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First Look: Nikon D3000
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First Look: Nikon D3000

3:01 /

Its feature set is basic even by entry-level standards, but the Nikon D3000 delivers the photo quality and performance you expect when stepping up to a dSLR, with an optional interface that's very newbie friendly.

[ Music ] >> Lori Grunin: Hi. I'm Lori Grunin, Senior Editor with CNET, and this is the Nikon D3000. The D3000 is Nikon's latest entry-level SLR. Replaces models like the D40 and the D60, and it's extremely similar to the D60 in a lot of ways. It's the same resolution, 10 megapixels, and it's similar body design. The controls are laid out in similar ways, and that's not bad. It's a very nice comfortable to handle SLR. One of the issues with this is it's got a pretty stripped down feature set. It doesn't have exposure bracketing, for instance, which almost every point and shoot has, and a lot of even entry-level SLR's have. What this does have is a very movie-friendly guide mode, which walks you through different types of shooting scenarios and tells you what the setting should be and suggestions and, and basically kind of trains you. Of course, for a lot of people, that's going to wear thin very quickly, but once you outgrow that, it's, you know, a fully-functioning digital SLR. When you are using it as a traditional digital SLR, you can use the interactive information display to change all your settings. I happen to like Nikon's layout for that. Nikon raised your options down the right side and the bottom, which makes it easier to find the setting that you're actually looking for although maybe not as easy to navigate. On the subject of navigation, the D3000 uses a multi-selector control that's very similar to the one on the D300S, and frankly, I don't like either one. There's not a lot of travel in the switch, and I'm never quite sure when the button press is registering. Among the things that differentiate entry-level SLR's from each other are the image quality and performance, and on that score, the D3000 does a pretty good job. It's not in the front of the pack, but it's not at the back either, and surprisingly, in some ways it's a little slower than the D60, which was a bit disappointing. It has an improved autofocus system with more points. So I kind of wonder if the overhead of the increased points which makes it more accurate may slow it down just a tad. The photo quality, though, is among the best in its class. It has what I think are fairly usable ISO1600 images, although you don't want to use that high an ISO sensitivity on a regular basis. The colors, while not terribly accurate, are very pleasing, and a lot of people will like them, and you do have the controls you need to dial back the vividness, and get a more natural look. Finally, if you're a rear view finder snob, you may or may not like the view finder on the D3000. It's kind of small, and the autofocus light is down on the left side so you really have to make sure your eye is pressed against the view finder in order to see it. Overall, the D3000 is a good camera if you're a newbie, and you want to try out the guided mode. But if you can spend a couple hundred dollars more, the D5000 is really a significantly better camera. It's faster, and it has better photo quality, and a lot more features. I'm Lori Grunin, and this is the Nikon D3000. [ Music ]

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