Why I decided to purchase a Nikon D3000
Recommend this product?
I had a 35mm slr camera that I used to use about 30yrs ago. I had wanted a digital one but they were always so expensive. Recently the prices came down so I decided to take the plunge. I started looking at them about a year ago and gradually settled into the nikon mainly because I felt it had the best quality view finder. Plus I liked how the camera felt in my hand.
I looked at them at Best Buy and other stores like Target. They were priced at around $500 which included the camera body, basic lens, battery charger and cap. it also has a built in flash and a very nice strap. It comes with a book with basic info on the camera but if you want more in depth info you really need to buy a field guide. If you want a case you will need to purchase it seperately.
I ended up getting my Nikon D3000 through Amazon.com for $450. This included tax and shipping was free. In my opinion this was an amazing deal for what I got.
If you are looking for a digital SLR that takes great pictures and is intuitive out of the box this is a great choice. I know there is a lot I can learn about the camera. You definitely do not need to be a trained photographer to use this camera.
It comes with a basic lens that does a little bit of zooming but not long range. It is easy to install and remove. The focusing of the lens if you are not using auto focus is a bit difficult. The tiniest movement can affect the focus. I would like a larger turning radius for focusing instead of the little movements that this one makes. In my opinion, this camera is designed to be used with the auto focus so if you really want to manually focus most of the time you might want to consider another camera.
You can purchase other lenses for this camera and I think I will get a zoom lens. I remember with my other SLR it was fun to take pictures of nature from a distance but get results like you are right there.
I did purchase some filters that simply screw on to the end of the lens. I got a whole set of close ups and some others for only $25. they do not work with the auto focus but I found it rather easy to use the manual focus with these
Update July 13, 2011 - I did purchase and review a Zoom Lens, click here to read my review of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Nikkor Lens
One thing to remember. If you are middle aged like I am and look through the viewfinder and its all blurry, this has to do with the need for reading glasses because your eye views the viewfinder as a close up even though you might be viewing something off in the distance. The focusing requires is up close. Anyway there is a little lever on the side of the viewfinder that is a diopter adjustment. Move this until the focus is the best it can be. This really stumped me when I was looking at the cameras until I figured this out.
How it works
The camera has a rechargable battery and needs an SD memory card. Charge your battery put in your card and remove the cap. look through the viewfinder at your subject.....press lightly on the button that takes the pictures and the camera will focus. You can zoon in or out by turning the lens. There are little dots inside the viewfinder that show you what you are focusing on. If you want to do your own focusing switch it to manual focus and you can turn the lens to focus it on your own. You can use a function that chooses whether you need the flash or not or put it on no flash. If a flash is needed it will automatically open up for use.
It really takes great pictures with our without the flash. I love that I can remove the SD card and put it right into my printer or laptop to print or share my pictures. Another nice thing about this camera is that it has onboard editing tools. You can crop and do some basic straightening and editing right in the camera.
One thing that this camera will not do is give you a live picture on the screen before you take a picture. This really is not necessary anyway though because you are looking through the viewfinder while taking your picture anyway. If you really want this feature then you need to upgrade to the nikon D5000 which has that plus it takes movies. It costs a bit more of course but if that is what you are looking for it might be worth considering.
I have not taken a ton of pictures yet but I have taken enough to be trully impressed with the quality of pictures you can get with absolutely no experience. Like I said it has many more features that you can access on this camera but these are the basics I have been able to figure out just from using the camera.
I charged my battery once and it stays charged even when not in use for days or weeks. I have not used it for more than a few minutes at a time, and have never noticed much of a drop in battery. My daughter took it out and was shooting pictures for an hour or so and it maybe used up 1/4 of the battery. So I guess if you were going to be shooting pictures non stop you might want to carry a second charged battery with you.
The Battery comes with a charger that plugs into any outlet and has indicators to let you know when it is fully charged. It takes about an hour to charge.
I am extremely happy with my purchase and we actually got one for our daughter when she came to stay with us for a few days and would disappear for hours with my camera.
Taking the picture
With an SLR camera it is not point and shoot so you can not expect to just whip it out and get an instant shot of anything you want. Each shot has to be set up and focused. Once you are sure you are in focus and you press the shutter release to take the photo though there is no hesitation. I have had other point and shoot cameras in the past that went through all kinds of stuff between when you pressed the button and when it actually took the picture.
Since you are doing the focusing before hand once you press the button to take the picture there is nothing else for the camera to do and it takes the picture that instant
Most of the pictures I have taken so far are of my animals or flowers etc around my yard. I have taken a few pictures outside and feel that I get my best shots on a cloudy day. This has been my experience with any camera though. Taking pictures in bright direct sunlight can be challenging in many situations. We have a pond behind our house so there are lots of interesting birds and creatures in the area. I am looking forward to getting the telephoto lens so I can sit on my deck and get photos of the blue heron and swans from a distance.
It comes with a built in flash that will open up while you are focusing if you are using it in the mode that will apply the flash as needed. When I have used it, it does do a good job but generally I prefer to not use it so I switched it to a mode that disables the flash. Even in low light this camera takes decent pictures compared to a point and shoot . Outdoors you will get amazing pictures. Inside with natural indoor lighting the quality to me is more natural without the flash but I guess it depends on what sort of pictures you are shooting. Using the flash does not tend to wash out the pictures with so much brightness like some cameras do. My point is that while I personally prefer to use natural lighting, if you so choose to brighten your subject with a flash, the built in flash is more than adequate and offers natural results.
Viewing pictures in the camera
The Nikon D3000 has a screen on the back that is about 3" wide. It is rather easy to view in the screen but of course it is rather small so it depends on your vision what you can actually view there. To me it is good enough to tell if it is a picture that I would be interested in printing or not. It is also clear enough to use some of the basic on board editing tools.
Picture quality and printing
I honestly think the Nikon D3000 takes pictures that require no editing as far as color is concerned. The colors look natural in the viewing screen and print out the same way. I suppose it would depend on the quality of your printer.
I have not printed any of the pictures larger than the standard 4x6 and have not sent any for professional printing. I have one of those little printers that only does 4x6 prints with the special ink system so you get professional quality. I have been extremely pleased with the pictures that I have printed.
The instructions do not cover every feature in much depth at all. It will give you basic set up and functions but if you want more in depth info about how to use the features you should probably get a field guide. We bought my daughter the dummys guide to the D3000 as it seemed to have the most info just about this camera
Resolution: 10.2 Megapixel
Light Sensitivity: ISO 3200, ISO 100-1600, ISO auto (100-1600)
Special Effects: Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Landscape, Portrait
Max Shutter Speed: 1/4000 sec
Min Shutter Speed: 30 sec
Exposure Metering: Center-weighted, spot, 3D color matrix II
Exposure Modes: Program, bulb, automatic, manual, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, i-TTL program flash
White Balance: Custom, automatic, presets
Still Image Format: JPEG, RAW + JPEG, NEF (RAW)
Continuous Shooting Speed: 3 frames per second
Optical Zoom: 3 x
Type: Zoom lens - 18 mm - 55 mm - f/3.5-5.6 G Nikon AF-S DX VR
Focal Length Equivalent to 35mm Camera: 27 - 82.5mm
Min Focus Range: 11 in
Lens Aperture: F/3.5-5.6
Lens System Mounting: Nikon F
Type: LCD display - TFT active matrix - 3" - color
SD memory card - not included
Flash Modes: Fill-in mode, rear curtain sync, slow synchro, auto mode, flash OFF mode, red-eye reduction
Features: AF illuminator, flash +/- compensation
Width: 5 in
Height: 3.8 in
Depth: 2.5 in
Weight: 17.1 oz
Viewfinder Magnification: 0.8x
Self Timer Delay: 10 sec, 2 sec, 5 sec, 20 sec
Direct print, USB 2.0 compatibility, date/time stamp, DPOF support, display brightness control, digital image rotation, camera orientation detection, PictBridge support, histogram display, AE lock, AF lock, cropping an image, text input to Exif header, in-camera red-eye fix, highlight point display, built-in help guide, Scene Recognition System (SRS)
Battery: 1 x Li-ion rechargeable battery ( included )
Connector Type: 1 x composite video output ¦ 1 x USB
Cables Included: USB cable
Included Accessories: Eyepiece cover, body cap, neck strap, eyecup, shoe cap
You can find more information at http://www.nikon.com/about/news/2009/0730_d3000_02.htm
If you decide to get this wonderful camera I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.
Read more product reviews on Nikon D Series D3000 10.2 MP Digital SLR Camera - Black (Kit w/ AF-S DX VR 18-55mm Lens)
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Amount Paid (US$): 450
This Camera is a Good Choice if You Want Something... Easy Enough for Anyone to Use