Nikon D5 & D500: 4k, 3 Million ISO, 12 fps. Your Turn, Canon!

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On January 5th Nikon has unveiled two additions to their professional cameras line-up full frame: Nikon D5 and APS-C sized D500.

Nikon D5

The D5 is a professional solution which has a 21 megapixel Full Frame sensor with a lot of advancements in autofocus technology. Some of these include: autofocus module with 153 (!) points of which 99 are cross-type, sensitive to both vertical and horizontal details, RGB smattering system of a doubled resolution (from 91,000 to 180,000 pixels). Take all of this on top of Nikon’s already happening domination in object tracking, pair it with a brand new powerful processor which Nikon calls EXPEED 5 and you will get a good contender for the “best autofocus system in the world”. As an illustration of this, Nikon says D5 is capable of autofocusing at -4 EV at the central part of the sensor and -3 at any other point, which is truly a great achievement.  Furthermore, all these innovations should give you astounding capability of nailing the focus in backlit scenes.

Nikon D5

 

Nikon D5 is capable of shooting with a native ISO of 100,400 (for Canon 6D, for example, this is the second extended ISO option) and an extended ISO of 3,280,000. At first, I thought that this was some sort of mistake, but seems it is not. of course, I do not believe that ISO 100,400 will be usable, but ISO 12800 is pretty usable on the 6D so the value of 51,200 should be ok and 25,600 should be suitable even work for microstocks.

Nikon D5 Key Features

  • 20.8MP FX Sensor
  • Native ISO up to 102,400, Extend: 3,280,000
  • 4K UHD Video Recording at 30 fps
  • Video 3840 x 2160p at 30 fps
  • Video 1920 x 1080p at 60 fps
  • Video 1280 x 720p at 60 fps
  • 12 fps Shooting for 200 Shots with AE/AF
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • 3.2″ 2.36m-Dot Touchscreen LCD Monitor
  • Multi-CAM 20K 153-Point (99 cross-type) AF System
  • Max Sync Speed 1/250 seconds
  • 180k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF
  • 14-Bit Raw Files and 12-Bit Raw S Format

This camera is also cable of capturing 4k footage but with significant cropping and a limit to each video of only 3 minutes. It uses h.264 for video encoding, however, Nikon does not specify many details such as the bitrate of video and, since all previous Nikon cameras were at best mediocre in this regard, I do not hold out much hope in this respect.

However, what D5 may lack in video capture capabilities, it easily compensates for with a burst mode of up to 12fps with AF or 14 without it.

It also is the first professional Nikon camera that features a touch screen of 3.2” size and 2360000 dots resolution.

As for the price? This is a camera for people who make real money with their photography and the price reflects this: it starts at $6,500

Nikon D500

Nikon D500

Another newcomer, the D500, is cheaper. It is for the D5 what the D3 is for the D300: a similar camera with most of the features taken straight out of its older brother but with a smaller APS-C sized sensor.  It is cheaper, but make no mistake, it is not cheap. Priced at $2000 for body only and $3000 for a bundle with a kit 16-80 mm f/2.8-4 lens it still is viewed as a working instrument by most. The list of technologies used in this camera are impressive nonetheless. As such you have a viewfinder with perfect 1.0x magnification, memory format XQD is the same as found in D4, tilting 3.2” touchscreen has 2.4 million dots and the autofocus system that is the same as in the D5 and an image buffer able to hold 79 uncompressed RAW files. As a bonus you get advanced constant connection to a smartphone through something called SnapBridge and the ability to shoot 4k video although with the same limitations as with the D5.

Nikon D500 Key Features

  • 20.9MP FX Sensor
  • Native ISO up to 51,200, Extend: ,1640,000
  • 4K UHD Video Recording at 30 fps
  • Video 3840 x 2160p at 30 fps
  • Video 1920 x 1080p at 60 fps
  • Video 1280 x 720p at 60 fps
  • 10 fps Shooting for 79 lossless Shots
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor
  • 3.2" 2,539k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • Multi-CAM 20K 153-Point (99 cross-type) AF System
  • Max Sync Speed 1/250 seconds
  • 180k-Pixel RGB Sensor and Group Area AF
  • 14-Bit Raw Files and 12-Bit Raw S Format
Nikon D500

Your turn, Canon!

What is the most effective evolution driver? Of course, it is the competition. In 2012 Canon released 6D, 5D Mk III and 1DX. These cameras are amazing. Now the Nikon is leading again - good for us. Soon we will see some update from the Canon side.

 

   

About the Author

Denis ProtopopovLandscape, lifestyle and product photographer for the past 3 yearsView all posts by Denis Protopopov →

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