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Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-400

The Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-400 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2009 and September 2006. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D3000) and a Four Thirds (E-400) sensor. Both cameras offer a resolution of 10 megapixels.

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

Headline Specifications
Nikon D3000
versus
Olympus E-400
Nikon D3000   Olympus E-400
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
10 MP, APS-C Sensor 10 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
no Video no Video
ISO 100-1,600 (100 - 3,200) ISO 100-1,600
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 215k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3 shutter flaps per second 3 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge500 shots per battery charge
126 x 97 x 64 mm, 536 g 130 x 91 x 53 mm, 435 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-400? 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 physical size and weight of the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-400 are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. 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 Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-400
Compare D3000 versus E-400 top
Comparison D3000 or E-400 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-400 is somewhat smaller (3 percent) than the Nikon D3000. Moreover, the E-400 is markedly lighter (19 percent) than the D3000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D3000 nor the E-400 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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D3000) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-400).

The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons 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.
 
Nikon D3000 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599 i
2.
 
Olympus E-400 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Sep 2006 699 i
3.
 
Fujifilm X100 126 mm 75 mm 54 mm 445 g 300 n Sep 2010 1,199 i
4.
 
Nikon D3200 125 mm 96 mm 77 mm 505 g 540 n Apr 2012 599 i
5.
 
Nikon D3100 124 mm 96 mm 75 mm 505 g 550 n Aug 2010 599 i
6.
 
Nikon D5000 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749 i
7.
 
Nikon D60 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629 i
8.
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299 i
9.
 
Nikon D40X 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729 i
10.
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499 i
11.
 
Olympus E-450 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2009 499 i
12.
 
Olympus E-420 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 440 g 500 n Mar 2008 599 i
13.
 
Olympus E-410 130 mm 91 mm 53 mm 435 g 500 n Mar 2007 699 i
14.
 
Olympus E-510 136 mm 92 mm 68 mm 538 g 750 n Mar 2007 799 i
15.
 
Olympus E-500 130 mm 95 mm 66 mm 479 g 750 n Sep 2005 599 i
16.
 
Panasonic L10 135 mm 96 mm 78 mm 556 g 450 n Aug 2007 599 i
Notes: 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 14 percent) than the E-400, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. 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. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D3000 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-400 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-400 is 40 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D3000 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-400 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-400 sensor measures

Even though the D3000 has a larger sensor, both cameras offer the same resolution of 10 megapixels. This implies that the D3000 has a lower pixel density and larger individual pixels (with a pixel pitch of 6.11μm versus 4.74μm for the E-400), which gives it a potential advantage in terms of light gathering capacity. In addition, the D3000 is much more recent (by 2 years and 10 months) than the E-400, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time.

The Nikon D3000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600, which can be extended to ISO 100-3200. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus E-400 are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).

D3000 versus E-400 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. 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 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.
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.1563 62
2.
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none...... ..
3.
 
Fujifilm X100 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/30p22.912.41001 73
4.
 
Nikon D3200 APS-C 24.1 6016 40001080/30p24.113.21131 81
5.
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.3919 67
6.
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.5868 72
7.
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.4562 65
8.
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.5977 73
9.
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.4516 63
10.
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.0561 56
11.
 
Olympus E-450 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.5512 56
12.
 
Olympus E-420 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.510.4527 56
13.
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.0494 51
14.
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.0442 52
15.
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none...... ..
16.
 
Panasonic L10 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.310.8429 55
Neither the D3000 nor the E-400 offer Live View, so that they cannot project the live image that the sensor receives onto the rear screen. Moreover, both cameras are still-image focused and cannot record videos.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D3000 and the E-400 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 D3000 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-400 (0.53x vs 0.46x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-400 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
2.
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
3.
 
Fujifilm X1001440 n 2.8 460 fixed n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
4.
 
Nikon D3200optical n 3.0 921 fixed n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
5.
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
6.
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
7.
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
8.
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
9.
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
10.
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
11.
 
Olympus E-450optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
12.
 
Olympus E-420optical n 2.7 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
13.
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
15.
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
16.
 
Panasonic L10optical n 2.5 207 swivel n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n

The D3000 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-400 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-400 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D3000 only has one slot.

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 Nikon D3000 and Olympus E-400 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
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
2.
 
Olympus E-400Y-----2.0---
3.
 
Fujifilm X100Ystereo---mini2.0---
4.
 
Nikon D3200YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
5.
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
6.
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
7.
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
8.
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
10.
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
11.
 
Olympus E-450Y-----2.0---
12.
 
Olympus E-420Y-----2.0---
13.
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
14.
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
15.
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
16.
 
Panasonic L10Y-----2.0---

Both the D3000 and the E-400 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-400 was replaced by the Olympus E-410, while the D3000 was followed by the Nikon D3100. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D3000 or the Olympus E-400 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.

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Reasons to prefer the Nikon D3000:

  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.53x vs 0.46x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced segment (14 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More modern: Reflects 2 years and 10 months of technical progress since the E-400 launch.

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Advantages of the Olympus E-400:

  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 101g or 19 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2006).

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D3000 is the clear winner of the match-up (8 : 3 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D3000 08:03 E-400

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D3000 and the Olympus E-400 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 comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D3000 or the E-400 perform in practice. 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 where reviews by experts come in. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], 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 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Nikon D3000..+72/1004/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599 i
2.
 
Olympus E-400..85/100..4/54/5 Sep 2006 699 i
3.
 
Fujifilm X1003/5..75/1004/55/5 Sep 2010 1,199 i
4.
 
Nikon D32005/5+ +73/1004.5/54.5/5 Apr 2012 599 i
5.
 
Nikon D31005/5+ +72/1004.5/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599 i
6.
 
Nikon D5000..+ +75/1004/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749 i
7.
 
Nikon D60..80/100+ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 629 i
8.
 
Nikon D90..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299 i
9.
 
Nikon D40X..79/100+ +4/54/5 Mar 2007 729 i
10.
 
Nikon D40..81/100+ +o4.5/5 Nov 2006 499 i
11.
 
Olympus E-450......4/54/5 Mar 2009 499 i
12.
 
Olympus E-420..85/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2008 599 i
13.
 
Olympus E-410..86/100+ +4/54.5/5 Mar 2007 699 i
14.
 
Olympus E-510..89/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Mar 2007 799 i
15.
 
Olympus E-500..76/100+ +.... Sep 2005 599 i
16.
 
Panasonic L10..85/100+3.5/54/5 Aug 2007 599 i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

Nikon D3000:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-400:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D3000 vs Olympus E-400

    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 Nikon D3000 Olympus E-400
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date July 2009 September 2006
    Launch Price USD 599 USD 699
    Sensor Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-400
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 10 Megapixels 10 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3872 x 2592 pixels 3648 x 2736 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 6.11 μm 4.74 μm
    Pixel Density 2.69 MP/cm2 4.44 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video no Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    ISO Boost 100 - 3,200 ISO no Enhancement
    Image Processor EXPEED TruePic
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 62 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.3 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 11.1 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 563 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-400
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.46x
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-400
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 3 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Built-in Flash Built-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-400
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D3000 Olympus E-400
    Battery Type EN-EL9a BLS-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge500 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 126 x 97 x 64 mm
    (5.0 x 3.8 x 2.5 in)
    130 x 91 x 53 mm
    (5.1 x 3.6 x 2.1 in)
    Camera Weight 536 g (18.9 oz) 435 g (15.3 oz)

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