With the launch of the Nikon D5000, Nikon captures the top two places on the DxOMark Sensor scale for APS-C sensor format cameras. The Nikon D5000 sensor behaves globally like the Nikon D90’s sensor, with very similar results for Color Depth and Dynamic Range in particular.
As with the Nikon D90 (currently number one on the the dxomark scale for APS-C cameras), the D5000 has very good results for low ISO settings (see dxomark results for Dynamic Range, SNR 18%, and Color Sensitivity at ISO 100 and 200). High ISO is also good (second place in Low-Light ISO APS-C ranking), but other manufacturers provide similar results.
Key sensor characteristics:
The Nikon D5000 features a 12.9 megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor with a 12-bit A/D converter. The same type of sensor is mounted on the Nikon D90.
Key performance factors
As shown in the table below, Nikon D5000’s sensor results are exceptional with respect to its APS-C sensor format:
As with the Nikon D3X and the Nikon D90, the D5000’s SNR is exceptional, particularly in the dark part of the dynamic, which explains its excellent performance results for Dynamic Range.
The autocorrelation function for each ISO along the Nikon D5000’s entire dynamic shows a single peak, which denotes white noise only. No noise processing could be detected on RAW files for this camera.
One other noteworthy result pertains to color behavior, i.e. the color matrix obtained to compensate for the sensor channel’s lack of purity as compared to the sRGB primaries. The D5000’s coefficients remain low, which implies a good level of color sensitivity, as noise will remain low after color processing (see Measurement definitions à Color measurements).
Disclaimer: This dxomark review evaluates only the selected camera’s RAW sensor performance metrics (i.e., Color Depth, Dynamic Range, and Low-Light ISO), and should not be construed as a review of the camera’s overall performance, as it does not address such other important criteria as image signal processing, mechanical robustness, ease of use, flexibility, optics, value for money, etc. While RAW sensor performance is critically important, it is not the only factor that should be taken into consideration when choosing a digital camera.
Nikon D5000 DxOMark review – June 10th, 2009