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Compared to...

Here we compare the D5000 to the other cameras that potential customers might also be considering. Since there is no direct predecessor model to the D5000, here we're comparing it to the D60 that sits below it in the model range and the D90 that sits above it. By doing so, we'll address the image quality differences that your money buys you.

The D5000 doesn't exist in isolation, of course: it was launched at around the same time as two cameras that clearly aim for the same customers - the Canon EOS 500D and Olympus E-620. Both are upper-entry-level cameras, offering impressive feature sets for relatively reasonable amounts of money. You don't get pentaprism viewfinders or alloy bodies at this price point but you do tend to get a lot of the technologies and features of the more expensive cameras in each manufacturer's line-ups. The D5000 sits between the other two, in terms of offered functions - it has the fold-out, swiveling LCD like the Olympus but also offers movie capability, like the Canon EOS 500D (albeit at a lower resolution).

Camera Kit
price
Live
view
LCD Anti
Shake
Sensor
(effective pixels)
Nikon D5000 $800 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels Lens option 12.3 MP CMOS (1.5x crop)
Canon EOS 500D $895 Yes 3.0" / 920k pixels Lens option 15.1 MP CMOS (1.6x crop)
Olympus E-620 $700 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 12.3 MP LiveMOS (2.0x crop)
Nikon D60 $530 No 2.5" / 230k pixels Lens option 10.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)
(Sony DSLR-A350) $650 Yes 2.7" / 230k pixels In-body 14.2 MP CCD (1.5x crop)

Nikon has made great inroads into the entry-level market in the past few years with its range of small, easy-to-use DSLRs. Modest specification and the limitations of not being able to autofocus some Nikon lenses didn't stop the D40, D40X and D60 being huge sales successes. The D5000 changes this formula - it's a bigger, more expensive camera with a more comprehensive feature set that has to be careful not to tread on the toes of the enthusiast-level D90. It may not stand out from its peers in terms of features but it also doesn't lag behind in many respects.

Had this camera been the first Nikon to dispense with the autofocus drive pin, we might have been more critical (this is an expensive enough camera that it's reasonable to expect some of the buyers to consider additional lenses), but the majority of popular third-party lenses are now available with built-in autofocus motors, so it's not the issue it might once have been.

Nikon D5000 advantages

  • 11-point AF system (same as D90)
  • Longer continuous shooting in RAW
  • In-camera raw processing with preview
  • Swivel screen (also on E-620)

D5000 disadvantages

  • Biggest, heaviest camera here
  • No battery grip available
  • Restricted lens availability

Note: Because we do not yet have one, we have been unable to compare the D5000 to the Sony A380, which would fit fairly well in this company.

 
Nikon D5000

Canon EOS 500D

Olympus E-620
Price
(single lens kit)
US: $800 [check price] US: $895 [check price] US: $700 [check price]
Sensor • 23.6 x 15.8 mm CMOS
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 12.9 million effective pixels
• 22.3 x 14.9 mm CMOS
• 15.1 million effective pixels
• 15.5 million effective pixels
• 17.3 x 13.0 mm LiveMOS
• 12.3 million effective pixels
• 13.1 million effective pixels
Dust reduction • Low pass filter vibration
• Airflow Control System
• Dust reference image
• Anti-dust materials
• Low pass filter vibration
• Dust reference image
• Supersonic Wave Filter
Native image size 4288 x 2848
(3:2 ratio)
4752 x 3168
(3:2 ratio)
4032 x 3024
(4:3 ratio)
Video • 720p24 • 1080p20
• 720p30
None
Lens support • Nikon F-mount
• Includes DX lenses
• AF only available with AF-S or AF-I lenses
Canon EF mount
• Including EF-S lenses
• 4/3 standard lens mount
• Olympus and third party 4/3
FOV crop 1.5x 1.6x 2.0x
Body shake reduction No No Yes
Live view Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face priority) or Phase detect AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face detection) or Phase detect AF Yes, Contrast detect (inc Face detection) or Phase detect AF
File formats • RAW (compressed)
• JPEG (3 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless 14-bit)
• JPEG (2 levels)
• RAW (comp. lossless)
• JPEG (4 levels)
RAW+JPEG RAW + JPEG (Any quality) RAW + JPEG (Fine) RAW + JPEG (any quality)
Auto focus • 11 area TTL
• Cross-type at center
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 9 area TTL
• Cross-type F2.8 at center
• Range: -0.5 to +18 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
• 7 area TTL
• Range: -1 to +19 EV
• Contrast detect AF in live view
AF illuminator Built-in lamp Flash strobe, must be raised Flash strobe, must be raised
Color space • sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
• sRGB
• Adobe RGB
Metering sensor • 420 pixel RGB sensor
• 0 - 20 EV working range
• 35 pixel sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
• 49 zone sensor
• 1 - 20 EV working range
Metering

• 3D Color Matrix Metering II
• Center-weighted average
• Spot

• Evaluative
• Partial
• Center-weighted average
• 4% spot
• Digital ESP
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
• Highlight based spot
• Shadow based spot
Exp. comp. +/- 5.0 EV +/- 2.0 EV +/- 5.0 EV
EV steps 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3 or 1/2 EV 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV
Sensitivity

• ISO 200 - 3200
(with 100 and 6400 equiv)

• ISO 100 - 3200
(with 6400 and 12800 equiv)
• ISO 100 - 3200
Auto ISO User definable maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed Auto (100-1600) Auto (100 - 1600)
High- ISO NR Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels) Yes (4 levels)
Shutter speed • 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 30 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/200 sec Flash sync
• 60 - 1/4000 sec / Bulb
• 1/180 sec Flash sync
Continuous
shooting

• 4 fps
• 67 JPEG/Fine frames
• 11 RAW frames

• 3.4 fps
• 170 JPEG/Fine frames
• 9 RAW frames
• 4 fps
• Unlimited JPEG/HQ frames
• 5 RAW frames
White balance • Auto
• Twelve presets
• Manual preset
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Eight presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
• Auto
• Eight presets
• Manual preset
• Kelvin temperature
• Fine tunable
Embed comment Comment set in-camera Owner name set via software No
Flash Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up Electronic release pop-up
Viewfinder • Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.78x
• B-type Bright View Clear Matte Mark V
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 18 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.87x
• Precision matte screen
• Pentamirror
• Eyepoint 16 mm
• Frame coverage 95%
• Magnification approx 0.96x
• Lumi-Micron Matte screen
LCD monitor

• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• Hinged/swivel

• 3.0 " TFT LCD
• 920,000 dots
• 2.7 " TFT LCD
• 230,000 dots
• Hinged/swivel
Mirror-lockup No (exposure delay mode) Custom function Yes, custom 1 - 30 sec
Other features • In-camera retouching
• Active D-Lighting
• RAW Development
• Interval shooting
• Stop motion movies
• Multi-shot self-timer
• Image verification data
• Auto Lighting Optimizer
• Highlight Tone Priority
• Remote Live view shooting (via USB)
• Eye sensor
• DOF preview
• JPEG edit
• Shadow adjustment technology
• Wireless flash control
• RAW development
Storage SD/SDHC card SD/SDHC card • Compact Flash card
• xD Picture card
Battery EN-EL9a (7.2 V, 1080 mAh) LP-E5 (7.4 V, 1050 mAh) PS-BLS1 (7.2 V, 1150 mAh)
Battery status Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage) Battery life (3 stage)
USB USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
USB 2.0 Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Hi-Speed
Vertical grip No BG-E5 (option) HLD-5 (option)
Software • Nikon Transfer
• View NX
• Nikon Capture NX (trial)
• Canon DPP
• Canon PhotoStitch
• Canon ZoomBrowser EX
• EOS Utility (Remote Capt.)
• Olympus Master 2.0
• Olympus Studio 2.0 (trial)
Dimensions 127 x 104 x 80 mm
(5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
129 x 98 x 62 mm
(5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
130 x 94 x 60 mm
(5.1 x 3.7 x 2.4 in)
Weight (no batt) 560 g (1.2 lb) 480 g (1.1 lb) 475 g (1.0 lb)
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