January 5, 2016

Nikon Unveils D5 Full-Frame DSLR with 4K Video & Max 3 Million ISO

Nikon D5 Front
Right on schedule, and three years since the last flagship was introduced, Nikon has announced the D5.

Building off of the D4, the new D5 features a 20.8 Megapixel full-frame 35mm sensor, native ISO up to 102,400, and a max ISO up to an insane 3,280,000. The camera is going to be noisy at that ISO, but anytime a company increases the max ISO, the lower ISOs get cleaner — and Nikon is saying it's pretty clean around 6,400 - 12,800. I would imagine 3 million will look something like it does on Canon's super-sensitive 1080p camera (possibly worse). The big news for video shooters, however, is that it's the first Nikon DSLR with 4K video. Unfortunately, there are some caveats with shooting 4K on this camera. More on that below.

First, here's the product tour for the D5 (there is also a dual CF card version of the camera):

And some of the first footage in 4K:

The specs:

  • 20.8 MP CMOS sensor with Max Resolution of 5,568 x 3,712
  • EXPEED 5 Processor
  • Flat Picture Profile, Zebras
  • 3,840 x 2,160 1.5x crop / 30 fps / 25 fps / 24 fps
  • 1,920 x 1,080 Full-frame / 60 fps / 50 fps  / 30 fps / 25 fps  / 24 fps 
  • 1,920x1,080 3.0x crop / 60 fps / 50 fps  / 30 fps / 25 fps  / 24 fps 
  • 1,280x720 / 60 fps  / 50 fps 
  • High quality available at all frame sizes, normal quality available at all sizes except 3,840 x 2,160
  • Recording Time: 
    • 4K/UHD 3 minutes (HQ only)
    • 1,080 50/60p 10/20 minutes (HQ/Norm)
    • 1,080 30/25/24p and 720 50/60p 20/29:59 minutes (HQ/Norm)
  • Video Format: MOV — H.264/MPEG-4 Advanced Video Coding
  • Record Uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 3840 x 2160 from the HDMI Port
  • Phase Detection AutoFocus: 153, 99 cross-type
  • Native ISO: 100 to 102,400
  • Expanded ISO: 50 to 3,280,000
  • In-Camera 4K Time lapse
  • Memory card slots: Dual XQD or Dual CF (this card slot is apparently interchangeable)
  • Continuous Shooting: Up to 12 fps at 20.8 MP for up to 200 frames in RAW format14 frames per second with mirror up
  • Shutter speed: 30 seconds to 1/8,000 sec
  • 3.2" 2.36 million dot LCD (Touchscreen only for certain functions in Live View and Playback)
  • Viewfinder: 100% full-frame, 
  • 1/8" Headphone, 1/8" Microphone, HDMI C (Mini), Micro-USB, Nikon 10-Pin, USB 3.0
  • Built-in Stereo Microphone, WiFi with Optional Transmitter
  • Battery: EN-EL18a
  • Weight: 3.11 lbs. / 1415 g with battery and memory cards for CF version (XQD slightly lighter)
  • Availability: March 2016
  • Price: $6,500

More on the video features:

Nikon D5 Back

And here's a photography-focused video about the D5:

More from Nikon on the 4K/UHD recording:

The D5 supports movie creation in 4K, which offers a resolution higher than HD or full-HD movies, an indispensable feature for professionals involved in film-making and video content creation. High-resolution 4K UHD (3840 x 2160)/30p, 25p, 24p movies can be recorded to a memory card inserted in the camera, or, with simultaneous HDMI output, they can be displayed on an external monitor or recorded as uncompressed video to an external recorder. With support for the maximum standard sensitivity of ISO 102400, as well as even higher sensitivity settings up to Hi 5 (equivalent to ISO 3280000), even movies recorded at these high sensitivities will exhibit superior picture quality. 4K UHD time-lapse movies can also be generated in-camera.

Nikon D5 Side

And a bit more info on video:

For the first time in a full-frame Nikon DSLR, record 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) video with dot-by-dot readout for maximum image quality. Capture 3840 x 2160 at 30/25/24p with an angle of view approx. 1.5x lens focal length, or record Full HD 1080 video at 60/30/24p. Shoot stunning 4K UHD Time-lapse, right in camera. Auto ISO handles smooth lighting transitions from ISO 200 to the sensitivity of your choice (all the way up to Hi-5). Enjoy all the professional video capabilities of D4S and D810—simultaneous external and internal recording, Flat Picture Control, Zebra Stripes, a built-in stereo microphone with 20-step increment adjustments and so much more.

If you noticed above, the camera seems to be limited to just 3 minutes recording at 3840 x 2160. That's not very high, and there are plenty of situations where that's simply not enough. Fortunately, you can record 4K uncompressed externally via the HDMI port, which should increase that maximum recording time significantly (likely 8-bit but we need more confirmation). The fact that you're limited to such short recording times internally means you're probably not going to be using this camera to record interviews, unless you're using an external recorder. 

Another interesting point is that the camera is recording 4K at exactly 3840 x 2160, no scaling is being done. What this means, however, is that you're not shooting 4K using the whole sensor — instead you're using a 1.5x crop. In addition, there is a 3.0x crop which features an exact 1920 x 1080 frame. Here is a look at the 4K crop versus the DX/APS-C/1.5x frame size:

Nikon D5 4K UHD Crop

If you wanted to use this expensive camera for just video, you may want to look elsewhere, as you're going to have to jump through some hoops to record for a decent amount of time, and you're limited in your field of view at 4K. If 4K is an added bonus to the stellar photographic capabilities, it seems like this one has a lot going for it. Certainly there are advantages to mirrorless cameras, but it seems like Nikon is doubling down on the mirror technology, and has improved it in this iteration. 

Nikon D5 Top

The D5 will ship in March priced at $6,500, and you can pre-order it right now. For a great hands-on video, plus the full presentation from CES, here are uploads from Matt Granger:

Your Comment

32 Comments

Seems kind of silly when Sony's 2nd A7 series blows this out of the water specs-wise for half the price.

January 5, 2016 at 6:49PM, Edited January 5, 6:49PM

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That true, but "specs-wise" is the key. Some photographers are used to the Nikon system and had already built a huge native lense group, so they really can't afford to change systems even if they use a lense adapter...

January 5, 2016 at 8:23PM

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George Du
Student, Filmmaker
261

I'm in that boat... I've waited a long time for Nikon to release something like this but for the price point I'm better off selling my gear and buying a used C300/5Diii combo or an A7R II. Spec-wise the D500 looks very promising but I've been wanting to upgrade to a FF camera so I really don't know yet. I would like to see how it handles.

January 6, 2016 at 1:26AM, Edited January 6, 1:28AM

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Michael Melwani
Photographer / Filmmaker
79

I'd keep your Nikon glass though. It's easier and cheaper to adapt them since you don't need electronics to control the aperture.

January 6, 2016 at 10:13AM

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It always surprises me when people over look this fact.

January 6, 2016 at 2:08PM

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True for my manual and AF-S lenses but not for my G series lenses which is a real bummer. My D200 has held up very well for my needs in the past but I'm long overdue for an upgrade with the rise of video abled dslrs and I've watched Nikon miss the mark over and over as far as what I was looking for. I've been lucky enough to have friends lend me gear over the years but I would have liked for Nikon to focus on a dedicated cinema camera instead of the 360 cam to really tailor to those who have extensive native glass. You can't always get what you want.

January 6, 2016 at 5:34PM, Edited January 6, 6:31PM

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Michael Melwani
Photographer / Filmmaker
79

It's kind of silly from a film makers point of view, but from a photographers perspective, this is a much better camera specs wise. As the A7 series focused more on including good video features, and less on specs that journalist photographers would need.

January 5, 2016 at 9:39PM

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The build-quality of Canon and Nikon cameras blows Sony and Panasonic out of the water

January 5, 2016 at 9:39PM

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Jake H. Harris
Filmmaker
101

This the main reason I haven't bought the a7rii and the metabones adapter doesn't really work well with Nikon glass at the moment. Commlite made an adapter but its sold out.

January 6, 2016 at 9:03AM, Edited January 6, 9:03AM

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Michael Melwani
Photographer / Filmmaker
79

I have A7s for video which is really good, and I also use 5D3 for my work, but for stills I prefer my Nikons. The IQ on the stills for 35mm format personally is the pretty up there for me.

January 6, 2016 at 2:02PM

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Keith Kim
Photographer
973

January 5, 2016 at 7:09PM, Edited January 5, 7:09PM

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Dane
91

Thanks, was waiting for the English version of that video. I've added the info above.

January 5, 2016 at 7:24PM

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Joe Marine
Editor At Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

I don't see a reason to buy it instead Ursa Mini...

January 5, 2016 at 7:14PM, Edited January 5, 7:14PM

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Andy Tokarski
Director, Editor, Colorist
1131

With a native ISO of 800, brace yourself to ND the heck out of your subject in daylight conditions using the URSA Mini. The BMCC/BMPC were the same... I think the biggest let down of the URSA Mini is the lack of an internal ND wheel.

January 5, 2016 at 9:49PM, Edited January 5, 10:30PM

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Jake H. Harris
Filmmaker
101

There's a rumour that the Mini 4.6 will have an electronic ND. Just have to wait to see if there's any truth to it..

January 6, 2016 at 3:55AM

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Paul Beauchamp
Filmmaker / Photographer
1

By the time the damn Mini comes out, I think we will have options in terms of ND http://tiffen.com/about-138-vnd/ What do you guys think???

January 8, 2016 at 2:44AM

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Roderick Hamby
Artist
1

I find it rare when I see someone talk about nikon and filmmaking in the same sentence...

January 5, 2016 at 7:16PM

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Logan
175

It seems that Nikon finally arrived in the 21th century! Finally:)
PS: I am a Nikon D7000 user:)

January 5, 2016 at 7:57PM

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Roy Fochtman
2BadMen | Filmmaker | Photographer
115

What a piece of crap, 4K video for ONLY 3 minutes?!?! How utterly useless. Way to cater to the filmmakers Nikon. Really stepped up your game and came out with a camera that should have been dropped 2 years ago.

January 5, 2016 at 8:55PM, Edited January 5, 8:55PM

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Graham Uhelski
Director of Photography/Video Editor
339

Again, this is obviously more of a photo camera, than a video camera. The photo specs are great.

January 5, 2016 at 9:43PM

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Three minutes is not terrible, in fact it might make people get more creative about the boundary.

I know it will make a lot of editors happy they don't have to go through really long files for that small snip-it.

January 6, 2016 at 1:10AM

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Kyle Dockum
Videographer and Editor
238

That's true, but why box yourself in with boundaries? What if you need an interview and you want to be able to punch in with 4K? Not an option. GH4 and A7sII destroy this camera, and a fraction of the price. Maybe this is good for photography, but who cares about that? This is nofilmschool right?

January 6, 2016 at 11:29AM

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Graham Uhelski
Director of Photography/Video Editor
339

Good to see Nikon finally produce some 4K cameras, even if the record time is limited to just 3 minutes.

January 5, 2016 at 10:03PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
28000

It really irks me when companies say the native Iso is 100 to 100 000 or whatever.
NO THAT IS A LIE you can only have one NATIVE ISO per analog gain circuit. If all those iso's were native the signal to noise ratio would stay the same throughout meaning no very little noise and white point difference between 100 and 100 000. Currently the ONLY true multiple NATIVE ISO camera I have seen is the panasonic varicam 35 with 800 and 5000 Iso

January 6, 2016 at 12:48AM, Edited January 6, 12:48AM

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I'm happy for Nikon.

January 6, 2016 at 2:35AM

1
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Edgar More
All
751

4K uhd, 8 bit...outch.... i'm still waiting for aaton.....

did you see this ?
http://www.kodak.com/ek/us/en/Consumer/CES-2016/default.htm

January 6, 2016 at 3:38AM, Edited January 6, 3:38AM

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Martin Flament
Director of Photography
81

To me it seems quite impressive, but I do find it interesting that people are talking about Nikon arriving in the 21st century and that it looks good, etc. I was just wondering how unkinder the comments would have been if this was a Canon announcement, especially at the price. HDMI-wise, does it beat the Canon 1DC output, which is an outgoing camera and due to be updated really soon. A used 1DC will plummet in used value. How do people view this in context ?

January 6, 2016 at 12:04PM, Edited January 6, 12:04PM

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Saied M.
904

8-bit H.264...everything gets upgraded on DSLRs except the compression.

January 6, 2016 at 2:20PM

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Further proof that not all 4K is created equal. Although I'm not impressed, If you're a Nikon shooter this is very exciting news.

January 7, 2016 at 3:31AM, Edited January 7, 3:31AM

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Kaster Troy
Director, DP, Editor
644

Clients will always want to go with the camera they know and recognize. This camera sounds great on paper, but I bet you that any client who actually cares about how their idea is being shot, will not recognize this camera model and probably end up going with the guy/gal with the 5D, BMCC, or A7. I've had this issue with the GH4 on smaller gigs where the producer ends up bringing on the guy with the 'popular' camera. It's very sad. Besides, the price tag on this is a bit wild. Might as well get a 4K Ursa Mini.

January 7, 2016 at 3:31PM

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How can people complain about "that weird price tag"?
It's a high-end professional sports camera that now got that 4K gimmig on top. Not a single person that buys this cam will do it for its video capabilities in the first place.

From a photographic point of view, one can't mention any Sony cam with this in one sentence. Not everything that can shoot video is aimed for the video shooter market.

January 7, 2016 at 7:44PM, Edited January 7, 7:45PM

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This is a great camera for journalists that need to shoot video on the regular. The build quality is superb, always has been on the top end Nikon and Canon bodies.

For video and film though, this camera lacks so much, but I wouldn't expect anything from a company that makes gobs of its cash on selling to still shooters.

January 8, 2016 at 5:14PM, Edited January 8, 5:14PM

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Justin Gladden
Producer
202