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Built like a Nikon

Overall, the D3000 is a comfortable camera to shoot with. Though not the lightest in its class, it doesn't feel as cheap and plasticky as many of its competitors.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Typical mode dial

Nikon offers the same set of mode options as most entry-level dSLRs, though Nikon goes a step further with its help system, offering a Guide mode that walks you through different types of shooting (see next slide).

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Guided shooting

The D300 has what could be considered a learning mode, which walks you through common shooting scenarios. There's Easy operation, which, like Auto, provides access to a limited number of options, as well as an Advanced mode (the second two screens), which describes the appropriate settings for the chosen scenario and then allows you to change the settings yourself. My one minor quibble with this is that the controls don't always function the same in this mode as when shooting normally; so, for example, here you'd adjust shutter speed with the up/down buttons on the multiselector, while you'd normally use the command dial to change the speed. This might confuse some people.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Screenshot by Sarah Tew/CNET
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You can set the function button to call up the self-timer, release mode, image quality, ISO sensitivity, white balance, or Active D-Lighting menus, as well as to toggle a grid display in the viewfinder.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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Interactive display

As has become common in entry-level to midrange dSLRs, you can adjust the most frequently used shooting settings via the back display. I find the D3000's layout for this very nice, though I'm not fond of the multiselector switch used to navigate it; it's like the one on the D300s, which feels kind of mushy and imprecise.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Sarah Tew/CNET
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