Photography News Issue 32

Photography News | Issue 32 | absolutephoto.com

Camera test 40

Nikon D5

Specs

Price £5199 body only Sensor 20.8 megapixels effective 21.33 megapixels total Sensor format Nikon FX 35.8x23.9mmCMOS ISO range 100-102,400, expansion to ISO 50-3,280,000 Shutter range 30secs-1/8000sec, flash sync at 1/250sec, B Drivemodes Single, continuous low, continuous high (12fps or 14fps with mirror- up), quiet (up to 3fps), mirror-up and self-timer. Metering system RGB sensor with 180K pixels. Matrix, centre-weighted or spot measurement. Highlight-weighted metering Exposuremodes PASM Exposure compensation +/-5EV in 0.3, 0.5 or 1EV steps Monitor 3.2in, 2359K dot, touch-sensitive LCD in video shooting Focusing 153 focus points with 99 cross-type of which 55 or 15 are selectable. AF area – single-point, 25, 72 or 153-point dynamic AF, 3D tracking, auto area AF and group area AF Video 3840x2160 (4K UHD) 30p, 25p, 24p limited to 3mins in-camera, 1920x1080, 1280x720 Connectivity USB 3.0, HDMI type C, audio in and out, Ethernet Storagemedia 2x XQD or 2 CF Dimensions (wxhxd) 160x158.5x92mm Weight XQD model 1405g, CF model 1415g Contact nikon.co.uk

It’s no coincidence that we see new professional DSLRs from Canon and Nikon in an Olympic Games year and here we cast a critical eye over Nikon’s latest flagship

ReviewbyWill Cheung

Nikon says the D5 is its most powerful camera ever. That’s a bold statement but looking at its long list of highlights, it is fully justified. There’s a new FX sensor with a 20.8-megapixel resolution, the ability to shoot 4k video and an upgraded EXPEED 5 processor. Native ISO is a staggering 102,400 and it can shoot at 12fps – if you need more there’s 14fps although you lose the viewing and the exposure/focus is locked on the first frame. If that isn’t impressive enough the D5 has a newAF systemwith 153 points, 99 of these being cross-type. It’s working sensitivity is down to -4EV, and the metering sensor has 180,000 pixels. The 3.2in monitor has a 2.36 million dot resolution and it is the first pro-level DSLR to have touchscreen functionality. Add improved battery life, a buffer big enough to allow 200 Raw and JPEG files in a continuous burst and the D5 is a significant upgrade. The D5 will be available in two versions, one accepting two CompactFlash cards, the other two

XQD cards. If fast shooting and video recording are your areas of interest, invest in the XQD version. XQD, the CompactFlashAssociation replacement for CF cards, has a write speed of up to 500MB/s – the Sony card we used for this test has a claimed 350MB/s write speed. Despite internal improvements, the D5’s physical control layout will be familiar to anyone who has used Nikon’s deep-bodied pro DSLRs, but there are notable changes. The body is still weather-sealed, and has controls duplicated for upright shooting but the has gained an extra Fn button (Fn3) and an ISO button replaces the mode button on the D4s next to exposure compensation. It makes sense as changing mode is less common than altering ISO. Now it’s simple to adjust ISO with the camera up to the eye. I am always twiddling with ISO so the new layout does make a difference. Speaking of ISO, while the D5’s native range tops out at a mere 102,400, it can be expanded to H5.0. This is an incredible effective ISO

Even at the top end of the native ISO range you’re able to shoot handheld with action-stopping shutter speeds...

of 3,276,800. But even at the top end of the native ISO range you’re able to shoot handheld with action- stopping shutter speeds in truly appalling light. While on the subject of speed, shooting an online stopwatch showed Nikon’s claims of 12fps and 14fps shooting with mirror-up are fully justified. Being able to catch such fleeting action with focusing and exposure changes at 12fps is remarkable. The new AF system keeps up with fast action and there are plenty of set-up options. Nikon has not gone for the case study approach that Canon has adopted so successfully, wherein the user can select the AF parameters to suit different types of action. The nearest it comes to this is in menu item a3 in the Autofocus menu where you can alter the AF response time when your subject is blockedby something in the foreground, and vary how the system copes with subject motion from erratic to steady. Obviously it depends how you want to work. If you prefer using single AF point selection and single- shot AF there’s either 15 or 55 cross- points working and the rear joystick makes this procedure speedy and assured. You can have a movable group of four AF points or let the camera do the work in Auto. For action and continuous servo AF there are more options including

3D AF tracking. You can have a single zone working or groups with 4, 25, 72 or 153 sensor options. With a group of AF points you can move them around the 153 total sensors and how many are active depends on where the group is within the 153 sensor pattern. The whole working AF grid pattern is a central rectangle of the viewfinder so for focusing at the edge of the frame you’ll have to use AF lock and reframe. In live view, contrast-detect AF works anywhere on the screen and the AF point can be moved around by touching the monitor. Focusing with live view is swift but not as responsive as the phase-detect system. In normal shooting mode, AF speed, responsiveness and sensitivity rate very highly. Given the new exposure sensor, I expected great things. I shot in Matrix metering mode only and found the camera underexposing by 0.7EV. Checking the histogram proved this was not the monitor showing a darker image. Shooting exposure brackets confirmed the same. It wasn’t all the time, but enough to be noticeable. Battery has good capacity. I can’t recall the last time I did a camera review on one battery charge. I got 1629 frames and 26% of the battery was left. With image previewing, menu exploration and shooting video that seems a very good return.

There’s the body choice of a dual XQD slot model or one with twin CompactFlash cards – there is no price difference. For maximum burst shooting capability you need XQD cards but with limited demand they are more expensive than CompactFlash.

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