Video cameras on DSLRs - Nikon D5000

Nikon D5000

550 inc 18-55mm

Nikon product shotFrom a specification point of view the D5000 is already at a disadvantage compared to the Canon and Panasonic models, as the video resolution is locked at 720p.

Autofocus, using the contrast-detect method, must be set before recording begins, and any subsequent re-focusing must be done manually. The aperture, too, must be selected prior to recording - thereafter the exposure is adjusted elecronically, via auto ISO selection.

The maximum clip limit of just five minutes in HD (20 minutes at the lower settings) is the shortest of any camera in this test, and somewhat restrictive, even if you'll rarely need to shoot longer clips than that. It means if you're recording little Jimmy's solo in the school concert you'll be praying that he finishes before your time runs out.

The video quality is noticeably worse than the competition, especially its main rival, the Canon EOS 500D. Whether this is due to the compression applied to the less memory efficient Motion JPEG format that Nikon has chosen to use is hard to say, but the tonal range appears more limited, and colours more detached from real-life. Noise is more apparent, especially in low light, probably due to the ISO sensitivity being cranked up.

The D5000 suffers more than most from the rolling shutter effect which affects all DSLR video to some extent. Vertical lines get diagonally skewed if the camera pans, or subject moves, too fast. This is due to the fact that the horizontal lines on a CMOS sensor are scanned one at a time on a CMOS sensor, so the top of the image may be recorded before the bottom.

The mono built-in audio is fairly low quality and there is no scope to attach an external mic.

Overall, the D5000 is capable of producing high-quality movies in the right conditions, but its video mode is the weakest in this group.

Video Group Test: Video Modes - Nikon D5000

From the overly grainy image to the generally poor colour reproduction,
the D5000 was a real letdown.


Nikon D5000

Price 550
Video Resolution 1280 x 720
Compression Format M-JPEG
Maximum Clip Length 5 Minutes
Screen Size 2.7”
Built-in Audio Mono, 11 KHz
Frame Rate 24fps
Memory Card SD/SDHC
Sockets USB, AV, HDMI
Video Focus Modes MF
External Mic No
Dimensions 127 x 104 x 90mm
Weight 560g

Video Rating

Small, light and has a vari-angle screen

Average video quality, poor sound, no mic port

Stars: 2.5 out of 5