Nikon D3000 Review

 
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Nikon D3000 Performance


Timing and Performance

Average speed for an entry-level digital SLR.

Startup/Shutdown

Power on
to first shot

0.7 second

Time it takes for camera to turn on and take a shot.

Shutdown

2.4 seconds

How long it takes to turn off.

Buffer clearing time

3 seconds *
after 16 L/F JPEGs

Worst case buffer clearing time. -- This is the delay after a set of shots before you can remove the card. Some cameras won't shut down until the buffer is cleared.

6 seconds *
after 6 RAW frames
7 seconds *
after 6 RAW + JPEG frames

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times.

The Nikon D3000's startup time is about average for an SLR, but shutdown is quite slow (probably due to sensor cleaning). Buffer clearing time depends on the image size and quality, burst length and how fast the card can be written to.

 

Mode Switching

Play to Record,
first shot

0.4 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Record to Play

1.4 seconds

Time to display a large/fine file immediately after capture.

Display
recorded image

0.1 second

Time to display a large/fine file already on the memory card.

Mode switching is pretty fast for a consumer SLR: Play to record times were so fast as to be difficult to measure, though switching from Record to Play immediately after capturing an image was on the slow side.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)

Full Autofocus
Single Area (center) AF, Wide Angle

0.262 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with 18-55mm kit lens at wide angle).

Full Autofocus
Single Area (center) AF, Telephoto

0.259 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with 18-55mm kit lens at full telephoto).

Full Autofocus
Single Area AF, Flash enabled

0.287 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with 18-55mm kit lens at wide angle), Auto Flash enabled.

Full Autofocus
Auto Area AF,
Wide Angle

0.345 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture (with 18-55mm kit lens at wide angle).

Pre-focused

0.084 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Continuous AF
0.196 second
This mode usually shows no speed increase with our static subject; we have no way to measure performance with moving subjects.
Manual focus
0.187 second
For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "pre-focused."

The Nikon D3000's speed in determining that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times is about average for an entry-level SLR. The D3000 required about 0.26 second for full AF using the center focus point. Enabling the flash raised the lag to 0.287 second, which is pretty good, with very little delay added for the metering "preflash" there. Shutter lag increased to 0.35 second in auto-area AF mode. Continuous autofocus mode lag time was 0.196 second and manual focus was only slightly faster at about 0.187 second. When prefocused, shutter lag dropped to 0.084 second, pretty fast for a consumer SLR.

Cycle Time (shot-to-shot)
Single Shot mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.48 second

Time per shot, averaged over 20 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW

0.48 second

Time per shot, averaged over 6 shots.

Single Shot mode
RAW + JPEG

0.51 second

0.51 second for 6 shots.

Early shutter
penalty?

No
(Yes with Flash)

Some cameras refuse to snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous mode
Large Fine JPEG
0.33 second (2.99 frames per second);
16 frames total;
3 seconds to clear
0.33 seconds for the first 16 frames, then slows to an average of 0.42 second (2.36 fps) for subsequent shots.

Continuous mode
RAW

0.33 second (3.07 frames per second);
6 frames total;
6 seconds to clear

0.33 seconds for the first 6 frames, then slows to an average of 1.16 seconds (0.86 fps) for subsequent shots.

Continuous mode
RAW +
JPEG

0.34 second (2.96 frames per second);
6 frames total;
7 seconds to clear

0.34 seconds for the first 6 frames, then slows to an average of 1.36 seconds (0.74 fps) for subsequent shots.

Flash recycling

3.8 seconds

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a SanDisk Extreme III 8GB SDHC memory card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and other settings such as Advanced D-Lighting or NR can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Shot-to-shot cycle times were pretty good, at 0.48 seconds for large/fine JPEGs or RAW files, and 0.51 second for RAW + Basic JPEG frames. Continuous speed is about average for a consumer SLR these days, at about 3 frames per second for any quality. Buffer depths are pretty good for an entry-level model though, at 16 large/fine JPEG frames, 6 RAW frames and 6 RAW + Basic JPEG frames. (We use a difficult to compress target, so results with typical scenes should be better.) The flash takes 3.8 seconds to recharge after a full-power shot, which is pretty good.

 

Download speed

Windows Computer, USB 2.0

3,513 KBytes/sec

Typical Values:
Less than 600=USB 1.1;
600-769=USB 2.0 Low;
Above 770=USB 2.0 High

Connected to a computer or printer with USB 2.0, download speeds are good.

Bottom line, the Nikon D3000 is about average when it comes to autofocus, shutter lag and continuous mode performance. It should be fine for most family situations, including some limited action shots.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
Average battery life for a lithium-ion design.

Operating Mode Number of Shots
Optical Viewfinder,
(CIPA standard)
550

The Nikon D3000 uses a custom rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, and ships with a charger. Battery live is average, but we recommend you pick up a spare battery and keep it freshly charged and on-hand for extended outings.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of (on either a fresh set of disposable batteries or a fully-charged rechargeable battery as appropriate), based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

Storage
The Nikon D3000 accepts SD/SDHC memory cards, and no card is included with the camera.

Image Capacity with
1GB Memory Card
Fine Normal Basic RAW
3,872 x 2,592
Images
(Avg size)
134
7.6MB
264
3.9MB
520
2.0MB
58
17.7MB
Approx.
Compression
4:1
8:1
15:1
0.9:1
2,896 x 1,944
Images
(Avg size)
236
4.3MB
460
2.2MB
868
1.2MB
-
Approx.
Compression
4:1
8:1
14:1
-
1,936 x 1,296
Images
(Avg size)
520
2.0MB
976
1.0MB
1,738
589KB
-
Approx.
Compression
4:1
7:1
13:1
-

We strongly recommend buying a large capacity SD/SDHC card, at least a 2GB card, preferably a 4-8GB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings: 134 large/fine JPEGs on a 1GB card may sound like a lot, but you'll be surprised how quickly you can run through that many with a fun, responsive SLR, especially if you start shooting in continuous mode, taking photos of sports or other active subjects. Card speed will affect how fast the Nikon D3000's buffer clears after a burst of continuous shooting, but there's no video mode, so super high-speed cards aren't as necessary as on cameras that shoot video. (Check the shopping link above, cards are really cheap these days, so no reason to skimp.)

 

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Note: For details, test results, and analysis of the many tests done with this camera, please click on the tabs at the beginning of the review or below.

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