Nikon D5000 review

Nikon D5000I chose the Nikon D5000 because it best replaced the features of the two cameras that I previously used and to which I was accustomed: the Nikon D40 and the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 superzoom. The Nikon D5000 is quite a few steps up from the Nikon D40.

So now that I have it, how do I like it?

I can sum it up in three words … I love it!  It fully met and exceeded my expectations. After using the D5000 for some time now, I am very impressed.

Here are some of my findings:

D5000 and D40 compatibility

  • D40 batteries compatible with the D5000
  • uses SD memory cards like the D40
  • kit lens of the D40 (18-55mm Nikkor) also compatible with D5000 enabling me to save money by buying the body. The Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens available with D5000 has Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization), and the D40’s does not.

Features of the D5000 which encouraged my purchase:

  • higher ISO capability than the D40
  • larger body than D40
  • High Definition video capability
  • self-cleaning sensor

Main features

Physical Size:

  • Larger body (about 1/4″ taller than D40) is much easier to hold

Shutter speed:

  • fast 1/4000 … and down to 30 sec., and bulb
  • easy to adjust in Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, and Manual modes using the command dial on the back of the camera.


  • diopter adjustment control (really helps those of us who wear glasses)
  • optional grid on viewfinder is very helpful
  • 11 focus points; easy to select using the cursor buttons

LCD screen/monitor:

  • very clear and large (2.7”)
  • it tilts and swivels so the screen can be moved 180 degrees in varying angles, which is especially great for those “bug’s-eye-view” macro shots
  • very helpful option for increasing time for images to remain on screen after shot, and in playback mode
  • menu rotates when camera used in vertical (90 degree) position

ISO values:

  • I am really pleased with the quality of shots at higher ISO values – ISO 3200, and even beyond
  • noise is minimal (much better than D40), even at “High” values

    5000d high ISO samples

    Crops of high ISO photos taken with the D5000. Click for larger view.

Li-ion EN-EL9a battery:

  • Excellent battery life – even with flash (rated at 510 single-frame shots with flash on every other shot, and 2900 continuous-release shots)
  • EN-EL9 from D40 works on D5000 also
  • same charger works for both the EN-EL9a and the EN-EL9

Live view:

  • handy, easily accessed “Lv” button on rear of camera to turn off/on live view
  • a little slow – due to extra mirror movement (it is raised during live view) when shutter is released
  • autofocus is pickier and slower in live view – manual focus is just fine. There are some situations where autofocus will actually not function in live view. They are listed in the camera manual.
  • framing grid option – helps in keeping those horizons level
  • face priority autofocus – available only with live view – finds and focuses on faces in the frame

HD movie mode:

  • 24 fps
  • audio – not the best; no volume control for input though there is an option to turn it off
  • great image quality, even at smaller sizes
  • three sizes: 1280×720, 640×242, 320×216
  • can record up to 20 min in the two smaller sizes, only 5 min at 1280×720 (depending on the memory card capacity and speed)
  • exposure adjusts with changes in frame (or can be locked)
  • manual focus only, after recording begins – kinda awkward


  • Custom Setting Menu very easy to understand, and quick and simple to find desired settings

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