>.... Was a bit disappointed that the model was replaces so fast and >it being described as the "Nikons worst DSLR ever".
The D3000 is a very capable body. More so considering it is an entry level DSLR. It is actually much more capable than the Pro film bodies from the 1980's and 90's. I have never heard that it was considered Nikons worst DSLR ever. I would consider the source of that evaluation suspect at best. The IQ produced by the D3000 is better than the IQ produced by the D70s and D200, and neither of those bodies is considered less than excellent.
>I used the camera and nikkor 18-55. Bought the 18-200 wanted a >one lens does all but not very happy with the combination. >Photos are now darker than before.
Did you inadvertantly dial in any negitive Exposure Compensation or negitive Flash Compensation?
>When using the flash I now get a shadow from the lens.
You must have the zoom set to 24mm or wider and or you are using the lens hood. The 18-200mm will cause a shadow when used with the built-in Speedlight at focal lengths 24mm and wider or when the lens hood is on the lens. See page 160 in the D3000 Users Manual.
Using a Speedlight like the SB-600 or SB-700 will prevent this problem.
>I would like to do more adventurous things than just using the >Auto Mode, bought the Nikon D3000 for Dummies...yeah I know >not very original.
As stated above, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson will help get you up and running in Manual exposure mode.
>Would appreciate advise on how to move from Auto Mode and >which camera to upgrade to the D5100 or D7000 or wait for the >D5200.
Again; Read Understanding Exposure. Your D3000 should be more than enough camera to get you up and running in Manual exposure mode. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!