Nikon announced three different 4K cameras today, with the first two being the D5 and the KeyMission 360.
The third camera up their sleeves is the nearly 21 Megapixel DX/APS-C sensor D500, the new flagship for Nikon's smaller sensor cameras, and a sort of successor to the professional APS-C D300. Featuring similar processing and autofocus as the bigger and much more expensive D5, the D500 fits into a lot more budgets at a price of $2,000 for the body only, and a little under $3,100 with the 16-80mm lens. If you cut the D5 ISOs in half, you'll get the max for the D500 at 50 to 1,640,000.
Unless there are some major typos going on, it seems like the 4K/UHD of the D500 is capable of recording up to 30 minutes, unlike the 3 minutes on the D5. A PDF from Nikon contradicts some information in the detailed specs on the D500 page, so I'm not sure which is accurate, but will go with 30 minutes for now as it's like that the insulated nature of the D5 is creating a lot of heat inside the camera — limiting recording time. There are some other caveats related to the crop at 4K that I go into more detail down below. It's been difficult finding a 4K sample like there was for the D5 — which could mean nothing, but they've certainly put more of a video focus on the more expensive camera.
Here's the launch video:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1aS3p8hRh8
And a preview from Jared Polin:
- 20.9MP DX-Format (APS-C) CMOS Sensor with Max Resolution of 5,568 x 3,712
- 23.5mm x 15.7mm Sensor
- EXPEED 5 Image Processor
- Flat Picture Profile
- 3.2" 2,539k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
- 100% Coverage Optical Viewfinder
- 3,840x2,160 / 30 fps / 25 fps / 24 fps
- 1,920x1,080 / 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: 29:59 in 4K/UHD and HD
- 153-Point AF System, 99 Cross Type
- HDMI Recording: Uncompressed UHD 4:2:2 8-bit
- Electronic Vibration Reduction in 1080p
- Native ISO: 100 to 51200
- Expanded ISO: 50 to 1,640,000
- 10 fps Shooting for Up to 200 Frames
- In-Camera 4K Time lapse
- Shutter speed: 30 seconds to 1/8,000 sec
- Dual card slots: one XQD and one SD
- Built-In Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC
- In-Camera Time Lapse, Up to 9999 Frames
- 1/8" Headphone, 1/8" Microphone, HDMI C (Mini), Micro-USB, Nikon 10-Pin, USB 3.0
- Weight: 26.9 oz. (760 g)
- Availability: March 2016
- Price: $2,000 Body Only, $3,070 with DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR Lens
More on the video recording, which just like the D5, is capable of recording 4K uncompressed 8-bit 4:2:2 from the HDMI:
The EXPEED 5 processing power extends beyond still imaging performance to benefit 4K UHD video recording in multiple frame rates of 30/25/24p fps and full HD 1080p of 60/50/30/25/24p fps. During recording, fully manual control over shutter speed and ISO settings is possible along with the ability to utilize Auto ISO adjustment in manual mode with a top sensitivity of ISO 51,200. Zebra stripe highlighting can be applied to aid in controlling overexposure during recording too, along with in-camera Picture Control profiles, custom tone curves, and a flat profile to benefit color-grading applications. Recording to an optional external recorder is possible in order to gain uncompressed, 4:2:2, 8-bit output through the HDMI port, and when recording externally, use of the camera's LCD monitor for simultaneous live view monitoring is possible.
One thing stood out in that description above — that they talk about the Auto ISO adjustment in manual mode. It's possible that you're unable to change the aperture in Live View. This is a problem that other Nikon cameras have faced, but the higher-end Nikons had workarounds to allow this. We'll see if this camera has the same issue, but I was told it has to do with the way Nikon opens and closes the iris. It needs a more expensive mechanism to be able to move the iris while recording, and we don't yet know how it's implemented on the D500.
The other huge issue with recording 4K on this camera is that it's significantly cropped. While you're shooting with a DX 1.5x crop on the D5, since Nikon is doing a pixel for pixel 4K, you're shooting even more of a crop with this camera at that resolution, basically a 1.3x crop for a camera that already has a 1.5x crop from full-frame:
It's unfortunate, but it's one way Nikon can give a cleaner image, as they don't have to worry about artifacts that can come from pixel binning or the power that's needed for scaling. This camera seems like it will be more friendly for 4K shooting, and it's certainly a lot cheaper than the D5, which is more for stills. At least it seems like you can record for much longer with 4K, and you've got a tilting screen that's more convenient for shooting video.
DPReview also talked with Nikon about both the D5 and D500:
Nikon D500 press conference from Matt Granger:
Nikon also introduced a new flash, the SB-5000 Speedlight, and a new wireless transfer system called SnapBridge that works with the D500:
The Nikon D500 will be available in March for $2K body only or a little over $3K with the 16-80mm lens.