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Nikon D5000 Gordon Laing, June 2009

Nikon D5000 results : Real-life resolution / Studio resolution / Noise vs 500D / T1i & E-620 / Noise vs D90


Studio resolution: Nikon D5000

 

To measure and compare the Nikon D5000's resolving power we photographed the Enhanced Digital Camera Resolution Chart with it and a number of rival cameras, each using their best quality JPEG and default image tone and sharpening settings; RAW comparisons can be found lower down on this page.

The lenses used were tested at every aperture setting and the best results selected for this page. Magnified assistance in Live View was used to confirm the focusing.

The crops are taken from the converted RAW images, saved as High Quality JPEGs in Photoshop CS4 and presented here at 100%. Each number represents 100 lines per picture height (lpph), so a figure of 20 means a resolution of 2000 lpph.

 

In terms of resolving power, the Nikon D5000 delivers 2250 lpph of horizontal and vertical resolution when equipped with the DX 18-55mm VR kit lens. This score is identical to that measured by the Nikon D90 with its DX 18-105mm VR kit lens, although there’s subtle differences in contrast. We’re not surprised to measure the same resolving power as both bodies share the same sensor, and as far as we understand, identical image processing; so any differences are down to the lens used.

Indeed our earlier tests with different lenses on the D90 should also apply here: check out our Nikkor DX 16-85mm VR review to see how a superior lens can squeeze a little more resolution from this sensor, along with delivering improved contrast and sharpness over the kit models. But the bottom line is Nikon’s kit lenses do perform respectably for their price.

Under these strict studio conditions, the Canon 500D / T1i’s three extra Megapixels deliver a measurable benefit (even with the kit lens), although as seen on the previous (and following pages), this doesn’t necessarily translate into a significant advantage under real-life conditions.

The Olympus E-620 scored a little higher than the D5000 despite having roughly the same total pixel count, because its pixels are arranged in a squarer 4:3 frame – so there’s more of them in the vertical axis. Interestingly we measured a slightly higher figure for the Panasonic Lumix G1 though which shares roughly the same sensor resolution.

But back to the Nikon D5000 which as you’d expect, matches the resolving power of its higher-end counterpart. To find out how the D5000 measures-up across its sensitivity range, head on over to our High ISO Noise results page. Alternatively, scroll down to the bottom of this page where you’ll see whether shooting in RAW can extract a little more from the sensor.


Horizontal resolution using in-camera JPEGs

Nikon D5000 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR
 
Nikon D90 with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
2250 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
2250 lpph, 18-105mm at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
     
Canon EOS 500D / T1i with EF-S 18-55mm IS
 
Olympus E-620 with Zuiko Digital 14-42mm
2400 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
2350 lpph, 14-42mm at 25mm at f8, 100 ISO


Vertical resolution using in-camera JPEGs

Nikon D5000 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR
 
Nikon D90 with Nikkor DX 18-105mm VR
2250 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
2250 lpph, 18-105mm at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
     
Canon EOS 500D / T1i with EF-S 18-55mm IS
 
Olympus E-620 with Zuiko Digital 14-42mm
2400 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 100 ISO
2350 lpph, 14-42mm at 25mm at f8, 100 ISO


Nikon D5000 Studio resolution: JPEG versus RAW

We photographed our test chart in the D5000's RAW plus Large Fine JPEG mode, allowing us to directly compare images created from exactly the same data. Below are crops taken from the original JPEG file alongside the RAW version, processed in Nikon's optional Capture NX 2.2.0 software using the default settings.

The RAW version, even without tweaking, reveals sharper and better defined details with a slight boost in resolution: a comfortable 2350 lpph horizontally and 2400 lpph vertically. This is essentially the same measured for the D90 and the D300 before it, so while we know the sensor is the same, it's still impressive to have such high-end performance in a relatively affordable body.

So once again, if you want to see the best from the D5000, you should shoot in RAW - there's benefits even when using Capture NX 2.2.0's default settings. Now let's check out the camera's performance at different sensitivities in our Nikon D5000 High ISO noise results page.


Nikon D5000 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR: JPEG
 
Nikon D5000 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR: RAW
2250 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
2350 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
     
Nikon D5000 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR: JPEG
 
Nikon D5000 with Nikkor DX 18-55mm VR: RAW
2250 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO
2400 lpph, 18-55mm at 35mm, f8, 200 ISO


Nikon D5000 results : Real-life resolution / Studio resolution / Noise vs 500D / T1i & E-620 / Noise vs D90



All words, images, videos and layout, copyright 2005-2014 Gordon Laing. May not be used without permission.

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