Nikon D5000 review

Price when reviewed

There’s no doubting the D5000 is a Nikon, with its classic styling offering no departures in terms of the body design or basic control layout. The 2.7in screen on the back isn’t the largest either, but it’s literally the most flexible.

Give the ridged tabs a tug and it comes away from the body of the camera via a hinge at the bottom; it can be pivoted through 180 degrees, and swivelled too. If you tend to chuck your camera haphazardly in a bag, you can turn the screen round so it faces the back of the camera to protect it.

And in conjunction with the Live View mode, it means you can frame shots very close to the ground or over your head which, with a traditional SLR, would be completely hit-and-miss. The contrast-detect autofocus makes this less flexible than that of the Alpha A330, but it’s still a valuable tool to be able to resort to if circumstances demand.

Nikon D5000

The D5000 also offers 720p HD video recording, putting it in the elite company of the Canon 500D and Panasonic GH-1. The video mode is a little hampered, though. The lack of 1080p isn’t too surprising at this price, but the five-minute limit on HD recording (a function, says Nikon, of the Motion JPEG format) is a bigger worry. Budding cinematographers aren’t going to worry – very few shots last for more than five minutes – but it’s hardly ideal for children’s birthday parties and other more prosaic uses.

Our tests also reveal that the Canon 500D produces cleaner, sharper video, probably because of the H.264 MOV file format. The 500D is the more flexible in terms of time too, allowing you to shoot up to 29mins 59 secs of footage.


Image quality 6

Basic specifications

Camera megapixel rating 12.3mp
Camera screen size 2.7in
Camera optical zoom range 3x
Camera maximum resolution 4,288 x 2,848
Camera optical image stabilisation in kit lens

Weight and dimensions

Weight 906g
Dimensions 127 x 80 x 104mm (WDH)


Battery type included Lithium-ion
Battery life (CIPA standard) 510 shots
Charger included? yes

Other specifications

Built-in flash? yes
Aperture range f3.5 - f5.6
Camera minimum focus distance 0.27m
Shortest focal length (35mm equivalent) 27
Longest focal length (35mm equivalent) 83
Minimum (fastest) shutter speed 1/4,000
Bulb exposure mode? yes
RAW recording mode? yes
Exposure compensation range +/- 5EV
ISO range 100 - 6400
Selectable white balance settings? yes
Manual/user preset white balane? yes
Progam auto mode? yes
Shutter priority mode? yes
Aperture priority mode? yes
Fully auto mode? yes
Burst frame rate 4.0fps
Exposure bracketing? yes
White-balance bracketing? yes
Memory-card type SD, SDHC
Viewfinder coverage 95%
LCD resolution 230k
Secondary LCD display? no
Video/TV output? yes
Body construction Plastic
Tripod mounting thread? yes
Data connector type Micro-USB

Manual, software and accessories

Full printed manual? yes
Software supplied Nikon transfer, ViewNX
Accessories supplied Shoulder strap, USB cable, video cable

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