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    Nikon D5

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    he Nikon D5 captures excellent images, but its 20.8-megapixel sensor trades low ISO dynamic range for excellent high ISO performance. What it doesn't compromise on is autofocus and speed with 153 AF points and 12fps continuous shooting for up to 200 images, respectively. The bulky, but well-designed body screams "pro" camera, as does everything else about this DSLR. Are its few compromises relevant to you or not? Find out by reading our in-depth Nikon D5 review.
    Excellent image quality; Excellent high ISO performance; Fast 153-point autofocus system; Fast continuous shooting speeds; 4K video recording; Pro-quality camera body; Outstanding battery life.
    Large and heavy body might not be right for all; Loud shutter; Underutilized touchscreen; Low ISO dynamic range not as good as predecessor; Extended high ISOs not very useful; Sluggish Live View AF.
    The Nikon D5 began in March 2016 for the suggested retail price of US$6499.95 in a body-only configuration, and in either dual-XQD or dual-CF card versions with no difference in price.

    Nikon D5 Review -- Product Image
    Nearly four years ago, Nikon released the D4. Two years later, they gave it minor upgrades with the D4S. Now, Nikon is poised to change the game yet again with their new flagship DSLR, the D5. While you could be forgiven for not noticing the subtle changes to the camera body itself, the internal changes are extensive, including a brand-new sensor, autofocus system, image processor, and an expanded suite of video features.

    Performance and Autofocus

    The Nikon D5 utilizes a brand-new, 20.8-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor and a new, faster EXPEED 5 image processor. This new higher-resolution sensor -- up from the 16.2MP chip of the D4-series -- includes an optical low-pass filter and also includes an anti-reflective coating to minimize ghost and flare.
    In conjunction with the EXPEED 5 processor, the Nikon D5's sensor has a native ISO range of 100 to 102,400. While that in and of itself is already impressive, the D5's extended ISO range is 50 to a whopping 3,276,800 (!) equivalent, making it the widest ISO range on a Nikon camera ever. Compared to the D4S, the D5 not only has a 4.5 megapixel increase, but also a native ISO range improvement of 2 EV and an expanded ISO sensitivity improvement of 3 EV. Along with a new sensor and processor, the Nikon D5 also uses a new noise reduction system. The D5 is designed to, as Nikon's press release says, "Conquer the Dark."
    Nikon D5 Review -- Product Image
    Additional low light performance improvements couple the improved ISO range with a new autofocus system that can acquire focus in as little as -4 EV. The D5 is the first Nikon camera to utilize a dedicated autofocus processor. Its Multi-CAM 20K AF sensor module (shown on the left) brings with it 153 autofocus points, of which 99 are cross-type sensors, which is three times the amount found in the D4S. Fifteen of the autofocus points are also functional at up to f/8, perfect for when using teleconverters. Of these 153 AF points, the user can select from 55 AF points/35 cross-type points. You can select either 153, 72, or 25-point coverage when using the camera's continuous autofocus mode. Selectable autofocus modes include single-point, dynamic area, auto-area, 3D-tracking, and group-area.
    Nikon D5 Review -- Product Image
    Metering has also been improved with the introduction of a new 180K pixel RGB metering sensor and Advanced Scene Recognition System. Building upon the D4S' facial detection capabilities, the D5 adds a watch area menu option. Further, Nikon has added a new 'Keep White' white balance option when using Auto White Balance, to achieve more natural color reproduction.
    There are also improvements made to the camera's speed. The Nikon D5 gives high-speed shooters an extra frame-per-second with full AE and AF capabilities, bringing it to 12fps. However, with the mirror up and exposure and focus locked, the D5 can capture images at 14fps. The buffer depth has been increased from 133 shots when using XQD to up to 200 shots. And speaking of XQD memory cards, the D5 is available in two flavors: dual XQD slots or dual CF slots.
    Nikon D5 Review -- Product Image

    Usability and Battery Life

    The Nikon D5 has increased slightly in size, gaining a couple of millimeters of width, a millimeter of height, and just over two ounces in weight (59 grams). The rear display has remained the same size, 3.2" diagonally, but dot count has increased from 921k to 2,359k and the D5's display gets new touchscreen capabilities for playback and text input. Additionally, the viewfinder has seen an improvement in magnification from 0.7x to 0.72x and the eyepiece adapter is now detachable. The viewfinder is not just larger, however, it also has shortened blackout time and reduced image blur compared to the D4S' viewfinder.
    Nikon D5 Review -- Product Image
    There are a handful of changes to how the camera body handles as well, with slight changes in ergonomics, button layout, and the addition of two more function buttons (one is on the front of the camera and one is to the left of the rear display). The Nikon D5 also introduces a quick settings ability, which allows for the release mode setting to be changed while shooting through the viewfinder by holding the release mode button with your left hand and command dial with your right hand. Also, like the D4S, the D5's buttons are illuminated for easier shooting in low-light conditions.
    Of course, the D5 is compatible with Nikon's new radio-frequency capable SB-5000 Speedlight flash, of which up to 18 can be controlled remotely without a direct line of sight at a range of up to 98 feet (30 meters) by a WR-R10 wireless remote controller attached to the Nikon D5 via a WR-A10 adapter.
    Nikon D5 Review -- Product Image
    As durable and rugged as ever, the robust, weather-sealed body also has a new shutter and mirror sequencing mechanism which "nearly eliminates blackout time and mirror slap," for a bright and consistent image through the viewfinder when doing high-speed shooting. This new shutter is rated for 400,000 actuations as well, so you'll be able to enjoy its higher quality for a long time.
    With a more efficient image processor, the Nikon D5 is able to squeeze additional life out of its EN-EL18a rechargeable Li-Ion battery. The D4S' impressive battery life of approximately 3,020 shots is now eclipsed by the D5's approximately 3,780 shot battery life.


    Nikon D5 Review -- Product Image
    High-speed shooting and efficient capabilities are only useful if the camera can handle and offload files quickly, too. The Nikon D5 is up to the task with its built-in LAN capabilities. With an improved 1000 Base T Ethernet port, the D5 can transfer files at up to 400Mbps, which is 1.5x faster than the D4S' transfer speeds. And the USB port has been upgraded to SuperSpeed USB 3.0, which supports up to a 5Gbps link compared to 480Mbps for the D4S' Hi-Speed USB 2.0. Wireless speeds are also improved from 30 to 130Mbps when using the new WT-6A Wireless Transmitter. The WT-6A supports the IEEE 802.11ac standard and has a connectivity distance of 656 feet. The device can transfer images to an FTP server or computer, and when in HTTP mode can be used to operate camera controls, begin Live View shooting, or start/stop HD video recording.
    If you opt for the dual-XQD variant of the Nikon D5, you'll enjoy up to 35% faster read and write speeds compared to CF. If you want to make the camera even faster, you can have the D5 record small or medium 12-bit, uncompressed RAW files.


    Along with the newly-announced Nikon D500, the D5 is the first Nikon DSLR capable of capturing 4K Ultra High-Definition video. Thanks to its EXPEED 5 image processor, the D5 can capture 4K video (3840 x 2160 resolution) at up to 30fps. The Nikon D5 can record up to three minutes of 4K video at a time and can also record video either in-camera to its memory card or simultaneously to an external recording device. (Update: Firmware v1.10 has since increased the D5's 4K video recording limit to 29m:59s by recording across multiple 4GB files which can be concatenated using software, and has also added Electronic VR for movies.) From the D810, the D5 also gains uncompressed HDMI out, simultaneous live view, and headphone/microphone connections. In addition to the microphone connection, the Nikon D5 has a built-in stereo mic with twenty levels of user-selected sensitivity.

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