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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
The intelligent Scene Recognition System with 3D Color Matrix Metering III utilizes a 180,000-pixel RGB sensor to evaluate and analyze all aspects within a scene, including brightness, contrast, subject distance, and the scene colors, to quickly determine an accurate exposure and white balance setting to best render the scene at hand. The information gathered is also checked against onboard reference images to ensure consistency from image to image in regard to exposure, white balance, i-TTL flash settings, and subject-tracking AF performance.