Nikon D3000 Preview

With the introduction of the nikon_D5000, back in April this year and now the D3000, Nikon has effectively shifted the capabilities of its entry-level DSLRs up a notch. Gone are the 6MP sensor on the nikon_d40kit, as well as the 3-AF-point Multi-CAM 530 AF module. Now the pixel count starts from a minimum of 10MP and all AF systems have at least 11 AF points.

The D3000 uses 10MP CCD sensor that is similar to those on the nikon_D200-1, nikon_D80, nikon_d60, and nikon_d40x. Its rated ISO range is from 100 to 1600 with a Hi 1 (ISO 3200) option. Typically, one can expect good high ISO results up to one stop below the highest rated ISO (In this case one stop below 1600 is ISO 800), and still acceptable results at the maximum (ISO 1600).

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One of the major weaknesses for the D40, D40x and D60 is the Multi-CAM 530 AF module that has only 3 AF points. With the introduction of the D3000, Nikon has completely removed that AF system from its DSLRs. Instead, the D3000 uses the same Multi-CAM 1000 AF module that has 11 AF points as the D200, D90, D80, and D5000. As a result, all current Nikon DSLRs use either one of two AF modules: the Multi-CAM 3500 for the high end (D3X, D3, D700 and D300s) and the Multi-CAM 1000 for the consumer level. However, similar to the D40, D40x, D60 and D5000, the D3000 also has no built-in AF motor so that it can only auto focus with AF-S type lenses that have the motor in the lens.

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As you must have noticed by now, the D3000 shares a lot of its main components with the D200, which was a highly popular $1699 prosumer DSLR at the end of 2005. While the D3000 does not have the metal chassis, built-in AF motor, metering capability with no-CPU AI/AI-S lenses, and 5 fps as the D200 does, the D3000 uses a 3" LCD and has auto sensor cleaning that were not available as recently as three years ago. In a few short years, a lot of higher-end features are now available at the entry level; that is how far DSLRs have improved.

Where to Buy

Photo.net’s partners have the Nikon D3000 available in a few options. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.

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Features Compared: D5000, D3000, and D40

Feature D5000 D3000 D40
Sensor (all DX format) 4288×2848, 12MP CMOS 3872×2592, 10MP CCD 3008×2000, 6MP CCD
Sensitivity ISO 200-3200 + Hi 1, Lo 1 100-1600 + Hi 1 200-1600 + Hi 1
Auto Sensor Cleaning yes yes no
Auto Focus Multi-CAM 1000, 11 AF points Multi-CAM 1000, 11 AF points Multi-CAM 530, 3 AF points
Built-in AF Motor no no no
Shutter Speeds 30 to 1/4000 second 30 to 1/4000 second 30 to 1/4000 second
Flash Sync 1/200 second 1/200 second 1/500 second
Viewfinder 95% 95% 95%
Live View yes no no
HD Video yes no no
Frame Rate 4 fps 3 fps 2.5 fps
File Format RAW, JPEG fine, normal or basic, RAW + JPEG any size RAW, JPEG fine, normal or basic, RAW + JPEG basic RAW, JPEG fine, normal or basic, RAW + JPEG basic
LCD 2.7" 230K pixels, swivel 3" 230K pixels 2.5" 230K pixels
Weight (w/out Battery) 560 g 485 g 475 g

Official D3000 Press Release

MELVILLE, N.Y. (JULY 30, 2009) — Today, Nikon Inc. announced the D3000 digital SLR camera, an affordable answer for users looking to experience the superiority of digital SLR photography or enthusiasts seeking a capable, compact D-SLR. The 10.2-megapixel D3000 has features that make it easier than ever to take great pictures, including the new Guide Mode, which lends a smart helping hand to new D-SLR users, and an extensive Retouch Menu, enabling consumers to edit photos, even without a computer. The D3000, which offers an 11-point autofocus system, also leverages proven Nikon D-SLR technologies, including the exclusive EXPEED image processing, Active D-Lighting system and 3D Color Matrix Metering II, enabling entry-level D-SLR shooters to take stunning pictures.

“The D3000 combines the best of both worlds, providing picture takers with the ease-of-use currently offered in point-and-shoot cameras alongside the speed, precision and exceptional results that have made Nikon D-SLRs so popular,” said Edward Fasano, general manager for Marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “The D3000 offers everyone the ability to discover the superiority of D-SLR photography at an affordable price point. We look forward to enabling more consumers to explore the possibilities of D-SLR picture taking and, more importantly, capture life’s memories faithfully.”

Intuitive Assistance On-the-Fly

The D3000 includes the all-new Guide Mode with an easy-to-use interface to help new photographers build confidence in using a D-SLR with step-by-step instruction and inspiration. The Guide Mode, easily accessed by the Mode dial on the top of the camera, displays a variety of shooting situations via the LCD screen, indicating the most appropriate settings for a particular scenario. Users can also see sample photos on the LCD screen, which illustrate the effects of different photo-taking techniques. The Guide Mode also helps users easily review, organize and delete images.

Whether new to D-SLR photography or simply mastering new shooting techniques, the D3000’s Guide Mode assists users in exploring effective picture taking solutions at their own pace to make capturing great pictures even easier.

Small in Size, Big on Features

With elegant ergonomics, softly rounded corners, and a comfortable grip, the D3000 packs powerful technology into a compact form factor. Though the D3000 is tiny when compared to professional D-SLR cameras, it boasts a large, bright three-inch 230,000-dot LCD screen, and now features an easier-to-read font size, 20 percent larger than in previous Nikon D-SLRs.

Quick performance and response are at the core of the D3000’s design and its 11-point Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus system makes it easy to find and focus on a subject. Also, the D3000 offers split-second shutter response, eliminating the frustration of shutter lag, as well as the ability to capture images up to three frames per second, allowing users capture every moment. Users can enjoy the benefits of Nikon’s advanced 3D Subject Tracking, which continuously focuses on a fast moving subject throughout the frame.

The D3000 provides multiple ways for users to engage with their pictures, post capture. It uses Nikon’s extensive in-camera Retouch Menu, which allows users to easily apply a variety of fun and dramatic effects to their images even when away from a computer. The D3000 introduces a new Miniature effect, which changes the appearance of distant subjects to look like close-ups of miniature models. The D3000 also inherits the Soft Filter and Color Outline Retouch options from the D5000, allowing users to express their photography in a new and artistic way. As with all Nikon D-SLRs, the camera creates the new retouched image, while preserving the original.

For users who want to take their creativity to the next level, the D3000 also includes the ability to capture images in the NEF (RAW) format, in addition to traditional JPEG. Images captured with D3000 in the NEF (RAW) format include a greater amount of image data, which in turn, affords finer image control and higher uncompressed lossless image quality. With NEF (RAW) images, users can fine-tune the appearance of an image with simple adjustments to things like exposure, color saturation, brightness, and overall tone—especially in the post-production process. Users can use Capture NX 2, Nikon’s powerful image editing software, to achieve these desired effects.

Nikon extends the creativity with Stop-Motion Movie Mode. With this mode, users can choose a collection of images within the D3000’s Retouch Menu, and the camera then compiles and stitches them into a fun and creative video file.

Renowned Nikon Technology

The D3000 leverages proven Nikon technologies to create the most positive picture taking experience for consumers. The D3000 delivers highly detailed images with vibrant color reproduction and low noise across a broad ISO range, due to its 10.2-megapixel CCD image sensor coupled with Nikon’s exclusive Expeed image processing system. The D3000’s normal ISO range extends from ISO 100 to 1600, allowing for low light versatility. Additionally, the D3000’s ISO range can expand to a Hi-1 setting of ISO 3200, furthering the opportunities for shots that other cameras miss.

The D3000 also makes use of Nikon’s Active D-Lighting system, which automatically compensates to reveal veiled details in shadows and highlights in high-contrast situations. For instance, when selected, Nikon’s Active D-Lighting can improve the appearance of fine detail in a person’s face that was previously hidden in dark shadows or bring out the highlights in a beautifully backlit landscape.

Nikon’s exclusive 3D Color Matrix Metering II, in conjunction with the EXPEED image processing system, contributes to the D3000’s ability to capture breathtaking images by instantly evaluating the exposure elements of each scene and comparing it to an onboard database of information from more than 30,000 images. These split-second calculations allow the D3000 to ensure beautiful exposures—even when conditions are extreme.
The D3000 also incorporates Nikon’s Integrated Dust Reduction System, which offers a comprehensive solution that combats the accumulation of image-degrading dust from the camera’s image sensor. The system not only utilizes an active sensor cleaning function that activates whenever the camera is turned on or off, but also the Airflow Control System to redirect dust particles, limiting their ability to reach the sensor.

System Expandability

Photographers and enthusiasts alike can also appreciate the D3000’s system expandability, as the camera can work in conjunction with a variety of Nikon accessories, including a broad assortment of legendary Nikkor AF-S interchangeable lenses. While the D3000 offers a versatile built-in flash, the camera is also compatible with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System and capable of Advanced Wireless Lighting when using the SB-900 Speedlight or the SU-800 Wireless Commander.

The D3000’s design also supports Eye-Fi memory card functionality, enabling the convenient wireless transfer of images from the D3000 to a computer, when using Eye-Fi memory cards. Additionally, photos can be securely written to readily available SD cards, high-capacity SDHC cards and Eye-Fi memory cards, offering users a range of data storage options.

Where to Buy

Photo.net’s partners have the Nikon D3000 available in a few options. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.

  • nikon_d3000-kit-1
  • nikon_d3000-kit-2

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Original text ©2009 Shun Cheung.

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