Review: Nikon D5000 Camera – The All-in-One Digital SLR

As a intermediate photographer, my camera of choice has always been the DSLR. Over the last couple of weeks I had the opportunity to test out Nikon’s D5000. Now, let me start off saying this is not a good choice for those just learning photography or starting off as a hobby. This camera is definitely for the seasoned or advanced photographer. If you are serious about getting into photography and want an all-in-one piece of equipment with all the bells and whistles, this is it!

At 12.3 megapixels, the D5000 definitely provides a high quality photo with amazing enlargement capability. The camera is also equipped with Nikon’s exclusive EXPEED advanced digital image processing system technologies. This amazing technology provides the power to process the high amount of data generated by the camera’s sensor. EXPEED allows for super fast processing of the many advanced imaging functions on the camera. I own a Canon Xsi and this camera beat it by a mile when it came to speed. There was literally little to no delay – even with the live view!

What I absolutely love about this camera is the new innovative Vari-angle monitor. In order to take shots at different heights, levels and angles with ease, this monitor swings down approximately 90 degrees and rotates 180 degrees allowing users to shoot a multitude of interesting and imaginative angles in Live View mode. Clear and bright, the LCD panel tucks neatly and conveniently back against the camera to protect the screen when not in use.

Another super cool feature is the D-movie function which gives users the flexibility to shot Motion JPEG movie clips in different formats at 24 frames-per-second. For high-quality playback on HDTVs, the D5000 produces clips at 1280 x 720 pixels and smaller formats such as 640 x 424 and 420 x 216 pixels. The image quality is excellent and low noise, even when shooting at high ISO settings as the sensor on this camera is much larger than your average camcorder. This is an all-in-one piece of equipment!

The 11 point auto-focus system is driven by Nikon’s Multi-Cam 1000 auto-focus module, delivering fast, precise focus over a wide area of the frame when shooting through the optical viewfinder. Four AF modes are available: single-point AF for stationary subjects, dynamic-area AF for moving subjects; auto-area AF to automatically determine the proper focus method and 3D tracking (my favorite) for maintaining focus on subjects even if the composition changes.

There are two features that really stood out for me with the D5000. The first is the beautiful and multi-functional 18-105 mm lens. One of the cons of working with DSLR cameras is the cost factor when it comes to lenses. There are so many on the market, each one offering something different. Now this lens doesn’t give you everything but it comes close. I was very comfortable with the range, the speed and quality: definitely beat my Canon’s 18-55 mm by a mile!
Love this lens!

The second is the flash. I love the control, modes and compensation it provided. The flash control was excellent and allowed me to shoot in auto, auto with red-eye reduction, fill-flash, auto slow sync, auto slow sync with red-eye correction, and rear curtain with slow sync.

With digital photography touch-ups are sometimes needed, especially red eye! What’s so neat about this camera is the newly expanded photo editing functions that allow for in-camera retouching. It is very simple to use and super quick. I had two photos, both of which were perfect except for the dreaded red eye and it took me 2 minutes to edit them both! The retouch menu also offers options such as the Soft Filter, Perspective Control (which helps to correct distortions) and the Colour outline, which creates monochrome outlines of objects in images by eliminating color and tonal gradations. Make a mistake? Not to worry, the camera applies the edits to a copy of the image, leaving the original untouched.

Now for the con, I found the D5000 to be heavier and bulkier than Nikon’s D40 and D60. Although the bulkiness may be an asset to those with larger hands, for me it was cumbersome and a little harder to handle. I recommend testing one out and getting a feel for it before purchasing. If you go to your local camera shop, the sales agents usually allow you to play around with it before committing.
Just a few of the many features:

* Dust Reduction system with Image Sensor Cleaning

* Picture Control System with five setting options: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape; storage for up to nine custom Picture Controls

* Viewfinder Eye-level pentamirror single-lens reflex viewfinder

* Focusing screen: Type B BriteView Clear Matte screen Mark V with focus frame (framing grid can be displayed)

*Shutter type: Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal-lane shutter

* Shutter Speed: 1/4,000 yo 30 s in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, Bulb, Time (with optional ML -L3 Remote Control)

*On-demand grid lines when shooting both through the optical viewfinder and in the Live View mode

*Direct HDTV connectivity via built-in HDMI connector

* Support for the Nikon Creative Lighting System when using certain Speedlights

* Long lasting rechargeable Li-on Battery which provides up to 510 shots per charge

* Quiet. Compared to my Canon xSi, this is oh so pleasantly quiet!

* Includes Nikon ViewNX image browsing and editing software, allowing you to organize, label and select images as well as peform RAW image editing adjustments and conversions.

Suggested retail pricing:

D5000 (body only) – $679.95
D5000 set, with 18-55mm VR lens – $819.95
D5000 set, with 18-105mm VR lens – $1,019.95 has the D5000 kit with 18-55 mm lens for $639.88.

Thank you to Nikon for providing us with this camera for review!

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