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Dennis Hissink : April 28th 2009 - 21:21 CET

Nikon D5000 preview

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NikonNikon D5000 digital SLR camera review : For some time, rumor has been floating around that a Nikon digital SLR camera is about to be introduced. The general expectation that Nikon would come with a new DSLR during the last PMA 2009 show in Las Vegas, did not come true. It also seems that the PMA show is no longer considered to be the time of camera introductions. This certainly goes for Nikon, with their very specific introduction rate and timing. In this case, we have already moved into April, the month in which Nikon shows its new D-SLR. The new Nikon D5000 is a digital reflex camera, targeting the hobby or enthusiast amateur photographer. Availability of the Nikon D5000 DSLR camera is expected in May 2009.
Nikon D5000

Nikon D5000 camera body
The Nikon D5000 has a compact size, although you can see straight away that the camera is thicker than the Nikon D60, for example. If we turn the camera in order to look at its back, we know why; the Nikon D5000 features an LCD monitor that can be folded out. 'Finally', is the first thought that came to my mind. Up until now, Nikon did not consider this a necessity, although competitors have been mounting this type of multi-functional display regularly on DSLRs. Literally up until now, that is, because with the introduction of the Nikon D5000, we will undoubtedly see more of these folding-out monitors on future Nikon DSLR cameras.

Nikon D5000 SLR

Nikon digital SLR camera assortment
The appearance of the Nikon D5000 changes the ranking of the D60; downwards to be precise. The D60 in fact takes over the position of the D40x (the latter was removed from the assortment), the Nikon D5000 comes after that and above it, we find the Nikon D90 digital SLR. The Nikon D5000 is a combination of the D60 and D90. It has the ease and compact size of the D60, yet the innovative technique of the D90. And where possible, Nikon has made improvements, such as the HD movie capture feature.


Nikon D5000 High Definition & Live View
High Definition seems to have made a full breakthrough and this functionality, seen for the first time on the D90, has also been applied to the Nikon D5000. Live View is also found on the Nikon D5000, as is AF-tracking; making its first appearance here. This makes Live View more convenient to the user; during recording, focusing will become easier. At the time of writing this preview, we have not yet had the chance to work with the D5000, however; we will come back to this functionality in the next Nikon D5000 review.

D5000 camera

Nikon D5000 camera operation
The top side of the Nikon D5000 looks a lot like that of the D60. The graphical reproduction of the command dial has changed slightly, and the separate button for face detection has been replaced by an INFO button. If we compare the topside of the Nikon D5000 with that of the D90, we find a bigger difference. In particular the small status display is a luxury which you enjoy as Nikon D90-owner. If we look at the back of the D5000, we again find a large similarity with that of the D60.

Nikon D5000 memory

INFO button on the Nikon D5000
There is an extra INFO button placed to the right of the monitor. A similar button is also found on the topside of the button, but this particular this particular button is an additional one, providing additional information to the information that is directly reproduced by the INFO button. There is an extra level of information available via this extra INFO button. It is a convenient solution for the beginning photographer, although the enthusiast amateur will not be keen on using it. We already spotted the Live View (LV) button, right of the monitor, on the D90, but the Nikon D5000 lacks the so-called 'Lock-button'.

Nikon D5000 DSLR

Nikon D5000 features a folding-out LCD display
The Nikon D5000 differentiates itself from its own assortment by the folding-out LCD display. However, this is not unique for the market, while we have seen these display solutions before on digital SLR cameras. At first, the folding-out monitor of the Nikon D5000 seems somewhat restricted, since you can't tilt it to the left or right. This ensures you keep straight behind the camera. And this is exactly why Nikon chose this type of monitor instead of the one found on the new Olympus E-620, for example.

Nikon D5000 digital SLR camera

User friendliness of the LCD display
Due to the fact you are forced to keep the camera leveled in front of you with the display folded out, the composition remains where you would expect it to be; right in front of you. A monitor that is folded out alongside the DSLR makes you look from an angle while your subject may in fact be straight ahead of the camera. In practice, this is sometimes experienced as somewhat of a hindrance. In our opinion, there are pros for both solutions.

Nikon D5000 Body

12 Megapixel Nikon D5000 DSLR camera
The resolution of the Nikon D5000 is set to 12 Megapixels, with which Nikon once again makes a clear statement. Increasing the amount of pixels on DX sensors or non-35mm format sensors should never be a reason for a new camera announcement. A statement we fully support. The 12 Megapixels of resolution will be more than enough to deal with for the target group of this camera. High quality enlargements of pictures can be made without a problem.

D5000 Nikon

ISO sensitivity range on the Nikon D5000
The sensor's sensitivity ranges from ISO 200 to 3200 with expandable ISO to both sides to 100 and 64000 ISO equivalent. During interviews, we were told that the signal/noise ratio should at least be similar to that of the D90. We will take the test results of the DIWA Lab into account for our camera review that is coming up soon. We expect to receive a test sample of the Nikon D5000 in our office shortly, so that we will be able to publish a full Nikon D5000 review before long.

Nikon D5000 review

Nikon D5000 auto focus system
When it comes to its focus system, the Nikon D5000 uses high quality techniques. We find the advanced 3D tracking of the professional Nikon D3, and the D5000 features a fast and precise 11-point auto focus system. Other remarkable features are the Airflow Control System that we saw before on the Nikon D60. During shooting, this system will guide dust to a specially integrated filter, and next, to be blown out of the housing. The Airflow Control System is an additional system to the so-called 'Dust Reduction System' which effectively keeps dust away from the sensor.

D5000 review

Nikon D5000 review conclusion : A full reflex camera for the amateur photographer
The Nikon D5000 digital SLR camera also offers more possibilities when it comes to image editing. The famous D-Lighting of Nikon already offered beautiful solutions, but with the integrated Picture Control System, Retouch menu and built-in filters, digital photography becomes even more creative, even without having to use a computer. The Nikon D5000 is a full DSLR for the amateur, and when looking at the specifications, it will be interesting to see how the competitors react to this introduction.

• View our Nikon D5000 test photos.

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