Canon 70D vs Nikon D5000
The Canon EOS 70D and the Nikon D5000 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2013 and April 2009. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 20 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 12.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS 70D and the Nikon D5000? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon 70D and the Nikon D5000. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D5000 is notably smaller (9 percent) than the Canon 70D. Moreover, the D5000 is markedly lighter (22 percent) than the 70D. It is worth mentioning in this context that the 70D is splash and dust resistant, while the D5000 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Yet, since both cameras are based around an APS-C sensor, their respective lenses will tend to have similar dimensions and heft. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Canon EF Lens Catalog (70D) and the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5000).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|2.||Nikon D5000||127 mm||104 mm||80 mm||590 g||510||n||Apr 2009||749|
|3.||Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon G3 X||123 mm||77 mm||105 mm||733 g||300||Y||Jun 2015||999|
|5.||Canon 7D II||149 mm||112 mm||78 mm||910 g||670||Y||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon T5||130 mm||100 mm||78 mm||480 g||500||n||Feb 2014||449|
|7.||Canon 6D||145 mm||111 mm||71 mm||770 g||1090||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|8.||Canon 60D||145 mm||106 mm||79 mm||755 g||1100||Y||Aug 2010||1,399|
|9.||Canon 7D||148 mm||111 mm||74 mm||860 g||800||Y||Sep 2009||1,699|
|10.||Canon 50D||146 mm||108 mm||74 mm||822 g||800||Y||Aug 2008||1,299|
|11.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|12.||Nikon D5100||128 mm||97 mm||79 mm||560 g||660||n||Apr 2011||749|
|13.||Nikon D3100||124 mm||96 mm||75 mm||505 g||550||n||Aug 2010||599|
|14.||Nikon D3000||126 mm||97 mm||64 mm||536 g||500||n||Jul 2009||599|
|15.||Nikon D60||126 mm||94 mm||64 mm||522 g||500||n||Jan 2008||629|
|16.||Nikon D90||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||703 g||850||n||Aug 2008||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX10||129 mm||88 mm||102 mm||813 g||420||Y||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The D5000 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 38 percent) than the 70D, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D5000 is 10 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have format factors, respectively, of 1.6 (70D) and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon 70D offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the Nikon D5000. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.11μm versus 5.53μm for the D5000). However, it should be noted that the 70D is much more recent (by 4 years and 2 months) than the D5000, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Canon 70D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 70D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D5000 are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.
The 70D has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS 70D has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D5000 are ISO 200 to ISO 3200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 200-6400.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service assesses and scores the color depth ("DXO Portrait"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports") of camera sensors, and also publishes an overall camera score. Of the two cameras under consideration, the D5000 has a markedly higher DXO score than the 70D (overall score 4 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.2 bits higher color depth, 0.9 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.1 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|4.||Canon G3 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||21.4||12.3||521||63|
|5.||Canon 7D II||APS-C||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||22.4||11.8||1082||70|
|7.||Canon 6D||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||1080/30p||23.8||12.1||2340||82|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration are equipped with sensors that have a sufficiently high read-out speed for moving images, but the 70D provides a higher video resolution than the D5000. It can shoot video footage at 1080/30p, while the Nikon is limited to 720/24p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The 70D and the D5000 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the 70D offers a wider field of view (98%) than the one in the D5000 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the 70D has a higher magnification (0.59x vs 0.51x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon 70D, the Nikon D5000, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|2.||Nikon D5000||optical||n||2.7 / 230||full-flex||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 80D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon G3 X||optional||n||3.2 / 1620||tilting||Y||1/2000s||5.9||Y||Y|
|5.||Canon 7D II||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||Y||n|
|6.||Canon T5||optical||n||3.0 / 460||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|7.||Canon 6D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||n||n|
|8.||Canon 60D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||n||1/8000s||5.3||Y||n|
|9.||Canon 7D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|10.||Canon 50D||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.3||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D5100||optical||n||3.0 / 921||swivel||n||1/4000s||4.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D3100||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D3000||optical||n||3.0 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D60||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D90||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/4000s||4.5||Y||n|
|17.||Sony RX10||1440||Y||3.0 / 1229||tilting||n||1/3200s||10.0||Y||Y|
One feature that is present on the 70D, but is missing on the D5000 is a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.Both cameras have an articulated rear screen that can be turned to be front-facing. This feature will be particularly appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in taking selfies.
The Nikon D5000 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The 70D writes its imaging data to SDXC cards, while the D5000 uses SDHC cards. The 70D supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the D5000 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS 70D and Nikon D5000 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D5000||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 80D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|4.||Canon G3 X||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|5.||Canon 7D II||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon T5||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon 6D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Canon 60D||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|9.||Canon 7D||Y||mono / -||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Canon 50D||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D5100||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D3100||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D3000||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D90||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Sony RX10||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
It is notable that the 70D has a microphone port, which is missing on the D5000. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
Both the 70D and the D5000 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D5000 was replaced by the Nikon D5100, while the 70D was followed by the Canon 80D. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Nikon websites.
So how do things add up? Is the Canon 70D better than the Nikon D5000 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.
Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS 70D:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20 vs 12.2MP) with a 28% higher linear resolution.
- Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (1080/30p vs 720/24p).
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (98% vs 95%).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.59x vs 0.51x).
- Easier setting verification: Features an LCD display on top to control shooting parameters.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.7") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (920 versus 510) on a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is weather sealed to enable shooting in dusty or wet environments.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More modern: Reflects 4 years and 2 months of technical progress since the D5000 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D5000:
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (4 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.9 EV of extra DR).
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 165g or 22 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (38 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in April 2009).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the 70D is the clear winner of the match-up (17 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon 70D and the Nikon D5000 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the 70D or the D5000. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|2.||Nikon D5000||..||+ +||..||75/100||4/5||4.5/5||Apr 2009||749|
|3.||Canon 80D||4/5||+ +||4.5/5||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|4.||Canon G3 X||3.5/5||+||..||..||4.5/5||4/5||Jun 2015||999|
|5.||Canon 7D II||4.5/5||+||3.5/5||84/100||4/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||1,799|
|6.||Canon T5||3/5||+||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||449|
|7.||Canon 6D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|8.||Canon 60D||5/5||+||..||79/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||1,399|
|9.||Canon 7D||5/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2009||1,699|
|10.||Canon 50D||..||+ +||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|11.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|12.||Nikon D5100||5/5||+ +||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2011||749|
|13.||Nikon D3100||5/5||+ +||..||72/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2010||599|
|14.||Nikon D3000||..||+||..||72/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||599|
|15.||Nikon D60||..||80/100||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2008||629|
|16.||Nikon D90||..||+ +||..||+ +||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2008||1,299|
|17.||Sony RX10||5/5||+||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,299|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 30D vs Canon 70D
- Canon 70D vs Fujifilm X70
- Canon 70D vs Leica M Typ 240
- Canon 70D vs Nikon D3X
- Canon 70D vs Pentax K-S2
- Canon 70D vs Sony NEX-C3
- Canon T100 vs Nikon D5000
- Fujifilm X100F vs Nikon D5000
- Leica X Vario vs Nikon D5000
- Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-M10
- Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-PL5
- Nikon D5000 vs Samsung NX500
Specifications: Canon 70D vs Nikon D5000
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon 70D||Nikon D5000|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2013||April 2009|
|Launch Price||USD 1,199||USD 749|
|Sensor Specs||Canon 70D||Nikon D5000|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.5 x 15.0 mm||23.6 x 15.8 mm|
|Sensor Area||337.5 mm2||372.88 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||27 mm||28.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20 Megapixels||12.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5472 x 3648 pixels||4288 x 2848 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.11 μm||5.53 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.91 MP/cm2||3.28 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||720/24p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||200 - 3,200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|Image Processor||DIGIC 5+||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||68||72|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.5||22.7|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.6||12.5|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||926||868|
|Screen Specs||Canon 70D||Nikon D5000|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||no Top Display|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.7inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Swivel screen||Fully flexible screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon 70D||Nikon D5000|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||7 shutter flaps/s||4 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||100 000 actuations||100 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Built-in Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDHC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon 70D||Nikon D5000|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon 70D||Nikon D5000|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||not weather sealed|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||920 shots per charge||510 shots per charge|
139 x 104 x 79 mm
(5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
127 x 104 x 80 mm
(5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
|Camera Weight||755 g (26.6 oz)||590 g (20.8 oz)|
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