Nikon doubles up with D5 and D500

Nikon has updated its flagship DSLR with the announcement of a new D5. It uses a new 20.8MP CMOS sensor with a faster Expeed 5 processor. Nikon has claimed improved low light ability and raised the top end of the native ISO range to 102,400. There’s a greatly improved auto focussing system with 153 points that can work in low light conditions down to EV-4. The sensor for the RGB metering system has been doubled to 180K pixels, which should improve autofocus tracking. There’s also an automatic AF fine tune system built-in.

It can capture up to 12 frames per second with AF and AE, or 14 fps with the mirror locked up. There are two versions – one with two XQD cards and one with two CompactFlash cards. This neatly illustrates Nikon’s problem with the XQD card format – it offers much better performance but few vendors supported it and many users are better organized around CompactFlash.

For good measure Nikon has also announced a pro DX camera, the D500, which also has a 20.9MP CMOS sensor. It’s essentially a smaller version of the D5, having the same autofocus system, thus repeating Nikon’s successful D3/D300 pairing strategy and greatly pleasing the Nikon faithful. It also benefits from the automatic AF fine tuning.

It has slots for both XQD and SD cards It has a fast frame rate of 10fps with a Raw buffer of 200 images with the XQD cards. It includes both Bluetooth and Wifi, making it one of the most connected cameras that Nikon has so far given us. It’s main appeal is likely to be to wildlife and sports photographers where the additional reach from the cropped sensor will give a lighter, cheaper alternative to using a full-frame camera, coupled with high pixel density. It’s less effective for general editorial work where fast wideangles are most useful, but then that’s where the D5 comes in.

Both cameras promise 4K video recording, but this is cropped by 1.5x on the D5 and 2.2x on the D500.

Nikon has also announced a radio-controlled flash, the SB-5000, which can be triggered from up to 30m away without needing a clear line of sight. It can be controlled through the WR-T/R10 wireless remote system, though this only seems to work on the latest two cameras. It also boasts a new cooling system for longer continouous firing times.

Other announcements include two new 18-55mm DX lenses – one with VR and one without – as well as a 4K 360-degree action camera, the KeyMission 360. It’s waterproof to 30m and shockproof.

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