Would you consider a D5000 an alternative to Micro 4/3?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by holger, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. Hope I don't waste too much of your time, but I'll be off traveling (business) again next week, and I would like to take something smaller than my D300, D200 or film bodies with me.
    I had a look at the new Micro Four Thirds, but the (relative) cost of the body, and especially the cost of a wide angle zoom (7-14) had me think it over again. I could get a D5000 body with VR-lens for the amount of a Micro 3/4 body only, and Panasonics 7-14 is nearly twice as much as Nikons 10-24 (which I could use on my larger bodies too).
    With Nikon in Switzerland offering a cashback on the D5000, I was wondering if a smaller Nikon body would do it, too. D3000 is ruled out, my son owns a D60, me a D200 as backup body, but IQ with low light / high ISO does not satisfy me at all with this sensor.
    My travel camera does not necessarily need to be pocketable, and I prefer a normal viewfinder to the monitor only solutions. Would you consider a D5000 (eventually with Katzeye screen) with a Voigtländer 20mm prime a viable alternative to the Micro 4/3 cameras?
    My Pros:
    - I would stay within one system (RAW, lenses etc.)
    - D5000 would work as a backup to my D300 when on assignements
    - Best IQ I can get in DX or smaller formats
    - With the kit lens in the bag, I could switch to VR zoom with no extra cost
    - With 20mm prime (30mm equiv.): small size, fast street shooting (aperture priority, f/5.6 or smaller --> endless dof)
    My Cons:
    - Rather large body
    - Why not jump directly to the D90, better monitor, better handling, not that much larger...
    - ... and with that, I'll end up with my 17-55 AF-S mounted...
    - ... buying a Canon S90 or something similar in the end, just to have something pocketable with me...
    - ... starting to think about IQ ...
    - ... selling the S90 and the D90, getting a GF1 or similar ...
    - ... ranting about all the different software I need for different RAW formats ...
    - ... going back to taking either my D300 or the Rolleiflex with me...
    - ... starting the whole process all over again, with the next generation small Nikon body...
    How would you get out of this vicious circle?
    Thanks in advance,
  2. I'm loving the size of a D40 with a 50 1.8 series E - it's no effectively larger than a micro 4/3rds camera, as none of them can slide into a pocket. A D5000 + 35 1.8 would be a very portable, high-quality machine - but as you pointed out, once you pop a monster 17-55 up front it's all over:)(Although, I gotta say, the D40 + 17-55 2.8 is a tad weird looking but quick to use).
    But heck, a D5000 + S90 is about the same as a GF-1, and sometimes you may want something you can carry in a pants pocket and not worry about a camera - for what the Micro 4/3rds cameras are going for, it just doesn't make a lot of sense if you already have another system.
  3. My D50 with a 35mm f1.8 is nice and tiny. D90 is the same size. Also, the 45mm pancake lens used has finally gotten close to "normal" pricing if you're interested in even smaller... although it's not AF.
    THat said, micro 4/3 is a different animal, and I think might make the ultimate "casual" travel camera except that I hear the stuff that's out so far is sluggish on AF and not as responsive as a DSLR.
    I love everything about the Olympus ergonomics on their 4/3 stuff, more than Nikon actually, but I don't like the teeny sensor and I'm already a Nikon guy. Not about to buy into another system. If I did, it would probably be Canon, who has some super-cool lenses that Nikon doesn't seem to have any interest in pursuing.
  4. I would not buy another camera system, but would stay with just one. You left out the cool fold out screen of the D5000 as an advantage, BTW.
    Kent in SD
  5. I'd still go with D3000 - it's even smaller than D5000. As for IQ, it's still going to be a bit better than the m43 bodies.
    Otherwise, yeah. If you don't mind the size, I'd rather stick with one system and still have the SLR viewfinder for even lower price.
    But if you're traveling next week, just get the camera now, tomorrow latest - you need to test it out before going out with it with no backup.
  6. I agree 100% with Kent. Staying with the same camera system provide many advantages.
    I have a D700 and after I had a little problem with a broken pin at CF card container I went to purchase a cheap backup camera. It was right after D5000 came on the market and I bought it thinking that it incorporates the latest technology from Nikon. But surprise... since I took it, I never travel again with my D700. I added a Tamron 18-270mm VC zoom and I take also with me the 35mm f1.8 for low light situations and this is my versatile travel kit. I went in September for a week in Crete and I came back with many pictures that I really, really like.
    So if you buy D5000 you can use basically the same glass, you can have it as a backup, you'll enjoy the versatility of the display and last but not at least... you stay with Nikon!
    PS To be fair if you decide to buy a D90 will be at least as good as D5000... it's only a matter of taste between the two.
  7. I'm using a D60 as backup to my D200. Because they both have the same sensor, my results are often indistinguishable from one another (I seldom shoot in low light situations). I love the D60 because of its size and weight. I gave my D40 to my grandson, and before I did, I traded kit zoom lenses because the non-VR version is a few ounces lighter than the VR version. So with my D60 and non-VR 18-55 kit lens I have the smallest, lightest Nikon camera/zoom combination possible (I think). The D60 goes everywhere with me.
    The idea of having the D60 as the lightweight model is a holdover from my old Pentax (film) days when I carried a KX or K2 most of the time, but was never without the ME, the smallest, lightest of the bunch. I did some comparison research, and my D60 body is very close to the same dimensions and weight as my old ME. It just feels completely natural for me to carry a small, light camera.
  8. Interesting you make that connection with the 4/3 system, Holger, because I was thinking exactly the same thing recently. I really need a smaller, lighter dSLR for situations where the D2H is too much. I was really considering the Olympus E-420 when it was still available deeply discounted.
    But after handling the D90 at a local shop in September, that seems to be the better choice for me. Almost as small and light and already compatible with most of my lenses. And I wouldn't mind the D5000 either, although my only fully compatible lens would be the 18-70 DX. If I thought I'd use the video more often I'd probably go for the D5000 for that nifty screen.
  9. I have a D60 and also the new Panasonic GF1 with the 20/1.7 and the 14-45 zoom. The GF1 is considerably smaller than the D60, and much lighter. Even though, with the zoom attached, the GF1 takes on somewhat the same form factor as the D60 with a small zoom, the GF1 combo is by far easier to carry.
    Image quality of the GF1 is a bit lower than the Nikon D60...mostly in terms of dynamic range. While the images are plenty sharp, contrasty & colorful, it's a bit more difficult to expose correctly with the GF1. The Gf1 has more direct control over your options...you don't have to go into the menus to change much. It's a fast handling, little camera. They just announced a firmware upgrade, so the GF1 may improve it's d-range a bit.
    The D60 viewfinder is better than the EVF attachment that is available for the GF1 (I have the EVF). But the EVF is good enough for framing. The screen on the back of the GF1 is excellent, but it's still difficult in bright light. The D60 is better in this regard.
    For travel, the GF1 is unquestionably smaller & lighter, but it is still not fully pocketable. If you just want to carry the GF1 with the excellent 20/1.7 attached, it will fit easily into a coat pocket.
    I don't know why people are worried about embracing 2, or more systems. The micro 4/3s fill a nice gap where DSLRs can't go. They have excellent image quality, and in the case of the GF1, are well thought out and useful in many situations. Plus, you can mount virtually any lens on them using the right adapter. I'm using my Nikon 50/1.8 and 45/2.8...they work great.
    They are a bit overpriced, however...I agree with that.
  10. In my mind no and the reason is that the smaller cameras in the Nikon range do not offer a big enough size difference to the D300 or similar models. The m4/3 format really does make a size difference and the design of the camera makes it superior for designing short focal length lenses. I'm planning to buy a m4/3 camera next year, hoping that the price goes down a bit (this time of the year is not very photographic around here either). I'll also use some of my Nikon lenses with an adapter for certain select applications.
    But it's all a compromise between different factors and you need to decide which compromise to make. You can't go really small and stay in the Nikon system, but if you want to use Nikon lenses with all features then you need a Nikon.
  11. I went through the same thought process but got a Panasonic GH1 instead. Three major reasons for my decision: (1) video, (2) smaller lenses and camera body, and (3) I did not have any AFS lenses (but now I do ...).
    I like the GH1 for what it offers and can tolerate what it is not (a dSLR replacement). However if you decide to go with the m3/4 system, be ready to spend money. Initially I thought i would be satisfied by using my Nikon lenses on the GH1 with an adapter. I am happy with this but to really take advantage of the form factor of the m3/4 system, you should buy their lenses to match. This is particularly true with the new 20mm/1.7 pancake lens from Panasonic. If I mount the Nikon 17-55/2.8 on GH1, the GH1 camera body just disappears and all you see and feel is the lens. Not just Nikon lenses, if you use the Panasonic super zoom 14-140mm kit lens, the whole package is about the same size as D90+35/1.8. There are many small MF lenses that you can use on these cameras however, Following the suggestion from Lex, I bought a $75 Olympus Zuiko 50/1/4 lens, which is the size of Nikon 50/1.8 but sharper with slightly better bokeh. It is wonderful to use in low light and give you a 100mm FOV.
    Overall I like the GH1 a lot. While it is not the camera for action, it focuses fast and accurately. After the recent firmware update, the 14-140 can AF accurately without hunting in very low light. Very impressive. The Image stabilization works very well. The EVF has to be used to appreciate its functionality. Yes it does not replace the OV in terms of clarity (and the lack of black out time), but it can display all the camera information right in front of you. You can easily activate the MF assist feature so the image is enlarged to make it easy to focus (although you don't always need to do this since the EVF or the LCD are very sharp for this purpose). Furthermore with the right lens attached, it is much smaller than a typical dSLR, and of course its ability to shoot video is a major factor. The flip out screen, which D5000 also has, is an indispensable tool, IMO. A final note, these M3/4 cameras are not meant to be "pocketable." A GF1/20mm/1.7 kit may be squeezed into a large pocket, but I think a camera that costs almost $1000 needs to be carried with care with some kind of protection to the body and lens. The build quality of these m3/4 cameras is high but they are built to the same standard as most P&S.
  12. a d5000 with just a 35/1.8 would be the perfect lightweight travel set up, giving all the benefits of a larger DSLR (IQ, high-ISO capabilities) plus smaller size and articulated LCD.
  13. Thank you so much for your feedback. It has not made a decision easier, but at least I got some more thoughts and details to consider.
    Lex, I had the Oly 420 in my hands, too, when it first came out, but even if it felt solid and small, the basic differences in handling put me off. A GF1 is a completely different beast, so different that I would not mind starting something new. But I would not like to step back in terms of IQ, and from what I read the GF1 still is a compromise. A good one, but for the cost of a D90, an expensive one too.
    Jim, Oskar and CC, my problem with adding another sytem is postprocessing: after having tried all RAW editing programs available on the market (and not getting the results I wanted from any of them), i finally decided to choose one, learn it the hard way, but learn it well, and stick to it. Since in all my comparisons Nikon softare gave me the best IQ, I chose Capture NX at the time, and I am happy now with the results.
    Do you work with a "neutral" software, shoot JPG, or just use different programs for different cameras?
    Robert, Peter, Alex and Will: you have me think about the cheapest alternative, too: the D3000. With the advantage that I would have a short learning curve (having owned the D40), no great loss should it be stolen again, and the smallest size available. The downside is the sensor: It works great at low ISO, but it would not be the backup I need for the D300 (I work in low light situations most of the time, churches etc.).
    Mihai, since you already own the D5000, your opinion regarding the display is interesting. I like the 3" screen of my D300 a lot, and losing resolution as well as size seemed worse to me than gaining flexibility. I also liked the solid feel of the less flexibel solution, while the flipout display solution seemed to be somewhat flimsy when I tried the body in a nearby shop. But you are right (and Kent too), especially on trips this could be a real advantage, especially in situations when I have to place the camera very low or overhead with no tripod.
    It looks like adding an entire system will not be the way to go for me, it seemso to boil down to size (D3000) or features (D5000), with the D90 as rather costly (in this comparison) alternative. I'll think it over and report back. But as Eric puts it, the D5000 might be the perfect compromise.
    Thank you again,
  14. Do you work with a "neutral" software, shoot JPG, or just use different programs for different cameras​
    For Nikon, I almost always shoot RAW. I use the free Nikon transfer/View NX to do basic mod/editing. Once converted to JPEG, I put them in iPhoto for displaying, sharing, making prints, etc. I am a Mac user so iPhoto is a very natural choice. I do have Adobe CS4 when I need to do some heavy duty editing.
    The JPEGs from Olympus and Panasonic are better than Nikon, in terms of color vibrancy and sharpness, and those that come out of EP1 are reported to be better than those from Panasonic. Shooting RAW is necessary when most shots were taken at high ISO; otherwise you may find JPEG good enough, especially if you use these smaller cameras for personal fun stuffs. I find the editing tools in iPhoto intuitive and more than enough for editing these JPEG files for casual use. If you do shoot RAW, the Panasonic ones come with a bundled software called Silkypix. I find its UI confusing. Thus my workflow now is to first manually copy all the RAW files to my computer. I then turn on CS4 Bridge to browse these files. In Bridge, I selected "Open with Camera RAW" to open edit these files. When finish open them again in CS4 to convert them to JPEGs. The UI in Bridge works very well and the learning curve should be short.
    I did play with a D5000 in a store. Although its screen is of lower res (compared to the D90/GH1 that I have), the flip out screen is so useful that it more than enough makes up for the loss of res.
  15. "Would you consider a D5000 (eventually with Katzeye screen) with a Voigtländer 20mm prime a viable alternative to the Micro 4/3 cameras? "
    Absolutely not.
    M4/3 (especially Panasonic) has a very fast contrast detect AF system and excellent EVF/LCD viewfinder that are seamlessly related to each other. Any live view of current DSLRs can compete with that in terms of convenience and AF speed. Now I use G1 with 20/1.7 and the combo even focuses faster than D300 and 35/1.8 or D700 and 50/1.4G combos using phase detect AF system which is supposed to be much faster than the contrast detect system. Nikon seems to have chosen to focus very concervatively in order to achive accurate focus with these fast lenses. Also, the LCD of G1 has about 460k pixcels whereas that of D5000 has only 230k. Once you got accustomed to better image quality on the LCD, it is very difficult to accept the lesser quality. If D5000 used the same 950k LCD of D90, I would like to get D5000 as dedicated live-view/manual focus camera for landscapes and macros, permanently mounting the camera on the tripod.
    Another problem of D5000 is, I think, that tiny viewfinder (only 0.78x which is even smaller than the already pretty small 0.8x viewfinders of D40/60/3000) and the manual focus should be a pain when combined with a 20mm MF lens. I've used Ai-s28/2.8 with D40. The image quality was great and I loved the compact package of the combo, but focusing was always tricky. I would even say that this was more problematic than the defunct meter. I was mostly saved by the trusty "green LED" in-focus indicator. I would doubt the effectiveness of the split prism of Katzeye
    That said, m4/3 is not free from shortcomings. If the continuous shooting mode is essential to your shooting style, m4/3 is not recommended: the finder view "freezes" when you start shooting in the continuous mode and won't start to move again until you put your finger off the release button.
  16. Recently purchased a D5000 with the 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.4 AF-S lenses for a mountain bike trip. Coupled with my 12-24mm Nikkor, nice, fairly small package. Viewfinder is not as nice as the D300 but certainly not a deal breaker. Kind of like the difference between the F5 and the FM2n for a glasses wearer (which I am)-- and it didn't stop me from loving the FM2n. I really like the small size and the fact that I can set aperture-priority, turn the LCD around to protect it, and shoot this like an F3. I'm really digging this little camera!
    I don't think you would save that much in size and weight between a D90 and a D300. The D5000 is a noticeable difference from the D300.
  17. I have a small Nikon P6000 as my travel camera. I still bring the D300, but since I have the P6000 I don't have to carry the D300 with me everywhere I go. Sometimes I want to just go take a walk and bring the P6000 with me. It has 12mp and the color out of that camera is superb. Maybe it is slow to take a photo, and it might blur some finer details compared to a DSLR, but for me it takes good photos in a tiny and extremely light weight package. And getting it in mint condition second hand on ebay for $185 was just pure luck.
  18. Thinking of getting the D5000 to go with my Voigtlander 40/2 pancake lens. How is manual focus on the D5000?
  19. [1] I have not tested the noise level above ISO 1000 but I can bet the D5000 will beat any 4/3 systems.
    [2] With a high quality lens, such as 35mm/1.8G, you should be able to do wonders with it.
    [3] The demand of the GF-1 and EP-1 is shooting thru the roof because the buyers have not truly compared their sizes with the D5000. Worse, there's a mental block somewhere in their heads that all SLRs are big.
    [4] My only regret (if I buy a D5000) would be it's not a FF sensor. If there's a D5000X with a D3/D700 sensor, I would buy it in a heartbeat. It would be a perfect travel machine: super low noise, small & light.
  20. With the smallest viewfinder of the bunch (even a little bit smaller than that of D40 etc.), I don't expect to get easy manual focussing without the help of a katzeye screen. I have problems on the D300 focussing manually, and from my experience with the D40, I never could tell if AF had hit the right point. That's why I thought to combine the small body with the katzeye screen in any case.
  21. What about using live view for manual focus on the D5000?
  22. Do you work with a "neutral" software, shoot JPG, or just use different programs for different cameras?​
    I now use Capture NX2, but have used ACR extensively and also tried Bibble (and consider buying it since it was good). I do most of the heavy lifting in Photoshop and also shoot some film, so I don't worry too much about a different file format. Process-wise it should be ok and look-wise I doubt there will be any problems.
    I was mostly saved by the trusty "green LED" in-focus indicator. I would doubt the effectiveness of the split prism of Katzeye​
    I have a K3 screen on D300 after I figured that the green LED is not accurate enough. I do have the Voigtländer 20/3.5 and it's still a bit tricky to focus due to the slow speed and short focal length of the lens. The small Nikons are limited in the focusing department -- there's just no way around it.
    [1] I have not tested the noise level above ISO 1000 but I can bet the D5000 will beat any 4/3 systems.​
    Based on dpreview's test, the m4/3 cameras hold up to an EOS 500D quite well. To get a significant improvement over the new m4/3 cameras, a D700 is probably the safest choice.
    [3] The demand of the GF-1 and EP-1 is shooting thru the roof because the buyers have not truly compared their sizes with the D5000. Worse, there's a mental block somewhere in their heads that all SLRs are big.​
    Maybe it's a matter of opinion, but I've played with 4/3 cameras, m4/3 cameras and small Nikons and this has led me to the conclusion that only m4/3 offers me a significant enough size improvement over my D300 to be worth it. The biggest challenge with m4/3 is the lens selection, but the 20/1.7, 17/2.8 and 45/2.8 already show that quite diminutive size can be achieved.
    I don't actually have any vested interest whatever you choose, I just personally don't feel that Nikon's small cameras are that interesting. To put it bluntly, their viewfinders are crap and the viewfinder is kind of the raison d'etre for a SLR. thus, I have great hopes for the m4/3 since while it doesn't have better viewfinders, it does a good job at trying to shrink down a camera for serious use and with the mirror removed there is potential for small and high performing wide angle lenses. But Nikon F is mature, while the m4/3 is a relatively new system.
  23. The demand of the GF-1 and EP-1 is shooting thru the roof because the buyers have not truly compared their sizes with the D5000. Worse, there's a mental block somewhere in their heads that all SLRs are big.​
    I have Nikon DSLRs...I have the smallest one, the D60. I have the GF1. The GF1 is much smaller. The D5000 is larger than the D60. The lenses for the GF1 are much smaller than DSLR lenses.
    So, yes, I have truly compared their sizes. And, yes...all DSLRs are big in comparison to the GF1.
    Do you work with a "neutral" software, shoot JPG, or just use different programs for different cameras?​
    I shoot in raw and process with ACR.
  24. You might consider the P6000 coolpix and the sb400 flash. Smallish quality camera. Jpegs are crisp and need no photoshop or shoot RAW. Easily enlarged to 11x14 in. Perfect travel camera. Canon G10 or G11 would also be great.
  25. Jim,
    It's all relative ...
    Width 5.0 in. (127mm)
    Height 4.1 in. (104mm)
    Depth 3.1 in. (80mm)

    Width 5.0 in. (126mm)
    Height 3.7 in. (94mm)
    Depth 2.5 in. (64mm)

    4.69 in
    2.80 in
    1.43 in
    Are we saying here that if 4.69" can fit into the pocket, then 5.0" cannot?
  26. Are we saying here that if 4.69" can fit into the pocket, then 5.0" cannot?​
    All I know is this. I have a D60 with the 35/1.8 lens attached. I can't fit it in my jacket pocket. I have a GF1 with the 20/1.7 attached. It fits easily in my jacket pocket. If I just want to carry the D60 around without a lens I guess it would fit.
  27. Are we saying here that if 4.69" can fit into the pocket, then 5.0" cannot?​
    Don't forget the depth though, it is 3.1 vs 1.43 in. The 20/1.7 lens will add another 1.43 in. to the depth of GF1, while the 35/1.8 will add 2 in. to the D5000. In terms of weight, the GF1/20mm combo is 285 + 227 = 512g, while the D500/35mm combo is 560 + 200 = 760g. The Panasonic 14-45/3.5-5.6 zoom lens is very small, about the size of the AFD 50/1.8.
  28. Good points, Jim T. and CC Chang.
  29. Get an Olympus e-420 and you can use the nikon lenses with an adapter. Also, compared with the micro 4/3, faster
    autofocus and a real viewfinder.

Share This Page