Nikon D5000 review: Nikon D5000

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
  • Overall: 7.8
  • Design: 7.0
  • Features: 8.0
  • Performance: 8.0
  • Image quality: 8.0

Average User Rating

2.5 stars 2 user reviews
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Very good photo quality; fast; video capture; articulated LCD; nice kit lens.

The Bad Small, dim viewfinder; middling video quality; too easy to accidentally change focus points.

The Bottom Line Though it falls short in its design, the Nikon D5000 delivers a nice feature set, speedy performance, and great photo quality for the money.

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Editor's note: We mistakenly wrote that the D5000 included a wireless flash controller in this review's summary. We have removed this information.

The Nikon D80 lasted a long time at the top of our entry-level dSLR list, and the D5000 has been an eagerly awaited replacement for that just-under-$1,000 kit segment. And there are plenty of significant changes in this model. Nikon switches to a CMOS sensor instead of the CCD it's been using in its entry-level models, in this case, the same 12.3-megapixel version that's in the D90. Plus there's the new (to Nikon's dSLRs) flip-down-and-swivel LCD, and an improved AF system--the same 11-point AF system as the D90--that distinguish it clearly from the cheaper D60. But, as frequently happens, this poses quite a bit of competition for the more expensive D90. Especially since it has a newer version of the Expeed image processor (with improved Auto Active D-Lighting and face-priority AF) and enhanced Live View AF, along with a connector for the optional GP-1 hot shoe GPS. It also supports direct wireless upload when you use an Eye-Fi card.

The D5000 is available in two configurations, at least from Nikon: body only and a kit with the 18-55mm VR lens. I wouldn't be surprised if a dual-lens kit with the additional 55-200mm lens eventually showed up as well.

Constructed of polycarbonate over stainless steel, the 21.6-ounce D5000 weighs a few ounces more than the D60 and competing Canon EOS Rebel T1i but about 4 ounces less than the D90. It feels plasticky, but not cheap--pretty typical for its price segment--although the SD slot cover does seem a bit flimsier than usual.


Nikon moved all the shooting controls into the interactive display.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Apr. 29, 2009
  • Digital camera type SLR
  • Optical Zoom 3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type CMOS
  • Sensor Resolution 12.3 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 15.8 x 23.6mm
About The Author

Lori Grunin is a senior editor for CNET Reviews, covering cameras, camcorders, and related accessories. She's been writing about and reviewing consumer technology and software since 1988.