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Top of camera controls

The "top of camera controls" are located on the right side in reach of your right hand. At the front we have the typical Nikon combined power switch and shutter release, with the Info button that disappeared from the D60 making a reappearance. The exposure compensation button is beside it; this is also used in conjunction with the command dial to change the aperture in manual mode. Behind these sits the redesigned mode dial. On the rear of the camera "under your thumb" is the AE/AF lock button and command dial.

Buttons (combined with the command dial)

 
Exposure compensation

 • +/- 5 EV
 • 0.3 EV steps
info

Toggles the rear information panel on and off. It also changes the amount of information on screen in Live View mode.

Single Press Buttons

AE-L
AF-L
Auto Exposure and Auto Focus Lock

Pressing this button locks the current exposure and focus, they remain locked for as long as you hold the button even if you press or release the shutter release button.

Mode Dial

Icon Mode
AUTO Automatic Exposure

Fully automatic exposure mode configures the camera to make most of the decisions for you, for example you can't set flash compensation, white balance, metering mode or image parameters. However you do still have control over some camera functions:

 • Sensitivity (Auto, 100 - HI 1.0)
 • AF Mode (AF-A, MF)
 • Active D-Lighting (on/off)
 • AF area mode (Closest subject, Dynamic area, Single area, 3D tracking)
 • Flash mode (Auto, Auto with Red-Eye reduction, Flash cancel)
 • Shooting mode (Single, Continuous, Self-timer, Remote + timer, Remote, Quiet mode)
 • Image quality (all options)
P Programmed Auto (Flexible)

In this mode the camera automatically selects aperture and shutter speed based on the current metered exposure value, exposure compensation and selected ISO sensitivity. The Program AE on the D5000 is flexible, which means that you can select one of a variety of equal exposures by turning the command dial. Example:

 • 1/50 F5.6 (turn left a click) P*
 • 1/60 F5 (turn left a click) P*
 • 1/80 F4.5 (metered) P
 • 1/100 F4 (turn right a click) P*
 • 1/125 F3.5 (turn right a click) P*
S Shutter Priority Auto

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will calculate the correct aperture for the exposure (based on the reading of the current metering mode). Shutter speed is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on information display, turn the command dial to select different shutter speeds. Available shutter speeds (1/3 EV steps):

1/4000, 1/3200, 1/2500, 1/2000, 1/1600, 1/1250, 1/1000, 1/800, 1/640, 1/500, 1/400, 1/320, 1/250, 1/200, 1/160, 1/125, 1/100, 1/80, 1/60, 1/50, 1/40, 1/30, 1/25, 1/20, 1/15, 1/13, 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/5, 1/4, 1/3, 1/2.5, 1/2, 1/1.6, 1/1.3, 1, 1.3, 1.6, 2, 2.5, 3.2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 20, 25, 30 sec
A

Aperture Priority Auto

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will calculate the correct shutter speed depending on metered exposure, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. Aperture is displayed on the viewfinder status bar and on the information display, turn the command dial to select different apertures. The exact range of apertures depends on the lens used.

M

Full Manual Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above (plus BULB for shutter speed, apertures limited by the lens used). Use the command dial on its own for shutter speed or combine with the exposure compensation button to set aperture. The meter on the viewfinder status bar (and information display) immediately reflect the exposure level compared to the calculated ideal exposure, if it's outside of +/- 2 EV the indicator bar will add an arrow '<' or '>' on the end of the meter.

Vari-program: Flash off

The built-in flash turns off. Use where flash photography is prohibited, to photograph infants without using the flash, or to capture natural lighting under low light. The camera selects the focus area containing the closest subject; the AF-assist illuminator will light to assist the focus operation when lighting is poor.
Vari-program: Portrait

Use for portraits with soft, natural-looking skin tones. The camera selects the focus area containing the closest subject. If the subject is far from the background or a telephoto lens is used, background details will be softened to lend the composition a sense of depth.
Vari-program: Landscape

Use for vivid landscape shots. The camera selects the focus area containing the closest subject; the built-in flash and AF-assist illuminator turn off automatically.
Vari-program: Child

Use for snapshots of children. Clothing and background details are vividly rendered while skin tones are given a soft, natural finish. The camera selects the focus area containing the closest subject.
Vari-program: Sports

High shutter speeds freeze motion for dynamic sports shots in which the main subject stands out clearly. The camera focuses continuously while the shutter-release button is pressed halfway, tracking the subject in the center focus area. If the subject leaves the center focus area, the camera will continue to focus based on information from the other focus areas. The starting focus area can be selected with the multi selector. The built-in flash and AF-assist illuminator turn off automatically.
Vari-program: Close up

Use for close-up shots of flowers, insects, and other small objects. The camera automatically focuses on the subject in the center focus area; other focus areas can be selected using the multi selector. Use of a tripod is recommended to prevent blur.
Vari-program: Night Portrait

Use for a natural balance between the main subject and the background in portraits taken under low light. The camera selects the focus area containing the closest subject. Use of a tripod is recommended to prevent blur.
SCENE

Vari-program: SCENE modes

Gives access to the other scene modes. Once this dial position is selected, the command dial allows you to select from the following styles:

 • Night landscape
 • Party/indoor
 • Beach/snow
 • Sunset
 • Dusk/dawn
 • Pet portrait
 • Candlelight
 • Blossom
 • Autumn colors
 • Food
 • Silhouette
 • High key
 • Low key

* Description of Digital Vari-program modes taken from the D5000 user manual with permission.

Front controls

On the front right side of the camera are two buttons, the flash release / flash mode button and the self-timer / Fn button, which is within easy reach of your left thumb when shooting and can be reprogrammed. Wannabe HDRists will delight that one of the functions that can be assigned to the Fn button is auto bracketing. More usefully for many people will be the ability to assign ISO to the Fn button so that all three fundamental shooting parameters (Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO), are available with a button press and a turn of the control dial, with the camera up to your eye.

Buttons (combined with the command dial)

 
Flash mode / flash compensation

Press this button and turn the command dial to change flash mode, do the same with the exposure compensation button held to adjust flash power output (flash compensation.

In P, A, S or M modes:
 • Flash on
 • Red-eye reduction
 • Red-eye reduction with slow sync
 • Slow sync
 • Rear-curtain sync

In Auto / Vari-Program mode:
 • Auto flash
 • Auto with red-eye reduction
 • Flash off

Fn
Self-timer / Fn

In its default mode this button enables or disables the self-timer, via custom setting f1 however you can re-program this button to allow you to set; self-timer, shooting mode (drive), image quality / size, ISO sensitivity, white balance, Active D-Lighting, RAW shooting or Auto Bracketing.

 

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