Image stabilisation is provided via Nikon’s opticallystabilised VR type lenses and the D5000 is packaged with the 18-55mm VR zoom. The twin-lens kit adds the 55-200mm VR telezoom.
The D5000 has the same menu system Nikon now uses across its full range of D-SLRs and it remains one of the best in the business.

Edit Sweet

D-Lighting is one of a number of editing functions available in the D5000’s ‘Retouch Menu’, and Nikon has been steadily adding to what has become quite a powerful tool in its D-SLRs.

The D5000 gets even more functions – bringing its total to 17 – with the new additions, including ‘Perspective Control’ and ‘Colour Outline’… both of which are fairly selfexplanatory. The list also includes ‘Straighten’ (up to plus/minus five degrees), ‘Distortion Control’ (corrections based on data derived from the lens CPU), ‘Fisheye’ (with up to tens levels of effect), ‘Colour Balance’, a host of filter effects (among them skylight, warm, soft and cross screen) and B&W or sepia conversion. In all cases, the original file remains and a new version is created and saved. RAW files can also be converted to JPEGs and, usefully, just about any capturerelated setting that’s available on the camera can be applied to the copy. As on the D90, there’s also a ‘Quick Retouch’ option which allows for some colour and contrast adjustments (plus D-Lighting correction if needed) to be quickly and easily applied in one ‘hit’.

The image review options include three pages of shooting data, a highlight warning and a thumbnail accompanied by either image data and a brightness histogram or a full set of RGB histograms. The playback modes include 4/9/72 thumbnail pages plus a calendar-based thumbnail display and a zooming function which magnifies the image by up to a massive 27x. The playback zoom also has a face detection function which highlights any faces in the image and allows them to be immediate displayed (without changing the zooming ratio).

In The Mode

Also significantly expanded on the D5000 is the choice of scene modes which is no doubt designed to make the converts from compact cameras feel right at home. The list runs to a total of 19 modes – accessed by turning the main mode dial to ‘Scene’ – and some of them are quite interesting such as ‘High Key’ and ‘Low Key’ – which obviously adjust the brightness levels accordingly – ‘Autumn Leaves’ and ‘Blossom’. However, included in this 19 are the ‘standard’ set of subject programs which have their own individual settings on the main mode dial.

The D5000 also has Nikon’s “Scene Recognition System” which works in conjunction with the imaging sensor and the metering’s 420-pixel RGB sensor to optimise the focusing, exposure and white balance for the subject as determined by the distribution of brightness levels, composition and the colour content… all referenced back to a stored database of image patterns.

Beyond all this automation though, there’s still plenty of scope for dealing with exposure control manually. The standard set of exposure modes is supported by program shift, an AE lock, compensation up to +/-5.0 EV and auto bracketing over three frames with up to +/-2.0 EV variation. All exposure-related settings can be made in either one-third or half stop increments. The D5000’s shutter has a speed range of 30- 1/4000 second with flash sync up to 1/200 second. Of course, there’s a built-in flash, but a key difference with the D90 is that it can’t operate as the commander unit for a wireless TTL flash set-up. This effectively puts such operations beyond the D5000 because it’s a good deal less expensive to buy the D90 than the second or third accessory Speedlight flash unit needed to make the set-up workable. Nevertheless, the D5000’s built-in flash still offers a useful range of features and uses the 420-pixel metering sensor for i-TTL exposure control which, in particular, enables better balanced fill-in flash. There are also slow-speed sync and rear-curtain sync modes plus a -3.0/+1.0 EV correction range and flash bracketing over either two or three frames and up to +/-2.0 EV of adjustment (but it does also lack the D90’s ‘modelling’ strobe function).