Photography News | Issue 32 | absolutephoto.com
Camera test 44
Performance: exposure latitude
One of the key reasons why photographers shoot Raw files is the ability to push and pull exposure to get better shadow and highlight detail. That control is important but there is obviously a limit to how much remedial work you can do before your image quality starts to take a nosedive. To get an idea of how much abuse D5 Raws can take, I shot nine-frame brackets in various scenes including full sun and shadow-dominated subjects. In manual mode and with reference to the histogram, the determined exposure for the sunny scene shown here was 1/30sec at f/16 and ISO 100. From there, shots were taken at +/-4EV in 1EV steps. During Raw processing in Lightroom, each of the bracketed shots was adjusted to give the same exposure as the correctly exposed shot. Underexposure, with fewer levels to work with, is always a challenge and here underexposing by 2EV means noise in the shadows starts to appear and is discernible at 100%, but it’s not too obvious. By -3EV noise is much more evident. With overexposure, +2EV was recoverable and the images looked exactly like those correctly exposed. At +3EV and highlights start to look flat and any detail in those highlights are beyond recovery. I did exactly the same set of exposures with a Nikon D810. Raw files from this camera have similar tolerance to overexposure, about 2EV, but were more forgiving to underexposure. A D810 Raw underexposed by -4EV gave better results than a D5 Raw underexposed by -3EV.
Images To see howmuch adjustment D5 Raw files can take, a sequence of exposures were taken to give a +/-4EV bracket in 1EV steps. Then in Lightroom, the files were corrected by the same amount as they were over or underexposed and the results assessed.
Features Difficult to think what more an action/sports pro would need – wider AF coverage perhaps Performance Very good in every department and loses a point for occasional exposure inconsistency Handling Fast, intuitive, comfortable Value formoney You get a lot of camera for your money Overall Nikon has really pulled out all the stops on the D5 and it’s an instant classic Pros High ISO performance, image quality, shooting rate, fast autofocus, handling, good viewfinder Cons Expensive and bulky but what do you expect from a pro flagship Nikon? 25/25 24/25 24/25 23/25 96/100 The D5 body comes in at £5199. It’s also big and designed for shooting speed rather than ultimate image quality, so it’s not the camera for everyone. But if you do need a speed machine not just in pure continuous shooting terms but also in respect of high ISOs, the D5 is the one for you. It’s hugely capable, built to withstand the most arduous conditions and turns in more than respectable image quality even at its stratospheric ISO settings.
I managed 1629 shots in my test and in a wide variety of lighting situations. Above Poplar DLR station footbridge shot at the 24mm end of a 24-120mm zoomwith 1/160sec at f/11 and ISO 200. Top right If the D5’s meter had any tendency it was to slightly underexpose in autoexposure. Here the scene was shot on a 24-120mm zoom at 105mmwith 1/250sec at f/11 and ISO 200. Rightmiddle Shot with a 24-120mm zoom at 48mm and an exposure of 1/90sec at f/4.8. Bottomright A grab shot using a 70-300mm zoom at 92mmwith an exposure of 1/800sec at f/8 and ISO 400.
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