Nikon D5
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Nikon D5

Jun 06, 2023

The D5 is a high performance camera for professional photographers; it's built to withstand the rigors of continuous usage in difficult environments, and it performs reliably while also offering the ability to configure controls to suit a wide variety of shooting conditions.

We haven't reviewed a Nikon pro camera since March 2010, when we had the D3s so we were quite excited when offered the new Nikon D5. Contained in a body that has changed little since the D4, the new camera provides a new Nikon-designed CMOS sensor with 20.8 megapixels (effective) and a new EXPEED 5 image processor which enables the camera to support 4K/UHD video recording.

Angled front view of the Nikon D5. (Source: Nikon.)

Other new additions include a mini-B style USB 3.0 connector, which is appropriate as the D5 will be offered with either dual XQD card or CompactFlash card slots (but not one of each). The XQD cards provide faster data transmission. We received a camera with XQD card slots and one card with which to conduct our review.

The dual slots for XQD cards as found on the version of the D5 we reviewed – although we only received one XQD card. (Source: Nikon.)

Who's it For? In two words: professional photographers. The D5 is too big, too expensive and too complex for amateur shooters, even serious enthusiasts. Pro cameras are large and expensive for a reason: they must withstand the rigors of continuous usage, often in difficult environments and perform reliably while also offering users the ability to configure their controls to suit a wide variety of shooting conditions.

There are currently two leading brands catering for the professional photography market: Canon and Nikon. Both have recently introduced new flagship models so we thought it could be useful to compare key features of these cameras.

Nikon D5

Canon EOS-1DX Mark II


160 x 158.5 x 92mm

158 x 167.6 x 82.6 mm


1415 grams

1340 grams

Sensor dimensions

35.9 x 23.9 mm

36 x 24 mm

Effective resolution

20.8 megapixels

20.2 megapixels

Max. image size

5568 x 3712 pixels

5472 x 3648 pixels

Image processor


Dual DIGIC 6+

Storage media

2x XQD or 2x CF

1x CF + 1x CFast

Shutter speed range

30 "" 1/8000 second plus Bulb, Time

Shutter durability

400,000 cycles

AF system

Phase detection with viewfinder; Contrast detection in Live View mode

Dual-Pixel Contrast Detect + Phase Detect

AF points

153 AF Points; 99 Cross Type

61 AF Points; 41 Cross Type

AF detection range

-4 to +20EV

-3 to +20EV

Metering sensor

180,000 pixel RGB

360,000 pixel RBG+IR

Metering range

-3 to +20 EV

0 to +20EV

Native ISO range



ISO expansion


100- 409600

Continuous shooting speed

Max. 14 fps 12 fps with AF/AE

Max. 16 fps 14 fps with AF/AE

Buffer capacity (Raw files)




3.2-inch touch-screen LCD, 2,3760,000 dots

3.2-inch touch-screen LCD, 1,620,000 dots

Viewfinder magnification



4K video support


Max. video resolution

3840 x 2160 at 30 fps

4096 x 2160 at 60 fps

4K recording limit

3 minutes

29 minutes 59 seconds

Video output

MOV, MPEG-4 / H.264

MOV, Motion JPEG, MPEG-4 / H.264

Integrated GPS



Battery capacity (CIPA)

3,780 shots/charge

1,210 shots/charge

Typical ‘street’ price $AU/$US



As you can see, the key features of these cameras are either identical or very similar. Both cameras have environmentally sealed, weather-resistant bodies and hot-shoes for external flashguns.

The differences in sensor size are small enough to be effectively negligible and both cameras have low-pass filters over the sensors, along with vibrating dust-reduction systems. The Nikon D5 has an anti-reflection coating on the sensor, while Canon's coating is a standard type.

Both cameras support 4K movie recording, although Canon offers the professional DCI resolution standard of 4096 x 2160 pixels, while Nikon has chosen the consumer UHD-1 format with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Both cameras have built-in Ethernet ports with1000 Base T support. Neither camera comes with built-in Wi-Fi, although optional accessories are available for Wi-Fi connection.

Build and Ergonomics Since we didn't review the D4, we’ve had to check product images to see what's changed in the transition to the new camera. And, although superficially, the body design appears largely unchanged, it has undergone a few modifications, many of them cosmetic and some that won't please users of existing Nikon pro cameras.

Front view of the Nikon D5. (Source: Nikon.)

Many users won't notice that the D5 is 2 mm taller than the D4s. The grip is slightly chunkier (which will please users with larger hands) and the lens mounting platform and pentaprism housing are more sharply defined. But they’re likely to see that an additional function (Fn) button has been added left of the lens mount.

Top view of the Nikon D5 with the AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G lens. (Source: Nikon.)

Unfortunately for regular users of the D4 and D4s, this new function button is just the start of the button shuffling. Adding another new button, for ISO, just behind the shutter release has required the Movie record button to be shifted to the left to accommodate it.

Some people will welcome the new addition as it makes ISO easier to change quickly but photographers accustomed to the traditional button layout will probably object. The movie button's new position will also be welcomed by some but others (particularly those with smaller hands and/or shorter fingers) could find it more difficult to reach.

Shifting the Mode button to the opposite side of the viewfinder housing makes this control stack more complex. However, since many photographers will lock in mode and drive settings set for a particular shoot, it could be a better position. It's likely to become Nikon's default arrangement since the top panel layout is the same in the D5 and D500 cameras.

The Bracketing button has been moved down to make way for the Mode button and replaces the Flash button. The Metering mode button is unchanged, as is the rest of the top panel control layout.

Rear view of the Nikon D5. (Source: Nikon.)

On the rear panel, the Info button has been replaced by a new Fn3/LAN button and moved to replace the voice annotation button below the monitor on the rear control panel. Also among these controls, a continuous drive button replaces the ISO button. (Voice annotation becomes one of the functions selectable for a programmable button.)

A new ‘i‘ button has been added on the right hand side of the monitor, just above the MIC button. It accesses a sub-menu containing settings for image area selection, Active D-Lighting, electronic front-curtain shutter and monitor brightness adjustments. Another tiny change on the rear panel sees the red ‘Format‘ tag shifted from below the delete button to above it.

Inside the menu there are a few other changes. The Auto image rotation function has been moved to the Playback menu, where it sits above the Rotate tall setting, The Slot empty release lock setting has been moved from the Custom menu to the end of the Setup menu. Both good moves in our opinion but Nikon should also have moved the File number sequence setting (currently d7 in the Custom menu) to the Setup menu as well.

Another illogical situation in the Custom menu is the ‘g‘ setting for Movie functions. It has only one setting ‘g1‘ which groups settings that are listed separately in the ‘f‘ section into a single graphic display. We can't see why Nikon didn't use the same logic for the stills and video controls.

The D5 offers plenty of options for customising controls, with one out of 26 operations assignable to each of the three Fn buttons (two on the front panel and one on the rear) and a small selections of options for the preview, bracketing and AF-on buttons and the sub-selector. You can also store selections of settings in four Custom settings banks.

What's New? Nikon has made some important changes to the AF and metering systems, introduced a new sensor and image processor, expanded the ISO sensitivity range, increased the buffer capacity for burst shooting, added the ability to record movies with 4K resolution and given the camera the ability to capture still pictures while recording movie clips. We’ll deal with each in turn.

The AF point array in the Nikon D5, with the selectable AF points shown as squares.

Autofocusing:The entire AF system has been completely re-vamped with adoption of the Multi-CAM 20K autofocus sensor module. This sensor module offers 153 focus points, 99 of which are cross-type sensors, among them nine that work down to f/8.

The dedicated AF engine chip is capable of performing high-speed calculations. It can work with the sequence control microcomputer and 180K-pixel RGB sensor to optimise AF performance, particularly during high-speed continuous shooting.

The camera can also use colour information from the subject and integrate it with face detection. If faces are detected in AF-S lens servo mode, the camera prioritises them as portrait subjects and maintains focusing by automatically by following the subject's movement while shutter-release button is half pressed.

Unfortunately, you can only select 55 AF points (four more than in the D4s) and all these points are densely clustered around the centre of the image area (shown above). In addition, the number of focus points that function as cross sensors may vary depending on the lens fitted to the camera and the aperture setting.

Since only one lens was provided for our tests, we were unable to fully test the new automated AF Fine Tune function, which automatically calibrates the autofocusing system to match the lens. Its aim is to prevent back- or front-focusing, which may occur with fast prime lenses.

In previous cameras, the AF Fine Tune controls matched the lens against factory-determined data for particular lenses but they didn't allow for variations in tolerances between different copies of a lens. The new system uses contrast-detection via Live View AF to calibrate the phase-detection system. When we tried it out with the supplied lens for a couple of camera-to-subject distances, the process took about 15 seconds.

Nikon has improved the AF system's sensitivity, giving the central focus point a detection range from -4 EV to +20EV at ISO 100 (compared with -2 to +19EV for the D4s). Detection with other focus points begins at -3 EV. Cross-type sensors around the AF array should further improve detection in low light levels and with low-contrast subjects and boost the speed of focus tracking, although subjects won't be picked up until they cross into the area covered by the array.

Users can assign different AF-area modes to custom buttons and also select between Blocked shot AF response and Subject motion for the Focus tracking with lock-on options. These settings let users set how long the camera should pause before re-focusing when something passes between the camera and the selected subject and match the focus tracking to expected subject motion. (A lit AF point lets you track the AF point in 3D-tracking mode and the camera ‘remembers’ what it was focused upon.)

Metering: Nikon has roughly doubled the number of pixels in the RGB metering sensor, which should (in theory) improve its detection capabilities. Its detection range has also increased from -1 to +20EV in the D4s to -3 to +20EV in the D5 for matrix and centre-weighted metering. A new Highlight-weighted metering pattern, which biases readings towards highlights, has been added. Other parameters are unchanged.

Sensor and Image processing:The D5 introduces a new FX-format CMOS sensor and new EXPEED 5 image-processing engine, both developed by Nikon. The sensor chip has an anti-reflection coating, which wasn't present on the D4s's chip.

The D5's 20.8-megapixel resolution is roughly 4 megapixels higher the 16.2-megapixels in the D4s. It's not a huge amount and, according to Nikon expert, Thom Hogan, it uses the same architecture as in the D3, which ‘limits dynamic range at lower ISO values’.

Native ISO sensitivity in the D5 ranges from ISO 100 to ISO 102,400, the latter being two stops higher than the maximum of ISO 25600 on the D4s. Both cameras include low ISO extension with settings for 0.3, 0.5, 0.7 and 1.0EV below ISO 100 (ISO 80-50 equivalent). The highest extension at the upper end of the scale for the D4s is ISO 409,600 but the D5 blows that into insignificance with a top setting equivalent to ISO 3,276,800, reached via five selectable 1.0EV steps. We find this absurd. There will be very few occasions when photographers can actually use the top ISO settings and, when they do, the resulting images will be so noise-affected as to be effectively unusable. (Check out the Samples section at the end of the review and you’ll see what we mean.)

On the positive side, the new sensor/processor combo lifts the maximum continuous shooting speed from 11 to 14 frames/second (fps) with focus and exposure locked and the mirror raised at the first shot. With full AF and AE capabilities, the maximum burst speed is 12 fps. A new mirror drive mechanism provides a steadier viewfinder image at 12 fps to make tracking moving subjects easy.

Like the D4s, the D5's buffer memory can hold 200 JPEGs, but where the D4s could accommodate between 60 and 176 NEF.RAW files (depending on compression levels), with an XQD card the D5 has space for between 65 uncompressed 14-bit raw files and 200 losslessly-compressed small NEF.RAW images per single burst of continuous shooting.

Video: You can now record 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) video with Nikon's flagship pro camera. It should be a big deal but essentially it won't suit professional movie creators. For starters, 3840 x 2160 pixels is the consumer format for 4K (the pro format is 4096 x 2160 pixels). The available frame rates (30p, 25p and 24p) are also consumer level.

For Full HD (1080p) movie recording, the D5 provides the same FX-based and DX-based movie formats as the 4Ds, depending upon which image area has been selected in the shooting menu. Movies can also be recorded with a crop factor that varies with the frame rate. Cropping applies a simulated zoom to the image.

Moving from a frame size of 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 760 to 3840 x 2160 pixels increases the apparent focal length by a factor of 1.5x, while going from 1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 760 to the 1920 x 1080 crop setting increases the apparent focal length by a factor of approximately 3x. Cropping is not supported with the 3840 x 2160 setting, which can only be recorded with High quality. The table below shows the movie options available.

Camera setting

Max. bit rate (high/normal quality)

Max. clip length (high/normal quality)

3840 x 2160 (4K UHD); 30p, 25p, 24p


3 minutes

1920 x 1080; 60p, 50p


10 min./20 min.

1920 x 1080; 30p, 25p, 24p


20 min./29 min. 59 sec.

1280 x 720; 60p, 50p

1920 x 1080 crop; 60p, 50p

10 min./20 min.

1920 x 1080 crop; 30p, 25p, 24p

20 min./29 min. 59 sec.

Most of the recording functions provided in the D4s carry over into the D5, including the ability to use the P, A, S and M shooting modes, the white balance adjustments and Picture Control settings. The default resolution is 1920 x 1080 at 60p. You can record movies to the memory card in the camera or via simultaneous HDMI output to an external recorder.

Still photographs can be captured during movie recording, although not when either NEF.RAW or TIFF image quality is selected, or with the 1920 x 1080 crop frame size. All shots have an aspect ratio of 16:9. The image size depends upon the JPEG size and quality settings and is shown in the table below.

Frame size

Image area

Image size


3840 x 2160

3840 x 2160

1920 x 1080 or 1280 x 720



5568 x 3128


4176 x 2344


2784 x 1560



3648 x 2048


2736 x 1536


1824 x 1024

1920 x 1080 crop

1920 x 1080

Like most DSLRs, video clips from the D5 had a reduced dynamic range, compared with still shots. The new Flat Picture Control is designed to address this issue.

Picture Controls: Nikon describes its new Flat Picture Control as providing ‘minimal dramatization while preserving the material characteristics’. It produces lower contrast than the Neutral setting and is designed to capture details in highlights and shadows in subjects with wide brightness ranges.

This setting is similar to the Video Camera X""series-look Picture Style created by Canon in 2013 specifically for shooting movies with its EOS DSLR cameras ( Sony offers a wider range of movie profiles for its α7 mirrorless cameras than either Canon or Nikon. Nikon also recommends the Flat Picture Control for photographs that will have extensive post-capture processing.

Monitor and Viewfinder: The D5's monitor is now touch-screen enabled and its resolution has been increased to 2,3760,000 dots (compared with 921,000 dots on the D4s). Other parameters are unchanged.

The pentaprism viewfinder has a slightly higher (by 1 mm) eyepoint and a new Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark IX focusing screen and there's been a small boost in magnification (from 0.7x to 0.72x). The eyepiece adapter is now detachable and the new mirror mechanism reduces blackout times.

Image Storage: Purchasers of the D5 must choose between two versions, one that uses two XQD cards and one that uses two CompactFlash cards. In contrast, the D4s had one slot for XQD and one for CompactFlash. We think that configuration was preferable since it doesn't lock a photographer into a specific card type.

Having only received the dual XQD card version of the camera we’re not in a position to make speed comparisons. However, going by other postings on the Web it seems that if you’re after speed, XQD is the better choice.

Connectivity: Good news here: the D5 supports the faster USB 3.0 interface via a mini-B style connector. It also comes with a built-in 1000BaseT Ethernet capable of 400Mbps output, although you’ll need an Ethernet cable. Wi-Fi support is possible via an optional WT-6 or WT-5 transmitter.

What's Not? Features carried over from previous models include the following:

1. The four Image Area options: FX (36 x 24), 1.2x (30 x 20), DX (24 x 16) and 5:4 (30 x 24). All are achieved by cropping the image frame, which means they will apply a magnification factor to the lens but reduce total resolution. The camera can also be set to recognise when a DX lens is attached and automatically apply the DX crop.

2. Image quality options include JPEG, NEF.RAW and TIFF. Three JPEG compression levels are available: fine (1:4 compression), normal (1:8 compression) and basic (1:16 compression). Users can choose between size priority and optimal quality compression. NEF.RAW files can be recorded uncompressed, losslessly compressed or compressed using a non-reversible algorithm that reduces the file size by 35-55%. Users can choose between 12-bit and 14-bit depth for raw files. TIFF files are uncompressed but have a bit depth of 8 bits/channel (24-bit colour).

3. When two memory cards are inserted, users can choose one as a Primary card (the other defaults to secondary). The roles available for the secondary card include Overflow (when the primary card is full), Backup (duplicating files on both cards) and RAW primary-JPEG secondary. When movies are to be recorded, the slot used for recording movies can be set via the Movie settings > Destination option in the shooting menu.

4. AF modes are unchanged, with a choice between single-servo AF (AF-S) and continuous-servo AF (AF-C). Predictive focus tracking is available in AF-C mode. The AF-Area modes are essentially unchanged, although allowances have been made for the higher density of AF points. 5. The release and self-timer modes are unchanged and both cameras include a silent mode in the Live View options. Both cameras support time-lapse photography with the frame size selected in the Frame size/frame rate and Movie quality selections in the Movie menu. Both cameras require the viewfinder to be used when setting the camera up for the sequence. Multiple exposures are also supported.

6. Both cameras include Nikon's Active D-Lighting function, which preserves details in highlights and shadows when high-contrast scenes are photographed. Seven settings are provided in the menu, ranging from Auto and Extra High to Low and Off. A D-Lighting processing option is provided in the retouch menu for post-capture adjustments to JPEG files.

7. Aside from the new Flat Picture Control, other Picture Control options are unchanged. White Balance settings are also unchanged.

8. The D5 uses the same batteries as the D4s and D4 but offers a battery life of approximately 3,780 shots/charge, compared with approximately 3,020 shots/charge for the D4s.

9. The D5 is compatible with all Nikon Speedlights and multi-flash set-ups can be operated with an optional WR-R10 wireless remote controller attached via a WR-A10 adapter. All the Nikon Creative Lighting System functions can be used, along with radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting (AWL) and unified flash control.

Playback and Software The main change in the Playback options is the introduction of the touch-screen on the monitor, which supports the standard gestural controls, including swipe, pinch and spread. Tapping on the screen activates movie playback. If two cards are installed, users can select which one to playback.

The new ‘i‘ button lets users add voice annotations to shots and select images for uploading to a computer or server. It also enables an IPTC preset to be embedded in the selected image and allows users to choose the slot and folder for playback. This button also provides direct access to the retouch menu for photographs and the edit menu for movies. Aside from that, all the other functions are unchanged and the D5 includes the same retouch functions as the D4s.

No software was supplied with the review camera but the printed user's manual provides URLs for linking to Nikon's download centre, where you can find ViewNX-I and Capture NX-D, the recommended programs. ViewNX-I is a browser/file management application for still images and videos. It provides a launch pad for Capture NX-D which is used for processing raw files from the camera.

Performance Since we didn't review either the D4s or the D4 we can't make subjective assessments of differences between files from the new camera and its predecessors. Consequently, all comments are specific to the camera we reviewed, which was provided with the AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G lens, reviewed separately.

The autofocusing system was difficult to fault, being fast and accurate in a wide variety of situations, particularly when using the viewfinder and shooting stills. As expected, there were slight delays in Live View mode, particularly when recording movie clips.

We weren't overly impressed by the metering system, particularly the 3D Matrix pattern, which seemed unable to compensate for contrasty scenes, even when the Active D-Lighting was engaged. With low ISO settings, we estimate the dynamic range in shots was reduced by about a stop and a half.

Fortunately, matrix metering performed better at ISO settings between 400 and 6400 and was fine at lower settings in flat lighting, including indoor situations. But at high ISO settings, the D5 gains about a stop on the D4s. Images are usable at ISO 51200 but fall apart rapidly thereafter.

Within the ‘Goldilocks’ ISO range of ISO 200-6400, JPEG files from the camera were sharp and rich in detail, although contrast was relatively high between ISO 100 and ISO 800 in shots taken in the bright Australian sunshine with the default Standard Picture Control. Even the Active D-Lighting function was unable to overcome the tendency for highlights to blow out and shadows to block up in JPEG shots under these conditions, although it was possible to ‘open out’ shadows with Levels adjustment in Photoshop with most backlit shots.

At the other end of the scale, low light shots taken with settings above the Hi3 ISO were effectively unusable due to softening and noise. We see little point in offering the Hi3, Hi4 and H5 settings, the two highest of which delivered images that were so noise-affected we were unable to make any Imatest measurements on them.

Our Imatest tests showed saturation levels in JPEG files were nicely balanced, although there were a few shifts in colour balance affecting the yellow and blue hues. Converted raw files had slightly lower saturation but better overall colour accuracy.

Imatest showed the resolution of JPEG files to be up to expectations (just) in the centre of the frame, although below expectations at the edges. (This fall-off is due to the lens.) With NEF.RAW files converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw (our preferred file converter), the highest centre resolution was well above expectations and edge resolution only slightly below.

Resolution remained high between the Lo1 ISO setting and ISO 6400, after which it began a gradual decline. The graph below plots the results of our Imatest tests on JPEG and NEF.RAW files for ISO settings up to Hi3.

Long exposures in low light levels contained impressive amounts of detail. Images remained acceptably sharp and little noise was evident up to ISO 51200, after which softening and noise became progressively more noticeable. By the ISO Hi2 setting colour saturation was noticeably reduced and granularity was obvious. At the Hi5 setting the image was seriously fractured.

Having no flash, we could only test the review camera with tungsten and fluorescent light and found its white balance performance was similar to other Nikon cameras we’ve tested. The auto setting delivered almost neutral colour rendition under fluorescent lighting and but failed to remove the warm cast imparted by incandescent lights.

The manual pre-sets came close to correcting tungsten lighting and manual measurement produced neutral colour rendition with both lighting types. Plenty of pre-sets are available for dealing with tricky types of lighting and, in our test shots, the camera handled mixed lighting very well. There are also lots of in-camera adjustments available for tweaking colours on-the-fly.

Video clips had a slightly wider dynamic range than still shots at similar ISO settings, although there was still a tendency to blow out highlights and block up shadows in contrasty scenes with the default settings (swap to the Flat Picture Control when shooting movies). As expected, plenty of detail was captured in movie clips recorded with 4K resolution, although the auto white balance setting couldn't remove the slight blue cast from subjects in deep shade.

If the focus was set before recording commenced, the camera seemed able to maintain it, although it had difficulties deciding upon which of a number of moving subjects to track when people passed in front of the camera. When focus wasn't pre-set, it took a second or so for the camera to lock onto a subject.

We found cropping the image, either by selecting the DX image area or the 1920 x 1080 crop mode, tended to slow autofocusing. Fortunately, it had little or no effect on resolution.

The built in microphones delivered decent soundtracks and the AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G lens produced no apparent interference to audio recordings. Without an external microphone or recording device, we were unable to test all the audio recording capabilities of the camera.

Our timing tests were carried out with a Lexar Professional 32GB XQD 2.0 memory card, which claims a transfer speed of 210 MB/second and is fast enough for recording 4K movies and fast bursts of high-resolution stills. The review camera powered-up almost instantaneously. When the viewfinder was used, capture lag times averaged 0.1 seconds without pre-focusing, reducing to an average of less than 0.05 seconds when shots were pre-focused.

Shot-to-shot times in the single-shot mode averaged 0.45 seconds. It took 1.3 seconds to process each JPEG or NEF.RAW file or a RAW+JPEG pair and 1.6 seconds for each TIFF file. In Live View mode, capture lag times were the same as with the viewfinder but shot-to-shot times extended to 0.6 seconds on average.

In the high-speed continuous shooting mode, the camera recorded 20 Large/Fine JPEG frames with maximum quality in 1.6 seconds. It took 4.5 seconds to process this burst. The low-speed mode enabled the camera to record 20 frames in 3.5 seconds. Processing was completed within less than 0.2 seconds of the last frame captured.

Swapping to RAW+JPEG capture, we recorded 40 frames in 3.4 seconds. It took 25 seconds to process this burst. With the TIFF format, capture rates were the same as for JPEG and raw files but the processing time extended to beyond 30 seconds.

In the mirror-up mode, the camera was able to record 25 Large/Fine JPEGs in 1.8 seconds, which is equivalent to 14 frames/second. The same frame rate applied to NEF.RAW frames, RAW+JPEG pairs and TIFF files. Buffer capacities for these formats range between 60 and 67 frames.

When the image size was reduced to DX format, the high-speed continuous shooting mode recorded 15 frames to be recorded in 1.2 seconds, which is just over 12 frames/second. Processing times were only marginally reduced.

Conclusion Whenever a new camera is released, photographers who own the previous model must decide whether the new model is worth the cost of upgrading. And that's a choice each individual must make, based upon their own requirements, which can vary widely.

The small difference in resolution between the D4s and D5 probably won't compensate for the AU$2000 to AU$3000 difference in their price tags (depending on where you shop). Nor will the differences in their ISO ranges, since the highest settings available on the D5 are effectively unusable.

The improvements to continuous shooting frame rates and buffer capacities could be valuable for professional sports shooters, as could the fast file processing speeds. Also of value to these photographers are the improvements to the autofocusing system.

As far as recording movies is concerned, we can't recommend any DSLR camera as a primary capture device, even if it supports 4K recording. By design DSLR cameras are inherently difficult to use for recording movie clips since you’re forced to shoot in Live View mode, which can be problematic in bright outdoor lighting. (It's no wonder so many photographers who shoot a lot of video are swapping to mirrorless cameras.)

But if recording movies is an occasional task and you work in controlled lighting and don't require easy integration into a professional movie workflow, having 4K capability could be handy, even though it's the consumer version of the format. Wedding photographers could find it useful to extract 8-megapixel JPEG frames from recordings for printing since this resolution is high enough for albums and modest framed enlargements. But restricting the maximum recording length for 4K movie clips to only three minutes will severely limit the use of this capability.

It's early days for the D5 and, although a few local re-sellers had it listed on their website for pre-ordering when we posted this review, there wasn't much discounting. Unfortunately, Nikon Australia doesn't make local RRPs available (unlike Nikon USA, which has an online shop with all prices listed) and, when we compared the local prices with overseas re-sellers, the cheapest listed local price was similar to the price listed by the three main US online re-sellers (which market aggressively to Australian buyers).

Of course, you’ll need to include the costs of shipping and insurance, which will add between AU$140 and $250 and then tax of about AU$973. So it will probably end up cheaper to purchase the camera locally (which we recommend).

Image sensor: 35.9 x 23.9 mm CMOS sensor with 21.33 million photosites (20.8 megapixels effective) Image processor: EXPEED 5 A/D processing: 12 or 14 bit Lens mount: Nikon F mount, (with AF coupling and AF contacts) Focal length crop factor: 1x Image formats: Stills: JPEG (DCF Ver. 2.0, Exif Ver.2.3), NEF (RAW): 12 or 14 bit (lossless compressed, compressed, or uncompressed), NEF (RAW)+JPEG; Movies: MOV with H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding; Linear PCM audio Image Sizes: Stills "" FX (36×24) area, 5568 x 3712, 4176 x 2784, 2784 x 1856; 1.2x (30×20) area, 4640 x 3088, 3472 x 2312, 2320 x 1544; DX (24×16) area, 3648 x 2432, 2736 x 1824, 1824 x 1216; 5:4 (30×24) area, 4640 x 3712, 3472 x 2784, 2320 x 1856; Movies: [Full HD] 1920 x 1080: 50p/28 or 24 Mbps, 50i/24 or 17Mbps, 25p/24 or 17Mbps; [HD] 1280 x 720 30/25p at 6Mbps Image Stabilisation: Lens based Dust removal: Image sensor cleaning, Image Dust Off reference data (Capture NX-D software required) Shutter: Electronically-controlled vertical-travel focal-plane mechanical shutter; electronic front-curtain shutter available in mirror up release mode Shutter speed range: 1/8000 to 30 seconds in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV, Bulb, Time, X-synch at 1/250 sec. Exposure Compensation: +/- 5EV in 1/3EV, 1/2EV or 1EV steps Exposure bracketing: Selectable increments from 1/3EV to 1.3EV in 1/3EV steps across 9 shots (5 shots for range of 2.0EV or more) Other bracketing options: Flash, White balance, Active D-Lighting Self-timer: 2, 5, 10 or 20 seconds delay selectable Focus system: Multi-CAM 20K autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, fine-tuning, and 153 focus points (including 99 cross-type sensors and 15 sensors that support f/8), of which 55 (35 cross-type sensors and 9 f/8 sensors) are available for selection Focus modes: Single-servo AF (AF-S), Continuous-servo AF (AF-C), predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status, Manual focus (M): Electronic rangefinder can be used; Single-point AF, 25-, 72-, or 153- point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, group-area AF, auto-area AF Exposure metering: TTL exposure metering using RGB sensor with approximately 180,000 pixels; 3D colour matrix metering III (type G, E, and D lenses); colour matrix metering III, Centre-weighted, Spot and Highlight-weighted metering patterns Shooting modes: Programmed auto with flexible program (P); shutter-priority auto (S); aperture-priority auto (A); manual (M) Active D-Lighting: Can be selected from Auto, Extra high +2/+1, High, Normal, Low, or Off Picture Control system: Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, Flat, selected Picture Control can be modified; storage for custom Picture Controls Colour space options: sRGB and Adobe RGB ISO range: Auto, ISO 100 to 102400 in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV White balance: Auto (3 types), incandescent, fluorescent (7 types), direct sunlight, flash, cloudy, shade, preset manual (up to 6 values can be stored, spot white balance measurement available during live view), choose colour temperature (2500 K to 10,000 K), all with fine-tuning. Flash: External flash only Flash modes: Front-curtain sync, slow sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, red-eye reduction with slow sync, slow rear-curtain sync, off, Auto FP High-Speed Sync supported Flash exposure adjustment: -3 to +1 EV in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV Sequence shooting: Max. 10″"12 fps or 14 fps with mirror up Buffer capacity: Max. 200 Large/Fine JPEGs, 61 14-bit uncompressed RAW files or 60 RAW+JPEG pairs Storage Media: Dual slots for XQD or CompactFlash (CF) (Type I, UDMA compliant) Viewfinder: Eye-level pentaprism with 100% frame coverage, approx. 0.72 x magnification, 17 mm eyepoint, -3 to +1 dpt adjustment, Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark IX focusing screen with AF area brackets (framing grid can be displayed) LCD monitor: 3.2 inch TFT touch-sensitive LCD with 170 ° viewing angle, approximately 100% frame coverage, and manual monitor brightness control; approx. 2,359,000-dot resolution (XGA) Playback functions: Full-frame and thumbnail (4, 9, or 72 images) playback with playback zoom, movie playback, photo and/or movie slide shows, histogram display, highlights, photo information, location data display, auto image rotation, picture rating, voice memo input and playback, and IPTC information embedding and display Interface terminals: USB 3.0 Micro-B, Type C HDMI connectors, 3.5mm stereo mini-pin jacks for audio input and output, Ten-pin remote terminal, Ethernet connector (IEEE 802.3ab) Wi-Fi function: IEEE 802.11b/g/n, 2412 MHz – 2462 MHz (1-11 ch), Wi-Fi / WPA / WPA2, Infrastructure mode Power supply: EN-EL18a Rechargeable Li-ion Battery Pack; CIPA rated for approx. shots/charge Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 160 x 158.5 x 92 mm Weight: Approx. 1235 grams (body only); 1405-1415 grams with battery and card


Based upon JPEG files.

Based upon NEF.RAW files (14-bit, uncompressed) converted into 16-bit TIFF format with Adobe Camera Raw.

All images captured with the AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G lens.

Auto white balance with incandescent lighting.

Auto white balance with fluorescent lighting.

30 second exposure at ISO Lo1,f/1.4

30 second exposure at ISO 100, f/2.

8 second exposure at ISO 6400; f/8.

3 second exposure at ISO 51200; f/14.

2 second exposure at ISO 102400; f/16.

1/2 second exposure at ISO Hi1; f/14.

1/5 second exposure at ISO Hi2; f/14.

1/3 second exposure at ISO Hi3; f/14.

1/10 second exposure at ISO Hi4; f/14.

1/20 second exposure at ISO Hi5; f/14.

FX image area;1/320 second at f/10, ISO 100.

1.2x image area; 1/320 second at f/9, ISO 100.

DX image area; 1/320 second at f/9, ISO 100.

5×4 image area; 1/400 second at f/10, ISO 100.

Matrix metering, FX image area; 1/125 second at f/5.6, ISO Lo 1.

Matrix metering, DX image area; 1/200 second at f/7.1, ISO Lo 1.

Active D-Lighting, auto mode; 1/320 second at f/5.6, ISO 100.

Active D-Lighting, Extra-high 2 mode; 1/250 second at f/5, ISO 100.

Active D-Lighting off; 1/160 second at f/4, ISO 100.

ISO 12800, 1/250 second at f/8.

ISO 51200, 1/500 second at f/11.

ISO Hi 1, 1/1000 second at f/16.

ISO Hi 2, 1/2000 second at f/16.

ISO Hi 3, 1/4000 second at f/16.

ISO Hi 4, 1/8000 second at f/16.

ISO Hi 5, 1/8000 second at f/16.

1/15 second at f/4, ISO 800.

1/100 second at f/5, ISO 6400.

1/200 second at f/14, ISO 6400.

1/160 second at f/13, ISO 12800.

1/60 second at f/11, ISO 560.

1/1000 second at f/4, ISO 100.

1/125 second at f/8, ISO 100. The following video clips were all shot from the same position.

Still frame from 3840 x 2160 (4K UHD) video clip recorded at 25p.

Still frame from 1920 x 1080 video clip recorded at 50p.

Still frame from 1920 x 1080 video clip recorded at 25p.

Still frame from 1280 x 720 video clip recorded at 50p.

Still frame from 1920 x 1080 crop video clip recorded at 50p.

Still frame from 1920 x 1080 crop video clip recorded at 25p.

Additional image samples can be found with our review of the AF-S Nikkor 58mm f/1.4G lens.

RRP: n/a; ARP: AU$9000; US$6500 (body only)