Nikon D5000 review
Review Date : Fri, 8 May 2009
Author : Mat Gallagher
Nikon D5000 is the latest mid-range consumer DSLR with high definition video and vari-angle screen.
|Pros:||Vari-angle screen, build and picture quality|
|Cons:||Screen resolution, lack of high ISO, price point|
The Nikon D5000 squeezes into the gap between the D60 and the D90, as their mid-range consumer model. The D5000 may not seem like a logical model number but it does offer a fitting feature set for its positioning, and brings HD video to the mix. More importantly for Nikon, this model squares up pretty closely to the new Canon EOS 500D. Last month's Canon EOS 500D test proved it to be a worthy competitor but the Nikon D5000 comes in almost £150 cheaper at RRP and with a rather nifty vari-angle LCD.
Though articulating screens on DSLRs are not a new occurrence, this is the first Nikon model to feature one. As more and more functions filter up from bridge cameras to DSLRs this one seems one of the most useful, especially for when composing using the live view function.
It seems that video capture is the latest must-have feature for DSLRs; this is now Nikon's second HD movie-shooting model and is unlikely to be its last.
So does this latest model offer anything more than a few fancy features, and can it take on the latest Canon offering? We take a closer look to see how the D5000 holds up.
Nikon D5000 review - Features
Nikon D5000 sensor
The D5000 uses the same 12.3 megapixel sensor that features in both the D90 and D300 models, so is working with proven technology. The APS-C sized CMOS device gives a focal magnification of 1.5x and produces images at 4288 x 2848 pixels, or just over 36 x 24cm in size at 300dpi. It also maintains the same low light capabilities as in the past, offering a standard range of ISO 200 to 3200, with a low-1 setting equivalent to ISO 100 and a high-1 equivalent to ISO 6400.
The ISO range provides adjustments at one-third stop intervals throughout the range for fine adjustment.
Nikon D5000 drive modes
The drive modes offer a range of options from self-timer and remote settings, to continuous shooting, which it does at four frames per second.
The D5000 also includes a quiet shooting mode, which reduces the noise made by the shutter by slowing the movement of the mirror, for occasions such as weddings or concerts.
Nikon D5000 autofocus system
The autofocus system is the Multi-CAM 1000 - as featured on the D90 - with 11 focus points, including one cross type sensor in the centre for improved detection. The diamond layout allows coverage for most eventualities in both horizontal and vertical shooting positions. Focusing can be set to either single-servo for stationary shots, continuous-servo to track moving subjects, or the auto selection, which can switch between the single and continuous modes as necessary.
Nikon D5000 metering modes
For metering there is a choice of three modes: full evaluative, known as 3D colour matrix II; Centre-weighted, with 75% biased towards the centre circle, and Spot.
Exposure compensation is offered at a generous five stops in each direction at third or half stop increments, and the same for exposure bracketing over three frames.
For improved levels of detail in your images the D-lighting system adapts the dynamic range, providing more detail in shadow areas and highlights. The D-lighting can be set in Auto mode or in various strengths of Low, Normal, High or Extra High, and alternatively been turned off all together.
White balance control is provided either in Auto or from a series of 12 manual presets. Each of these presets then offers fine adjustment by means of a four directional colour graph, while a further Manual preset allows you to take a measurement from an existing photo or from the current scene.
For run-down of the camera's key selling points, as well as a video of the main features check out Amateur Photographers' Advertisement feature of the Nikon D5000