Qualifying itself as the flagship model in Nikon’s DSLR lineup, the D5 is positioned as a truly fast, highly precise machine for professional photographers. Revolving around a full-frame, FX-format 20.8MP CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5 image processor, this workhorse touts an impressive 12 fps continuous shooting rate with full-time AF and AE, an expandable sensitivity range that goes up to ISO 3280000, and 4K UHD video recording at 30 fps. Matching the imaging versatility, the Nikon D5 is also characterized by its redeveloped Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system, which incorporates 99 cross-type sensors for refined precision when tracking moving subjects or working in difficult lighting conditions. This model features dual XQD memory card slots, to provide versatility in file handling during shooting, and a range of selectable raw file sizes can also be used depending on output needs. Designed to keep up with the fastest subjects and handle the most difficult working conditions, the Nikon D5 is an advanced DSLR well-suited to the most extreme multimedia workflows.
Echoing the robust set of imaging capabilities, the D5 is of course equally refined in its handling and physical design attributes. A rear 3.2″ 2.36m-dot touchscreen LCD monitor afford clean, clear playback and live view shooting, along with an intuitive means for navigating the menu system. The camera chassis is constructed from magnesium alloy and is both dust- and weather-sealed to enable working in the harshest of environments. Additionally, lending an air of familiarity to the design, a slew of configurable Function buttons are available across the body, and an integrated vertical grip supports working in both horizontal and vertical shooting orientations.
20.8MP FX-Format CMOS Sensor and EXPEED 5 Image Processor
The FX-format 20.8MP CMOS sensor teams with the EXPEED 5 image processor to offer an esteemed mixture of high sensitivity, nuanced image quality, and fast overall performance. At native values, a sensitivity range from ISO 100-102400 permits working in a broad array of lighting conditions, an can be further expanded to ISO 50-3280000 (Lo 1 to Hi 5) to handle the most challenging of situations. The mixture of resolution and sensor size also contributes to clean image quality and smooth color transitions with reduced noise throughout the sensitivity range.
In addition to benefitting image quality, the EXPEED 5 processor also affords a wealth of speed throughout the camera system, including a top continuous shooting rate or 14 fps with the mirror up, or 12 fps with full-time autofocus and auto-exposure control. When shooting at 12 fps, up to 200 frames can be recorded in a single burst, even when shooting 14-bit lossless compressed NEF files. Benefitting this speed, redeveloped sequencer and mirror driving mechanisms also ensure consistent, accurate exposure results as well as a more stable viewfinder image.
153-Point Multi-CAM 20K Autofocus System
Matching the speed and imaging capabilities is the apt Multi-CAM 20K AF system, which features 153 total phase-detection points, including 99 cross-type sensors for improved subject recognition, and 55 of the points are selectable for greater compositional freedom. Benefitting the use of super telephoto lenses and teleconverters, 15 of the points, including 9 selectable points, are compatible with an effective aperture of f/8 and all 153 points support working with effective apertures of f/5.6 or brighter.
Complementing the abundance of focusing points is a dedicated AF engine, which offers quick response times to benefit tracking fast and randomly moving subjects, even at the top 12 fps shooting rate. The AF engine also contributes to enhanced focusing sensitivity, with all points capable of focusing -3 EV and the center point capable of reading at -4 EV for working in very dark, low-contrast situations.
Furthering the versatility of the focusing system, seven different AF-area modes can be selected to support varying types of subjects matter:
- Single-Point AF: The camera uses a single point to find focus.
- Dynamic-Area AF: Available with 25, 72, or 153-point selections, this mode uses a primary single focus point to lock onto focus, and then makes use of the surrounding points for maintaining focus while tracking erratically-moving subjects.
- Group-Area AF: This mode treats smaller groups of AF points as a single point for a wider field of recognition, and is well-suited to tracking faces or other detailed subjects.
- 3D-Tracking: Using a subject’s color information, this mode utilizes all 153 points to maintain focus on a moving subject while half-pressing the shutter button.
- Auto-Area AF: This mode makes use of all 153 points to quickly identify the main subject, and then prioritizes recognized faces as portrait subjects in any AF servo mode.
In addition to the range of AF-area modes, an AF lock-on function can also be used to improve subject tracking performance, and can be adjusted by two parameters–quick or delayed blocked shot AF response and erratic or steady subject movement. By configuring these settings, the AF performance can be optimized to handle a wide variety of subject movement types.
Lastly, a unique auto AF fine-tune function can be employed to ensure the best possible focus for each mounted lens. Rather than relying on photographing distance charts, this function lets you achieve precise focus manually in live view, and then have the AF system calibrate itself to the fine-tuned focus position in order to alleviate front- and back-focusing issues.
4K UHD Video Recording
Taking notice of multimedia image-maker’s needs, the D5 is more than just a still camera. Capable of recording 4K UHD video (3840 x 2160) at 30, 25, and 24 fps frame rates, Full HD and HD recording is also supported, along with the ability to save movie files to the in-camera memory cards or as an uncompressed file to an optional external recorder via HDMI out. For maintained quality and versatility in how your movies look, four image area options are available:
- FX-based movie image format makes use of the entire width of the sensor and is used to record Full HD 1920 x 1080 and HD 1280 x 720 video. This setting is well-suited for shallow depth of field effects and provides the widest field of view.
- 4K UHD movie image format is an area roughly corresponding to a DX crop of the full-frame sensor, and provides a 1.5x increase in the effective focal length of the lens in use. This area is reserved for 4K 3840 x 2160 recording.
- DX-based movie image format is a similar 1.5x crop of the full-frame sensor, however is used for recording Full HD and HD video.
- 1920 x 1080 crop movie image format is the smallest recording area, offering roughly a 3x increase in the effective focal length of the lens for gaining narrower fields of view.
As with still shooting, the wide range of sensitivities is available for recording in low- and bright-light conditions, ranging from expanded ISO 100-3280000, and sensitivity values are manually adjustable via the dedicated movie-shooting menu. Also, a video-optimized Flat Picture Control mode can be used during recording to flatten the overall contrast curve for more control during post-production and color grading.
In regard to handling, a dedicated power aperture button (Pv) makes it possible to achieve smooth, continuous exposure transitions when switching from light to dark areas, and Auto ISO can also be used to maintain consistent brightness when working in changing light situations. Audio recording can be handled using the built-in stereo microphone or an optional external mic can be added via the 3.5mm stereo jack for greater control over quality. Regardless if using the in-camera mic or an external mic, audio levels can be adjusted in 20 increments and live monitoring is possible via the headphone jack, which afford 30 different volume levels for playback.
In addition to straight movie recording, time-lapse recording, for up to 9999 consecutive frames shot over the course of up to one week, is also possible with up to 4K UHD/30p output from the camera.
- A large 3.2″ rear LCD monitor features a high 2.36m-dot resolution for clear, vivid playback and live view shooting. The monitor is also a touchscreen for more intuitive menu navigation and settings control, and it can respond to haptic feedback even while wearing gloves. The touchscreen is also usable while shooting, giving you the ability to choose a focus point or an area to set the white balance from. The screen can also be used as a keyboard for quickly entering notes, copyright info, or IPTC information.
- This model of the D5 is configured with two XQD card slots, allowing you to extend file saving capabilities by permitting overflow recording, in-camera file duplicating, or the ability to segregate raw and JPEG files between the two cards.
- The familiar body design incorporates a vertical grip that is designed to be equally as comfortable and efficient when shooting in the vertical or horizontal orientation.
- A robust magnesium alloy chassis is both dust- and weather-resistant to benefit working in harsh climates and inclement conditions.
- The ergonomic grip and overall form factor are shaped to benefit handling for extended periods of time and are further accentuated by anti-slip, textured joysticks and easy-to-open card slot covers. Additionally, most of the rear buttons on the rear of the camera are illuminated for greater visibility when working in dim lighting conditions.
- The bright 0.72x optical pentaprism viewfinder covers 100% of the FX frame for framing accuracy. A detachable DK-27 Eyepiece Adapter also lets you attach a rain cover directly to the viewfinder for more comfortable shooting in wet conditions.
- Fn1, 2, and 3 Function buttons are placed about the camera body and can be used for adjusting or accessing a range of functions; functions can be assigned to the buttons at will, and customized depending on shooting needs.
- An electronic front-curtain shutter helps to minimize mechanical vibrations in order to better ensure sharpness during long exposures.
- The high-precision shutter mechanism has been tested for a long lifespan of 400,000 actuations.
- The included EN-EL18a rechargeable lithium-ion battery is CIPA-rated to last for approximately 3780 shots per charge in single-frame release modes.
Scene Recognition System and Exposure Metering
Other Camera Features
- Three different sizes of raw files can be used depending on your output needs; raw size medium and small are 12-bit lossless compressed NEF files while the large file size is a 14-bit lossless uncompressed or compressed NEF file.
- Spot White Balance control for live view shooting makes setting the white balance as easy as pointing to the area in the frame that should be white. Additionally, 1-6 preset white balance settings can be stored for easier switching between different light sources.
- When reviewing continuous shooting sequences, you can configure to have the playback begin with the first or last image from the burst.
- The D5 is compatible with the radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting system, which permits working with the optional WR-R10 Controller and WR-A10 Receiver, along with the SB-5000, for intuitive, controllable wireless flash shooting.
- The built-in wired LAN function of 1000 Base-T (Gigabit) standard enables high-speed, seamless transferring of still imagery and movie files for expediting an entire post-production workflow.
- For wireless file transferring, the D5 is compatible with the optional WT-6A Wireless Transmitter.
- Picture Control modes allow you to set predefined looks to imagery in-camera and include Landscape, Monochrome, Neutral, Portrait, Standard, Vivid, Flat, and user-customizable settings.
- Language support: Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal and Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Spanish, Swedish, Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese.