Nikon D5000



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The Nikon D5000 is the company’s latest ‘upper-entry-level’ DSLR aimed at beginners or those wanting a step-up from a basic budget model. Announced in April 2009, it’s the successor to the popular D60 and while externally resembling its predecessor, it inherits many key aspects of the higher-end D90 including its sensor with Live View and HD movie recording. The D5000 also becomes the first Nikon DSLR to feature an articulated screen.

The D5000 swaps the 10.2 Megapixel CCD of its predecessor (and the D40x) for the same 12.3 Megapixel CMOS sensor featured on the Nikon D90. As such the D5000 also offers the same base sensitivity range of 200-3200 ISO with Lo-1 and Hi-1 options extending it to 100 and 6400 ISO respectively. A vibrating low pass filter and Nikon’s Airflow system combat dust.

The imaging pipeline is the same as the D90 too, with the D5000 employing 12-bit analogue-to-digital conversion and an EXPEED processor offering identical Active D-Lighting options and the automatic correction of lateral chromatic aberrations on in-camera JPEGs. The D5000 does add a few new processing tricks beyond the D90 though including Soft Filter, Colour Outline and Perspective Control options in the Retouch section, along with 16:9 and 1:1 trimming options.

Like the D90, the shutter block is rated for 100,000 cycles, although continuous shooting isn’t quite as quick. The D90 boasts 4.5fps, while the D5000 comes-in slightly slower at 4fps, although this still makes it comfortably faster than the 3fps of its predecessor and the 3-3.5fps of most entry-level DSLRs these days.

By inheriting the D90’s sensor and processing pipeline, the D5000 boasts two major benefits over its predecessor which bring it bang up-to-date: Live View and HD video recording.

Making Live View more useful than any Nikon DSLR to date though is the inclusion of a fully-articulated monitor on the rear. Interestingly, this is hinged not at the side, but the bottom, but still allows for a great deal of flexibility when composing in Live View and filming movies.

It’s another compelling DSLR specification although one pitched at a similar price to two key rivals: Canon’s EOS 500D / Rebel T1i and the Olympus E-620. In our Nikon D5000 review we’ll compare all three models closely, starting with their physical differences and ending with how their respective image quality measures-up.

We’ve also taken a detailed look at the D5000’s movie mode where you’ll see comparisons between it and Canon’s two movie modes. So if you’re considering one of these three DSLRs or are simply after a step-up from a budget, entry-level model, you’ve come to the right place.

Testing notes:

We tested a final production Nikon D5000 running firmware version 1.0, 1.0 and 1.001 for A, B and L respectively. Following our convention of testing cameras using their factory default settings unless otherwise stated, 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, except in our High ISO noise tests page where it was disabled as it can introduce noise. Vibration Reduction was enabled for all handheld shots and disabled for tripod-based tests.

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