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Canon 500D vs Nikon D3000

The Canon EOS 500D (called Canon T1i in some regions) and the Nikon D3000 are two digital cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in March 2009 and July 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 15.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 10 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon 500D
versus
Nikon D3000
Canon 500D   Nikon D3000
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
15.1 MP – APS-C sensor 10 MP – APS-C sensor
1080/20p Video no Video
ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 12,800) ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0" LCD – 920k dots 3.0" LCD – 230k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.4 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
400 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 520 g 126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g
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Check D3000 offers at
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Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 500D and the Nikon D3000? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 500D and the Nikon D3000. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon 500D vs Nikon D3000
Compare 500D versus D3000 top
Comparison 500D or D3000 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D3000 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Canon 500D. However, the D3000 is slightly heavier (3 percent) than the 500D. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the 500D nor the D3000 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (500D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3000).

Concerning battery life, the 500D gets 400 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the D3000 can take 500 images on a single charge of its EN-EL9a power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 500D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 750D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 760D 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 1200D 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 480 g 500 n Feb 2014 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 116 mm 74 mm 66 mm 553 g 240 n Feb 2014 799ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 700D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 580 g 440 n Mar 2013 649ebay.com
8.
 
Canon 650D 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849ebay.com
9.
 
Canon G1 X 117 mm 81 mm 65 mm 534 g 250 n Jan 2012 799ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 600D 133 mm 100 mm 80 mm 570 g 440 n Feb 2011 599ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 550D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699ebay.com
12.
 
Canon 450D 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499ebay.com
Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D3000 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 25 percent) than the 500D, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

Sensor comparison

The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D3000 is 12 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (500D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon 500D and Nikon D3000 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 500D offers a higher resolution of 15.1 megapixels, compared with 10 MP of the Nikon D3000. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.69μm versus 6.11μm for the D3000). Moreover, it should be noted that the D3000 is a somewhat more recent model (by 4 months) than the 500D, and its sensor might have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units.

The resolution advantage of the Canon 500D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 500D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 23.8 x 15.8 inches or 60.4 x 40.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 19 x 12.7 inches or 48.3 x 32.2 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 15.8 x 10.6 inches or 40.2 x 26.8 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D3000 are 19.4 x 13 inches or 49.2 x 32.9 cm for good quality, 15.5 x 10.4 inches or 39.3 x 26.3 cm for very good quality, and 12.9 x 8.6 inches or 32.8 x 21.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS 500D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 6400, which can be extended to ISO 100-12800. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D3000 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-3200.

In terms of underlying technology, the 500D is build around a CMOS sensor, while the D3000 uses a CCD imager. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.

500D versus D3000 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon 500D APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
2.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
3.
 
Canon 750D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
4.
 
Canon 760D APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
5.
 
Canon 1200D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.911.372463
6.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II 1.5-inch 13.0 4160 31201080/30p21.510.858158
7.
 
Canon 700D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.268161
8.
 
Canon 650D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
9.
 
Canon G1 X 1.5-inch 14.2 4352 32641080/24p21.710.864460
10.
 
Canon 600D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.579365
11.
 
Canon 550D APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
12.
 
Canon 450D APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
13.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
14.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
15.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
16.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
17.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156

Many modern cameras cannot only take still pictures, but also record videos. The 500D indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D3000 does not. The highest resolution format that the 500D can use is 1080/20p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The 500D and the D3000 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the 500D has a higher magnification than the one of the D3000 (0.54x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 500D, the Nikon D3000, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Specifications
(inch/000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Max
Shutter
Speed *
Max
Shutter
Flaps *
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon 500Doptical n3.0 / 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4/s Y n
2.
 
Nikon D3000optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
3.
 
Canon 750Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
4.
 
Canon 760Doptical Y3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
5.
 
Canon 1200Doptical n3.0 / 460 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
6.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIoptional n3.0 / 1040 tilting Y 1/4000s 5.2/s Y Y
7.
 
Canon 700Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
8.
 
Canon 650Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0/s Y n
9.
 
Canon G1 Xoptical n3.0 / 922 swivel n 1/4000s 1.9/s Y Y
10.
 
Canon 600Doptical n3.0 / 1040 swivel n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
11.
 
Canon 550Doptical n3.0 / 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7/s Y n
12.
 
Canon 450Doptical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5/s Y n
13.
 
Nikon D3100optical n3.0 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
14.
 
Nikon D5000optical n2.7 / 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0/s Y n
15.
 
Nikon D60optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
16.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0/s Y n
17.
 
Nikon D40optical n2.5 / 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5/s Y n
Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.

Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the 500D and the D3000 write their files to SDHC cards.

Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 500D and Nikon D3000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Mic / Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon 500DYmono / mono--mini2.0---
2.
 
Nikon D3000Y- / ----2.0---
3.
 
Canon 750DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
4.
 
Canon 760DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon 1200DYmono / mono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Canon G1 X Mark IIYstereo / mono--mini2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon 700DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon 650DYstereo / monoY-mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon G1 XYstereo / mono--mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon 600DYmono / monoY-mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon 550DYstereo / -Y-mini2.0---
12.
 
Canon 450DY- / ---mini2.0---
13.
 
Nikon D3100Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
14.
 
Nikon D5000Ymono / mono--mini2.0---
15.
 
Nikon D60Y- / ----2.0---
16.
 
Nikon D40XY- / ----2.0---
17.
 
Nikon D40Y- / ----2.0---

Both the 500D and the D3000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The 500D was replaced by the Canon 550D, while the D3000 was followed by the Nikon D3100. Further information on the features and operation of the 500D and D3000 can be found, respectively, in the Canon 500D Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon D3000 Manual.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon 500D and the Nikon D3000? Which camera is better? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS 500D:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (15.1 vs 10MP) with a 23% higher linear resolution.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/20p movies.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.54x vs 0.53x).
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (920k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (3.4 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been on the market for longer (launched in March 2009).

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3000:

  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (500 versus 400) out of a single battery charge.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (25 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Was introduced somewhat (4 months) more recently.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 500D emerges as the winner of the contest (6 : 3 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

500D 06:03 D3000

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 500D and the Nikon D3000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the 500D and the D3000 in practical situations. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DCW 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon 500D..+ +..74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799ebay.com
2.
 
Nikon D3000..+..72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599ebay.com
3.
 
Canon 750D5/5....75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749ebay.com
4.
 
Canon 760D5/5+..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649ebay.com
5.
 
Canon 1200D3/5+....4/54.5/5 Feb 2014 449ebay.com
6.
 
Canon G1 X Mark II3/5+..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2014 799ebay.com
7.
 
Canon 700D......76/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2013 649ebay.com
8.
 
Canon 650D4/5+ +..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849ebay.com
9.
 
Canon G1 X5/5+..76/1004/54.5/5 Jan 2012 799ebay.com
10.
 
Canon 600D3/5o..77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2011 599ebay.com
11.
 
Canon 550D..+ +..77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699ebay.com
12.
 
Canon 450D..+ +..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799ebay.com
13.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +..72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599ebay.com
14.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +..75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749ebay.com
15.
 
Nikon D60..80/100..+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629ebay.com
16.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100..+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729ebay.com
17.
 
Nikon D40..81/100..+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499ebay.com
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

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Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon 500D vs Nikon D3000

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon 500D Nikon D3000
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date March 2009 July 2009
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Canon 500D Nikon D3000
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.3 x 14.9 mm 23.6 x 15.8 mm
    Sensor Area 332.27 mm2 372.88 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.8 mm 28.4 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 15.1 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4752 x 3168 pixels 3872 x 2592 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 4.69 μm 6.11 μm
    Pixel Density 4.53 MP/cm2 2.69 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 1080/20p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 12,800 ISO 100 - 3,200 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 4 EXPEED
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 63 62
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.7 22.3
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.5 11.1
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 663 563
    Screen Specs Canon 500D Nikon D3000
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x 0.53x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 920k dots 230k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon 500D Nikon D3000
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3.4 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy100 000 actuations100 000 actuations
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards SDHC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon 500D Nikon D3000
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon 500D Nikon D3000
    Battery Type LP-E5 EN-EL9a
    Battery Life (CIPA)400 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    126 x 97 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    Camera Weight 520 g (18.3 oz) 536 g (18.9 oz)
    logo
    Check 500D offers at
    ebay.com
    logo
    Check D3000 offers at
    ebay.com

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