First time DSLR users will enjoy the Guide Mode. It literally walked us through different shoot scenarios via the fixed 3" LCD screen. An excellent tool, its step by step instructions allowed my niece to move from the operating booklet in no time. After a few more runs, I am sure that she will feel quite comfortable shooting in the manual mode. The quick shutter release was a nice surprise.
Upon completing two days of shooting with the Nikon D3000, I walked away impressed. In manual mode, indoor shots were a balanced and perfect mix of shadow and color. As usual with shooting in low light, noise will make an appearance. However this system can be tweaked to deliver some outstanding indoor photographs. The bottom line is proper settings.
A basic fix is the VR (Vibration Reduction) feature located on the lens. This should be activated, especially indoors. A tripod will certainly help. In auto mode, just set the camera to night portrait and sit back and enjoy the rest of your flight.
Outdoor shots were vibrant, sharp and rich in color without editing. The onboard flash system was more than capable in meeting fill flash requirements. Without a doubt the overall performance of the camera, features and image quality is excellent.
With 10.2 megapixels to work with, I easily blew up a personal favorite my niece had taken to 16" x 20". Even though I don't see myself trading in my Nikon D3000 for this model anytime soon, this camera is by far an upgrade over any of the souped up point and shoots out there.
Its easy to see that the real jewel in this model is the auto focus system. With six auto mode settings (Landscape, Sports, Child, Closeups, Portrait, and Night Portrait) each and every photograph can be a keeper. Onboard editing tweakers won't be disappointed with this model. It covers the basics. The D3000 operates with both SD & SDHC cards.
The Nikon D3000 is paired with a Nikkor 18-55mm AF-S DX lens. It will operate with any Nikkor DX and AF-S lens. Older Nikkor or similar AF lens is a no go when shooting in auto but will function in manual mode. Since this model is not fitted with the built in optical image stabilizer, I recommend switching on the Vibration Reduction (VR) feature located on the lens. Still the best anti vibration tool is a tripod.
Nikon makes it really simple with a thumb dial for tweaking aperture and shutter speed. Metering, focus modes, and exposure compensation are easily controlled via the menu. The D3000 does not shoot in video mode. This model easily shoots over three frames per second in continuous mode. The 3D tracking sensor operates quite well in low lighting.
The Nikon D3000 camera kit comes packaged with a EN/EL3e Li-ion battery, charger, USB cable, video cable. strap, eye cap, eye cup, software CD-ROM, 18-55mm Nikkor lens, lens cap, instruction booklet and a one year Nikon warranty.
Coming out of the gate, I still find this model a little pricey for a basic DSLR. I am sure heading into the fall and holidays buyers will begin to see a noticeable price drop. Even so, the D3000 is a fine tuned replacement for the immensely popular entry level Nikon D40. Newcomers to the DSLR community will certainly enjoy this outstanding alternative.