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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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
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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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Matthew Fitzgerald/CNET
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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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Sharpness

For a kit lens, the Nikon 18-55mm VR performs extremely well: it's sharp and focuses extremely closely.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Sharpness

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

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Distortion

The 18-55mm VR kit lens does display a bit of barrel distortion at its widest.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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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)

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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Color

The D5000 produces bright and saturated, yet quite accurate colors.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Lori Grunin/CNET
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