Nikon D5000 List Price: $679 (body only)
Sharing many of the popular D90’s features for some $200+ less, the 12.3-megapixel D5000 combines excellent image quality with a number of features of interest to the outdoor photographer. A self-cleaning sensor unit uses four-frequency ultrasonic vibrations to remove dust from the image sensor each time you switch the camera on or off. Multi-level Active D-Lighting improves shadow and highlight detail in high-contrast scenes. In-camera editing lets you correct distortion and control perspective.
The articulating LCD monitor of the Nikon D5000 allows you to frame shots from above or below.
While the D90 and higher Nikon D-SLRs have AF motors in the camera body, the D5000 does not; thus, autofocusing is available only with Nikkor lenses that have focusing motors: the AF-S and AF-I series. Those lenses include focal lengths from 10-600mm, however (equivalent to 15-900mm on a 35mm camera), so it’s a concern only to those who have a collection of older Nikkor lenses; they should opt for the D90 or higher-end model.
EASY LIVE VIEW: You can enter Live View mode simply by pressing the Lv button on the camera back. The image then appears on the LCD monitor in real time. You can use contrast-based AF off the image sensor or focus manually on a magnified portion of the live image. VARI-ANGLE LCD: While not as deluxe as the D90’s 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot LCD monitor, the D5000’s 2.7-inch, 230,000-dot monitor offers one huge advantage: It tilts and swivels, making odd-angle shooting in Live View and D-Movie modes much easier. D-MOVIE: The D5000 features essentially the same HD video capability as the D90. You can shoot up to 5 minutes per clip of 1280x720p HD video or up to 20 minutes of 640x424 or 320x216 SD video at 24 fps. STANDOUT FEATURE: The D5000 features the same highly rated, 12.3-megapixel CMOS sensor as its D90 “big brother” and produces similar fine image quality for an APS-C-format D-SLR. ALSO CONSIDER: NIKON D3000
Nikon’s newest low-end D-SLR is a great choice for the economy-minded D-SLR newcomer, featuring 10.2 megapixels and easy operation. List Price: $599.