Nikon D3000 – DSLR vs High End P&S

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A new addition to my Nikon collection is the Nikon D3000. Why did I get the D3000? It was on sale with a very attractive price tag and I was looking for a smaller camera. In fact, the twin lens kit was cheaper than a G11 :D. Having been using Nikon D700 for quite some time,  certainly it didn’t take too long to notice what’s missing on the D3000. However, it is not really fair to compare a D3000 with a D700 which costs three times as much. There are so many detailed D3000 reviews on the internet, so I won’t need to repeat it here, but leave you with some quick thoughts if you are choosing between an entry level DSLR and compact camera (P&S) like the G11 and LX3.
  Entry level DSLR

High end P&S (G11/LX3)
Image Quality Far better on DSLR, you will notice the difference. See sensor size Adequate if you are not pixel peeking
Size Small enough to give a decent grip of the camera, but it is not something to carry to everywhere Much smaller, possible to store in jacket pocket or purse
High ISO Noticeable noise @ ISO1600 Noticeable noise @ ISO400
AF Response Noticeably much faster Adequate for those snapshots, anything more will be frustrating
Functionality Has all the main functions, access to these function usually through the menu system. Has less customise features than the D700 Has all the main functions, but usually require to fiddle with the menu system using the small camera buttons
Flash The onboard flash is much more powerful and with the possibility to add a proper flash such as SB-600, the combination should get you through a lot of places. Onboard lash power is limited ,until you add a specific design external flash
Lens The 18-55mm kit lens has an aperture of f/3.5-5.6 and an equivalent focal length of 27mm on the wide side. Even though it is 1.5 stop slower, DSLR offers much less noise on higher ISO. Not to mention it has a dedicated zoom ring. Usually equip with a fast wide angle lens, eg: 24mm f/2 on a LX3
Build Quality Solidly build but probably won’t pass a drop test Solidly build but probably won’t pass a drop test
Nikon D3000

Panasonic LX3

Panasonic DMC-LX3 

Here the smallest meets the biggest, Nikon D3000 with the 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII
The smallest meets the biggest
The twin lens kit comes with a 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR and 55-200 f/3.5-5.6 VR. Below shows a size comparison of the kit lenses to the professional lenses of similar focal length. They are (left to right)
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII
Nikon 55-200mm f/3.5-5.6
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 18-55mm f/2.5-5.6
What about micro four thirds Olympus EP2 or Panasonic GF1? They are good cameras (probably up to ISO800) but their price tags are still high at the moment. After all, even iphones take great pictures sometimes 😀

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About Kent Yu

Kent is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He and his team specialise in modern and contemporary weddings. Kent has his work published in international magazines and is a regular author to a number of photographic publication. He is fascinated by photographic equipment and enjoys showcasing the gear used in creating his images. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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