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We got our hands on Nikon's new entry-level digital SLR, the D3000, and took it out into the wild where it won our hearts over with its nimble performance and compact size.

It may be bare-bones basic (no live view, no video recording), but that doesn't stop it from being an excellent step-up from a compact into the (not so) daunting world of digital SLR photography. Click through to see some of the pictures we've taken with the camera and read about its interesting features.

This is the beast itself. We've attached the really lovely 35mm f/1.8 AF-S Nikkor DX format lens to this baby (and really, we're not going back to kit lenses after using this one).

Photo by: CBSi

We know, we know, using a digital SLR if you're a newbie can be a bit scary but never fear, Nikon is here to allay any of your worries by including an extra segment on the mode dial called "Guide". Select this, and magic begins to happen...

Photo by: CBSi

This is the screen you'll be presented with when you start to use Guide mode. It takes you through the shooting options step by step, asking you what you want to take a photo of (in easy mode) and branching out into effects, such as blurring backgrounds and freezing movement (in advanced).

Photo by: CBSi

Seeing as the starting price for the D3000 is AU$999 with a kit 18-55mm lens, there's nothing really fancy in terms of connectivity here. HDMI? Pah! Just a standard video out and USB connection here.

Photo by: CBSi

The D3000 has an in-built miniature effect that tries to simulate what it's like shooting with a hugely expensive tilt-shift lens. This is one of the results. Not too bad, but a little gimmicky. It also saves the original, unedited picture alongside the altered version.

Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

Thanks to the 11 AF points (upgraded from just three on the D40), the D3000 had little difficulty picking the focus just where we wanted it to be. And that bokeh is just drool-worthy.

Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

Noise at ISO 1600 was pretty disappointing, with a significant amount of coloured specks appearing over the image. The 100 per cent crop is on the right.

Photo by: Alexandra Savvides/CBSi

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