[Updated: May 23, 2009 @ 11:21am] Okay, so sub-$800 is for the body-only prices, but less than three weeks after the Canon EOS Digital Rebel T1i generated lots of buzz for being the cheapest dSLR to shoot video, comes today's announcement of the Nikon D5000, a 12.3 megapixel dSLR that shoots 720p movies and will sell for just $729.95 (body-only, or $849.95 with a 18-55mm kit lens). The D5000's other stand-out feature--the articulating tilt and swivel LCD screen--was outed by the rumor patrol last week.
Clearly poised to take on the Canon Rebel T1i (which has better HD video capture with 720p at 30fps or 1080p at 20fps), the D5000 catches up by inheriting several higher-end features from its big brother, the Nikon D90 ($999.95, body-only), which also shoots 720p movies at 24 fps. These include its 12.3 megapixel, 15.8×23.6mm CMOS sensor (Nikon uses CCDs in the rest of its entry-level line, including the D80, which the D5000 essentially replaces), the 11-point autofocus system, one-button Live View (which in the D5000 features Subject Tracking, Face Priority, Wide Area, and Normal Area autofocus modes) among other features.
In addition to the better video mode, the Canon T1i delivers more megapixels and color depth (14-bit RAW vs. 12-bit for the D5000), but for pure shooting flexibility, the D5000's flip-out and swivel LCD is hard to beat.
A quick specs comparison of the D5000 (which will ship in late April) and its likely competitors:
[Table updated to correct Nikon D5000 sensor size and type]
|Nikon D5000||Canon EOS Rebel T1i||Olympus E-620|
|Price||$849.95 (with 18-55mm lens)||$899.99 (with 18-55mm lens)||$799.99 (with 14-42mm lens)|
|Sensor||12.3 megapixels, 15.8×23.6mm CMOS||15.1 megapixels, 14.9x22.3mm CMOS||12.3 megapixels, 17.3x13mm Live MOS|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||4 fps||3.4 fps||4 fps|
|LCD||2.7-inch, 230,000 pixels (articulated)||3-inch, 920,000 pixels (fixed)||2.7-inch, 230,000 pixels (articulated)|
|Sensitivity||ISO 100-6400||ISO 100-3200||ISO 100-3200|
|Live View (with Face Detection)||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Storage Media||SD memory card, SDHC memory card||SD memory card, SDHC memory card||Compact Flash Type I/II (UDMA), Microdrive, xD-Picture Card|
|Movie Mode||1280x720 (24 fps)/640x424 (24 fps)/320x216 (24 fps)||1920×1080 (20 fps)/1280×720 (30 fps)/640x480 (30 fps)||None|
|Dimensions||5.0x4.1x3.1 inches||5.1x3.8x2.4 inches||5.11x3.7x2.36 inches|
|Weight (body)||19.8 oz||16.9 oz||16.6 oz|