First things first: if you're a total beginner when it comes to photography, the D3000 is for you. While other cameras such as the Sony A330 offer hints as you switch between modes, the D3000 is the only DSLR to offer a full-blown wizard.
Flick the shooting mode wheel to Guide and you're offered Shoot, View/Delete and Set Up options on the 3in screen. Select Shoot and you can choose the type of subject, such as Distant or Portrait, and the D3000 changes its settings automatically.
What's more, if you switch to one of the manual modes and press the help button, the D3000 will meter the scene and feed back information; if you're somewhere dark, for instance, it will advise you to pop the manually operated flash.
The positives continue with image quality. Along with Canon, Nikon takes this month's prize for controlling noise at high ISO speeds, and the D3000 goes all the way to ISO 3200.
Even at that level, our images were just about bearable. At lower ISOs, the D3000 was beyond reproach. We also appreciate the optically stabilised 18-55mm lens.
There are a few drawbacks, including a lack of controls on the body. Where the Canon 1000D comes with dedicated buttons for white balance and ISO adjustment, the Nikon forces you to activate the Info screen, then scroll to the setting you want to change.
Unlike the Canon or Sony cameras, the four-way pad on the back doesn't work as a set of shortcut buttons.
Slightly more experienced users will lament the lack of any kind of bracketing; exposure bracketing is particularly useful for those getting to grips with manual shutter speeds. And for a camera that prides itself on ease of use, it's strange not to see a Live View mode.
However, the D3000's biggest problem is its price. At $1000 it's more expensive than the Sony A330, and it isn't much cheaper than the D5000, which has more features, is quicker, and offers HD video recording.
The D3000 is still a great camera, and if you can find it for less it's worth a look. But at this price, it compares poorly to the rest of the field.