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Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-500

The Nikon D5000 and the Olympus Evolt E-500 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in April 2009 and September 2005. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D5000) and a Four Thirds (E-500) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Olympus provides 8 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D5000 versus Olympus E-500
Nikon D5000 Olympus E-500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 8 MP, Four Thirds Sensor
720/24p Video no Video
ISO 200-3,200 (200 - 6,400) ISO 100-400 (100 - 1,600)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
2.7 LCD, 230k dots 2.5 LCD, 215k dots
Fully flexible screen (no touchscreen) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
4 shutter flaps per second 2.5 shutter flaps per second
510 shots per battery charge750 shots per battery charge
127 x 104 x 80 mm, 590 g 130 x 95 x 66 mm, 479 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D5000 and the Olympus Evolt E-500? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D5000 and the Olympus E-500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. 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 size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-500
Compare D5000 versus E-500 top
Comparison D5000 or E-500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Olympus E-500 is notably smaller (6 percent) than the Nikon D5000. Moreover, the E-500 is markedly lighter (19 percent) than the D5000. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the D5000 nor the E-500 are weather-sealed.

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. A larger imaging sensor will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, although exceptions exist. You can compare the optics available for the two cameras in the Nikon Lens Catalog (D5000) and the Four Thirds Lens Catalog (E-500).

Concerning battery life, the D5000 gets 510 shots out of its EN-EL9a battery, while the E-500 can take 750 images on a single charge of its BLM-1 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, just click on the right or left arrow next to the camera that you would like to inspect. Alternatively, you can also use the CAM-parator to select your camera combination among a larger number of options.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D5000 5.0 in 4.1 in 3.1 in 20.8 oz 510 n Apr 2009 749i
 
Olympus E-500 5.1 in 3.7 in 2.6 in 16.9 oz 750 n Sep 2005 599i
 
Canon XSi 5.1 in 3.9 in 2.4 in 18.5 oz 500 n Jan 2008 799i
 
Nikon D5600 4.9 in 3.8 in 2.8 in 16.4 oz 970 n Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D5200 5.1 in 3.9 in 3.1 in 19.6 oz 500 n Nov 2012 749i
 
Nikon D5100 5.0 in 3.8 in 3.1 in 19.8 oz 660 n Apr 2011 749i
 
Nikon D3100 4.9 in 3.8 in 3.0 in 17.8 oz 550 n Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D3000 5.0 in 3.8 in 2.5 in 18.9 oz 500 n Jul 2009 599i
 
Nikon D60 5.0 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 500 n Jan 2008 629i
 
Nikon D90 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 24.8 oz 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D40X 4.9 in 3.7 in 2.5 in 18.4 oz 520 n Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D80 5.2 in 4.1 in 3.0 in 23.6 oz 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-410 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Mar 2007 699i
 
Olympus E-510 5.4 in 3.6 in 2.7 in 19.0 oz 750 n Mar 2007 799i
 
Olympus E-330 5.5 in 3.4 in 2.8 in 22.5 oz 750 n Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-400 5.1 in 3.6 in 2.1 in 15.3 oz 500 n Sep 2006 699i
 
Olympus E-300 5.8 in 3.3 in 2.5 in 22.0 oz 750 n Sep 2004 799i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.

Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The E-500 was launched at a somewhat lower price (by 20 percent) than the D5000, which makes it more attractive for photographers on a tight budget. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.

Sensor comparison

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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D5000 features an APS-C sensor and the Olympus E-500 a Four Thirds sensor. The sensor area in the E-500 is 40 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 2.0. The sensor in the D5000 has a native 3:2 aspect ratio, while the one in the E-500 offers a 4:3 aspect.

Nikon D5000 and Olympus E-500 sensor measures

With 12.2MP, the D5000 offers a higher resolution than the E-500 (8MP), but the D5000 nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 5.53μm versus 5.30μm for the E-500) due to its larger sensor. Moreover, the D5000 is a much more recent model (by 3 years and 6 months) than the E-500, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that further enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixels.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D5000 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5000 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.5 x 36.2 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 17.2 x 11.4 inches or 43.6 x 28.9 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 14.3 x 9.5 inches or 36.3 x 24.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Olympus E-500 are 16.3 x 12.2 inches or 41.5 x 31.1 cm for good quality, 13.1 x 9.8 inches or 33.2 x 24.9 cm for very good quality, and 10.9 x 8.2 inches or 27.6 x 20.7 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D5000 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 3200, which can be extended to ISO 200-6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Olympus Evolt E-500 are ISO 100 to ISO 400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-1600.

D5000 versus E-500 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon D5000 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872
 
Olympus E-500 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
 
Nikon D5600 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.114.0130684
 
Nikon D5200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60i24.213.9128484
 
Nikon D5100 APS-C 16.1 4928 32641080/30p23.513.6118380
 
Nikon D3100 APS-C 14.2 4608 30721080/24p22.511.391967
 
Nikon D3000 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.156362
 
Nikon D60 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.511.456265
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
 
Nikon D40X APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.411.451663
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
Olympus E-410 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.110.049451
 
Olympus E-510 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none21.210.044252
 
Olympus E-330 Four Thirds 7.4 3136 2352none........
 
Olympus E-400 Four Thirds 10.0 3648 2736none........
 
Olympus E-300 Four Thirds 8.0 3264 2448none........

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D5000 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the E-500 does not. The highest resolution format that the D5000 can use is 720/24p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D5000 and the E-500 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 viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (95%), but the viewfinder of the D5000 has a higher magnification than the one of the E-500 (0.51x vs 0.45x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Nikon D5000 and Olympus E-500 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Nikon D5000optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-500optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
 
Nikon D5600optical n 3.2 1037 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5200optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D5100optical n 3.0 921 swivel n 1/4000s 4.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3100optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D3000optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D60optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
 
Nikon D40Xoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-410optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-510optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y Y
 
Olympus E-330optical n 2.5 215 tilting n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-400optical n 2.5 215 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Olympus E-300optical n 1.8 134 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
The D5000 has an articulated LCD that can be turned to be front-facing. This characteristic will be appreciated by vloggers and photographers who are interested in snapping selfies. In contrast, the E-500 does not have a selfie-screen.

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 D5000 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the E-500 uses Compact Flash or xD Picture cards. The E-500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D5000 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

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 Nikon D5000 and Olympus Evolt E-500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon D5000Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Olympus E-500Y-----2.0---
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5600YstereomonoY-mini2.0YYY
 
Nikon D5200YstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D5100YmonomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3100Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D3000Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D60Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40XY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-410Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-510Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-330Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-400Y-----2.0---
 
Olympus E-300Y-----2.0---

Both the D5000 and the E-500 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The E-500 was replaced by the Olympus E-510, while the D5000 was followed by the Nikon D5100. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Olympus websites.

Review summary

So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D5000 better than the Olympus E-500 or vice versa? The listing below highlights the relative strengths of the two models.

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Advantages of the Nikon D5000:

  • More detail: Offers more megapixels (12.2 vs 8MP) with a 26% higher linear resolution.
  • Better image quality: Features a larger and more technologically advanced imaging sensor.
  • Richer colors: The sensor size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
  • More dynamic range: Larger sensor captures a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Larger sensor produces good images even in poorly lit environments.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 720/24p movies.
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.51x vs 0.45x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (2.7" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a full-flex screen for odd-angle shots in portrait or landscape orientation.
  • More selfie-friendly: Has an articulated screen that can be turned to be front-facing.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4 vs 2.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • More modern: Reflects 3 years and 6 months of technical progress since the E-500 launch.

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Reasons to prefer the Olympus Evolt E-500:

  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 111g or 19 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (750 versus 510) out of a single battery charge.
  • Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
  • More affordable: Was released into a lower priced segment (20 percent cheaper at launch).
  • More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2005).

If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5000 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D5000 13:05 E-500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D5000 and the Olympus E-500 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 says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the D5000 and the E-500 in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The table below provides a synthesis of the camera assessments of some of the best known photo-gear review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D5000+ +75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749i
 
Olympus E-50076/100+ +...... Sep 2005 599i
 
Canon XSi+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
 
Nikon D5600..79/1004.5/54.5/54/5 Nov 2016 699 i
 
Nikon D5200+ +79/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Nov 2012 749i
 
Nikon D5100+ +76/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Apr 2011 749i
 
Nikon D3100+ +72/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Aug 2010 599i
 
Nikon D3000+72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599i
 
Nikon D6080/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Jan 2008 629i
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D40X79/100+ +4/5o4/5 Mar 2007 729i
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-41086/100+ +4/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 699i
 
Olympus E-51089/100+ +3.5/5o4.5/5 Mar 2007 799i
 
Olympus E-330..+o3.5/5.. Jan 2006 999i
 
Olympus E-40085/100..4/5..4/5 Sep 2006 699i
 
Olympus E-300..+oo4.5/5 Sep 2004 799i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time 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.

Nikon D5000:
Check Ebay offers
Olympus E-500:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Nikon D5000 vs Olympus E-500

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D5000 Olympus E-500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Four Thirds lenses
    Launch Date April 2009 September 2005
    Launch Price USD 749 USD 599
    Sensor Specs Nikon D5000 Olympus E-500
    Sensor Technology CMOS CCD
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor Four Thirds Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.6 x 15.8 mm 17.3 x 13.0 mm
    Sensor Area 372.88 mm2 224.9 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 21.6 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 2.0x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 8 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4288 x 2848 pixels 3264 x 2448 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.53 μm 5.30 μm
    Pixel Density 3.28 MP/cm2 3.55 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability 720/24p Video no Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 3,200 ISO 100 - 400 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 6,400 ISO 100 - 1,600 ISO
    Image Processor EXPEED TruePic
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 72 ..
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 22.7 ..
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 12.5 ..
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 868 ..
    Screen Specs Nikon D5000 Olympus E-500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.51x 0.45x
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 2.7inch 2.5inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 215k dots
    LCD Attachment Fully flexible screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D5000 Olympus E-500
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 4 shutter flaps/s 2.5 shutter flaps/s
    Time-Lapse PhotographyIntervalometer built-inno Intervalometer
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards CF or XD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D5000 Olympus E-500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI no HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Nikon D5000 Olympus E-500
    Battery Type EN-EL9a BLM-1
    Battery Life (CIPA)510 shots per charge750 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 127 x 104 x 80 mm
    (5.0 x 4.1 x 3.1 in)
    130 x 95 x 66 mm
    (5.1 x 3.7 x 2.6 in)
    Camera Weight 590 g (20.8 oz) 479 g (16.9 oz)

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