Compared to...

Studio scene comparison (JPEG)

This is our standard studio scene comparison shot taken from exactly the same tripod position. Lighting: daylight simulation, >98% CRI. Crops are 100%. Ambient temperature was approximately 22°C (~72°F).

Nikon D5000 vs. Canon EOS 500D

Camera settings:

  • Nikon D5000: Nikkor 50 mm F1.4G lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 200
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters, Self-Timer
  • Canon EOS 500D: Canon 50 mm F1.4 lens, Aperture Priority, ISO 100
    JPEG Large/Fine, Manual WB, Default Parameters (Standard), Self-Timer
Nikon D5000
Canon EOS 500D
4.7 MB JPEG (4288 x 2848)
4.8 MB JPEG (4752 x 3168)

We've seen this time and again - Nikon tends to be considerably more conservative with the default level of sharpening on its DSLRs than Canon, which tends to use quite a lot. The result is that the Canon output looks crisp and detailed, while the Nikon's looks a pretty soft. The absolute levels of details do not seem radically different - something we'll be able to assess more convincingly in the raw comparison later in the review. The other key question is whether the Nikon could be tweaked to produce the same, sharp output as the Canon (something that requires more than just the ability to change the sharpening settings) and, in this case, the answer appears to be yes.