Nikon D5 and D500 Push the Boundaries of DSLR
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Nikon D5 and D500 Push the Boundaries of DSLR

Click on the button at the upper right of the image to view this entire slideshow in fullscreen for a better view.

So what exactly does this 180,000-pixel RGB metering sensor 'see' such that it can aid the camera in finding faces and tracking subjects? We've taken the liberty of doing some guesswork to simulate a 'worst case' representation of how a 180k-pixel sensor might 'see' a typical scene being photographed.

If we assume that the 180k figure refers to the total number of red, green and blue pixels, then we can surmise that there's only, at best, 60k pixels of true spatial information for any given color. For a 3:2 aspect ratio, that's about 300x200 pixels. So we've taken an image and reduced it to 300x200, then blown it back up for ease of viewing. That's what you see above.

In reality, the metering sensor is likely to 'see' a bit more resolution, since the above only represents the spatial resolution of any one color channel (or 3 R, G, and B pixels combined). Even still, you can get an idea of how the sensor can detect faces, and even understand what was underneath your selected AF point when you initiated focus in order to track it even if it moves to a position underneath a different AF point. With such increases in resolution of the scene analysis system, we wouldn't be surprised if DSLRs one day were capable of eye detection. And while we fully expect the D5/500 to be capable of tracking an eye, it'll only do so in '3D tracking' mode once you've 'told' the camera where the eye of interest is by initiating focus with your focus point over it. We'll be curious to see if the automatic face detection in 'Auto' area mode prioritizes eyes of faces.