In fact, this is the single largest market for DSLR camera sales. According to figures released from Nikon, sales of the entry-level D40, D40X, and D60 cameras account for roughly 80 percent of all Nikon DSLR sales. It’s no wonder that Nikon was so eager to take the new technology from their mid-graded D90 Nikon Camera Battery Charger and put it into a lower-priced entry-level DSLR.

Nikon received some positive press coverage and some strong sales numbers following the release of the D90, Nikon’s first DSLR capable of live view through the camera’s LCD and able to record 720p video. Recognizing the need for a similar camera priced below $ 1,000, Nikon added the D5000 to list. Our review unit of the new D5000 rolled into the office late last week, and I’ve been spending some time getting to know Nikon’s newest budget DSLR.

The D5000 replaces the D60 in Nikon’s lineup, and the D5000 features the same 12.3 megapixel CMOS imager used in the D90 with live view and movie capabilities. It also inherits the 11 point AF system with color and distance tracking as well as optional viewfinder gridlines from the D90. The viewfinder magnification is slightly smaller than the one in the D40X/D60, but the extra AF points and viewfinder gridlines make for a superior user experience. The D5000 is Nikon’s first DSLR Nikon Battery Charger with a tilt and swivel LCD display used for a standard status display as well as live view and image/video playback. The only other new features of note are the new higher-capacity EN-EL9a battery and the optional MC-DC2 remote cord.

As someone who uses cameras and lenses from multiple manufacturers, I’ve come to recognize that every manufacturer has strengths and weaknesses.

In addition to fast AF, excellent metering, and a great flash system, Nikon is widely respected for having a good control layout so photographers can find the buttons or dials needed to create great photos. Since my current travel camera is a D40X, I immediately felt right at home with the D5000’s controls. The arrangement is definitely similar enough to the D40/D40X/D60 that those seeking a back-up or replacement to their old Nikon DSLR will quickly feel right at home.

Something that’s very new to former Nikon owners is the other major feature that the D5000 inherits from the D90: Live View mode both for recording still images and for recording video. That may or may not be a good thing depending on your past experience. Most amateurs who have been using compact digital cameras enjoy using the LCD to compose images, but chances are good that experienced photographers and videographers would prefer to stick to a live viewfinder. On the bright side, the 2.7 inch LCD on the D5000 Nikon Camera Charger features a tilt/swivel frame that allows you to position the screen in exactly the right angle to get the perfect shot.