If we can ignore that one annoyance the D5000 is otherwise a very capable and well designed camera, striking a careful balance between complexity and accessibility. The automatic settings such as the many scene modes and the superb AF system can be relied upon to produce good results in almost all circumstances, but for more experienced users it offers a wide range of manual control and custom setting options. It scores a perfect bulls-eye on its target user, combining the simplicity of an entry-level camera with the features of an advanced semi-pro model.
The hardware is all good quality too. The monitor is a little bit small for a DSLR at 2.7 inches and only 230k dots, but the viewfinder is larger and brighter than most of its rivals, with a good data display and an optional grid overlay. The shutter is rated for 100,000 cycles, and has a maximum speed of 1/4000th of a second, and the pop-up flash is decently powerful, with a guide number of 17 at 200 ISO. The D5000 uses the same Multi-CAM 1000 autofocus system as the D90, with 11 focus points including one centre cross-type sensor, and rather than relying on the flash it has a powerful AF assist lamp with a range of several meters.
Like most of its rivals the D5000 is limited to a contrast detection AF system in live view mode, with a single focus point, although this point can be moved around the frame. This is considerably slower than the viewfinder phase detection AF, and even slower in low light, but it does mean that the D5000 can operate virtually silently shooting in live view with the mirror up.
The video mode is also the same as the D90, shooting at up 1280 x 720 resolution at a TV-friendly 24fps. Sound is monaural only, recorded by an on-board microphone which is not particularly directional, recording sounds behind the camera as almost as loudly those from in front. It also has the same major drawback as the D90; there is no autofocus while recording, so you have to pre-focus and then try and keep your subject in focus manually, which is obviously difficult if you're shooting hand-held and trying to follow a moving subject.