Low ISO noise

The D5000 displays an excellent noise profile. You start to see a tiny bit of degradation at ISO 800 if you squint a little, but shots remains eminently usable up through ISO 1,600.
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Photo by: Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET / Caption by:

Hi ISO noise

While ISO 3,200 displays a little more color noise than I like to see in my photos, it's still in keeping with performance for this market segment. And the D5000's extended range of ISO 6,400 remains usable for a variety of scene types.
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Photo by: Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET / Caption by:

Noise: ISO 3,200

You probably wouldn't want to print ISO 3,200 photos at full size, but scaled down there's no color shift, and for shots like this it works very well.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Sharpness

For a kit lens, the Nikon 18-55mm VR performs extremely well: it's sharp and focuses extremely closely.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Sharpness

Another example of how sharp the D5000's 18-55mm VR kit lens is. (ISO 200, 1/100 sec, f11)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Distortion

The 18-55mm VR kit lens does display a bit of barrel distortion at its widest.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Exposure

The D5000's metering works extremely well, even in bright, high-contrast light, and the image Expeed processing engine takes care to maximize the tonal range appropriately without clipping highlights or shadows. (ISO 200, f16, 1/125, matrix metering)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Color

The D5000 produces bright and saturated, yet quite accurate colors.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:
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