Video

The D5 and D500 are the first Nikon cameras outside of the (still unavailable) KeyMission 360 to be able to shoot 4K video. On the D5, it does come with an additional crop factor (effectively to Super 35) and at the time of this writing, a 3 minute recording limit. The footage is recorded with a 'maximum bit rate' of 144mbps, as opposed to a maximum bit rate of 48mbps in 1080p mode. For comparison's sake, the Nikon D810, which we've already found to have footage that doesn't stand up particularly well to grading, records full 1080p at 42 mbps maximum. All the video samples here are straight-out-of-camera, re-encoded at high quality in Adobe Premiere Pro CC.

4K video quality looks to be pretty good. Still behind the latest efforts from Sony and Panasonic, but the files show a nice amount of detail. As stated earlier, this mode crops the sensor down to a Super 35 size, but a lot of the time that's not so extreme as to be really limiting.

4k/24p sample

While the D5 will record full 1080p at 60fps for semi slow-motion footage without any crop, the footage looks very soft. Maybe not quite Leica Q soft, but soft enough to make you second-guess your focusing. This doesn't change if you switch down to 1080/24p, and in fact, while you get less pixelation 1080p than in 720p modes, the former doesn't really offer any detail advantage over the latter. The Full HD crop modes help with detail a little bit, but the crop is so extreme (3.0x) that it's not terribly useful.

1080/60p sample

1080/24p sample

1080/60p crop mode sample

In terms of focusing, the autofocus in video mode is still leagues behind Canon's Dual Pixel sensors and many mirrorless cameras, like Sony's a7R II. Sure, with the touchscreen you can tap to move the focus point, but the camera will still hunt more than we'd like, to the extent that it can compromise otherwise solid footage. Best to keep it in AF-S and only re-focus as necessary between shots, or just do it manually. But good luck trying to focus manually, as there is no focus peaking and no magnification possible during video recording.

Tap-to-focus sample

There is no stabilization built into the body of the D5, and no digital stabilization is provided, regardless of the video resolution you choose. Therefore it's best to keep the D5 on a tripod, or use a stabilized lens if you're going to shoot handheld. Lastly, you'll want to be careful of rolling shutter during moderately fast pans.

The D5 does come with a few useful provisions for video shooting. In addition to headphone and microphone sockets, you get zebra patterning and the 'Flat' picture profile mode (used on these sample clips) to help you get the most dynamic range you can out of your footage. Almost all the settings you'd want to change while shooting video are available right from the live view mode, including frame size and frame rate.

Low-light sample footage - 4K at ISO 64000

In all, as with previous Nikon DSLRs that shoot video, the D5's video mode is useful for those who need to capture occasional clips, but we'd recommend using a more video-centric camera with more flexible files for more meaningful productions.