My D5000 Review (long post)

Started Apr 26, 2009 | Discussions thread
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NowHearThis Veteran Member • Posts: 4,108
My D5000 Review (long post)

Thanks for reading,

We got the camera in today at my store, and I got the chance to use it all day, here's my initial findings.

My Nikon D5000 First Observations:

Initial Impressions:

Upon first picking up the camera I immediately noticed the handgrip to feel smaller than it looks, I grabbed a D40 and sure enough, the grip actually feels smaller than the one on the D40. To its credit, the grip is longer, which still makes handholding it comfortable.

The button placement is really good with 1 exception, I’ll get to that in a moment. They do have a nice feel to them, even if the ones on the left-hand side of the camera are smaller then on my D40. I wish there was an easier access button for activating the moving mode. The OK button is too far out of reach to quickly hit it.

Build quality is extremely good for a consumer based SLR, the memory card door cover has more friction than the D90, which is just a bit too loose in my opinion. The seams are tight (even around the flash, there is no play (unlike the D60 and D90 – the ones we had in out store), the construction seems solid, the plastic feels like the other Nikon’s in the same class. The thumb rest and command wheel seem to have been well thoughtout as well. The tilted command wheel feels really good and feels natural in using.

Other observations, related to the exterior, the LCD gets nose prints on it very easily, keep a microfiber cloth handy. However, after spending time shooting with it all day, I’ve decided that I really like the D5000’s tilt-swivel LCD. The LCD may only be 230,000 pixels, but it’s perfectly fine for me. To note: Setting the brightness level on the LCD to +2 gave me the best results.

Overall I’d have to say I’m quite satisfied with the construction of the D5000.


I spent a few minutes setting up the menus to how I’d like, one thing of interest, to me anyway, the menu font is smaller. It’s still bright and easy to read. I’m probably gonna get railed on, but I really like that screen.

Shooting Experiences:

For most of my shooting tests, I used my 35/1.8, but towards the end of the day, I switched to the 18-55VR, just so I could say I shot it. After reviewing the images, It’s easily apparent which lenses I used, this camera really shines when you put some good glass on it. Images from using the 35/1.8 were extremely sharp, even at near defaut settings. Unfortunately, it was a rainy day here, so most of my picures are a bit underwhelming, that said, even with the overcast and mediorce shooting conditions, I was very pleased with the overall images.

Colors were accurate. The meter did a very good job correctly exposing the seens (such as they were). I noticed the shutter, in it’s “normal” mode was nicely muted (it has a deeper tone than my D40 anyway). Noise levels were very low, At base ISO, I didn’t see any noise at all. And moderate ISOs (ISO 800) had showed very low noise. AF performance was very, very fast, even with the medicore lighting I had to work with. AF accurcy was also spot on. And after reviewing my images, I couldn’t find any ‘hot pixels’. I put about 300 shots through it, did a lot of reviewing of images and messing around with the menus and retouch option, during which the battery indicator showed full the whole time. I suspect the 510 shots it’s rated for is probably accurate if not a bit conservative on Nikon’s part.

My initial impersions of the D5000’s image capabilities are extremely positive, sharp photos, (with a good lens) with accurate color.

Great performance, no fuss.
• More features than I could use in 6hrs of playing with the camera.
• Low Noise (Granted only tested up to ISO 800)
• Accurate AF performance, the 3D tracking is still awesome!
• I’m sold on the tilt-screen, regardless of the general consensus.
• Very good build.
• Nice thought to button design/layout, with 1 exception.
• I could go on and on…


• 18-55VR, while good enough for most of the camera’s intended market, is not the best lens to show off the image capabilities of this camera, IMO.

• After you take a shot, in you want to compare a previously taken you can’t just scroll via the command wheel to another picture. You have to either hit the Review button 2x or press left or right ont the control pad, then you can scroll with the command wheel.

• Changing ISOs in the menu can’t be done with the command wheel, unless you assign the ISO to the Function Button. Other than that you just have to use the up/down on the control pad in the menu.

Neither of these are deal breakers for me. I look forward to better weather to really put the D5000 through its paces. After spending all day with this camera, I can see Nikon has another winner on their hands. Most people who came in to the store liked it too, and everyone like the tilt-screen LCD. This is going to be a big seller for us. I’ll see about getting some picks up, once the weather improves.

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