Nikon D5000 vs. D60

Page updated: May 2009

When you compare the Nikon D5000 vs. the D60, you'll quickly see a rather significant jump in features.

Both the D5000 and the D60 fall into Nikon's line of consumer-level digital SLR cameras. They are small and lightweight, are easy to use and neither one is overly expensive (relative to other digital SLR camera prices).

But this is where the similarities end and the differences begin.

Let's take a closer look at the Nikon D5000 vs. the D60 to see what justifies the bigger price tag on the D5000.

nikon d5000
nikon d60

What's the Same

To be quite honest, there isn't much that's the same between these two cameras.

Nikon's previous entry-level digital SLR offerings all made slight improvements from the D40 to the D40x and eventually to the D60.

But the D5000 represents a more significant leap in terms of features and functionality.

The one main commonality between the D60 and the D5000 is something that I've always considered a bit of a limitation: neither camera has a built-in focus motor.

Translation: only lenses with their own focus motors (labeled AF-S and AF-I) will autofocus. All other lenses (including a lot of older Nikon lenses) will be manual focus ONLY when used with these cameras.

If this represents a serious problem for you, then consider the Nikon D90 instead.

If it doesn't, then keep reading to find out more about the differences between the Nikon D5000 vs. the D60.

What's Different


The D5000 has a 12.3 megapixel sensor, while the D60 has a 10.2 megapixel sensor.

This means that the D5000 photos can be printed at slightly larger sizes, and these larger photos will take up slightly more space on your hard drive.

While this jump in megapixels is worth mentioning, it's not a major difference - unlike some of the other changes that follow.

Bottom Line: if you want to make larger prints, the D5000 has a slight edge vs. the D60.

nikon d5000 flip lcd

Comparing the LCD on the Nikon D5000 vs. the D60 is a bit like comparing apples to oranges - they're that different.

The D60 has a standard fixed LCD that sits on the back of the camera that can only be used to review images, not compose (the D60 doesn't have live view).

Alng with the addition of live view, the 2.7 inch LCD on the D5000 flips out from the camera body and rotates — helping you compose photos from all sorts of odd angles.

Bottom Line: if you want live view AND an LCD that flips and twists, then the D5000 is the clear winner.

Video Capture

This is an easy one: the D5000 can capture video, the D60 can't.

The video mode that first made its appearance on the Nikon D90 has now been included in the less expensive D5000.

The video mode allows you to capture widescreen high definition video (720p) suitable for playback on a flatscreen TV.

The camera also has an HDMI port, which lets you connect the camera straight to a TV for video playback.

Bottom Line: if you want to capture both video and stills, then the D5000 is the SLR you need.


Instead of the entry-level 3-point autofocus included with the D60, the D5000 has a superior 11-point autofocus system.

The greater coverage offered by an 11-point autofocus system helps when you take pictures of subjects that aren't right in the center of the viewfinder.

The higher number of points is also helpful when you have a subject that moves all around and is hard to keep centered in the viewfinder.

Bottom Line: the autofocus in the D5000 is superior, especially if you take photos of subjects that are off-center or in motion.

Continuous Speed (Frames Per Second)

The continuous speed of the D5000 is 4 photos per second while the D60's is 3 photos per second.

Like megapixels, this isn't a huge difference, unless you spend a great deal of your time trying to capture subjects that flit about (hummingbirds anyone?).

In this case, having the extra picture per second may help you capture that "perfect" moment in time.

Bottom Line: if you take a lot of action shots, the faster speed of the D5000 can help.

ISO Range

The ISO range difference between the D5000 vs. the D60 is small, but it does exist.

While both cameras go down to ISO 100, only the D5000 goes up to ISO 6400 (the D60 stops at 3200).

The reason that this difference is almost a wash is because by ISO 6400, images become quite noisy - so while the setting exists on the D5000, it lowers the image quality.

Bottom Line: if you want a slightly higher ISO setting, then pick the D5000.

Compare Prices

Nikon D60
nikon d60
March 2008
  • 10.1 megapixels
  • Dust control
  • 3-point autofocus
  • 3 inch LCD
  • 3 photos/sec
  • ISO 100 - 3200
$550 USD
Nikon D5000
nikon d5000
April 2009
  • 12.3 megapixels
  • Dust control
  • 11-point autofocus
  • Live view
  • 2.7 inch LCD (flip & twist)
  • Video capture (720p)
  • 4 photos/sec
  • ISO 100-6400
$850 USD

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