New Nikon D5000 entry level dSLR with flip out LCD and video functionality

Written by Gary on April 14th, 2009

Nikon has just announced a new entry level dSLR – the D5000.

It’s a cut down version of the very good D90 whilst adding delayed mirror drop down quiet mode, a flip out LCD which will be handy for video work but curiously, its self-portrait position is BELOW the camera and hidden behind your tripod!

Nikon and Canon have both started released dSLRs with video mode capability – but unless I am mistaken, these are quite crippled video modes, particularly when compared to a cheap digital video camera – no AF or AWB once recording has started, limited duration (5min on the D5000), mono audio with no wind cut and no facility for external stereo microphone. With the D5000, the video mode is a modest 1280×720 pixels at 24fps.

Compare this with the Panasonic GH-1 which allows full AF capability throughout movie mode including face detection AF, and wind cut noise reduction, and stereo audio, and external stereo microphone capability and ability to take full control of shutter speed during movie and movies at full 1920×1080x24fps or 1280×720x60fps AND it still operates as a 12mp digital camera with super quiet (no mirror bouncing around) still photography in a much more compact and light kit with 2 small lenses covering 14-280mm focal length range in 35mm terms.

Well let’s get back to the Nikon D5000 as a dSLR camera and see what its missing:

  • compared to its more expensive D90 sibling
    • crippled flash technology – no FP High Speed Sync and no remote flash capability
    • smaller viewfinder view – 0.78x magnification pentamirror vs 0.94x pentaprism
    • no in-body focus motor thus non-AF-S autofocus Nikkor lenses will not AF
    • no depth of field preview button
    • no multipower battery grip
    • 4fps burst rate not 4.5fps
    • LCD screen 233,000-dot instead of 920,000 as in D90
  • compared to the Olympus E620
    • crippled flash technology – no FP High Speed Sync and no remote flash capability
    • no depth of field preview button
    • no built-in image stabiliser
    • flip out LCD does not come out sideways for self portraits on a tripod as on the E620
    • limited creative “art” image editing options although there is a soft filter
    • only 1 cross-type AF sensor (E-620 has 7 cross-type), but the D5000 does have 11 in total

But if the sensor is as good as the Nikon D90, then image quality should be excellent, and if you are not shooting moving subjects then the video mode may come in handy for some things – although the whole point of movies is to shoot moving subjects!

And perhaps only the more enthusiastic amateurs who want to use off-camera flash or flash fill-in outdoors in the sunlight would miss the flash features.

Thus if you are a dedicated Nikon fan but can’t afford the D90 or don’t want its weight or bulk, then the D5000 may fit the bill.

For those keen on a real video experience with a still camera, then I would go for the GH-1 (it’s right up there on my list to buy next).

And if you really like doing self-portraits on a tripod – the Olympus E-620 or E-30 with its swivelling LCD might be the better choice.


2 Comments so far ↓

  1. nikon d5000 says:

    Well, do you think the performance will be almost as great as D700 or D300 or maybe D90? Thank you.

  2. admin says:

    not sure which performance parameters are important to you … but the short answer is… not even close!