Nikon D3000 review: Nikon D3000

A middle-of-the-pack performer, with the exception of very fast start-up times, the D3000 doesn't improve much on the D60. It's odd, because there's no increase in resolution and an improved AF system; I guess those extra AF points add precision but also add overhead without a compensating increase in processing power. That said, the D3000 isn't slow, just not as fast as category leaders like the Pentax K2000. It wakes and shoots in a zippy 0.2 second, and under bright conditions focuses and shoots in a solid 0.4 second; that increases to an average 0.8 second in dimmer conditions. It typically takes about 0.6 second for two sequential shots, increasing to 0.9 second when incorporating flash recycle time. It does fare relatively well at burst shooting, where it achieves a 3.0fps rate--adequate for moderately active kids and pets.

As for photo quality, by most metrics the D3000 fares very well for its class. In some ways, that's not hard: get the colors mostly right and do a decent job with noise suppression for midrange ISO sensitivities and you've already got a lot of them beat. Color, exposure, and sharpness (we tested with the 18-55mm VR kit lens) are generally very good and its noise profile looks better than most of its competitors, rendering usable images up to and including ISO 1,600, depending on scene content, of course.

If you're looking for a dSLR that piles on the features for a pittance, the D3000 probably isn't it. But if you want to make the step up from a point-and-shoot, the Nikon D3000 provides the right combination of newbie-friendly operation coupled with the performance and image quality that made you want to upgrade in the first place. But if you can stretch your budget a little, consider bumping up a class to the D5000: it has a more robust feature set, is noticeably faster and delivers better photo quality.

Shooting speed (in seconds)
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot  
Raw shot-to-shot time  
Shutter lag (dim light)  
Shutter lag (typical)  
Pentax K2000
0.7 
0.5 
0.5 
0.2 
Sony Alpha DSLR-A330/A230
0.4 
0.7 
0.6 
0.3 
Nikon D60
0.4 
0.5 
0.7 
0.4 
Nikon D3000
0.2 
0.6 
0.8 
0.4 
Canon EOS Rebel XS
0.2 
0.7 
0.8 
0.4 

Typical continuous-shooting speed (in fps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Nikon D3000
3 
Nikon D60
2.8 
Sony Alpha DSLR-A330/A230
2.4 

Editors' Top PicksSee All

  • Canon PowerShot SX600 HS

    Starting at: $58.99
    3.5 stars

    With its 18x zoom lens, simple straightforward automatic shooting, and built-in Wi-Fi,...

  • Nikon D3300

    Starting at: $496.95
    3.5 stars

    The company's latest entry-level model delivers the speed and photo quality you expect...

  • Samsung NX1

    Starting at: $1,499.00
    4 stars

    Fast, sturdy, well-designed and with excellent photo quality, the Samsung NX1 hits all...

  • Nikon D750

    Starting at: $1,459.00
    4 stars

    With an almost perfect combination of photo quality, features and performance for the...

 

Discuss Nikon D3000 (with 18mm-55mm and 55mm-200mm...

Conversation powered by Livefyre