I have been itching to get a new digital camera for a while. I felt it was time to upgrade to a DSLR. I looked at Nikon, Olympus, and Sony. My ultimate choice was the Nikon D5000 for several factors: price, features, lens options, and ease of use.
The big thing with SLR (single lens reflex) cameras is you are in control of your image. “What you see is what you get” is a common phrase used throughout the research I gathered about these cameras. You have options with DSLR cameras for not only image output quality and size but for how you want the scene to be optimized.
To my surprise, the D5000 was given to me for Christmas. With a price tag of $699.99, I thought I would have to wait for such an item. This price includes everything you need to get started taking pictures except a memory card.
In the box is cables for image transfers plus the software for editing and transferring, a charger, a battery, a neck strap, the camera body, and a lens. I think a memory card should be included in the package because someone giving this camera as a gift would not know if the receiver has memory or not. Beside, memory cards are cheap. (I purchased an 8g San Disk card for under $25.) The camera itself does not have an internal memory for images. Luckily, I had a micro card and adapter on hand to use Christmas morning until I could buy sufficient memory.
Getting the camera ready for use was extremely easy. The battery charges quickly and, by the way, last a long time for a digital camera. The instructions come in two formats: a quick start guide and a very thick manual. I hit the quick start guide initially and I am slowly making my way through the manual.
The LCD is fantastic. It is large, 2.7 inches, and swivels up and down and around for versatility. This feature is great for capturing just the right shot if you need to position the camera where you cannot use the viewfinder. When the camera is being stored, the LCD clicks back into the camera body screen for protection.
Surprisingly, the D5000 is easy to use. It has all the standard auto features you would find on a regular digital camera plus a plethora of features to make images all that much better. For instance, you can do basic edits in camera; choose from a variety of extra scene selections for optimal color enhancement, effects, and lighting, and film video footage in 720p HD.
I love how easy it is to change lenses, though I only have the one lens (18-55mm included with the camera). I have already hinted for a 55-200mm zoom. To change the lens, you just push the release, twist for removal and line up and click to install.
Just to serve as an example of how great this camera is I have comparison images for you to look at from this camera and my old Kodak DX3600. Please note I did not enhance either image. The cameras were set on auto everything. Notice the D5000 image looks true to life with natural lighting and richer color detail. The DX3600 image is over exposed washed out, and just too bright. Personally, until I got the new camera, I would have said the Kodak image was great. Now I know better.
I realize a lot of the difference is because of the megapixels, 12.9, and this camera is a different class digital. However, I am one who loves to take pictures. At any gathering, you will find me with my camera in your face. I also love to photograph nature and scenery. I wanted this kind of clarity for a long time and never could get it with my old camera in spite of major edits with photo editing software.
Speaking of photo editing software, the Nikon software is quite simple to learn and manage. I found navigating it to be a smooth transfer from what I was used to with the Kodak. The controls, edits and transfers operate simply beautifully.
Making high definition video is a snap. You push the Lv button, focus, and hit OK to start and stop recording. Once you are recording you cannot change focus and the camera does not auto focus. The video footage will go in and out of focus unless you stay the same distance from your subject. The sound is recorded in mono. The video feature is nice to have but I do have a camcorder with stereo sound for intense footage.
Since this camera does record in high def, I had to downgrade the settings to make the video small enough for the video sample. Note that even making the video 3:2, the video quality packs a punch. I am sorry the video is not longer. Due to site size limits, I had to cut it short. The subject of the video and my images is my aquarium filled with Cichlids.
The more I play with the camera, the more I discover how moving to a DSLR will benefit me. Between taking consecutive sequenced shots and having so many scene options, I am on the verge of being a virtuoso of photography. Though I am going to read the manual to learn everything I can about this camera, I am finding it really is not necessary. The menu and controls are self-explanatory, if you have even the slightest experience with a digital camera.
I believe the Nikon D5000 is the last digital camera I will ever need, unless I become so good at photography, I need equipment that is more professional. If you are like me and want to step up from the point and shoot type digital, this camera is a excellent option.