Nikon D3000, new entry-level SLR

Unsurprisingly, Nikon's replacement for the D40, the D3000, is faster with higher resolution.

Nikon USA

It's had a loooong run, but now it's over; the Nikon D40, which the company unveiled in November 2006, is finally being put out to pasture. That's a pretty good lifespan for a consumer dSLR, and I'm sure Nikon is hoping that its replacement, the D3000--announced today along with the D300's replacement, the D300s and a pair of lens updates--can match or surpass its popularity.

The body remains mostly unchanged from the D40, but as you'd expect, Nikon beefs up some of the performance and features aspects of the camera, including a much-needed update of the AF system, which includes behind-the-scenes face detection. Other improvements inherited from across the line include enhanced air flow for improved dust reduction and better midtone correction in the Active D-Lighting.

Here's how the D3000's specs compare with its predecessor and its up-the-line sibling, the D5000:

 Nikon D40Nikon D3000Nikon D5000
Sensor (effective resolution)6.1-megapixel CCD10.2-megapixel CCD12.3-megapixel CMOS
23.7mm x 15.6mm23.6 mm x 15.8mm23.6mm x 15.8mm
Sensitivity rangeISO 200 - ISO 1600ISO 100 - ISO 1600/3200 (expanded)ISO 100 (expanded)/200 - ISO 1600/3200 (expanded)
Continuous shooting2.5 fps
n/a
3 fps
n/a raw/100+ JPEG (medium/fine)
4 fps
9 raw/100 JPEG (medium/fine)
Viewfinder
magnification/effective magnification
95% coverage
0.80x/0.53x
95% coverage
0.80x/0.53x
95% coverage
0.78x/0.52x
Autofocus3-pt AF
n/a
11-pt AF
center cross-type to f5.6
11-pt AF
center cross-type to f5.6
Live ViewNoNoYes
VideoNoNo720p at 24fps
LCD size2.5 inches fixed
230,000 dots
3 inches fixed
230,000 dots
2.7 inches articulated
230,000 dots
Shutter durabilityn/a100,000 cycles100,000 cycles
Battery life (CIPA rating)470 shotsn/a510 shots
Dimensions (inches, WHD)5.0 x 3.7 x 2.55.0 x 3.8 x 2.55.0 x 4.1 x 3.1
Body operating weight (ounces)18.518.3 (estimated)21.6
Mfr. Price$499.95 (with 18-55mm non-VR lens)$599.95 (with 18-55mm VR lens)$729.95 (body only)

As has become common among the various entry-level lines, Nikon distinguishes between the D5000 and D3000 via video capture and the flip-down LCD. The D3000 retains the older viewfinder, which may possibly be better than that in the D5000. However, as we've seen a lot lately, it's also following the trend of incorporating the larger, but same-resolution, LCDs, for a resulting coarser display.

Compared to its competition:

 Pentax K2000Sony Alpha DSLR-A230Nikon D3000Canon EOS Rebel XS
Sensor (effective resolution)10.2-megapixel CCD10.2-megapixel CCD10.2-megapixel CCD10.1-megapixel CMOS
23.5mm x 15.7mm23.5mm x 15.7mm23.6x15.8mm22.2mm x 14.8mm
Magnification factor1.5x1.5x1.5x1.6x
Sensitivity rangeISO 100 - ISO 3200ISO 100 - ISO 3200ISO 100 - ISO 1600/3200 (expanded)ISO 100 - ISO 1,600
Continuous shooting3.5fps
4 raw/5 JPEG
2.5fps
n/a
3 fps
n/a raw/100+ JPEG (medium/fine)
3fps
5 raw/unlimited JPEG
Viewfinder
magnification/effective magnification
96% coverage
0.85x/0.57x
95% coverage
0.83x/0.55x
95% coverage
0.80x/0.53x
95% coverage
0.81x/0.51x
Autofocus5-pt AF
n/a
9-pt AF
n/a
11-pt AF
center cross-type to f5.6
7-pt AF
n/a
Live ViewNoNoNoYes
VideoNoNoNoNo
Built-in wireless flash controllerYesYesNoNo
LCD size2.7 inches fixed
230,000 dots
2.7 inches fixed
230,400 dots
3 inches fixed
230,000 dots
2.5 inches fixed
230,000 dots
Battery life (CIPA rating)n/a510 shotsn/a500 shots
Dimensions (inches, WHD)4.8 x 3.6 x 2.75.0 x 3.8 x 2.75.0 x 3.8 x 2.55.0 x 3.8 x 2.4
Body operating weight (ounces)20.718.318.3 (estimated)17.6
Mfr. Price$499.95 (with 18-55mm lens)$549.99 (with 18-55mm lens)$599.95 (with 18-55mm lens)$599.99 (with 18-55mm lens)

The AF system, which has trickled down from the D90, should be a real strength for the D3000. Otherwise, there's nothing here which screams "I'm the must-have model" it its price segment, especially since Canon's overdue with its Rebel XS replacement, making it a bit of a wild card. Like Sony, Nikon has put some work into redefining the interface for the entry-level market, including a new Guide Mode, which holds your hand and walks you through the settings for different photographic challenges. it also adds some in-camera-playtime features like stop-motion settings and a Miniature effect (which simulates tilt/shift). Plus Nikon added a date stamp, though--I beg of you--please don't add a permanent stamp to your photos unless you're in insurance or crime scene investigation. Learn to read EXIF data, people.

The D3000 will be available in late August, just in time for your back-to-school purchasing pleasure.

Featured Video
6
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

Is a 12.9-inch iPad Pro coming soon?

Apple may be getting ready to unveil the iPad Pro, iPad Mini 4 and a new Apple TV. Also, Google's Nexus refresh starts Sept. 29 and Tesla announces pricing on the Model X SUV.

by Jeff Bakalar