Nikon D5 Review: Great Imaging Monsters
Nikon D5 detailed review
The Nikon D5 is nothing less than an imaging monster, and it certainly looks part of it from the start. The full-frame, double-grip magnesium alloy chassis offers beastly control with perfect weatherproofing in imaging terms. Introduced almost two years after the increasingly upgraded Nikon D4s, the Nikon D5 combines the new, 20.8-megapixel full frame sensor with the new 153-point AF system. The AF mechanism is smooth and precise, and although it takes some time to get used to, the results are pleasing when you stick to it. The Nikon D5 also raises the bar for high ISO performance and really shows the overall power of the camera when you push it to the extreme.
At this point, you’ll probably be interested in using Extreme Excellence. The thing is, Nikon’s recent flagship has done exactly what we’d like to do with a camera in the consumer segment – setting new, higher standards. For example, low light shooting and high dynamic range take ISO performance to a unique height, and the new image processor used adds a higher buffer size to allow 12fps continuous shooting on RAW, with less processing time.
With all of this in mind, here’s what you need to know about Nikon’s very, very good.
Build, buttons and ergonomics
While the Nikon D5 may scare you a bit at first, you can quickly see that Nikon’s new optimizations actually make it quite non-stop and convenient to use, despite the sheer weight of the chassis. The layout of the buttons has been redesigned to make it more ergonomic and versatile. There’s a high level of customization – three custom keys by front grip that you can assign functions to, and a change in overall layout means long-term Nikon users might think a bit about the new format, but once you’re used to it, the Nikon D5 is actually incredibly convenient.
The multi-way joystick at the bottom-right of the viewfinder adds the convenience and convenience of choosing your focus point or area. One aspect that Canon’s flagship has overlooked is the implementation of the touchscreen live viewfinder. While the Canon menu allows full control with touch input, the Nikon D5 only allows partial control. This is not a big problem in itself, but one that plays a big role in making this camera relatively less ergonomic. However, the high resolution of the 3.2-inch, 2.36MP viewfinder makes the viewfinder even richer and more precise.
Like the multi-grip camera, you’ll also find a dedicated shutter release button in the portrait orientation. In terms of ports, the Nikon D5 is again the best connected, including a SATA port, dedicated headphones / mic channel, LAN and mini-HDMI. The data display is divided into a live viewfinder and a monochromatic LED strip below it, which takes care of quality, shooting mode and white balance. In a nutshell, many of the options you are obsessed with are well-distributed within the control of the excess of features on the board. The body also feels like a powerful tank, which gives you a sense of confidence to get D5 out on rough terrain and weather. The flagship DSLR is the flagship for Nikon in 2016, and that’s enough to show off.
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Imaging performance: autofocus, color, ISO
The new AF system, a glimpse of which you can see in the Nikon D500, is similarly class-leading in terms of speed and accuracy. The new system now lets you select a single point of focus on a randomly moving object, and the camera does the remaining bit for you, tracking things with incredible accuracy and response. It is also much better at tracking low light objects, and allows you to shoot at wide apertures for shallow depths of field, as you will not need extra depth to focus when re-composing.
This is useful not only for those who shoot at very fast shutter speeds, but also for a variety of photographic scenes. The wide, 153-point AF system can be easily customized to find the best selection system and covers about 90% of frames with user-accessible cross-type points. Multi-cam 20K with 153 AF points can be selected in 20K autofocus mode, with 99 cross-types and 55 users. This allows for maximum continuous shooting with a fast lens even in dark light conditions in telephoto.
These are the components that make the Nikon D5K truly superior to many other cameras in its range. The autofocus mechanism uses the largest number of focus points incorporated into a DSLR, and in addition to its new-generation image processor, the speed is staggering. The Nikon D5 adds three more components for speed – high buffer that allows 12fps continuous exposure to RAW, new color array optimization with a modified, 180,000-dot RGB + IR metering sensor, and an almost ridiculous ISO floor of 3. Millions
The hilarious image is actually usable, and the D5 shows its class in high ISO shooting even above ISO 25600. It also offers ISO’s class-leading dynamic range, leading to more accurate colors, deeply detailed shades and ample frame lighting. In different situations. ISO performance can be easily observed in low light conditions such as dim sunsets, night shooting in illuminated foreground, or at night without natural light. In this case, if slow shutter speed is not a viable option, you may choose to shoot at a higher ISO. You can also choose to deploy ISO Invariance, and when you translate your RAW files to JPEG, the Nikon D5 demonstrates its efficiency in low light color accuracy.
More precisely, Canon’s dual pixel sensor is better with the Inverness, but Nikon’s imitation dynamic range is great for color accuracy. Shooting at higher ISO renders the sound, but you can still opt for sound compression in RAW processing, as the Nikon D5 produces brilliantly sharp images. Photographs are not as hard-edged as Canon counterparts, but retain good, vibrant borders that can be rendered to optimize sound, yet avoid softness in subjects. There is a noticeable disadvantage to JPEG compression, but not one that interferes with photographs.
Connection and battery life
The Nikon D5 has multiple wireless connectivity options, including Wi-Fi and Snapbridge transmissions. Snapbridge instinctively limits the size of a photo file to 2MB, and this is the way to go for Wi-Fi or wired SATA transmissions, just for casual photo posts, and for any serious uploads of full size JPEGs or RAWs. Looking at how this is a professional photographer’s camera, we suspect that Snapbridge will be used frequently, especially since Snapbridge doesn’t really add revolutionary momentum to the transmission.
Battery life, though, is stellar. The Nikon D5 takes about two hours to fully charge, but once charged, the huge, EN-EL18a battery pack will give you more than 3,500 shots and shoot 40 minutes of 4K video at 30fps, which is Nikon’s highest. With the average shooting rate allowed, you can actually make the D5 last for almost a whole week of continuous shooting, which is really exceptional.
The last row
This is the ace, and we can’t help but be amazed at the Nikon D5’s solid imaging performance in terms of sharpness, detail and full color. High dynamic range and shooting speed are aided by superior AF and ISO performance, and extremely good battery life makes the Nikon D5 the best full-frame camera on the market today. It’s really expensive, but given what’s on offer, it’s actually a professional photographer’s de facto choice.