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on 23 July 2009
With a holiday to southern Ireland coming up that'll probably be the last family holiday before my eldest wants to start going away with friends instead, I wanted to be sure I come back with some great photos. My 8 year old Nikon Coolpix & much older still F601 just don't cut it anymore and I've fancied getting back into photography with a decent digital SLR for some time now.

Many evenings of trawling through reviews, spec sheets and sample photos, and I settled on the D5000. I chose it over the D60 because of some significantly better features (such as the 11 area Auto Focus and more flexible D-Lighting), and in preference to the D90 because I wanted some spare cash for accessories like a graduated ND filter kit. Other makes such as the Canon 500D just didn't match the Nikon for picture quality and that's the prime criteria for me.

I'm absolutely over the moon with my choice. Although the almost absurd array of features and settings was daunting when I first switched it on, after reading the manual (all 200 pages of it, I made a rare exception in this instance and it proved to be time well worth spending) I very soon found the D5000 to be surprisingly quick and easy to use. Changing any setting such as the ISO, metering, exposure compensation or AF area etc takes a split second. All of the key settings are displayed on the LCD during normal operation and a quick press of the "i" button lets you tab through them and make adjustments (it even remembers the last one you accessed which is really handy if, say, you want to change to spot metering for 1 photo then back to centre weighted afterwards) so it's rarely necessary to go into the menu itself.

I've always found Nikons to be solidly built, my Coolpix was dropped onto a solid floor on a couple of occasions with not even the barest hint of a scratch let alone significant damage, and the D5000 feels equally robust (not that I'm intending on doing a drop-test on it !)

Power up is instantaneous and there's no noticeable shutter lag, it's just as quick as my old non-digital F601 when it comes to grabbing it off the table and taking a quick snap (in fact the AF is vastly quicker and more reliable on the D5000 with the 18-55 VR lens than my old F601 was), and with a SanDisk 20MB/s SDHC memory card it rattles off continuous RAW shots at a rate faster than I'll probably ever need it to

Picture quality is fantastic, razor sharp detail and bright vivid colours. I just wish computer monitors came in 4288 x 2848 native resolutions because the camera produces way more detail than even my 27" 1920 x 1200 monitor can display and I have to zoom out to 44% to fit a whole photo on screen !

At it's default setting exposure was a tad dark for my liking, but a quick adjustment to the exposure compensation sorted that, in fact there's more than enough scope to tweak just about anything to suit your own individual taste. After going through all of the menus to familiarise myself with what was available I was staggered at the range of features crammed in to this camera. To give just 1 example - I used to have an 8 point star filter for an old camera, you don't need one for the D5000, it's available as one of the in-built filter effects called "cross screen", not only that but you can choose from 4,6 or 8 points, 3 different filtering amounts, 3 different angle settings, and 3 different point lengths. It produces a very effective result too.

Only very slight downside I have found is a bit of blooming creeping in to shots that are fairly over-exposed, but I doubt it would have been noticeable printed at A4 size and I'm sure a bit more care with exposures would eliminate that.

I've read that pictures are even sharper and more detailed still with the Nikon 50mm F1.4 prime lens, that's something I just have to see so it's been added to my future shopping list

I can't comment on its video capability because I haven't tried it and don't intend to (it doesn't auto focus in video mode for starters which makes it pretty much pointless in my view). That's my only real gripe actually - I have a Camcorder that takes excellent HD video with the added ability to take photos that are ok but not fantastic (so I don't take photos with it), and now a camera that takes excellent photos with limited video facilities bolted on. I really wish manufacturers would leave these pointless gimics off because no doubt we're paying extra for it. Please just concentrate on the specific area that the thing's designed for !!

All in all, I'd recommend the D5000 to anyone looking for a decent dSLR for under a grand, if it proves as reliable as my Coolpix has been then I'll be getting plenty of enjoyment out of it for many years to come.
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on 26 May 2010
I bought this camera to replace my D40. I've taken 1300 pictures in the first two weeks (I was on holiday!) and I am absolutely delighted with the results. The camera is very easy to get used to; it's very similar to the D40 but with some added features. It is noticeably faster than the D40; you can take a picture within a fraction of a second from switch on. I sold on the 18-55mm lens that it came with and used my existing 18-105mm VR lens. However the standard lens also has VR (Vibration Reduction). I've no idea how one is supposed to tell if VR is making a difference and while it can be switched off I can't see any point in that so I keep it on all the time. The Auto Focus is very quick and I find the 11 point system easier to target than the 3 point system on the D40. Live view also has it's uses in a tight spot. I very much like the moveable LCD screen on the back, it's big and one can face it in any direction as required or close it up completely for protection. The automatic settings are good; I also like the Scenes feature which I found very good for some of those difficult situations like sun rise, sun set, and party shots in the evening darkness. I use a Speedlight SB-600 flash and it works perfectly with the camera; it's easy to adjust to situations and get good pics out of difficult lighting conditions

A 4GB card holds just over 1300 pics. That should be enough for anyone!

The only problem I have identified is the way Nikon manage the picture folders and numbering. Once there are 1,000 pictures in the folder the camera opens a new folder and re-starts numbering from 0001. This is a nuisance for me because I like to number my pictures continuously (when they go on the PC I upgrade the numbers to 5 digits). This resulted in me having to rename nearly 300 pics to get them back in line. This has only been a problem because I took so many pics in one session. Normally one would copy off far fewer pics and empty the folder, in which case continuous numbering works fine. All this begs the question - when are camera makers going to provide a five digit number range? That would allow 99,999 unique picture files without the need to renumber any. At the rate I'm taking pics that would keep me busy for about 20 years!

Best likes: Picture quality, auto focus, VR, Live view, Scenes, ease of use.
Dislikes: Folder and number management, with the bigger lens (and often a flash gun on top) it's pretty heavy!

I bought David Busch's Nikon D5000 guide to Digital SLR Photography which makes up for the rather poor user guide that comes with the camera. Nikon's guide tells you what the camera has on it; David Busch also tells you how to use it - much more useful.
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on 30 July 2010
First some background on how I came to buy this kit. I found buying a Digital SLR a very confusing process given the huge numbers of very similar models available. It becomes clear pretty early on however that the choice is essentially down to Canon Vs Nikon. I was tempted, for example, by the Pentax K7 which is a semi-professional camera with a very high specification. But the Pentax has a limited range of lenses available compared to Canon or Nikon. I then started on a model by model comparison of Canon and Nikon, beginning at the higher end of their ranges with models like the Canon EOS5, which is also a semi-professional camera. However, these kinds of semi-pro models weigh a lot (900gms) and I concluded that I would be reluctant to take them out with me. That left me looking at the top end of the consumer ranges of each manufacturer, comparing the Nikon D90 with the Canon EOS 50D. To be quite honest there is nothing to choose between these cameras and it comes down to personal taste and how you like the handling. My preference was for the Nikon. At this point my camera dealer suggested I look also at the cheaper Nikon D5000. This has 90% of the features of the D90 and has the advantage (to my mind) that the LCD screen on the back of the camera swivels round so that it doesn't get scratched. My dealer told me that he hardly sells any D90s now that the D5000 is around.

I bought the body only and paired it with the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S G VR II DX Nikkor Lens. This is a fabulous combination. Not too heavy, physically compact and covers nearly every focal length you could reasonably want so that it is only necessary to carry one lens around. This lens costs the same as the camera but in my view is worth every penny. The standard lens that comes with the camera is its weakest link and you will significantly improve the quality of your photographs by upgrading it.

This is a very fine camera indeed. It sits nicely in the hand and the controls are pretty intuitive. Unlike the D90 one control covers both shutter speed and aperture and switching between them requires a button to be pressed simultaneously. I thought this would be horrible but in practice does not impede the ergonomics. Access to advanced functions through the LCD screen is pretty straightforward - certainly much simpler compared to my Canon S90 compact. So I haven't found myself standing over the camera wondering how to change settings such as ISO, exposure compensation, bracketing, flash functions etc. The viewfinder is nice and clear but if I'm honest not as good as my old Olympus OM1 - unless my memory is playing tricks. The information display on the LCD screen is first class with a choice of how information is displayed so that you can have visual symbols and/or numbers for shutter speed and aperture.

Start up is not always instant because sometimes the camera has a short cleaning routine for the image sensor. I tend to leave the camera on all day when I am using it and it goes into sleep mode from which it wakes up instantly. Shooting speed is terrific. It saves very quickly to the memory card (make sure you buy very high quality data cards to get maximum speed, these cost a lot more ). Burst shooting is also very quick at 3.5 to 4 frames per second. The semi-pro cameras are twice as fast as this but that seems like overkill for my needs. Auto focusing is quick and accurate in all normal circumstances and the exposure system gets it right 90% of the time. It can be fooled by subjects where there is a big range of light and dark (for example a sunset where the ground is dark and the sky is light) but these subjects don't have a 'right' exposure and the only answer is bracketing, which it can do automatically. There is a huge range of exposure options - manual, shutter speed priority, aperture priority, Programme, fully auto and various scene modes. The one that's missing is ISO priority but I think only Pentax offers that. On the subject of ISO the slowest on offer is 100, which, as someone used to Kodachrome 64 and 25, I think is a bit fast because sometimes I want to shoot blurred movement in daylight and need a very slow film speed. There is a compensation adjustment that slows the ISO down below 100 but it's a bit clumsy to access.

Not strictly relevant to the product featured here is my choice of the 18-200mm Nikon lens. This is just the most fantastic bit of kit. It handles superbly, balances on the camera delightfully and enables perfect framing of the photograph. The maximum aperture is f3.5 - 5.6, which is excellent for a lens of this type.

It almost goes without saying that the quality of the pictures is top notch, but that would have been true with the Canon or the Pentax. These cameras are all very very good and the differences are either ones of taste and fancy or visible at extreme magnifications, very fast ISO speeds or in test conditions. I haven't experienced any issues of consistent under or over exposure or colour casting.

Some software comes with the camera for editing and viewing pictures but I use iPhoto so have not tried the Nikon package. Nor have I tried movie mode on the camera as that is not what I bought it for (but it requires manual focussing so is not like a video camera). I dropped the camera onto a concrete floor about an hour after buying it. It seems to have survived without any problem, although I nearly had a heart attack.

Overall then I'm very happy with my purchase but I think that has as much to do with my choice of lens as the camera itself. I'm certainly pleased I didn't buy the more expensive and very heavy semi-pro models.
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on 11 April 2017
Good camera, nice pictures, nice videos, still working.
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on 15 December 2009
I bought this camera with great reservations. I was told by the reviews that it was designed in part, for people likely coming over from a compact digital camera, however. It's a very usable camera for enthusiasts as well. It is a little menu driven which does create a learning bottleneck when you first get started but it's actually quite easy to learn and certainly not simply for people that are looking for a quality point and click upgrade. The most impressive thing so far is the photo quality. Mainly at high ISO which is very impressive... I took the camera to my local pub, which is quite dark (open fireplace etc...) and set it to 3200 ISO. When I got home and dumped them in to my computer I was quite taken aback at how clear and detailed the shots were. Yep, some grain when you zoomed in but at full frame many people would hardly have noticed a loss in quality from a compact, outside at 100 ISO. I did a few at 1600 ISO (in the brighter parts of the pub) and the quality was so similar to ISO 200 it was amazing. Zoom in and you'll notice some issues but at full frame the pictures are very clean. I shoot in RAW so a little processing (with iPhoto, read on.. :( ) and the images are crisp and beautifully toned. For instance, the landlord/ladies' son (3 years old) was playing with my iPhone and the colouring in the picture clearly depicted the white glow of the iPhone on his face without losing any of the natural colour and tone from the other lighting (fireplace, tungsten) in the pub

At this time of writing (December 16th 2009) the software you get in the box (ViewNX and Nikon transfer) will NOT work with an Apple Mac running OSX 10.6 (Snow leopard). The Nikon website claims that by the end of Jan 2010 the software will be compatible (Capture NX DOES NOT WORK either, suggested as a December 09 release). Nikon have obviously dragged their heals on this which is poor considering many proper photographers, and the rest of us, use Mac's day to day. There is simply no excuse for this delay despite the fact it's supposedly on the way apparently so hoorah, or something... iPhoto will suffice until, but it's a little frustrating to have to wait to something you thought you'd paid for but wasn't made clear wouldn't work.

If you are trying to decide on whether to get an EOS 500D (which is where my head was at for at least a couple of months) then whatever you choose between the D5000 or the 500D, you will surely get very good photos from either, when you figure out how they work in your world. If you're leaning towards the Canon based on the pixel increase then I would say to forget that comparison. The higher res screen would be nice but it simply doesn't take photos quite as well. If you disagree, then i'll agree to disagree but my point remains that the lower pixel count doesn't actually make any real world differences. If anything, the proven Nikon sensor as well as the kit lens on the Nikon is clearly better than the average kit lens (18-55) on the Canon. I bought body only and went with a Sigma 18-250 which is very good. The kit lens isn't as good as the Sigma and miles better than the kit lens on the Canon (don't buy it if you can help it. Upgrade from 'body only' at the point of purchase). Overall (other than the heavy use of the menu system) very highly recommended.

So, why the four stars? Nothing is perfect...
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on 31 March 2010
I approach this review from the perspective of a recent owner of a Nikon D60 needing replacement due to damage. I reviewed the D3000, D5000 and D90 as possible replacements and glanced at other offerings from Canon, Sony etc., just in case but was not tempted away from Nikon. I use it with a Nikon 18-200 VR lens, not the kit lens.

The D3000 is the entry level direct replacement of the D60. The D5000 offered a real step up from the D60 in several areas. Firstly, image quality was most important to me and secondly some additional new features would be welcome while keeping within a reasonable budget. I didn't like the price or weight of the D90.

Let's get some concerns out of the way. There had been a recall on some non UK sold serial numbers and this can be easily checked on the Nikon website and was not an issue with the one I purchased. The only other possible downside was the reported size of the viewfinder. This was not an problem at all.

The only possible issue in my book is the swing out LCD which is very handy for certain photographic situations but can catch on the neck strap when closing if care is not taken. Would I now rather do without it? In balance, no as it is too useful.

Various reviews highlight the shared technology with the D90 and D300 and point to similar image quality to these models. This indeed appears to be the case in my opinion and with a surprising low light capability. It certainly has much better capability in this area than the D60 which was no slouch. The 11 point TTL autofocus is a welcome addition over the D60's 3 point autofocus. The body is only a little bigger and heavier than the D60.

The movie function, while only manual focus, is a great bonus feature delivering High Definition quality clips that will come in very handy from time to time. So much so that I have sold my video camera.

OK, so there is a lot to grasp in the manual with all the features of this camera that is no surprise. Either leave it on Auto and gradually learn to use the features over time or perhaps buy a more readable after market user guide for the D5000.

All in all a great camera for the price. I recommend it.
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on 28 June 2009
I upgraded to the D5000 from a Nikon D40, and I am very glad I did so! The design appealed to me, with its swivel screen (I must admit, I really liked that idea and it swayed it for me) and just the look of it is nice. It's solid feeling, whilst not too heavy (although it is heavier than the D40), sturdy, and easy to hold whilst taking photos. I bought it with the 18-55mm lens kit, and I also had the 55-200mm lens from my old camera, which works on it.

The photos are of fantastic quality, and I haven't even read the manual yet, I'm just going on my knowledge from the D40 (it is very similar but has more features), so I am certain once I have read that, I will be getting even more fantastic results. The video is also a nice feature, a bonus in DSLR's, and I was told not to expect much when I bought it. However I am pleased with it. You do really need to have it on a tripod, and if you are taking a video of something moving, it can go a bit blurry if the object comes any closer, but that is to be expected. The sound on is is good quality.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone. It's just a shame it is so expensive, however, I did feel it was worth it. Also, when buying a NIkon DSLR, remember to have a memory card when you get the camera, as they have no internal memory at all.
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on 14 April 2010
This is an amazing camera. I know quite a lot about photography, but this was my first venture into the world of SLR's. I spent ages deciding which to get, and settled on the D5000 (as i couldn't afford the D90). First impression was 'amazing'. A month later - its still amazing.
I didnt want to get an entry level DSLR that after 6-12 months i was bored with as i could not do anything new or keep learning. The D5000 has LOADS of features (im not going to go through them as you can see the spec yourself). HOWEVER, things like 11-point focus; I could never now go to a camera with less than 11.
The different scene modes are really good and cover most situations.
Shooting in RAW is also amazing. If you don't do any post-production work then this doesn't really apply, but if you do, it makes a massive difference.
The camera has a really nice feel. Heavy (i always think quality things are weighty), but its not a ton of bricks to carry around - honest. Comfortable to hold and the buttons (haha - once you learn what they do) are easy to reach without having to move your entire hand).
Like i say, its not an entry level SLR, so has plenty of features and you can control EVERYTHING yourself (or you can shoot in auto). Once you get your head around the basics of why you need to change a certain setting, you just need to get out and play! Thats the beauty of digital, i can easily shoot 300 photos in an afternoon.
The camera also has a kind of 'built in' instruction manual. In any of the menus, if you press this button, it will explain whatever the cursor is on. So if you forget which type of metering you need, you can quickly and easily check. ALSO... a really nifty feature... when about to take a photo, on the display, if you see a blinking question mark... press this button, and it will tell you something like 'poor lighting conditions, flash recommended'. Cool eh?!

Buying an SLR is a big purchase, so if you haven't already, go and play with them in a camera shop. But this is a great camera that has a lot of scope and can take amazing pictures (it is actually quite close to the D90).
The lens (18-55mm) is really good and im really pleased with it. A good range, but will be looking into macro lenses soon. The image stabiliser is very effective and you rarely get blurry photos.
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on 3 June 2009
The Nikon D5000 seems to be everything I wanted. Although having the same size 12.3MP sensor as in the D90 and D300, the APS-C CMOS upgrade with 1.5x focal magnification seems an ample improvement over its predecessors. As with all the Nikons I have used, the D5000 presents to the user a robust, compact and light-weight feel, whilst still offering some features you would expect to find in professional level cameras.

The D5000 has many great features with its high ISO range (100 to 6400), 11 area auto focus system and good tonal range. The anti dust system offers three stages of protection: CCD shake, 'airflow' (which pushes air out of the mirror box) and anti dust software for post editing. The camera also has live view as well as a tilting screen, however I question the practical applications of the screen as I have taken some 500 images with the camera so far and have yet to use the tilt function (admittedly I prefer the optical view finder over alternative means). All said and done, the crown jewel of the D5000 is without a doubt the HD movie capture feature, allowing not only for 24fps capturing but interval shooting which produces stop-motion action. However the AF system is disabled during filming, resulting in the need to use the focus wheel manually which the clumsy-handed like myself find quite tricky!

One of the things I have always loved about Nikons is their ability to perform excellently in low light conditions. Although not a criticism, my Sony Alpha A350 has always given me a fair bit of grief when taking evening shots at ISO 400 or above, resulting in the need for an extra pass of colour noise reduction after uploading. The dynamic range optimiser as ever is very effective in bringing out detail in the lower tones.

I feel that the D5000 is in a tight spot being that it is the 'middle child', making it harder to favour over similar models. Moreover it is difficult to say where it excels and falls short compared to the D90 and the D300. I should say however that, overall, the camera comes trumps in all areas except the price, which is slightly higher than I would have bargained for. Ultimately though I am very fond of this camera and would give it my highest of recommendations. Well worth buying!
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on 7 January 2011
I am a fashion student and I bought this camera because I wanted to move up from compact cameras, as I am studying aspects of fashion photography. I was torn between this DSLR and the Canon 500D, but I chose the Nikon D5000 because I liked the build quality better and it has a textured surface on the outside body which adds to the overall quality of the camera. I also liked the flip out LCD screen as I am able to get awkward angled shots without getting into different positions to get a good shot. One of the main reasons that I bought the camera was that the menus on the camera offer a lot of controls but are simplified for beginner users of DSLR cameras. On the LCD screen when using the camera there is a visual representation of the aperture so users can see how it works instead of using numbers which might be daunting for new users of DSLR's. Also there is a guide mode on the camera that can teach you about the settings and how to take photo's in different situations, such as if you want to take a night time photo and go in guide mode, it will tell you to change your ISO number and to select a possible different flash mode. When changing ISO numbers, there is also an image next to the number so you have an image to help you decide which number if you are not used to changing ISO numbers.

The Nikon D5000 has 12.3 megapixels and its ISO range goes from 100 to 6400. It can shoot at 4 fps in continuous shooting and an 11 point autofocus system so you can target your subject easily and in focus. The camera is very quiet compared to some that I tried, which is good if you are in quiet areas or taking photos of animals. The Live View on the camera can be used for taking photos, most of the settings can be accessed from the live view screen, such as image resolution, white balance, ISO sensitivities, Active D-Lighting, metering modes etc. The camera also has some retouching effects that you can use on images already captured. These modes include red-eye reduction, monochrome conversion, filter effects, image resizing, the straightening of crooked images etc. If you tilt the camera vertically, the LCD screen will turn itself so that you wouldn't have to turn your head if you wanted to change some settings quickly. When turning off the camera, it has a self cleaning system to shake dust and dirt from the mirrors and keep your camera clean if the lens has been removed and some dust has entered your camera.

The design of the camera is very well sculpted for your hands as the hand grip is position nicely for people with little or big hands. The buttons for the screen and the command dial are well placed for switching settings or modes, and the dial has a nice grip so you can change modes with ease. The optical viewfinder has a rubber surround around it so that it fits comfortably when looking through it. The lens zooms in and out smoothly and has a nice grip on the outside so your hand can focus and zoom easily if you want to zoom and focus precisely. The focus ring on the end of the camera is also designed well so you can get focussed in to get pin sharp photos whilst in manual mode. Around to the back of the camera there is a rubberised thumb rest which helps with taking photos, as it will give you added grip if using it freehand without a tripod. At the side of the camera is a flap which contains three different ports for connectivity with separate functions. There is a GPS/Remote port which you could input a remote if you would like to take photos without using the shutter release. The second port is a USB port which you can use to connect the camera to your computer and copy images over, or to view them on a computer. The third port is the mini HDMI port, from which you can connect to your TV and view your images and movies from there.

There are many positive aspects to the Nikon D5000. It has very good image quality, and I don't find it to over saturate the colours in the image, as the camera takes very accurate colour reproduction. The kit lens that comes with the camera I bought is very good (18-55mm VR) as the lens feels solidly built, and the zoom ring has a nicely textured surface for added grip, which also zooms in and out smoothly without any jerkiness. It has a nice set-up for beginners, but it still has manual controls and other settings for users that know their way around DSLR's. The retracting 360 degree LCD screen is useful for getting awkward shots or overhead shots without straining yourself. The Image Stability is very good for handheld shots, and is a good feature if you have forgotten your tripod. Movie mode is better than I would have thought it to have been, as it shoots in 720p at 30fps and I can get some good panning shots whilst doing movies. The dial which is on the top of the camera has different modes (such as Macro, Portrait, Landscape, Night mode etc) when you turn the dial; the camera will set itself up for the mode you have selected, so it is quick and accessible.

When using the Nikon D5000, I have noticed a few negative points. It is a bit heavy for my hands, but the build quality far outweighs this little point. You can't turn the LCD screen around if you've stuck it on a tripod, so make sure the screen isn't turned around to be protected when putting on a tripod, or you'll have to unattach it to turn the screen around again.

I would recommend this camera to people who want to step up from compact cameras to DSLR's. The camera takes excellent photos, whilst having a very good movie mode built in as well, and it was everything I was looking for in a camera.
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