Nikon introduces new full frame pro sports dSLR – the Nikon D5

Written by Gary on January 21st, 2016

Nikon recently announced a new pro dSLR for their sports and wildlife photographers who have $US6500 to upgrade from their aging Nikon 4DS, and it adds some nice new features to get them excited.

Specs of the new Nikon D5 dSLR:

  • 20.8 mp full frame sensor
  • native ISO 100-102,400
  • 12fps burst rate
  • all-new autofocus module with 153 points, 99 of which are cross-type
  • EXPEED 5 processor
  • 4K video but this is very limited
  • touchscreen LCD
  • support for Nikon’s new radio remote TTL flash functionality (requires a radio TTL compatible flash)
  • $US6500

On paper, seems like a great camera for Nikon’s sports and wildlife photographers who will get much improved high ISO performance, better AF, some 4K video capability as well as remote radio TTL flash.

 Why carry all this weight and pay $US25,000 for a telephoto kit?

In my last post, I blogged about the wonderful new super telephoto lenses for Micro Four Thirds – the Olympus 300mm f/4 and the Panasonic 100-400mm.

You could use a Panasonic GH-4 mirrorless camera with the 100-400mm zoom and gain not only wonderful hand held telephoto reach up to 800mm in full frame terms but better 4K video quality, and this for well under $US4000 and perhaps a quarter of the weight and size as a Nikon 600mm full frame telephoto with less reach.

Alternatively, you could use an Olympus OM-D E-M1 with the 300mm f/4 lens and gain unprecedented image stabilisation capability with superb optics in a much more compact size and weight than the Nikon kit and again coming in at under $US4000.

So why then buy the Nikon outfit?

The answer is primarily, the improved capability of shooting moving subjects in very low light – a scenario where image stabilisation is of very limited utility as you need sufficiently fast shutter speed to adequately stop the moving subject – and here is where image quality at high ISO becomes a prime consideration.

The Micro Four Thirds cameras will get you to ISO 3200 with good image quality but it can be expected that the Nikon will give you at least 1, maybe 2 more stops of higher ISO for similar image quality, although we will have to await tests to see how good the Nikon really is.

The Micro Four Thirds options will be just as good and perhaps even better for many situations such as studio work, macro work, static wildlife/sports subjects and for moving subjects in good light (although the Nikon’s AF may be better, and the optical viewfinder will have advantages in this situation) and allow for far more versatility and maneuverability thanks to not being stuck with a large heavy tripod and having to carry large lenses.




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