I was in the same situation as you few weeks ago, deciding on D90 or D5000. Initially going for the D5000 because wanted the articulate LCD badly cos its kind of fun
But after much research and advice from expert, decide to go for D90. No regrets with it so far.
Like what Slyanius has said, the lack of built-in AF motor on the D5000 is a huge disadvantage. It is part of the reason why I change to D90. Imagine you have to get special lens for the D5000 which cost more.
For your budget, quite the same that was set by myself, that is why initially D5000. If u can fork out abt $300 more, D90 is really a better choice. Do take in consideratioin of the aftermath items that u need to buy too (approximately)
1. Dry Cabinet $100-$200
2. Camera bag $50-$200
3. UV filter $15 - $100 (Optional but strongly adviced)
So, actually you need to cater $200 - $500 more :bsmilie:
You need to cater $$$ for lens in future as well. Now you can say dunnit to buy other lens but I am sure in future surely will spend on it
Or, you can stick to D5000 and use the kit lens. Now should be selling at ard $1050. Plus another $100 for dry cabinet (better to have). Another $100 for a good bag or something. Have fun shooting around with the camera first. In future, then plan whether want to get other lens slowly.:thumbsup:
2. Go forward, be polite and ask them.
Say the magic words "Hi. I want to learn DSLR photography, can you recommend some suitable DSLRs to me? Yeah, something like that. Please provide your budget.
Then, the retail executive there should be kind enough to share with you the brands. Personally, I go with Nikon or Canon. Canon is more popular, Nikon sounds more professional.
3. Be brave to ask questions: To know more about the DSLRs.
Feel and touch the DSLRs while trying to shoot with them.
4. Yippeee, make your decision. LOL.
Of course, before you do this, DO SOME RESEARCH (read on the internet via posts by more experienced users about the DSLRs and survey on the shops) on the DSLRs you have listed down. Don't be a cuckoo there, the person will not like it.
Of course, learn to bargain but don't be too much.
5. Don't fret. It's just the beginning. If you buy too professional camera and you don't know how to use it. REGRET, is all I can say. Serve you right!
NOTES: Don't listen to people's views. Compare them with one another and average the best result out from them. Different people have their own views, if you plainly based only on one's view, it's not practical luh. You will regret it and end up with being too engrossed in DSLR photography by spending too much $$$ on this HOBBY (is it?).
In conclusion: Start from basic la, take it slowly.
Time will progress, so will your skills.
Take your time & think a little but don't get too troubled by it when choosing for accessories etc.
In the end, MONEY is still important. No money, no tok!