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Nikon hopes to redefine the full-frame DSLR with the D5

Create: 01/05/2016 - 21:11
Nikon D5


  • Full-frame 20.8-MP full-frame sensor was developed by Nikon.
  • Can shoot up to 12 frames per second. Buffer can hold 200 photos.
  • Native ISO's top end is 102,400 and can be extended to 3,280,000

Meet the Nikon D5 – the camera maker's new flagship digital SLR that can do almost everything,

Nikon says it developed the D5's 20.8-MP CMOS full-frame sensor. Nikon chose not to raise the pixel count, instead working to improve low-light performance while adding video and connectivity features.

Out of the box, the sensor's ISO range is 100 to 102,400. If you need more low-light capabilities, this is where things get interesting. The sensor's ISO, which can be extended downward to 50, can be boosted to 3,280,000. That's an ISO of 3.28 millon, which is a first for a production digital camera. This ISO, Nikon says, is beyond what the human eye can see.

Low-light capabilities can be essential for sports photographers who want to use fast lenses and fast shutter speeds to capture on-field action. The ISO range also can be used when shooting video.

Speaking of video, the D5 is Nikon's first DSLR that is capable of capturing 4K UHD video (3840x2160 at 30p). The camera also has a time-lapse function and also can create 8-MP frame grabs. The D5 also can record 1080p full HD video.

“The D5 doesn’t simply get the shot that others might miss– it helps get the shot that others just simply cannot,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc., in a press release. “With these new products, it becomes evident that photographers who choose Nikon cameras and NIKKOR lenses are equipped with an unrivaled system to surpass even the most demanding imaging expectations.”The camera's EXPEED 5 handles image-processing duties, fine-tuning noise reduction while maintaining skin tones and image sharpness. Nikon says the new processor is 25% more energy efficient, providing up to 3,780 shots per charge.

If a photographer needs to rip off a burst of photos, the D5 is up to the task. It can take photos at the rate of 12 RAW/NEF+JPG frames per second with autofocus and autoexposure engaged for each shot for up to 200 frames before the buffer fills. If the situation allows for focus and exposure to be locked and mirror to be raised, the frame rate edges up to 14 fps. The shutter has been tested for 400,000 actuations.

Nikon has added a dedicated autofocus engine, the Multi-CAM 20K AF. The in-camera module has 153 AF points, including 99 cross-type sensors, which is the AF points from Nikon's previous flagship camera, the D4S. Of the 153 points, 55 AF points/35 cross-type points are selectable by photographers.

The D5 has a fixed non-moveable 3.2-inch LCD with touch controls that allow the photographer to navigate the menus and use the pinch zoom action that is a staple of mobile devices.

The camera can be purchased with either dual XQD memory card slots or dual CompactFlash memory card slots.

Nikon has two new accessories for the D5, a radio-controlled SB-500 Speedlight electronic flash and the WT-6A wireless transmitter.

The SB-500 has numerous features, such as the ability to control up to 18 other Nikon Speedlights using the WR-R10 transmitter. It also has its own internal cooling system to prevent the unit from overheating. It can do bursts of up to 120 continuous shots at five-second intervals.

The Nikon D5 body will be available in March 2016 for US$6,499.95. The Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight (US$599.95) and WT-6A Wireless Transmitter (US$749.95) also will be available at that time.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.