Nikon D5 now shipping, additional coverage (hint: there is a new Lord of Darkness)

Nikon-D5-banner
The first Nikon D5 cameras are already shipping in Europe (I have shipping notifications but cannot publish them because of privacy issues). Several new Nikon D5 articles and sample photos started popping online, the first one is from Joe McNally:

Live from Las Vegas! D5! SB-5000!

Some Nikon D5 dynamic range comparisons with the D4 (hint: there is a new "Lord of Darkness"):

Nikon-D5-camera
It seems that the embargo expired and there are a lot of new sample photos being published online - check danvojtech.cz (100% crop on the right side, without sharpening and noise reduction, all photos without tripod). Multiple sample files from the D5 can be found here (NEF files also available for downloadhere, here, here and here. First D5 impressions can be found here (in German).

Nikon D5 4k video sample:

Nikon D5 touchscreen demo:

Nikon D5 AF in completely dark environment:

Nikon D5 AF configuration:

Nikon D5 3D tracking:

Nikon D5 at 14fps:

Nikon D5 buffer:

The Nikon D5 is available for pre-order at: B&HAdorama | Amazon | BestBuy | WEX Photographic (UK) | Jessops (UK).

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  • Hurry, hurry, hurry… I wonder how deep down I am on the list.

  • It has begun!

  • Hmm, the Photographic Dynamic Range graph—it’s slightly worse than D4 at up to ISO 800? And D4 was slightly worse than D810 at up to ISO 200. Wonder how much actual difference is it then between D810 and D5 in good light at base ISO.

    • Horshack

      At base ISO the D5’s PDR is a full stop worse than the D4s. For that it only gains about 1/2EV of PDR at High ISO. Compared to the A7s the D5 is 1.75EV worse at base ISO and continues to underperform through ISO 800. Only at much higher ISOs does it show a modest 1/3 to 1/2 PDR improvement over the A7s. Not a great balance/compromise for sensor performance IMO.

      • Yeah, and if this really is the Nikon ‘flagship’ for the next 4 years… Sony’s not going to sit still for that long. The D5 is looking a lot like the 24-70mm VRII… it’s not a giant step up, as much as it is a tweak sideways. Some stuff stays the same, some stuff gets better, while other things get a bit worse.

        What’s really interesting how the blue channel’s noise pattern changes above 3200ISO. It really is looking like the exact same sensor tech that’s in the D4, but with a pre-NEF NR algorithm for the color channels.

        I hate to say it, but I’m staring to wonder what the a7III will offer… that might just be the 24mb full-frame with BSI and on-sensor stabilization… that I was looking for from the D5. If they can just get that pesky battery sucking thing worked out.

        • akkual

          It is not the exact same sensor tech. D4s has gradual amplification where as D5 clearly has several stages for amplification. Nikon has gone for improving shadow quality in the high ISOs while compromising low ISO a bit. And shadow quality is everything when it comes to the final meaningful image quality. The noise most likely changes because the amplification cannot provide complete spectrum at the same level. I guess blue channel is not that important, as high frequency/energy light it fades away faster.

      • silmasan

        I AM LOW ISO OUTPERFORMED

        I think the message is … If you buy a D5, you’ll probably still have to buy a D810.

        • Thom Hogan

          Correct. Tool for the job. And this, by the way, is why I’ve long argued that we needed a D4x and now a D5x, and why we needed a D810h and D810x.

          • silmasan

            Two flagships and two killer midsize. One Df-type. And just one small well-balanced FX at the entry-level pricepoint. The rest, DX and mirrorless.

            • Thom Hogan

              Well, you and I agree because we’re looking at the products as tools.

              The problem is this: Nikon basically has fallen for the price elasticity of demand form of product line management. In other words, it’s price, not function, that dictates what someone buys. Oh, sure, you have to put some changes in function between the models to justify the price differentials, but you do so not in ways that are customer driven. This explains, for example, why in the DX line we have the D3xxx, D5xxx, and D7xxx, and the D5xxx is an odd set of most of the features of the low model (compressed NEF only, for example), some of the features of the higher model (a few more settings and menu options), with something not on the higher model (swivel LCD). It’s a very arbitrary set of differences that give them things they can “market” but don’t tend to increase their costs much, if any.

        • Horshack

          Or buy a used D4s for 40% less than a new D5.

          • Thom Hogan

            Neither a D3s or D4s is going to match the D810’s dynamic range at base ISO. Not even close. So I don’t understand this suggestion.

            • Horshack

              The D4s is only 1EV behind the D810 at ISO 100 yet is 1EV better than the D810 at ISO 6400. The D4s as an all-around camera seems rather rational to me.

            • Thom Hogan

              Only 10% worse than the D810 ;~).

              For the landscape and a few other folks, one stop is significant in good light. For sports and PJ folk, one stop at high ISO is significant, too. Which is my point: we want both options in the same body. That’s true because we’ve had them in the past, but it’s even more true because Sony provides them now but Nikon doesn’t.

            • Horshack

              It doesn’t take two bodies – Sony provides both in the A7rII.

            • Thom Hogan

              Bill doesn’t show A7SII, so impossible to say from those graphs. But the A7s and A7r were different.

            • Horshack

              Based on DxO’s numbers the A7sII got a slight bump in DR at ISO 6400 vs the A7s but then drops below it by almost the same amount at higher ISOs. The A7rII demonstrates that the technology exists to create a single sensor/camera without compromise . Nikon just doesn’t have it.

            • Eric Calabros

              What technology? A7RII pixel is much smaller than D5, so there is much fewer electrons at base ISO to deal with. A7S saturation at ISO100 was insane 156000 electrons! and read noise of 22e. D810 saturation is 78000 and read noise of just 5.5e. So for 2x capacity, they got 4x noise. The difference is one full stop “engineering” dynamic range at base ISO. But D810 image at ISO 6400 never could be clean as A7S. as far as high ISO is concerned, A7R2 is not any better than D810. It’s not “universal” as you advocate it is.

            • El Aura

              Bill also doesn’t plot over ‘saturation ISO’ (as DxO does) but over nominal ISO (at least that is what he told me a while ago, if he changed that I missed it). This makes comparing the absolute values (for low light conditions) between cameras not perfectly fair.

            • neversink

              I don’t know – I use both the D4 and the D800 interchangeably – for all subjects. I find that the color saturation and overall image quality just a bit more pleasing on the D4 than the D800. Both aren’t shabby in the end.

              The only reason I would buy the D5 is for the autofocus. With three times as many AF points and faster focus, there is no doubt that for some of my photography, this would be an improvement.

              But to be honest, most of the time, I am composing and waiting for the right shot. Of course, it all depends on subject matter. A model under controlled lighting and a lion charging in the dusk requires different settings and different tools.

              But man, that D4 image is beautiful. At least to my eye. Although, once the finished photo is presented, most people don’t know which camera I used and most people do not care. (Neither, do I — as long as I am happy with the final results.)

              I used to carry three or four film bodies with tons of different films. Now I only carry two bodies and no film. Which is better?

              Neither. They both have their pros and cons.

            • Thom Hogan

              The D4 and D810 have very different approaches to red and blue channels. The D5 seems to be different yet again. So subject and lighting will have some impact on what you perceive, I think. Also, not clear if you’re talking JPEGs or raw, because Nikon does a lot of tweaking in their black box (EXPEED) to make their low level decisions at the sensor invisible in JPEGs.

            • RL

              The D600, D610, D750 have all practically the same dynamic range at base ISO than the D810, at least following the graph published lately in Nikon rumors.
              But all this theory is so relative. I have quite some landscape photos back from the D70 and the D200 and it amazes me how good most of them are, even with this low dynamic range they had.

            • Thom Hogan

              Agreed. But it depends upon the light range in the scene. Daylight landscapes are actually lower in dynamic range than most people think. Somewhere I have some Kodak research on the actual dynamic range in the light measured across a whole host of outdoor situations, which was done in the film era. Of course, put the sun in the frame and things may change ;~).

              The untalked about thing is that, as we get better low light capabilities, camera makers have been shaving off color discrimination. Big time. They then put color back into JPEGs via large contrast, saturation, and hue shifts.

      • akkual

        Psst.. Compare it to Canon 5D mk3.

        • stormwatch

          Hhahahahahahahaha…this is a good one, ahahahahhaah. What are they going to see? Flat non existen DR like that guys flat macbook pro and the utter lack of details. Hahahahhaha

      • HF

        Depends on what your preferences are. A7s is CAF only, 12MP only with AA filter. With the D5 you get the 1/2 stop PDR improvement at 12fps with probably class leading AF. Nevertheless, for me the A7rii strikes the best balance in sensor performance right now.

    • Coymay Coy

      I compared d750 with d810 iso. D750 is better in iso. What about d750 vs d5 iso comparison?

    • akkual

      It’s a bit weird. But notice that those are apparently scaled down measurements, as D810 in DX mode is far worse from FF version (reduces pixel amount to about the same as with D4). Intrestingly though that in scaled down measurements, D5 should be at least as good as D4s as it has 4mpix more.

      Weird weird measurements. Either they are wrong or Nikon has really tried to find the best compromise in the amplification for all around use. The shadow quality graph supports this. So the amplification has been fine tuned for high ISOs. And apparently there is two or multiple stage amplification (appears as steps or fluctuations instead of gradual graph that you get with one stage amplification).

      This is not however that drastic, as many of us never use over 10 EVs of DR. It mostly matters in post processing that we can push the exposure up or down without quality loss, if there is more headroom. Typical image you see probably has max 5 EV of DR and only top notch printers can reproduce more DR. The more important is that how well the quality perserves when the file is manipulated. That shadow graph indicates that D5 images will stay high quality in the shadows and easy to edit even at very high ISOs.

      Yet, I would say that top notch pro’s need to go with D810 for studio&landscape work and D5 on field work. And for a sports/event photographer D5 will be huge improvement in the image quality due to huge the shadow quality improvements after ISO500.

      • KnightPhoto

        Both AndreasE and Bill Claff are well known, which would argue the measurements are correct. I see the D5 matches ‘Ideal FX’ from ISO 3200 all the way through 204,800, so that part I like. Glad you mentioned the 5D III which offers some perspective at low ISO.

        A D5 camera that can shoot at high ISO and still have latitude for exposure corrections up or down or shadow lifting will be very useful. Bill’s ‘Low Light ISO’ measurement of 6982 means the D5 will be superb right thru about double that to ISO 14,000 (I base this off Bill’s 4391 number for the D4 at which I regularly shoot it at ISO 8000). Sounds like the D5 has a very useful sensor for my purposes.

  • Aldo

    What happened to the four stop noise improvement over the d4s people were swearing by?

    • Stephen Corby

      Come on, don’t exaggerate. No one was saying that. People were hoping for 2 stops, but it looks like in higher ISO settings it’s about 3/4-1 stop. Not bad.

      • jenxrj

        Not to mention the increase in resolution.

      • Aldo

        That’s what I predicted pretty much… but read back on what people were saying.. I also predicted 1-1/2 stop improvement on the d500 over the d7200

      • KnightPhoto

        The D5 reaching Bill’s ‘Ideal FX’ from ISO 3200 on up indicates it would be a good ‘last camera’ 😉

        Now if the D500 can get close to ‘Ideal DX’ that would be good pairing of cameras.

  • Federico Gallinari

    ops…two weeks ago I told in post of the previous test that my impression was about a worst DR in low iso over d4, and… ehm
    I told that I never see 2 or more stop as someone post (and someone even said that maybe the d500 will be able to give better result over 1dxII…), I have said..I see 1 stop in jpeg no more..

    now the raw are talking about half stop over d4 (that someone even says 1 stop worst over d4s..), something wrong…
    Is a good camera (because camera is not only iso), but…no miracle, nothing more than a little little tips to get better result in high iso (loosing dr in low).

    • HF

      We talked about it. My calculation from B. Claffs numbers for a PDR of 6.5 show 0.5 stops improvement over the D4s. I would still take the D5, however, if given for free ;-).

  • usa

    First and foremost, great job, Peter!

  • usa

    B&H rep told me they expect their first shipment to arrive on Monday. Wouldn’t tell me how many orders in front of mine except to say “hundreds.” And I ordered early….

  • T.I.M

    Guys, tonight with have the full Moon + Jupiter.
    Nikon D800+AF-i 400mm f/2.8+ x1.7
    ISO 200 1/1000s
    I did not use flash (only to avoid blinding Jet pilots)

    • whisky

      have you tried moving to Hawaii?

    • Jeff Hunter

      The sharpness would be better without the T.C. Crop in instead. Compare the difference and you will stop using your T.C. when sharpness is important.

      • T.I.M

        The Nikon x1.4 & x1.7 are very sharp (not the x2)
        When you use a super telephoto lens, the issue is the heat waves, if you want clear and sharp pictures you have to wait for a COLD and windy winter night (in Florida)
        Here is a sharper moon picture took with my AF-I 400mm f/2.8 + x1.7

        • AlphaT

          Never noticed before that the moon has a ring.

          • T.I.M

            she just got married with Jupiter.

        • neversink

          T.I.M. – You are absolutely wrong. TCs work differently depending upon the lens it is attached to. Some TCs work well with one lens and may be complete crap with other lenses. That is why Nikon made a dedicated TC 1.25 to go with the 800mm lens. And you need to stop down at least one stop with TCs. That will help your sharpness a bit. But, I prefer cropping over the use of TCs – most of the time.
          And your watermark is ridiculous.

          • T.I.M

            Thank you for that very positive comment.
            By the way, Nikon made a special x1.25 converter for the 800mm f/5.6 to make it a 1000mm f/8
            f/8 is the maximum aperture to keep the autofocus working.
            And sorry for the watermark but having people still my picture won’t help me pay the bills.

    • silmasan

      Have you tried PhotoAcute Super-Resolution method?

    • Spy Black

      That’s an expensive rig for that shot. I took the same shot, more or less the same time, with my Panasonic Lumix GM5 and a Lumix 45-150f/4-5.6 lens. Total cost of my rig: $655. 😀

      • T.I.M

        I did not keep the pictures but it was about 8:30PM ET

      • T.I.M

        Your picture is much sharper than mine, where do you live ?

        • Spy Black

          I live across Manhattan in ‘Jersey. I suspect your AF was off in that shot. The moon does that to AF, even if the camera beeps that it’s locked on focus. I had other frames that didn’t focus properly.

          • T.I.M

            No, focusing was right (I was using live view).
            The problem is the atmosphere here in Florida.
            The second moon picture I posted was took in a much cooler night with the same lens.

            • nwcs

              Depth of field is usually not an issue with a camera lens and the moon. Most people don’t account for the speed of the moon plus what astronomers refer to as transparency and seeing. Those factors alone can easily influence what a night sky picture will look like. Then when you factor in the lens which may be weak at infinity, teleconverters that sacrifice some infinity, higher ISO, etc.

              If you used a good tracker like the iOptron SkyGuider or AstroTrac then you could maximize the IQ potential. A great moon shot (of the moon itself, especially if large in the frame) requires tracking and stacking of multiple shots.

            • T.I.M

              Yes I’m planning to get a star tracking device for asto pictures, the moon itself only need a good tripod, is very bright and you can get great shoots when the sky is clear (see 2nd picture I posted)

            • nwcs

              There’s “good shots” and “great shots”. The higher the power of the lens the less a tripod will work. The moon moves much faster than you think.

            • KnightPhoto

              Question – Why does a good moon shot require stacking of multiple images? One for the highlights and one for the shadows?

            • nwcs

              The biggest reason is atmospheric change. As the air moves it can distort the light and blur the picture. As you take more pictures you increase your chance of getting clear shots. Stacking those eliminates noise and increases signals. For planetary photography you’ll find that most images are made from video feeds where each frame of the video is stacked and the bad frames rejected.

            • Spy Black

              Then you need to trash all that gear and get yourself a Panasonic GM5 and a 45-150 lens… 🙂

            • T.I.M

              And I’m sure you won’t mind if I trash it into the bin right in front of your house…

            • Spy Black

              Nah, too big a body for my tastes. I want that setup in a Df body.

  • decisivemoment

    Looks to me like a very good compromise for press and sports photography but kind of a lousy one for landscape, features or commercial. I wonder if they’ll ever manage a sensor that stays above 10 stop DR (you know, zone system territory) right over to the theoretical limit for FX that the D5 brushes up against at the very high ISOs.

    • akkual

      Lousy? Canon 5D mk3 is about the same at low ISOs. And I am quite sure it is more used for landscape and commercial than anything from Nikon is.

  • Stephen Corby

    It is a shame about the loss of DR at lower ISO’s. I’m really upset by that, but the gains after ISO 3200 are pretty good and will likely mean I’m still going to get it. I’ve been gunning for the D5 since it was announced but do admit that I’m feeling a bit let down.

    • Patrick O’Connor

      For its intended purposes, I don’t think the minor reduction in DR will be noticeable. But then, I’ve noticed you’re a bit of a pessimist so maybe you’re happier being disappointed!?

      • Stephen Corby

        I don’t find that to be a fair statement, I think generally I’m happy with most decisions Nikon is making. Just not some of the screw ups with the quality control. This one might be ok, maybe not. Time will tell.

    • AYWY

      This design certainly seems very specialized. At least from those graphs, high ISO shadow performance sees a marked improvement over the predecessor.

      I guess those who shoot RAW ETTR in high ISO in high contrast scenes have something to look forward to.

    • akkual

      Relax. Canon 5D Mk3 is pretty much the same at low ISOs as D5. Actually 5D mk3 is a tad worse. And after ISO500, D5 is just epic compared to anything from Canon. Poor Nikon shooters indeed.

  • RL

    Nikon D5 vs nikon D4s high ISO
    comparison:

    Now has happened, what I suspected in the
    first place and what was partly already confirmed by someone who shot the D5
    back in November 2015: He wrote that the D5 is probably one stop better or
    maybe even 1,5 stops than the D4s; he clearly wrote in favor of Nikon, so one
    could be suspicious of this data.

    Now yesterday on March 9 there appeared a
    japanese Web page with side by side high ISO shots of the D5 and the D4s, going
    until the max. ISO of both. The 102400 ISO shot of the D4s looks slightly
    better than the 204800 ISO shot of the D5. This means the D5 is better at the
    same ISO but less than a stop, I would say a 3/4 of a stop better. That’s
    probably less than most people expected but mostly amateurs; Pros or serious
    amateurs shooters did not expect more I guess. The fact that the D5 goes all
    the way up to over 3 million ISO is –
    unfortunately a marketing trick, which triggered certainly more preorders but
    no more.

    Anybody who has a D4s or D4 will not
    upgrade or does not need to; while almost one stop is or can be important, it
    depends where on the ISO scale it is situated; being here at 102400 ISO still
    getting usable picture on both cameras it is certainly less important.

    Now the big question is the high ISO
    performance of the Nikon D500; it’s 20MB
    APS sensor is the equivalent of a 45MB FX sensor; it’s highest ISO value is one
    stop less than the D5 one, which means – at least – one stop less ISO
    prerformance; but to be realistic one can suppose rather 1-2 stops less
    probably. This means the D4s is probably around on stop better than the D500.
    Let’s wait and see.

    NIKON unfortunately
    is giving higher native ISO values lately than it should. Take for example the
    D7200 with a native high ISO value of 25600, the same as the D4S. The DxO mark
    for the high ISO D720 is 1333, the mark for the D4s is 3074, so something is
    wrong here and there is no comparison above 3200 ISO between the two cameras.
    The D4s produces good usable results from 6400 to 25600 ISO, the D 7200 is
    basicly auseless here. Obviously the same happened with the D5 and D500, where
    the last three or four highest ISO values are absolutely useless.

    • D700s

      As for D4 / D4s owners won’t upgrade I beg to differ. It’s not just the improved ISO but new AF and in my case 4K video. I have a D4 and preordered the D5.

      • RL

        4K Video is a good reason,but you’ve got it also on the $2000 D500. New Af? The D4/4s AF has been described as the best on the planet; of course it can be improved but how much do you improve something already almost perfect? A little bit I guess – so don’t be disdappointed. The D5 also has lower DR until 1600 ISO tan the D4/D4s, D600, D810 and others, dramatically lower in DX mode.

        • D700s

          Disappointment is always possible but that’s life isn’t it. The D5 should be a good compliment to my D4 for action with two lenses. Looking forward to the video in low light. I have a D810 and D800. May get the D500 as well when it’s available. When the D8XX comes out I may give up my trusty D800 and upgrade again. I’m not a pro so I’m not banking on the camera making money. This is my expensive hobby and gear is fun. If I had more money I would probably be collecting Ferraris instead of cameras.

    • Max

      Actually I don’t think most pros get this caught up in analysing little ISO performance differences.

      • nwcs

        Most are more concerned with actually making pictures.

      • silmasan

        I remember the highlight was to be “killer AF” performance. Which would really help them get better frames in the first place.

    • Very well said.

    • Thom Hogan

      I’m not going to deal with most of what you wrote at this point. I’ll be making comments soon enough about my testing of the D5.

      However, the statement “Nikon unfortunately is giving higher native ISO values lately” requires a response.

      Nikon has been absolutely consistent with numbered ISO values. Numbered ISO values on a Nikon body are given to data that is generated solely through sensor/ADC-based digital gain. By comparison, LO values are always an overexposure with an attempt at highlight recovery, while HI values are always ANALOG gain (after the sensor/ADC multiplications). Further, Nikon has been very consistent on where they place the crossover between numbered and HI values in terms of engineering S/N ratio under a specific test situation.

      Whether you regard an ISO as usable or useless isn’t the point. Nikon is making a consistent engineering decision, and has since day one in DSLRs.

    • Horshack

      Agreed, Nikon has run out of sensor technology runway and so we get marketing to come in and direct the engineering department to start adding ridiculous ISO levels on top of what are already unusable levels in existing cameras for the the vast majority of shooting scenarios. And to add insult to injury they do so by compromising the lower ISO levels that are actually meant to be used in lots of situations like studio/wedding/flash photography.

    • HF

      Bill Claffs data is on his site and found here, too: www. dpreview. com/forums/thread/3981547 . To achieve a PDR of 6.5 you have a log2(6982/4756) = 0.5 stops advantage over the D4s, approximately. I was suspicious, too. Nevertheless, perfectly tailored for sports shooters in my opinion.

  • silmasan

    January 6th, 2016
    “Df2 with D5 sensor!!!”

    March 22nd, 2016
    “Df2 with D750 sensor please…”

    • Ritvar Krum

      this is gold… seriously – all should get awake of this “million izzo” hype and realize that IQ at low iso is suffering (where it matters for most of us) – I do not want any other camera from Nikon to make compromises like these again… but if all fanbois keep r[rising the new “low light king” then nikon will give them what they think they want 🙁

      • KnightPhoto

        The D5 correctly favours ISO 3200 and up. What are you talking about, the Dx series is the ‘low light master’ camera. I can’t imagine I have many shots from my D4 at base ISO LOL! Tripod shooting base ISO shooters have the D8x0 series.

        • silmasan

          Yes, this is like having just ISO3200 rolls on your F5. Except rather than having to make decision for each 36 exp, you decide upfront for $6,500. Or go with another camera.

          Of course that analogy falls apart quickly, as today’s camera’s low ISO performance will still be good enough anyway. And all the other insane performance advancements.

          • Maji

            But we need to complain about something that Nikon did… now that we can’t complain about missing a D300 successor… 🙂

            • silmasan

              I just found a new one: WHY IS THERE NO SMALLER DF WITH DX SENSOR?!! #ShowYourDXSomeLove #D500isnotenough :p

      • silmasan

        Take it easy, D5’s aren’t really made for fanbois. 😉

    • Thom Hogan

      While I’ve always argued that the Df should have had the 24mp sensor and any D7xx have the D4 sensor, I suspect you may be missing a point.

      You are assuming that the D5 sensor can only be tuned one way. It certainly is possible that might be the case, but it’s not a foregone conclusion. Very little is known about how the camera companies choose to use a sensor. We attempt to reverse engineer what they did, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t other options. Moreover, as sensors get more and more electronics on them, the notion of digital gain tuning becomes even more interesting as new possibilities open up.

      The latest Sony APS sensor (Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Sony A6300) shows clear dual gain application, so we’re starting to see these more sophisticated options appear in more and more cameras.

      • silmasan

        That was just tongue-in-cheek. 🙂 But nevertheless I was thinking along the same line about “tuning”, even with the D5 itself.

        I don’t really have any technical knowledge when it comes to how these sensors work, but is there a possibility that one can sort of get another ‘profile’ (i.e. optimize/tune for better low ISO dr) through programming the firmware alone? Maybe like what Magic Lantern did (or tried to do) with some Canon models?

        • Thom Hogan

          Depends upon the sensor and what capabilities it has in it, for the most part. Moreover, there’s the issue of whether we want actual raw data or cooked raw data, which Sony does with some of its models, and which Nikon does with pre-WB jiggering.

          The thing that Horshack I believe is trying to point out is that the D3/D4 and now the D5 sensors appear to be limited by read noise at low ISO. At high ISO they’re limited by quantum shot noise and math. The Sony sensors that Horshack points to use multiple gain changes as ISO changes. It’s unclear whether Nikon has that technology themselves.

  • Ritvar Krum

    There goes your IQ at lower ISO – to back up that PR slides about “low light monster”, “3 million izzo” (a true regress even last gen cameras are better) – I told you, that – so blatant marketing for fanbois – will make us all suffer. I do not care about sports/action flagship (that means this D5 in particular) – but I think this tendency (to compromise on IQ at low ISO to gain High ISO performance) will carry on to all Nikon Lineup – so – not good news to all of us 🙁

    • akkual

      D5 is better than D3/D700 at low ISOs. So I guess D3/D700 are shit now and produces crappy IQ at low ISOs? My D750 allows me push low ISO underexposed images couple EVs further in post processing than my D700. Otherwise the results are exactly the same in IQ wise at low ISOs when scaled to same size.

      • silmasan

        Don’t you dare say anything bad about my D700! 😀

    • akkual

      And what do you know. Canon 5D Mk3 has exactly the same low ISO performance as D5. And I guess no-one uses Canon 5D mk3 for any serious photography.

      • We shouldn’t compare with canon. Compared to previous nikon, it is a step back for low ISOs. Personally I welcome the change as most D5 pro users are going to live beyond the 3200 territory. Also overall better performance is according to me better than unbalanced one. Also with this kind of evenly spread DR, the next iterations will eventually reach the better DR stage.

    • Sandy Bartlett

      This is a specialty camera, that is not designed for low iso work. It will be just fine at lower iso, but not it’s strength. Nikon has the best low ISO in all its other cameras, so this compliments them. Not sure where your getting the stretch about carrying over to the line up. A bit of sky is falling bs.

    • Max

      I don’t think it will, as it’s not a tendency but, but a specific tweak for an action camera. Read Knight’s comment just above.

    • Ben Bibikov

      5Ds will have to improve on low ISO noise, once Nikon learns that most use 5D during the day with harsh lighting, not indoors with no lighting. You watch.

  • I wonder how many can actually see the difference between 9,3 and 10.3 DR in their photos.

    • Federico Gallinari

      noone can see because all people look photos on monitor…maybe 1 times at 100% and then to facebook to get “like”…monitors use 8bit…and even if you print the dr is a lot lower than what you can expect.

      DR is important to balance exposure during hard light scenes, thats why a good DR in low iso are a good plus, not a must but a little plus.

      Canon had a limit in technology because of a sony patent for ac/dc on chip, now canon start to use it and is possible to see the difference….so, in the past canon had a plus in highlight recover and high iso dr, now? I don’t know but I think that D5 is very similar to 1dx sensor specs (color, dr and so on), is a new sensor so we will see some little (very little) improvement, but the lines are the same, and 1dx sensor can’t pull dark too much for banding, 1dx2 can.

      I don’t know in high iso, maybe nikon will have a little (very little) advantage over canon but is not possible to tell now, and to be shure you have to use in different light and situation…because I can tell that changing situation and light in scenes sometimes I prefer canon, some other nikon…but many test give to d4s a little improvement over 1dx …sometimes yes…but sometimes no.

  • Sports

    @akkual:disqus repeats that the D5 is better than Canon 5Diii at low ISO, so it’s not that bad, but the news (DPReview) is that the latest Canon sensors (80D and 1DXii most likely) seem to improve a lot at low ISO (finally). Looks like 1½ eV. Still no match for the other great Nikon sensors, but enough to turn everything up side down when compared to these D5 measurements.
    If this D5 info is really representitive, and if Canon has really upped their game, then it’ll suddenly be Nikonians instead of Canonists that will have to explain why low ISO DR doesn’t matter …….

  • Eno

    Here is an ISO 25K on D5 vs D4s, default converted in ACR and resolution matched.

    • outkasted

      not much of a difference imo

      • Eric Calabros

        Not much but no pattern at all. at this ISO, the read noise of D5 is near zero. so what you see is mostly shot noise. Nikon almost finished the job about electronics, now have to fight with physics.

  • nwcs

    Someone needs to start a therapy group for photographers: Coping With Specification Disappointment. And then a recovery group: In Pursuit of Pictures Not Measurements.

    • Max

      haha yes! But then this is kind of a gearhead website..

    • silmasan

      That’s assuming they’re photographers in the first place. 🙂

    • Ben Bibikov

      What are some of the disorders photographers experience today? I know, for sure, on the Canon’s side photographers experience a “psychological latitude” disorder.

    • The problem is, by the time people finish the “Coping” therapy, there’ll be an entirely new generation of cameras, at which point they’ll go back to reading and commenting specifications, and nobody will followup with the “Pursuit of Pictures” session.

    • iamlucky13

      I don’t know if you’re referring to the low ISO or the high ISO disappointment, but for the latter….

      Nikon could have helped by actually releasing a full range of full size sample images at the time of the initial announcement, instead of a handful of heavily post-processed, downsized, intermediate ISO samples and embargoing everything else for 3 months.

      What did they think would be the result? They marketed a 2 stop increase in regular ISO and a 3 stop increase in Hi ISO compared to the D4S. Then they released only images in which noise was effectively invisible.

      In isolation, it’s natural to interpret those figures as equivalent. That is to say, ISO 102,400 on a D5 would then have similar overall quality to ISO 25,600 on a D4s. I haven’t seen anything Nikon has said to preempt that interpretation.

      From the comparison samples I’ve seen, it looks more like 1 stop (JPEG only so far, RAW is probably less, as corroborated by the DPreview DR test)

      Which is fine by me. That’s in line with what I expected, because I largely ignore what Nikon said and instead looked at the general trends for sensor improvements in past models.

      It’s the people who were foolish enough to take what Nikon said at face value who are disappointed about the high ISO results.

      Low ISO – it looks like there must be a tradeoff they’re making between high ISO capabilities and low ISO dynamic range, like perhaps pixel saturation in the highlights below ISO 1600.

      • nwcs

        Where did they market a 2 stop increase?

        • iamlucky13

          It’s in the specs. Standard ISO range up to 25,600 for the D4s vs. 102,400 for the D5, and expanded ISO range up to 409,600 for the D4s and 3,280,000 for the D5.

          Yes, I’m aware they don’t declare those ratings mean proportionate improvements in quality. They don’t really say anything except repeat the numbers and refer to them as unprecedented.

          That leaves the prospective buyer to interpret the numbers, either by comparing pictures, or by comparing the specs to known cameras. Comparing pictures would be vastly preferable…except Nikon decided not to provide any pictures that would be even remotely useful for such a comparison.

          So it should be no surprise that some users came up with interpretations about ISO numbers that did not match the reality, since Nikon kept that reality a closely guarded secret for months after the announcement.

          • Sandy Bartlett

            So your saying purchasers of Nikons most expensive camera are to stupid not to know what a usable ISO vs marketing?

            • iamlucky13

              I don’t know if many or any of those who are expressing disappointment in the performance are actually buying the camera, but quite potentially yes. I see people using professional level cameras in ways that suggest significantly more questionable decisions (like sticking on omnibounce on a flash outdoors) than buying a camera based on an incorrect interpretation of a vague marketing message.

              But since laying out the case in an orderly fashion isn’t getting the point across, let my try a different tact:

              What did Nikon achieve by hiding full size RAW image samples from prospective customers for 3 months?

              Did that strategy succeed in setting realistic expectations among those interested in the camera?

            • nwcs

              There is also a simpler explanation (you know, Occam’s razor): We know the firmware wasn’t final. The firmware influences what the raw file produced will be. Why would Nikon want pre-production raw files floating around when it may not be a good representation of the end result when the production level firmware is finalized?

          • nwcs

            So it’s not that Nikon marketed deceptively (they didn’t) but rather people assumed that with 2 extra numbered ISOs they leaped to the conclusion that there was a proportionate quality increase at each ISO stop. Even though every generation of sensor ever has been about a 1/2 to 1 stop gain. Sounds like it’s not a marketing issue but an unrealistic expectation issue.

    • Nimloth

      But… Getting measurements is the whole point of taking pictures… 🙁

  • It is so funny how i dont care what these tests say, or what people’s opinions are as to HOW MUCH better is it over the D4S, or the Canon 1DWHATEVER, ….. it is the next iteration, I need to replace my D4 to pair up with my D4S, …… oh, they released the D5, ORDERED.
    the biggest part of the photography game is in what I do with this tool

    • Ray Justice

      nicely said…ditto…this will be a great camera…

  • PhilK

    I can’t speak to the image quality issue because I haven’t scrutinized the samples yet and like Federico Gallinari pointed out, most people are viewing those samples in questionable conditions anyway.

    But I think it’s a little entertaining how Nikon announces a variety of upgrades on this camera (groundbreaking AF, faster speed, completely new mirror drive mechanism, improved connectivity, improved ergonomics, 4K video, new speedlights, etc etc) – yet the spec-hounds who hyped the sensor stuff themselves seem to think the whole project has failed because it didn’t live up to imaginary hype that Nikon never actually created.

    If you look at the D5 brochure that was produced nearly 3 months ago, here is exactly what it states at the top, about the sensor:

    “The standard sensitivity range is now available up to ISO 102400 – the highest in Nikon’s history, while image quality in the high-sensitivity range is stunning.”

    Isn’t it “strange”, that that is precisely what these initial test shots demonstrate?

    If you look through that brochure, it’s pretty obvious that the sensor tech is not the highlight. Nor do they emphasize the 3xxxxxx highest extended ISO much, though they do mention the standard upper limit of 102,400 a number of times. (To be precise: 102,400 is mentioned exactly 10 times in the editorial portion of the brocure, while 3,280,000 is mentioned exactly 2 times.)

    It’s kind of entertaining to watch people’s bitter disappointment that the hype that they created themselves didn’t come true.

    • silmasan

      Good points. I remember the emphasis on AF too. Can’t wait until these improvements trickle down to the next (FX) mid-size bodies!

    • Federico Gallinari

      “The standard sensitivity range is now available up to ISO 102400”

      and is true?…no, because if you take the raw is so simple to see that is not 1 stop over d4 (and no d4s), thats it, I even told that the camera is not only sensor
      you can buy? you want?…where is the problem, but if someone shout to miracle…he is only a fanboy.

      The problem is the STANDARD, who can tell if native iso on brochure is real? is like if you buy a motorcycle with 200hp and you get 150 (and keep in mind that all engine must have 4% of gap), is not so good.
      Why we have to see DXO to know that all the last camera have very similar iso performance? where iso the iso increment?
      And if I read 102k iso…and isn’t true…is the 4ev af true? is the shutter durability true?

      I don’t know if I will get, I have to try it…but I hope in the future to find more seriousness on the part of the manufacturers.

  • AlphaT

    From the events I went to, Nikon never emphasized significant improvements in “base ISO”. Never.
    What they were emphasizing on is the improvement on HIGH ISOs.
    So I’m not sure where these complains on base ISO performance were coming from.

    • Stephen Corby

      Well, to be fair, people aren’t upset that base ISO hasn’t improved… they are upset that it has gotten worse as a trade off. It’ll be interesting to see what else shows up in future tests.

      • lefantome

        yes, let’s wait for the DXO numbers.

        • Flodder

          maybe nikon optimized for DXO.
          give a little at low iso, weighted at 2x and win something at high iso weighted at 5x. 😉

      • AlphaT

        But, it’s like people are complaining that the new ‘vette can only do 199 mph (based on some people’s test drive), or 0-60 is 3.0 seconds flat. According to specs, it should be 200 mph and 2.9 secs respectively.

  • Nick

    Any NPS members get their email?

  • Stephen Corby

    Admin, any update on the “official” release date of the D5? Amazon recently switched their date to March 25 (was March 15, then March 24). My local camera shops say they have asked Nikon a few times and gotten nothing in response. Can we expect the shipments to go out Friday?

    • Nick

      Yeah, when is the U.S. Shipping date??

  • stormwatch

    So to cut this D5 and D500 story short – they’re both useless! D5 has the lower DR in low ISO which could be only seen in some 50 years when you would be able to upgrade your biological vision to the digital one, and D500 on the other end is useless for dx bird catchers because it doesn’t have integrated pop up flash known across the world as the main source of pro lightning results in any ocassion. APPLAUSE!

    • DB White

      “and D500 on the other end is useless for dx bird catchers because it doesn’t have integrated pop up flash known across the world as the main source of pro lightning results in any ocassion.”
      Really???

      The pop up flash is only useful with a short focal length lens at moderately close range. The pop up flash can’t get “around” a large telefoto lens. If you are already carrying a large lens/tripod/camera an external flash doesn’t add a lot more weight.

      • I think you missed the sarcasm tag…

        • DB White

          Yup, I missed it.

      • stormwatch

        If you did not get the irony, that mean’s you’re just grumpy photographer.

  • D700s

    Will everyone that preordered and is now disappointed please cancel their orders so I can get mine sooner. I still want this terrible camera.

    • Flodder

      guess it depends on if you want to lose more DR at low ISO for a bit more DR on high ISO.
      i don´t think it matters much.

      • D700s

        I do.

  • Flodder

    do i read the graphs wrong or has the D4 more dynamic range at low ISO?

  • Flodder

    i get the first chart but can someone explain the second chart:

    • Curtis

      The “Nikon D4 vs D5 dynamic range shadow improvement vs. ISO setting” graph shows how “ISO Less” the sensor is. It basically shows the improvement when the camera’s ISO setting is used to brighten the picture verses shooting at base ISO at the same aperture and shutter and pushing in post. Sony column ADC sensors like that in the D750 and D810 have a much flatter line. The D5 looks more like a Canon in this regard, and the D4 is somewhere in between.

  • Michiel953

    The D5 is sick. I hope that performance (sensor and AF) trickles down to some lesser model in due course

  • outkasted

    Take my MONEY!!!

  • Joe Schmitt

    Anyone who ordered from Amazon…have you received any shipping updates yet? They updated the “release date” to 3/25 instead of 3/24.

  • Eric Calabros

    Note that D5 achieved this less color noise with even lighter CFA.

  • Eric Calabros

    It says with D5 you get much much cleaner shadows with increasing the ISO, rather than shoot at low ISO and lift the shadows in post. or in other words, D5 is not ISO Invariant.

  • blblbl

    surprised to see the 1DX doing a great job at shadow improvement of dynamic range. Blows D4 out of the water and goes pretty strong against the D5. wonder what the 1DX2 will bring to the table

  • DB White

    Looking at the dynamic range chart the dynamic range of the D5 looks surprisingly poor until ISO 800. The D4, and even my D7200, beat the D5 at lower ISOs. And the D810 really shines at lower ISOs.

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