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Nikon D5000 Gordon Laing, June 2009

Nikon D5000 gallery

The following images were taken with a final-production Nikon D5000 using the DX 18-55mm VR kit lens. The D5000 was set to Large Fine JPEG mode with Auto White Balance and the default Standard Picture Control, Normal High ISO NR and Active D-Lighting set to the default Auto for all but the last two images where it was disabled.

The individual exposure mode, file sizes, shutter speeds, aperture, ISO and lens focal length are listed for each image.

The crops are taken from the original files, reproduced at 100% and saved in Adobe Photoshop CS4 as JPEGs with the Very High quality preset, while the resized images were made in Photoshop CS4 and saved with the default High quality preset. The three crops are typically taken from far left, central and far right portions of each image.

Note: you may wish to open a number of galleries for direct comparison of detail and noise: Canon EOS 500D / T1i sample images, Nikon D60 sample images and Nikon D90 sample images; our Olympus E-620 Gallery is coming soon.


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Landscape: 5.12MB, Program, 1/500, f11, 200 ISO, 18-55mm VR at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  This first shot was taken with the D5000 at 200 ISO, its base-sensitivity.

The natural processing style is very similar to the D90 as you might expect, and a world-apart from the technicolour vibrancy of the previous D60.

The D5000 also shares a similar style to the Canon 500D / T1i, although is a little punchier and better for it. The crops reveal an absence of coloured fringing thanks to the in-camera processing.
     


Landscape: 6.41MB, Program, 1/250, f8, 100 ISO, 18-55mm VR at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  For this shot we set the D5000 to its lowest Lo1 sensitivity, equivalent to 100 ISO. We took the photo at a very low angle, where the flip-out screen proved very useful.

As before, the results are very clean and detailed, and it’s interesting to note Canon’s 15 Mpixel 500D / T1i is resolving similar detail despite its higher resolution. The Nikon kit lens is also doing well, with a nice sharp crop from the lower left corner, and once again no fringing thanks to the processing.
     


Landscape: 5.02MB, Program, 1/250, f8, 200 ISO, 18-55mm VR at 55mm (equivalent to 83mm)

    We normally shoot the steamship approaching, but poor weather forced a shot of it in dock - although as usual this sample was shot at 200 ISO with the lens zoomed-in.

Again there’s no complaints on any aspect of image quality here and it’s notable the D5000 avoids the softness seen on the Canon 500D / T1i samples taken at the same time.
     
   
     
   


Portrait: 4.44MB, Aperture Priority, 1/2000, f5.6, ISO 200, 18-55mm VR at 55mm (equiv to 83mm)


  For this portrait shot we kept the sensitivity at 200 ISO and the lens fully zoomed-in, although switched to Aperture Priority to select f5.6. The result here shows the minimum depth of field you can expect on portrait shots taken with the kit lens.

We initially tried shooting this with face detection in Live View, but while the frame locked-onto the subject straight-away, the contrast-based focusing was too slow to be practical – so we reverted to the viewfinder and phase-change system.

     


Macro: 5.46MB, Program, 1/20, f5.6, 400 ISO, 18-55mm VR at 55mm (equivalent to 83mm)

  For this macro shot we increased the sensitivity to 400 ISO and positioned the camera as close at it would focus with the DX 18-55mm VR lens fully zoomed-in.

The increase to 400 ISO hasn't had a detrimental effect on the image, with the crops still appearing smooth, detailed and free of noise.

Once again the D5000’s sample has more bite than the Canon, proving more Megapixels isn’t always better.


     


Indoor: 5.58MB, Program, 1/50, f3.5, 400 ISO, 18-55mm VR at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)


  Our first indoor shot was taken with the D5000 at 400 ISO. We used Live View and Face Detection for this shot, and once again while the frame quickly found the subject, the contrast-based AF was slow to snap-into focus, by which time the subject could have shifted - so it's easiest to use the viewfinder for portraits.

There’s no noise to mention in the crops, unlike the Canon where it has just begun to creep-in.

     


Indoor: 5.31MB, Program, 1/10, f3.5, 800 ISO, 18-55mm VR at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Our second indoor shot was taken with the sensitivity increased to 800 ISO. Dim conditions fooled the D5000 into an under-exposure, although the default Active D-Lighting setting would have helped if it were enabled here.

The crops reveal an increase in noise levels, although there’s still a decent amount of detail present here. At this point, the Canon 500D / T1i becomes a little softer still.

     


Indoor: 5.22MB, Program, 1/60, f4, 1600 ISO, 18-55mm VR at 18mm (equivalent to 27mm)

  Our final shot was taken at 1600 ISO, and again is under-exposed. Noise artefacts are quite apparent, and there's also a reduction in detail and saturation, although again the Canon 500D / T1i suffers more in this regard. Ultimately despite 3 fewer Megapixels, the D5000 has delivered a better-looking gallery than the Canon.

You can see versions of this scene at all sensitivities in our High ISO Noise results, and also how Active D-Lighting handles it in our Features section.

     

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

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