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Nikon D5000 Digital Camera Review$729.95
The Nikon D5000 offers an impressive dynamic range, meaning it will handle high-contrast subjects well, without blowing out the highlights or losing detail in the shadows. We test dynamic range by photographing a 20-patch Kodak Stepchart at all standard ISO settings and a range of aperture settings, shooting at a bright 3000 lux illumination. The resulting images are then analyzed using Imatest to determine how wide a range in the white-to-black chart progression was captured.
The dynamic range starts at a solid 7.46 stops at ISO 200, and while this inevitably diminishes as the ISO setting is raised, the progression is smooth and scores remain high throughout, maintaining nearly 6 stops even at ISO 800. By contrast, the Canon T1i was down to a 3-stop dynamic range at ISO 800. More on how we test dynamic range.
Shooting at ISO 200, the two Nikons produced nearly identical results. The Canon T1i result was acceptable at this level, but plummeted at ISO 400 and beyond. The D5000 stacks up well against the competition here. It's worth noting that the least expensive camera in our test group, the Pentax K2000, offered the widest dynamic range across the full range of ISOs.