Nikon has formally announced its D5 professional DSLR, a 20.8MP full frame camera capable of shooting at up to 12fps with AF and 14fps without. The camera features an all-new autofocus module with 153 points, 99 of which are cross-type, sensitive to both horizontal and vertical detail. The RGB metering sensor has also been doubled in resolution: up from a 91,000-pixel to a 180,000-pixel sensor. This should ensure more accurate metering and better precision in object tracking with continuous AF. It's also Nikon's first DSLR to be capable of 4K video capture and its first high-end camera to include a touchscreen. 

The D5 is based around a new processor, which Nikon is referring to as EXPEED 5. It will offer a conventional ISO range stretching from 100 to 102,400, with low settings down to ISO 50 and extended high ISOs of up to 3,280,000. According to Nikon, the higher ISOs benefit from improved light transmission of the color filter array to get more light to the sensor. A 3.2" 2.36K dot XGA LCD with touchscreen functionality is included. Unfortunately, it doesn't offer direct access to AF point selection with your thumb in OVF shooting like the D500 or D5500.

The upgrade to the AF system is significant: combined with Nikon's industry leading object tracking ('3D tracking'), we'd expect phenomenal ability of this camera to follow your subject and keep it in focus no matter where it moves to within the frame. Whether you're shooting sports, weddings, or candid portraiture, the higher density of points should provide higher precision in tracking your subjects with pinpoint accuracy, an area in which Nikon already leads the industry. More cross-type points means better AF performance in tough lighting situations with challenging subjects, such as in low light or backlit scenarios. Freelance sports photographer Matthias Hangst is already claiming that 'the D5 has the best AF system. Tracking of erratic moves is brilliant.' 

Freelance sports photographer Matthias Hangst claims that AF object tracking performance of the D5 is brilliant, able to track erratically moving subjects in even challenging light, such as the backlit scenario pictured here.

The AF module also includes its own dedicated processor, presumably to deal with the vast information coming from the 153 AF points and 180K-pixel RGB metering sensor for tracking. Combining this AF prowess with minimal mirror blackout times during continuous bursts should translate to enhanced ability to follow moving subjects at high frame rates - which Nikon correctly emphasizes is difficult to do with mirrorless cameras. 

Low light sensitivity of the AF points have also been improved: the central point is sensitive down to -4 EV, with all other points sensitive to -3 EV. These ratings would suggest the D5 is the leader in low light focus ability at this time. Nikon hasn't made any claims yet about increased focus precision with faster lenses (a la Canon), though. 

Nikon is emphasizing the 4K video capabilities of this camera, but the functionality is limited: 4K recording is only available in a significantly cropped mode, and only 3 minutes at a time. And while the D5 includes options such as flat picture profile, Nikon has given no details yet of whether the camera has support tools such as focus peaking or zebra highlight warnings. 4K is recorded using the H.264 codec, but no bitrate information is provided as of yet. Historically, Nikon cameras have had low bitrates in video, yielding somewhat hard-to-grade footage.

We'll be publishing more detailed analysis of the D5 and the co-announced D500 soon, and for more information, see the press release below.

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Press Release:

LAS VEGAS, NV (January 5, 2016) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the latest in the acclaimed series of flagship FX-format professional DSLR cameras, the Nikon D5. Far surpassing mere evolution, the D5 boasts a myriad of powerful new imaging innovations, including a Nikon-developed 20.8-megapixel CMOS sensor, an all-new 153-point AF system, 4K UHD video capture and EXPEED 5 image processing to give photographers the best balance of performance, precision and low-light ability. Nikon has also announced additional products, including the WT-6A Wireless Transmitter and the exciting new SB-5000 Speedlight, Nikon’s first radio frequency (RF) controlled flash.

“The D5 doesn’t simply get the shot that others might miss– it helps get the shot that others just simply cannot,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “With these new products, it becomes evident that photographers who choose Nikon cameras and NIKKOR lenses are equipped with an unrivaled system to surpass even the most demanding imaging expectations.”

The Nikon D5 once again redefines what a DSLR is capable of capturing, and is engineered with the ideal balance of resolution, low-light ability, system speed and processing power. The resulting camera body is truly worthy of the flagship moniker, giving professional photographers and multimedia content creators an indispensable tool to make their creative vision a reality with superior image quality. The D5 introduces many technological firsts for Nikon and offers many new features that share a common goal: to get the shot, no matter what.

New Features Include:

Astounding Low-Light Performance - The Nikon D5 offers an unprecedented native ISO range, from 100 to 102,400, reinforcing the D-series reputation as the leader of low-light image capture. A veritable new world of shooting opportunities awaits, as advancements in noise reduction and processing help capture low-noise images with fantastic fidelity that were previously impossible. The D5 tames the shadows, whether shooting a newlywed couple’s candle-lit first dance or sports with minimal lighting. The D5 also realizes unprecedented image quality in the high-sensitivity range between ISO 3200 and 12800 — the range favored by sports photographers. In addition, the D5 affords the ability to use higher shutter speeds with minimal illumination, letting photographers capture stunning images that are sharper, clearer and more colorful than ever before. As an added benefit, the next generation autofocus system performs in near darkness, acquiring focus in as little as EV-4 illumination. For extreme low-light ability, the ISO range is expandable from 50 (Lo-1) to a staggering ISO 3,280,000 (Hi-5), offering near-night vision capability that’s well beyond the visibility of the human eye. This extreme sensitivity is a benefit to photojournalists as well as for surveillance and security applications, letting users get shots others cannot see without a flash. This vast ISO range is also available to those capturing 4K UHD video, opening up new possibilities for multimedia and spot-news capture.

Exhilarating Image Quality - The Nikon D5 delivers on the promise of stunning image quality with the adoption of a new, Nikon-developed 20.8-megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor. The camera is designed to achieve the optimized balance between the large full-frame sensor size, resolution and the new EXPEED 5 image processing engine. Users can be confident that images will have enhanced sharpness and clarity, faithful skin tones and the unequaled dynamic range that Nikon pros have come to love. EXPEED 5 also helps to enhance noise reduction, letting photographers take full advantage of the D5’s immense ISO range. When paired with legendary NIKKOR optics, the D5 is truly a tool to help photographers capture the sharpest images possible with astounding clarity and radiant colors.

Powerful Performance – Nikon’s EXPEED 5 engine also serves to dramatically enhance camera performance, delivering low noise, high-speed image processing and offers the additional processing power needed for 4K UHD video. For professional sports and wildlife photographers, the D5 is capable of capturing images at 12 frames-per-second (fps) with full AE and AF, helping to ensure that the decisive moment is caught in crystal clarity and absolute sharpness. Users can also shoot at up to 14 fps with fixed focus and exposure and the mirror locked up, ideal for remote capture. Because the action won’t take a break, the extended buffer lets users shoot for up to 200 frames of 14-bit lossless RAW/NEF files + JPG fine*. The new processor is also 25% more efficient with up to 3780 shots per charge.

Fast Acquisition, with Precision – An exciting addition to the D5 is an all-new AF system with Nikon’s first dedicated AF processor. The Multi-CAM 20K AF sensor module offers superior AF performance with 153 AF points, including 99 cross-type sensors - triple the AF points from Nikon’s previous flagship, the D4S. Of these 153 points, 55 AF points/35 cross-type points are selectable by photographers to quickly and easily frame any shot. The system is configurable in 153, 72 and 25-point coverage when used with Continuous AF, allowing for stellar AF tracking performance of even the most rapidly moving subjects throughout the frame. Fifteen of the AF points are also functional up to f/8, further aiding those who require extreme telephoto capabilities, including wildlife photographers. This all-new AF system is coupled with a new 180K pixel RGB metering system and Advanced Scene Recognition System, helping to achieve optimally balanced exposures and accurate white balance in even the most challenging light. 

Rugged Reliability and Unsurpassed Usability – Downtime is never an option, so professionals need a camera that is going to be reliable and augment a demanding workflow. The Nikon D5 delivers with rugged construction and robust weather sealing, coupled with a familiar yet enhanced Nikon interface. A new 3.2” 2359K dot XGA LCD adds touchscreen functionality, allowing the user to easily pinch, zoom, swipe and scrub in playback, and also enter text faster than ever before. Being the champion of low-light, it is only natural that additional buttons and dials illuminate for enhanced visibility, while two additional Function buttons have been added for increased customization. The camera also features a Quick Release Mode setting for rapid access to release mode settings. Additionally, a new shutter and mirror sequencing mechanism nearly eliminates blackout time and mirror slap for bright, consistent views during high-speed shooting– realizing truly confident tracking of fast, erratically moving subjects that were previously difficult to achieve. The D5’s shutter itself is tested to 400K actuations for maximum durability. When paired with the WR-R10 wireless remote controller (transceiver) and WR-A10 Wireless Remote Adapter, the D5 is also able to interface with Nikon’s newest Speedlight, the RF controlled SB-5000, for new possibilities in lighting control. **

Rapid and Flexible Workflow - Further enhancing speed, the D5 is able to utilize the superior read and write speed of XQD memory cards, which are up to 35% faster than CF cards. To appeal to a wide variety of photographers, the D5 will be available in two versions; with either dual XQD card slots or with dual CF card capability. For maximum efficiency the camera is also capable of shooting smaller RAW Size S or M file types (12-bit, uncompressed), for greater flexibility when transferring batches of files from the field, while retaining image integrity. Photographers can also use the built in 1000 Base-T 400MBps Ethernet connection for image transfer, with speeds up to 1.5x faster than D4S.

Multimedia Powerhouse with 4K/UHD Video - The Nikon D5 is the first Nikon DSLR capable of capturing 4K UHD video (3840x2160 at 30p), letting users create stunning ultra-high definition video with beautiful clarity and color. Multimedia content creators can also use the D5 to create 4K time-lapse videos in-camera using the Time-lapse Movie function, and can create 8-megapixel still images from frame grabs. A great addition to any production environment, the D5 includes all of the most popular pro-level features of the Nikon D810, including Full HD 1080p video at a variety of frame rates, uncompressed HDMI out, simultaneous live view and headphone/microphone connections. Additionally, the D5 adds a feature to smooth exposure transitions using the Auto ISO function as well as exposure compensation to create natural-looking exposure transitions in video.

New Radio Controlled SB-5000 Speedlight: Lighting with No Limits

The Nikon D5 is optimized to work with the newest flagship Speedlight, the SB-5000, illuminating new possibilities in creative lighting. A first for Nikon, the flash operates via radio frequency and will operate without a direct line of sight for a range of up to approx. 98 feet (30 meters). This new-found flexibility lets photographers place lights in different rooms, around corners and work seamlessly in bright ambient light with maximum efficiency. When paired with the WR-R10 and the D5 or the D500, this Speedlight can control up to six groups (A-F) or 18 Speedlights for truly advanced wireless lighting. It is also possible to perform Advanced Wireless Lighting using either radio-controlled (up to three groups) and/or optical-controlled units (up to three groups) by simply attaching a conventional, optical-control Nikon Speedlight or the SU-800 Commander (as a master or commander unit) and a WR-R10 (as a commander) onto the D5.

The new smaller SB-5000 Speedlight also has a radically new design that includes its own internal cooling system, which prevents overheating of the flash panel from consecutive firings. As a result, the SB-5000 can fire consecutively for longer than conventional models, without flash cool-down time between bursts, and can fire up to 120 continuous shots at 5 second intervals. Controls have also been streamlined and refined, with the addition of an “i” button for access to frequently used settings. The design also integrates versatile bounce ability, with the flash head capable of tilting down to -7° or up to 90°, and rotate horizontally 180° to the left and right. 

New WT-6A Wireless Transmitter

Nikon has also announced the WT-6A Wireless Transmitter for use with the D5. An ideal solution for professional image transfer, the WT-6A can transfer with speeds of up to 130 mbps wirelessly and supports the fast IEEE802.11ac standard. The connectivity distance has been extended to approximately 656 ft. and can be used to transfer images to an FTP server or to a computer. When in HTTP mode, the unit can be used to operate camera controls, begin Live View shooting or start/stop HD video recording.

Price and Availability:

The Nikon D5 DSLR will be available in March for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $6,499.95***. The Nikon SB-5000 AF Speedlight will be available in March for the SRP of $599.95. The WT-6A Wireless Transmitter will also be available in March, with the SRP of $749.95. For more information on these new Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

 *When using approved XQD cards.
 **Wireless Remote Controller WR-R10 and WR Adapter WR-A10 (both available separately) required. WR-R10 firmware must be updated to enable support for radio-controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting (see Nikon's website).
 ***SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.


Nikon D5 specifications

Price
MSRP$6499/£5729
Body type
Body typeLarge SLR
Body materialMagnesium alloy
Sensor
Max resolution5588 x 3712
Image ratio w:h1:1, 5:4, 4:3, 3:2
Effective pixels21 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors21 megapixels
Sensor sizeFull frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm)
Sensor typeCMOS
ProcessorEXPEED 5
Color spacesRGB, Adobe RGB
Color filter arrayPrimary color filter
Image
ISOAuto, 100-102400 (expandable to 50-3280000)
Boosted ISO (minimum)50
Boosted ISO (maximum)3280000
White balance presets12
Custom white balanceYes (6 slots)
Image stabilizationNo
Uncompressed formatRAW
JPEG quality levelsFine, normal, basic
File format
  • JPEG (Exif v2.3)
  • Raw (NEF, 12 or 14 bit, lossless compressed, compressed, uncompressed)
Optics & Focus
Autofocus
  • Contrast Detect (sensor)
  • Phase Detect
  • Multi-area
  • Center
  • Selective single-point
  • Tracking
  • Single
  • Continuous
  • Touch
  • Face Detection
  • Live View
Autofocus assist lampNo
Number of focus points153
Lens mountNikon F
Focal length multiplier1×
Screen / viewfinder
Articulated LCDFixed
Screen size3.2
Screen dots2,359,000
Touch screenYes
Screen typeTFT LCD
Live viewYes
Viewfinder typeOptical (tunnel)
Viewfinder coverage100%
Viewfinder magnification0.72×
Photography features
Minimum shutter speed30 sec
Maximum shutter speed1/8000 sec
Exposure modes
  • Program
  • Aperture priority
  • Shutter priority
  • Manual
Scene modes
  • Single-frame
  • Continuous low
  • Continuous high
  • Mirror-up
Built-in flashNo
External flashYes (via hot shoe and flash sync port)
Flash X sync speed1/250 sec
Drive modes
  • Single-frame
  • Continuous low
  • Continuous high
  • Mirror-up
  • Quiet shutter
  • Self-timer
Continuous drive14.0 fps
Self-timerYes (2, 5, 10, 20 secs)
Metering modes
  • Multi
  • Center-weighted
  • Highlight-weighted
  • Spot
Exposure compensation±5 (at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
AE Bracketing±5 (2, 3, 5, 7 frames at 1/3 EV, 2/3 EV, 1 EV steps)
WB BracketingYes
Videography features
Resolutions3840 x 2160 (30p/25p/24p), 1920 x 1080 (60p/50p/30p/25p/24p), 1280 x 720 (60p/50p)
FormatMPEG-4, H.264
Videography notes1.5X crop mode with DX lenses
MicrophoneStereo
SpeakerMono
Storage
Storage typesDual CompactFlash or dual XQD
Connectivity
USB USB 3.0 (5 GBit/sec)
HDMIYes (mini-HDMI)
Microphone portYes
Headphone portYes
WirelessOptional
Wireless notesRequires WT-5A or WT-6A
Remote controlYes (wired, wireless, smartphone)
Physical
Environmentally sealedYes
BatteryBattery Pack
Battery descriptionEN-EL18a lithium-ion battery & charger
Battery Life (CIPA)3780
Weight (inc. batteries)1415 g (3.12 lb / 49.91 oz)
Dimensions160 x 159 x 92 mm (6.3 x 6.26 x 3.62)
Other features
Orientation sensorYes
Timelapse recordingYes
GPSOptional
GPS notesGP-1A