Thursday, July 8, 2010

D3000 Review

Calling this a review is a bit of an overstatement. I just felt like talking about my one year experience with the D3000.

Personally the D3000 is a wonderful starter DSLR

It is great because it's small, light, and really easy to use.
I bought mine back when it first came out for around $600. Looking back on that now, it was a steep price to pay for this camera. But today (2010) the D3000 is going for around 400 which is only slightly more expensive than higher end point-n-shoots.

The main positive for this camera is its size and weight. It doesn't hinder you and allows you to move around and compose your shots. It feels only slightly heavier than a larger point-n-shoot, yet doesn't feel cheap. The body itself was built with a beginner in mind. The Camera takes away all the controls that may confuse a beginner and lets you take shots. If you need to change something, the menus are intuitive and allow quick access to everything you need.

  • The graphical interface, along with its menu system make the transition from Point-n-Shoot's to DSLR easy. Using pictures and helpful messages to teach what the different parts of the camera do.
    (The best example is on the main Info screen where it shows what aperture the lens is set to. right next to the aperture number is a picture showing how wide open the lens is.)
  • The 18-50 mm VR zoom lens that comes with it is a great starter lens offering sharp photos with Vibration Reduction which will help with night photos.
  • It's a feather weight. (slightly smaller and lighter than the D40)
    Yet it doesn't feel cheap like some of the lower end Canon's feel
    Its so light i never needed a camera bag, i just brought it with me everywhere i went.
  • 11 point Auto Focus means that pretty much anything you want to shoot will fall into at least one of those focus points. (unlike the three on the D40)

(before i list the cons of the Camera, i will say that a lot of these points are moot because this is a starter DSLR and many of these cons wouldn't matter to the target demographic)
  • Will not auto-focus with older lenses without the internal motor
    Honestly, most lenses that people consider buying (like the Nikkor 35mm f/1.8) have internal focusing motors so beginners should really ignore this fault.
  • No Video
    For some people this is important, but i could careless if it has video or not. My D90 has video and i don't use it, even if i did, i can't use it for longer than 20 minutes at a time. Just use your DSLR as a DSLR and don't worry about video.
  • No Live View
    This is the option that allows you to use your LCD instead of the the view finder. I get the feeling that this is just coming off of Point-n-shoots. I prefer the view finder (its more fun to use the view finder anyways)
  • Problems with noise at high ISO
    This is my only real complaint with the D3000.
    your range of Usable ISO is between 100 and 800. many photos are too grainy at 1600 and basically either forces you to get faster lenses, use JPG and drop the megapixel count, or use noise reduction software if you plan on taking night photos at ISO 1600. (don't even consider 3200) I have noticed that noise is pretty acceptable if you drop the saturation.

Ultimately as a cheap option to get beginners into the door of DSLR photography, the D3000 is a great choice. If some of you are worried about noise and plan on taking a lot of night photos, i would recommend getting the great Nikkor 35mm f/1.8. Its ability to open the lens up to 1.8 pretty much negates the issue of needing ISO 1600. Even if you had better a camerawhich can handle higher ISO, you should still get a fast lens like the 35mm f/1.8. because of the freedom it affords you.

So don't worry about Noise, or lens that won't focus with the D3000. If you are starting out and considering moving to a DSLR but are turned off by the High prices of DSLR's like a $700 D90, get the D3000.
Because of Ken Rockwell's negative review for this camera, lots of people have been staying away from the D3000. which has led to huge price drops.

refurbished  D3000 (just the body, no lens) is $299 at Adorama
Refurbished Body with Lens for about $400
Brand new D3000 sells for about $500 at Adorama

If you ask me, the best options seems to be to get the $299 Body and a 35mm f/1.8 for 200 dollars. You wouldn't need to deal with the kit lens you will probably end up replacing anyways.

Ultimately i did end up upgrading to a D90 because i ventured into several older lenses that wouldn't autofocus with the D3000. But really, it's its not necessary to get great shots. Even with a point-n-shoot you can take great photos, so with a D3000 you are given just the right tools to open your mind.

Happy Shooting ^__^

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