Pros: In-built guides, easy to use, useful 3D tracking focus.
Cons: Has minimal buttons and only one control dial, noisy images from ISO 400 and above, can only autofocus with AF-S lenses.
We used the semi-manual (aperture priority and shutter priority) and full manual modes for our tests and came away with some good images. Colours were vibrant and clarity was high. Low-light shooting will leave you with noisy pictures if you bump the ISO to 400, but the noise doesn't get too much worse as you make your way up to ISO 1600. However, it will be more noticeable if you view or print your photos at a large size.
This is a 100 per cent crop of a cockatiel that was photographed in dim lighting with an ISO speed of 1600. You can see that the definition of the image is still quite good, but there is slight discolouration visible (red blotches) just above the nostril. Overall, it's not bad low-light performance for an entry-level D-SLR.
The noise isn't a bad thing in some cases, as it can actually give your pictures a nice film-style look. The colours, too, can be adjusted, so you don't have to live with vivid colours if you prefer more natural-looking tones.
There are many in-camera editing options to play with. While they are a novel idea, the edits are displayed in a split screen with the original on the left, which makes it hard to see what the changes actually look like. You still can't use this as a substitute to computer-based colour adjustments. Some filters can be used to manipulate your photos in a fun way, including the stop-motion filter, which creates a stop-motion video from a series of your photos, and also the miniature filter, which can be used to make objects such as buildings look smaller than they are.
Despite the D3000 being an entry-level digital SLR, its performance is still quite good. It will shoot at just over two frames per second in continuous mode (and slightly faster for the first 10 or so shots it takes), and its focusing engine is swift and accurate. It features 3D tracking, which works very well — even in relatively dim lighting — to track your subject throughout a frame, as long as the subject stays within the 11 focus points of the sensor. It’s very useful when taking photos of pets, for example, but it also works a treat for candid portraits of humanoids.
Priced at £375 for the body only, the Nikon D3000 may not have as many dials and buttons as a mid-range digital SLR, but it's a worthy model for anyone who wants to make the leap from a compact camera.