Nikon D5000

Nikon D5000 review

Written by Rick Ellinger

The Nikon D5000 fully met and exceeded the expectations of this photo enthusiast. Learn why he is pleased and what he’s learned about using this high-level, entry-level digital single lens reflex camera.

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.

Viewfinder:

  • 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

Menus:

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

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