Nikon D5000 is the latest mid-range consumer DSLR with high definition video and vari-angle screen.
Nikon D5000 size
The overall size of the D5000 errs on the smaller side and yet it still manages to feel robust and chunky in your hand. It is fractionally larger than Canon’s 500D but is significantly around 20mm longer. This means that those with an average hand size can keep all four fingers on the grip. This allows you to keep a steady hold of the camera at all times, and on the back there is a raised ledge and textured platform for a comfortable thumb position.
Nikon D5000 weight
Weighing in at 560g it isn’t the lightest model on the market, partly bolstered by the vari-angle mechanism for the screen, but this does give the device a more positive feel in your hand, and helps to counter against larger lenses should you wish to opt for longer or faster varieties. Everything feels well produced and sturdy, from the flash compartment to the socket covers and, though clearly designed for lighter consumer use, looks like it is built to withstand extensive use.
Nikon D5000 function buttons
The function buttons are of a reasonable size and well spaced to avoid any accidental selection. Overall though, shortcut buttons have been kept to a minimum. The shooting dial, though shallow is easy to operate thanks to a heavily textured surround. Those familiar to Nikon cameras will have very little to surprise them, as feature positions remain very similar to past models. Some may be disappointed to see just one control dial and a lack of a lock for the four-way controller but the trade off for size and simplicity on this model more than justifies their absence for most users this camera will appeal to.
Nikon D5000 screen
Design-wise the vari-angle screen is one of the most interesting features on this camera. Unlike previous tilting screens seen on DSLRs, the D5000 has its bracket at the bottom. This does avoid compromising too much space, allowing it to keep its set of buttons on the left for instance, but it does have some issues. For self portrait use, or shots with the LCD pointing forwards, the screen must be folded underneath the camera, making it impossible to do with the camera mounted on a tripod or sitting on any surface. However for any other use it works very well, and is actually much better than a side mounted screen for high and low angle shots.
Nikon D5000 menu display
The menu display is bright and clear, and divided into six icon-ised sections for playback, shooting, custom settings etc. There is also a My Menu that allows you to add your most used functions into a single list. The LCD screen is also used to display all of the shooting information. It does this in a choice of classic or graphical displays, both of which can be shown in a choice of three colours. The graphic menu displays the shooting dial while being turned and then an illustration of the aperture hole, that opens and closes as you adjust the aperture to show what the camera is doing. It also shows the shutter speed in full fractions to give a clearer indication for new users.