"Great Value"4.5 starson by jconroy110464
Pros: Excellent Image Quality...nice balance between the mega-pixels and CMOS chip area.
Well defined and logical interface.
User definable / customizable settings which can be saved.
Flip & Swivel LCD
3D Focus with Tracking
RAW + 3 levels of JPEG
Cons: Plastic construction...
Super slow focus in LIveView
Summary: The image quality for this camera is quite exceptional. If you post process your photos in Adobe (or some type of RAW editing program), then you really can achieve outstanding results which rival the D300. I especially like the user interface via the LCD. It is soooo well defined and logical. And it enables you to save custom settings for specific conditions; e.g. landscape-cloudy. This neat feature reduces the need or the time to post process the RAW. In some cases you can use the JPEG direct without any post processing!
The flip and swivel LCD is another good feature in the design. This enables you to (1) shoot photos from awkward positions where the best shot requires the camera to be at arms length from your face. And (2), the LCD can be flipped around having the "glass" side of the LCD face the camera body. This is especially good for me, when I am outdoors hiking and the camera body is exposed to bumps and scrapes.
The 11-point AF with 3D tracking, along with the 420-pixel metering, and the multiple options for F.O.V. area focus (center, wide, face, etc), provide you with excellent performance and the ability to be creative. And with RAW+ 3 JPEG choices (and your presets), this becomes a very fun and functional camera.
I really see this camera being lens limited rather than sensor (CMOS) limited. Use the money you save with buying the D5000 and invest it into a higher-end wide angle lens. After getting familiar and proficient with this camera, your results could challenge the pro's (at least on stills).