that is looking close up.
  • You can find this camera with the standard 18-55mm lens kit for around $500. If you really search around you can get it for a lot less, too. I got mine on Black Friday for $430 — $120 less than the suggested retail price.

All in all, for the price and settings of this camera, I give it a strong B+.

Now for some examples of photos that I took. I didn’t make any adjustments to the photos, they are as they came out of the camera. As always, click to enlarge. Enjoy.

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