The top 10 new features on the Nikon D5

The top 10 new features on the Nikon D5 by Aaron Baggenstos (websiteFacebookYouTube):

I spent the last month in Costa Rica field testing the Nikon D5 in comparison to the D4S, which I have shot with extensively since its release. Below I have listed are what I consider to be the top 10 new features of the D5.  The most impressive update is the addition of 4K UHD video.  To demonstrate this below you will also find a real world highlight reel of 4K video I shot of wildlife native to the jungles of Costa Rica.

Nikon D5 - Costa Rica in 4K:

1. Touch Screen LCD: This is the highest resolution LCD I have ever seen on a dslr camera and it reminds me of the retina screen on my 15 inch Macbook Pro.  It is significantly easier to tell if an image is sharp on this LCD.  Being able to tap or pinch to zoom, and scrub quickly through images using touch is a welcomed improvement.

2.     Additional Fn3 Function Button:  I use this button to rate images in the field which speeds up my image review and post processing workflow. You can assign a star rating of 1-5.

3.     Dual XQD Slots: Both my D5 and D500 now shoot to XQD.  My 64GB G Series cards unload at a remarkable rate.  This increases my productivity and equals less time staring at my computer waiting for images to transfer.

4.     New ISO Button:  The newly positioned ISO button allows me to switch ISO with one hand making manual shooting much easier.  Tip: on the D4S you can assign the movie record button to accomplish the same task.

5.     4K Time-lapse Photography:  For projects on a deadline and for quick social media posting I can now shoot 4k time-lapse that is merged in camera.  This also saves time in post.  The downside is that in contrast to using the interval timer you won’t be able to keep the RAW images.

6.     Focus Tracking with Lock-on: Nikon has added additional options here for erratic or steady subjects allowing me to fine tune my autofocus for every given situation.

7.     Smooth Video Exposure Compensation:  By customizing the Pv and Fn1 button to act as positive and negative exposure compensation +/- I can use the buttons to smoothly adjust the exposure of a scene by adjusting the ISO.  This allows for smooth exposure changes mid clip when the lighting changes.

8.     Improved Internal Microphone: The built in mic on this camera is better than on any other dslr I have ever used.  And although I still recommend capturing audio with a Rhode Video Mic Pro the quality of the built in audio capture was surprisingly good!

9.     4k Video Image Capture: I can now take 8mp stills while shooting 4k video or extract them frame by frame after the fact.

10.  Added Resolution: the new 20.8mp sensor offers a noticeable jump in resolution.  This is important in wildlife photography because we tend to do a lot of cropping.

Overall I am extremely happy with Nikon's latest flagship and looking forward to capturing higher quality still images and 4k video footage on my wildlife adventures.


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  • Fly Moon

    It’s beyond me why they wouldn’t add GPS!! Every single smartphone has it. It can’t be the battery!! Am I missing something?

    • Robert Slowley

      Same reason it doesn’t have wifi – it’s incompatible with the fully metal alloy body of the pro bodies. That’s why the GPS / Wifi add ons are things that clip on the outside.

      • Fly Moon

        Can’t you have the GPS module outside the metal alloy?

        • Wade Marks

          Canon created a special hump on top for their GPS…of course Nikon could have done the same thing…

          GPS does eat up battery. For my uses, I find GPS to be one of the least needed features. I can always use my smartphone to remind me where I was at, if I really need it. Of course, usually I know where I am taking photos.

          So GPS is nice, but IMHO not a top priority. What I would rather have would be built in WiFi/ Bluetooth to work with the iPhone, and even more than that, a totally functioning touch screen.

          • Fly Moon

            You don’t travel much, do you?

            • Patrick O’Connor

              Whenever I’m in a location where I want to record the coordinates, I’m carrying a handheld GPS anyway. It’s easy to transfer the information to your photos.

            • Fly Moon

              I am considering a handheld GPS. Which one do you use if I may ask?

            • Patrick O’Connor

              Garmin Oregon 450. I did a lot of research before picking this one. It’s not necessarily the best; it depends on what you’re going to use it for. Some of the features I was looking for were:
              * Takes a MicroSD card for additional storage (maps). I like to load detailed maps for the areas I’m traveling in since I also use it for navigation (foot and car).
              * Can be setup for different modes. i.e. roads for Automobile mode, trails for Hiking mode, etc.
              * Display is not too small as to be unreadable or so large that the unit is a pain to carry.

            • Fly Moon

              Thanks, man.

            • HF

              Why is it important? I know where I travel to and have a gps tracker anyway.

            • Wade Marks

              I do travel, but perhaps not as much as you, Fly Moon. But as others have said, I can record my location data in my iPhone. And I honestly have never looked at a photo I took and asked, where was that? I always know.

              Now I am not a pro, so when I take pictures it is at a place I want to be at, and so I am not rushing from one location to another to take photos for jobs.

              I have nothing against a GPS in a camera, I can certainly see how it can be useful, but my point is simply that for me, it’s not a high priority feature. Of course YMMV.

            • Fly Moon

              Fair enough.

    • n11

      I still don’t understand how GPS is such an important feature to so many people. Wifi I could understand, and would actually like to see.

      • Patrick O’Connor

        * You’re on a multi-day, multi-destination shoot or maybe on vacation. You, or others, want to know where you found that awesome composition so you/they can go back.
        * You’re shooting documentation for a (geographically) large project and need to know where each shot was taken.
        * You want to create a presentation (formal or just for fun) showing folks where you were and what you did.

        I suppose you could do this stuff with your smartphone (I don’t know since I don’t have one) but it would be easier with in-camera GPS. Personally, I don’t care about that. From what I understand, dedicated GPS units are more accurate and have far more capabilities than apps on a smartphone.

      • Allen_Wentz

        The reason that it is so important is because with time and location automated all of a photogs pix are automatically categorized. For those shooting hundreds of pix every day that can be a very big deal. Just look at the categorization of the images shot on your iPhone, for instance.

        WiFi is a poor solution because it takes lots of power and often has poor security. Bluetooth Low Energy solves both issues, and once images are on a phone JPEG versions can also be automated to the Cloud.

    • Wifi and Bluetooth are far more important than GPS. Since everyone has a smartphone, as you say, and it’s a significant battery drain, good networking gets you all the benefits of networking plus GPS. (Also wifi networks on their own are a better method for geolocation than GPS in many cases.)

    • Allen_Wentz

      You answered your own question: “Every single smartphone has it [GPS].” So why should Nikon add cost, power drain and complexity to camera bodies? Far better to simply use Snapbridge over BLE to the smartphone everyone already owns.

      The bad news is Nikon is literally years late with Snapbridge functionality, and IOS users will be waiting for many more months.

      • Fly Moon

        I think lots of people are missing the point.
        When you hike in the middle of nowhere, the Rockies, Andes or Alps you don’t want to use your iPhone to tag your location. It’s a hack and not very practical. I’ve tried that.

    • Noel C. Ice

      I think GPS is wonderful. I use it out in the woods. Later I can
      see a map of exactly where I am. I am really miffed that Nikon doesn’t offer a feature my iPhone has built in. There are several third-party GPS products that work on Nikons, including the terrible product offered by Nikon itself. Most have problems. The di-GPS Eco ProFessional M ($180), however, is perfect. It plugs into the 10-pin port, and has a lock on nut, but it also has a thread that can be attached to the metal ring on the side of the camera, just in case it falls off, which it will if knocked around by tree branches. It doesn’t come with instructions because none are needed. Plug it in, and it works. That’s it.

    • planetMitch

      Simple… take your iPhone and buy this $4 app called GPS4cam and go! It geotags your photos when you get to a computer and process them. Great app.

  • AYWY

    Great video and work!

    • Wade Marks

      Agreed… high level work.

      • Aaron Baggenstos

        Thanks Wade

    • Aaron Baggenstos

      Glad you enjoyed the video.


  • Nikita

    Great video. Unfortunately for me, I’m pretty sure I’m not smart enough to take full advantage of the D5’s capabilities.

    • fanboy fagz

      maybe not talented enough but why not smart enough?

      • Patrick O’Connor

        Of course I can’t speak for Nikita but any technologically advanced gear requires intelligence more than talent.

        • fanboy fagz

          but nothing has advanced so much that you really need intelligence. what has changed in the videos of the D5 vs a D750, for instance? nothing. same principle really. with minor caveats. the dumbest person regarding technologal know how can make great videos if he has the talent. live view, setup exposure. press record. the magic happens after the record is pressed. not the 3 steps before.

          Photography, as an art form, requires more talent than intelligence.

          yes, you need a basic understanding of the technical side and the creative artistic side. the bigger step is knowing flash. know how to mix ambient with flash. looking at your screen when the image isnt right and understanding what to configure to get it right. and most dont know how to manually adjust WB. they shoot raw and AWB and say “meh, ill fix it later” raw is their safety net.

          • Patrick O’Connor

            I don’t do video so I can’t speak to that. While basic shooting doesn’t require any great intellect on advanced cameras, understanding the advanced options does…kinda. After trying the options and watching dozens of how-to videos, I can figure out the results but reading a description of the options and being able to anticipate the results requires a certain level of intelligence along with experience.
            Having read your comment and giving it more thought, perhaps the proper word would have been experience. With enough experience, average intelligence should suffice.
            I’ve never had much problem understanding what to do with flash but, not using it very often, sometimes I’ll forget some settings and where they are.
            Getting old sucks! 🙂

    • Photography Guy

      did you read the comments???? ROFL

      Even the video maker said ::: ” the D5 does seem to have a deficit in DR in comparison to other high end Nikon cameras.”

      that says it ALL

  • Photography Guy

    I LOVE the fact that the video maker in the comments said :

    ” the D5 does seem to have a deficit in DR in comparison to other high end Nikon cameras.”


    that says it ALL…… and its the SAME THING i said about the D5 when i tested it

    • Allen_Wentz

      Anyone who thinks that the small low-ISO DR deficit is “ALL” that the D5 is about needs to look more closely.

  • mannequindisplay

    Wow great video … good thing my computer monitor is 4K as I enjoyed that 🙂 If this was done on the D5 I think some other camera review youtube sites have more issue to the price of the camera to give it a good honest review

    • Aaron Baggenstos

      Thanks Mannequindisplay! glad you were able to view it in 4k.



      • mannequindisplay

        I go by James 🙂 I shoot retail displays hence the name as I to am waiting to pick up the D5 .. but not sure how long of a wait so your lucky to get one yourself

  • arunprasad n

    Stunning visuals. Love this video, thanks for sharing.

    • Aaron Baggenstos

      Thanks arunprasad!

  • Yaman Yamaner

    It’s funny that, in a year or two, these reviews will be forgotten. Because brands will launch more advanced stuff. We’re buying very advanced rear lens caps anymore.

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