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Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (higher sensitivities)

There's not a lot to choose between the D5000 and either of its peers tested here. The additional resolution of the EOS 500D appears to be capturing a little more detail at ISO 800 but that difference is soon nullified by noise reduction as the sensitivity climbs with the D5000 retaining more detail (or the impression of it), at ISO 3200.

The ISO 6400 and equivalent settings are not particularly impressive from either the Canon or the Nikon, with the former producing a rather soft result with reduced contrast (both side-effects of noise reduction), while the latter shows similar shortcomings to a lesser extent, but with the added appearance of yellow blotches. That said, ISO 6400 is a very challenging task and the results from both cameras looks comparatively useable. It's likely to degrade further in lower light but we wouldn't rule-out small prints.

The E-620's standard noise reduction is a little more aggressive than the other two cameras at ISO 1600 and up, and there's a touch more noise creeping through at its highest setting but it's not a bad performance by any means.

ISO 800

Nikon D5000 Canon EOS 500D
Olympus E-620 Nikon D60

ISO 1600

Nikon D5000 Canon EOS 500D
Olympus E-620 Nikon D60

ISO 3200

Nikon D5000 Canon EOS 500D
Olympus E-620 Nikon D60 (Hi 1)

ISO 6400

Nikon D5000 (Hi 1) Canon EOS 500D
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I'm using D5000 and very safistify.