Nikon’s new D3000 is its newest addition to the DX-format DSLR family. It appears to be aimed at the first time DSLR owner with the offering of a Guide mode, which aids new users with step-by-step assistance when needed. This assists users in choosing shooting modes for a variety of situations and, if they choose, lets them explore advanced photographic techniques. The guide mode is accessed by the program dial on the top of the camera and displays a variety of shooting situations via the LCD screen, indicating the most appropriate setting for a particular scenario. There are also sample photos, which illustrate the effects of different photo-taking techniques.
For those counting megapixels, the D3000 has 10.2 – which bucks the trend of going higher and higher, but which is perfectly fine except, perhaps, for some pro applications. Yet, because it features Nikon’s EXPEED digital image processing system (which I consider one of, if not the best), it should deliver incredible results.
Nikon’s 3D Colour Matrix Metering II, in conjunction with EXPEED, instantly evaluates the exposure elements of each scene and compares it to an onboard database of information from more than 30,000 images. To quote the boys from M*A*S*H, “finest kind.”
Extending the D3000’s performance is Nikon’s Scene Recognition System; Active D-Lighting, which automatically compensates to reveal veiled details in shadows and highlights in high-contrast situations; the aforementioned 3D Colour Matrix Metering II; 11-point Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus; and Advanced 3D Subject Tracking, which continuously focuses on a fast-moving subject throughout the frame.
The D3000’s normal ISO range extends from ISO 100 to 1600, and it can expand to a Hi 1 setting of ISO 3200.
The In-Camera Retouch Menu allows users to apply a variety of fun and dramatic effects to their images. The D3000 introduces a new Miniature effect, which changes the appearance of distant subjects to look like close-ups of miniature models. It also inherits the Soft Filter and Colour Outline Retouch options from the D5000. As with all Nikon digital SLRs, the camera creates the new retouched image, while saving the original.
The D3000 also includes the ability to capture images in the NEF (RAW) format, in addition to traditional JPEG.
The D3000 also incorporates Nikon’s Integrated Dust Reduction System, which combines an active sensor-cleaning function that activates whenever the camera is turned on or off, with the Airflow Control System to direct dust away from the sensor.
The D3000 will be available late August.
(An update, Aug. 28: D3000 with AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR Lens, suggested list [rice is $639.95.)