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Nikon D5000 consumer dSLR does video

The company introduces both a flip-down-and-twist LCD and video capture in its new consumer dSLR.

Nikon D5000
Nikon D5000 includes a flip-down-and-twist LCD. Nikon USA

Thanks to a rather public ad photo shoot, one of the most notable aspects of Nikon's new D5000 dSLR leaked early last week: its flip-down and 360-degree twist articulating LCD. This model, which more or less replaces the popular and long-lived D80, also includes perks such as video capture and a lower price. (Tables updated with corrections 10:30a 4/14/09)

Here's how it fits into Nikon's consumer dSLR line:

Nikon D60 Nikon D5000 Nikon D80 Nikon D90
Sensor 10.2-megapixel CCD 12.3-megapixel CMOS 10.2-megapixel CCD 12.3-megapixel CMOS
Color depth 12-bit 12-bit 12-bit 12-bit
Sensitivity range ISO 100 - ISO 1600/3200 (expanded) ISO 100 (expanded)/200 - ISO 1600/6400 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 1600/3200 (expanded) ISO 100 (expanded)/200 - ISO 3200/6400 (expanded)
Continuous shooting 3 fps
n/a raw/100 JPEG (large/fine)
4 fps
9 raw/100 JPEG (medium/fine)
3 fps
6 raw/100 JPEG (medium/fine)
4.5 fps
7 raw/100 JPEG (medium/fine)
Viewfinder 95% coverage
0.94x magnification
95% coverage
0.95x 0.78 magnification
95% coverage
0.95x magnification
96% coverage
0.94x magnification
Autofocus 3-pt AF
11-pt AF
center cross-type to f5.6
11-pt AF
center cross-type
11-pt AF
center cross-type
Live View No Yes No Yes
Video No 720p at 24fps No 720p at 24fps
LCD size 2.5 inches fixed 2.7 inches articulated 2.5 inches fixed 3 inches fixed
Shutter durability n/a 100,000 cycles n/a 100,000 cycles
Price (body only) $499.95 $729.95 $849 (street) $995.95

Nikon switches to a CMOS sensor instead of the CCDs it's been using in its entry-level models, in this case, the same 12.3-megapixel version that's in the D90. The LCD plus higher resolution and better AF system, also from the D90, distinguish it clearly from the cheaper D60, but, as frequently happens 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 Especially since it has a newer version of the Expeed image processor (with improved Auto Active D-Lighting and face-priority AF) and enhanced Live View AF, along with a connector for the optional GP-1 hot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 .

And here's how it stacks up against the competition:

Nikon D5000 Canon EOS Rebel T1i Olympus E-620
Sensor 12.3-megapixel CMOS 15.1-megapixel CMOS 12.3-megapixel Live MOS
Color depth 12-bit 14-bit 12-bit
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (expanded)/200 - ISO 1600/6400 (expanded) ISO 100 - ISO 1600/6400 (expanded) ISO 100 (expanded)/200 - ISO 3200
Focal-length multiplier 1.5x 1.6x 2x
Continuous shooting 4 fps
9 raw/100 JPEG (medium/fine)
3.5 fps
9 raw/170 JPEG
4 fps
5 raw/JPEG n/a
Viewfinder 95% coverage
0.94x 0.78 magnification
95% coverage
0.87x magnification
95% coverage
0.96x magnification
Autofocus 11-pt AF
center cross-type to f5.6
9-pt AF
center cross-type
7-pt AF
all twin; 5 cross-type
Live View Yes Yes Yes
Video 720p at 24fps 720p at 30fps, 1080p at 20fps No
LCD size 2.7 inches articulated 3 inches fixed 2.7 inches articulated
Shutter durability 100,000 cycles n/a n/a
Price (body only) $729.95 $799.99 $699.95

It looks like it might be a pretty close call between the three models we've heard about thus far for 2009. The T1i promises better movie capture--the 24fps video is the same as the D90's, which was a bit disappointing--and the 14-bit raw has historically given Canon a slight advantage in image quality. However, the articulated LCD and built-in wireless flash confer Nikon and Olympus with some feature power the Canon lacks.

Nikon USA

Simultaneous with the , Nikon announced a new prosumer wide-angle lens, the AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED (15-36mm equivalent), with internal focus, Nikon's ultrasonic Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and a 7-blade aperture for more attractive bokeh.

The D5000 is slated to ship at the end of April in three configurations: body only for $729.95 and a kit with the 18-55mm VR lens for $849.95. The 10-24mm lens will ship in May for $899.95.