Thursday, December 17, 2009

Nikon D5000 - A Great Little Companion

I bought a Nikon D5000 on April 14, 2009—the day it was announced. sent it by UPS and I had it in my hands on April 23, 2009. Quick delivery! I like

While writing my fourth Mastering the Nikon® DSLR book in association with NikoniansPress and Rocky Nook, I needed a sample camera. My latest book, due out now is Mastering the Nikon D5000. The other books in the series are here.

My first impressions of the Nikon D5000 are that it's smaller than my Nikon D90, yet larger than my Nikon D3000. It actually fits my hand a little better than the D3000 does.

Honestly, it felt a little weird to me though. I'm used to hanging onto the considerable bulk of my Nikon D300s and D2x. So, at first I didn't think I would like the camera. However, that changed pretty quickly. The new tilt & swivel screen is a delight to use, after you get used to the idea.

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I think that is where the weirdness came in. I'm used to viewing an image immediately after taking it, but when I'd do that with the D5000, I would look down and see the closed LCD. A little weird—but I got used to opening the LCD before shooting.

I can see how this swiveling LCD screen will be useful when shooting videos and pictures without drawing attention to myself. When you're looking down at your camera, most people will simply think you're adjusting it. The D5000 lets you take video or pictures on the sly. I like that! Street photography will be interesting with this camera. Also, when you want to shoot something close to the ground, or video from your seat, this swiveling LCD is a real benefit.

Image quality is simply outstanding. I can see no difference in the picture quality between my D300, D90, and D5000. For the money, this camera is a great deal. It has the most important features found in the Nikon D90, but in a smaller body.

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The 11-point autofocus is the same as the D90, and seems to work at about the same speed. The camera will shoot at 4 frames per second in case you want to shoot sports. It has full manual, aperture priority, shutter priority, and Programmed Auto (with Flexible program). You can take full control of the camera, or let it help you.

If I were someone coming over from the point & shoot world and were looking to buy a DSLR for the first time. The D5000 is a great choice! It has 19 scene modes for those who are unsure about using a DSLR.

These scene modes allow you to select from a list of shooting styles like Close up, Portrait, Lansdcape, Party, Sunset, Night portrait, Sports, Child(ren), and a whole bunch of other styles. The camera can't be beat for allowing a new photographer to get great images under nearly any circumstance.

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In preparation for writing my new book, I used the D5000 in Cades Cove of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, USA. The images I brought home were excellent. I would take a few pictures, then do a three minute video segment. All day long I did both and had a great time in the process. Using video this way was a new experience for me. I love it!

The AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR lens is sharp as a tack. The Vibration Reduction (VR) works extremely well—I was able to handhold shots like the horses above—while making sharp images. I've become so used to VR that I don't want to shoot handheld without it, anymore. Why should I when VR is included with the lens at no extra cost?

Recently, I've found myself carrying the camera with me instead of the D300. It's small enough to fit into a briefcase or bag, and the power-level of this little jewel leaves little to be desired. I'm well pleased with the camera, and heartily recommend it to those wanting extra camera power and flexibility, along with an excellent video mode.

My book, Mastering the Nikon D5000, is just now beginning to ship. Be sure to look it up on, or in your favorite book store. Thanks for reading my blog.

Keep on capturing time...
Darrell Young


  1. Darrell,

    Great review! I hope to eventually move up from my D60 and was wondering if the D5000 would be a good choice or would the better move be to a D90 or D300s?

  2. It's really according to how much you want to spend. I just bought an extra D5000 body for my daughter for less than $600 USD. The price is significantly lower on the D5000. They have similar functionality and image quality. The D90 is a larger camera, with some extra features.

    Of course, if you can afford the D300s, it's a powerful camera absolutely loaded with features inherited from the Nikon D3x.