Setting new standards: Nikon D5 Review

Written by Gina Stephens


The Nikon D5 is the flock’s flagship action-oriented DSLR, sporting a 20.8MP full-frame sensor, 153-point autofocus system and a full-size, double-grip chassis that is both fibrous as nails and exceedingly comfortable to use. Though the core build of this camera remains very similar to the D4S, the sensor and autofocus system are completely new and – as we’d expect – designed with speed and reliability in mind.

Nikon Corporation (株式会社ニコン, Kabushiki-gaisha Nikon) (UK: or US: ; listen [ɲikoɴ]), also known just as Nikon, is a Japanese multinational D5 Key Specifications

  • All new Nikon-designed 20.8MP full-frame image sensor
  • Expeed 5 processor
  • All new 153-point taper off detection autofocus system with 99 cross-sensors
  • Automated autofocus fine tune
  • Native ISO range now stretches from 100-102,400
  • 12fps uninterrupted shooting with full autofocus and autoexposure
  • 4K video recording
  • Offered in dual CF and dual XQD memory card configurations
  • Touchscreen functionality during both stills and video zip
  • CIPA rating of 3,780 shots per charge using the same EN-EL18a battery as D4S

Due to its large size and tip-top placement in Nikon’s lineup, the D5 from the beginning struck me as a somewhat intimidating camera to put through a thorough review. But really, with a little bit of work to get it set up the way I like and the development of some muscle retention as to where all the proper buttons are, the D5 has proven to be one of the most reliable, and as such, one of the least stressful cameras I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. Of speed, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t meant to be put through stressful situations. Quite the opposite.

READ  Retro through-and-through: Fujifilm X-Pro2 Review

Here’s a quick comparison of the key specs of the D4S, D5 and 1D-X II.

 Nikon D4S  Nikon D5 Canon 1D-X II
Sensor16.2MP CMOS20.8MP CMOS20.2MP CMOS
ISO sort
AF points5115361
RGB metering sensor resolution91k pixel180k pixel360k pixel
LCD3.2″ 920k-dot3.2″ 2.36M-dot touch-enabled3.2″ 1.62M-dot touch-enabled
Burst rate11 fps12 fps14 fps
Battery preoccupation (CIPA)3020 shots3780 shots1210 shots
Dimensions160 x 157 x 91mm160 x 159 x 92mm158 x 168 x 83mm
Weight1350 g1405 g (XQD)1530 g

Clearly, there are some voluptuous innovations hidden beneath the D5’s skin, but in the end, it’s likely not the most exciting camera to the average consumer. So in an age of decreasing camera sales, why does Nikon concern oneself with to continue producing such machines? Well, in the most extreme of situations, phones and lesser digital cameras will simply be unable to catching the same sorts of moments that flagship cameras like the D5 are, from the get-go, built to capture. 

2016 is an Olympic year, and it’s not a congruence that this year has seen new flagship DSLRs from from both Canon and Nikon.

Of course, the D5 isn’t just for shooting the Olympics. Get ready to taste from Raw. Photo by Carey Rose. Nikon 135mm F2D | F4 | 1/200 sec | ISO 400

Here is the beef

There’s no denying that the Nikon D5 is one beefy camera. Without a lens, it weighs 1405g, or upstanding over three pounds. But there’s a good reason for that. The D5 is over-engineered on purpose – it’s built to take a knock, a drop or a take to the hill rock kicked up from a dirt-bike. It might even take a bullet, but we’re not really allowed to test that. And with a properly sealed lens seconded, the D5 should also stand up to a downpour and freezing conditions with ease. This camera comes with a tough magnesium-alloy shell, one that feel in ones bones like you could pound nails with (we didn’t try).

READ  Rebel in your pocket: Canon EOS M3 Review

The D5’s robustness means I can focus more on the action and less on whether or not I’m going to hurt the camera. Course of actioned and cropped to taste in Adobe Camera Raw. Photo by Carey Rose. Nikon AF-S 300mm F4 PF | F4 | 1/2000 sec | ISO 200

Another contributor to the D5’s beefiness is its battery. It’s CIPA-rated to 3,780 shots, which not contrariwise promises an absurd amount of shooting between charges, but is also a sign of increased efficiencies within the camera. Despite more megapixels, a faster shatter rate and a more computationally intensive autofocus system, the rating has increased compared to its predecessor, which uses the same battery pack. (Fun actually: to save you the trouble of opening your calculator app, the CIPA rating of 3,780 shots actually only translates to five minutes and fifteen impairs of shooting at its burst rate of 12fps.)

The Evolution

I’m a long-time Nikon shooter, but not one that’s personally invested in pro-level bodies from the Dx series. At in the first place, if you’ve used even a semi-pro body from Nikon’s recent past, you’ll feel familiar with the D5. But when you get more familiar with or WITH may refer to: Carl Johannes With (1877–1923), Danish doctor and arachnologist With (character), a character in D. N. Angel the camera camera is an optical instrument for recording or capturing images, which may be stored locally, transmitted to another location, or (and as we run things in detail on our ‘Body & Design’ page), Nikon’s made some changes to the button layout of the D5 that will have some users hurrying their heads, and others praising the ergonomic improvements from the added level of button customization.

READ  DxOMark Mobile report: Nextbit Robin

Streetlight-and-strobe-lit. Processed to taste from Raw. Photo by Carey Gain. Tamron 85mm F1.8 SP VC | F1.8 | 1/125 sec | ISO 12800

In summary, the D5 is a camera that will be lusted over by a lot of enthusiasts, but largely abused by its intended customer position – working professionals. These photographers will simply pick it up, do their best to re-assign all their buttons the way they had re-assigned them on their D4S’s, and get to control. For long-time sports shooters and wedding photographers, a more comprehensive rethink and redesign of cameras like this would probably not go once again well.

Instead, the evolving Dx line continually provides meaningful updates that will make it easier for settled pros to capture images that they already know how to take. In this vein, the D5 is indeed a worthy upgrade and successor to the D4S for a company of reasons. So without further ado, let’s take a closer look to find out why.


About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

Leave a Comment