Back in November 2015, Nikon announced that their latest flagship camera, the Nikon D5 DSLR is in the last stages of the development and luckily, critics and fans didn’t have to wait much for “development” to change into “product” because at the CES 2016, Nikon unveil the Nikon D5.
Although the higher price tag of $6,499.95 will put it out of reach of many but the Nikom D5 is worthy of a closer look as it introduces Nikon’s latest advances in technology.
The following is the early review of Nikon’s D5
The Nikon D5, unlike the Nikon D4S, which has 16.2-million-pixel of full-frame sensor, the Nikon D5 has introduced a brand-new FX-format sensor which has an effective and brilliant resolution of 20.8 million pixels. This new sensor is developed in order to provide enhanced ISO result and much improved color reproduction. The superior sensitivity performance can be observed in D5’s ISO range, which is from ISO 100 to 102,400 with an additional setting to push it to a brilliant ISO 3,280,000.
Furthermore, the Nikon D5 is also assisted by Nikon’s latest “Expeed 5” image processor which can take the Nikon D5 to new heights by allowing it to capture a continuous burst at the rate 12fps with AF tracking. There’s also a setting to raise this to 14fps with fixed focus and exposure when the mirror is locked up.
Some other benefits of the Nikon D5’s new processor and high-powered buffer enables it to shoot up to 200 NEF (raw) or large JPEG files during a high-speed burst and according the Nikon developers, the Nikon D5 is 25% more power efficient, as it can take up to 3,780 shots easily thanks to the EN-EL18a battery.
Nikon has also gone above the expectations in terms of autofocus speed and accuracy as it has installed a newer “Multi-CAM 20K” autofocus module. This is similar to the one installed in the Nikon D500 and allows the photographers with a complex setting of 153 AF points across the frame, 99 of these being of the cross type that are sensitive to both vertical and horizontal detail. The system is further configurable to 153-point, 72-point and 25-point settings in continuous AF mode. All of these 153 focus points are compatible with AF Nikkor lenses with an aperture of f/5.6 or more, and the 15 central points work with a efficient and effective aperture of f/8.
The AF system is linked to the Nikon D5’s 180K-pixel RGB metering sensor, which basically is a combination that is setting new benchmarks in terms of subject tracking. The Nikon D5 also features a new 3.2-inch, 2.36-million-dot LCD monitor that also has touch screen operation. In Live View mode, the touch screen can be used to reposition the focus point or to gain preset spot white balance data based on the selected area in the frame.
The viewfinder of the Nikon D5 looks identical to the one in the D4S, but there are a a few changes made by the Nikon like the magnification on the Nikon D5 is lowered slightly, from 0.72x to 0.70x and the viewfinder surround is now removable, which makes it quite easier to attach accessories such as a rain hood.
For videographers, Nikon has installed a video recording capability in full HD at 50/60p like in the D4S. There’s also an option to shoot 4K ultra HD movies (3840×2160) at a frame rate of 30p but it is only available for a maximum of three minutes.
One other feature which might be of a great use to many is that the users can extract 8-million-pixel still images from the 4K video and create time-lapse footage in 4K resolution. The Nikon D5 is also boasted with a SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port and faster Ethernet connection.
Build and Handling
A D4S user will feel comfortable while using the Nikon D5 as the control layout has been the same. The dual grips on the front and rear of the camera are there but are more ergonomically shaped to make the camera more comfortable to use for long periods of time.
The Nikon D5 is believed to give exceptional performance even in the toughest and roughest of the environments thanks to a full metal body and extensive weather-resistive film. There’s also a weatherproof cover for the hotshoe to keep the contacts dry if there’s not a flashgun in place.
The Nikon D5’s 3.2-inch 2,359,000-dot screen is touch-sensitive, it doesn’t make much use of the touch control – it’s mainly for scrolling through images and zooming in to check sharpness. It works intuitively with taps, swipes and pinch-zooming and responds promptly. It’s not possible to navigate the menu, make settings selections or set AF point by touching the screen.
The Olympic Games and the UEFA Euro Championship are the mainly focused events for the target market of the Nikon D5 and therefore it’s crucial that autofocus system is the best. The camera overall is very good and can easily keep up with the pace of a fast moving subject in flat, relatively low light. It also managed to get stationary subjects sharp in very low light when the subject had just a hint of contrast.
The Nikon D4S had a built-in sensitivity range of ISO 100-25,600, but the Nikon D5 sits two stops higher as it has ISO 100-102,400 and the results at ISO 102,400 are much better than the D4S due to less noise and more detail making the image more attractive.
Other aspects of image quality such as the exposure, white balance and color all seem very good and inline with what we would expect from Nikon’s top-notch camera.
- Sensor Resolution of 20.8 Megapixel
- Optical Sensor Type is CMOS
- Optical Sensor Size is 23.9 x 35.9mm
- Field of View Crop Factor is 1.0
- Sensor Features include Self Cleaning Sensor Unit
- Image Processor is EXPEED 5
- System TTL contrast and phase detection
- Auto Focus Points (Zones) is Qty 153
- Digital Video Format is H.264, MOV
- Image Recording Format is JPEG, NEF (RAW), RAW + JPEG, TIFF
- Max Video Resolution is3840 x 2160
- Interfaces Provided are HDMI, USB 3.0
With an increased number of pixel count by 25% in comparison with the 16Mp D4S, Nikon’s D5 has not only sits above the D4S, but also above many top-notch DSLRs including those from Canon.
There’s a good improvement in noise control along side higher quality images, the choice of capturing greater depth of field, using fast shutter speeds or freezing more movement are some of the features which will be appreciated by the photographers that are going to capture sports in Summers.
These photographers will also be happy with the 12fps continuous shooting capability, as well as the flexibility that a 200 files burst depth brings. The latter may only be used on relatively rare occasions to avoid filling up hard drives and creating masses of images to sort through, but there will be times when it is useful.
The D4S’s autofocus system is excellent and it’s hard to tell after a relatively short period of use whether the Nikon D5’s is an improvement, but it is certainly very good.
The only real drawback observed with the Nikon D5 so far is the limited 4K recording capability.
Overall, the specification chart alone is enough to convince many seasoned professional photographers to pre-order the Nikon D5 and get some brilliant shots this Summer.
- High specification autofocus system
- Huge sensitivity range
- Durable build
- 4K recording limited to 3 minutes
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