Nikon has been busy this last year developing some amazing new camera gear. They have totally knocked it out of the park with the release of two new professional cameras, the Nikon D5 and D500. While the D5 is indeed an impressive new camera, the D500 is truly the new DX flagship camera that we’ve all been waiting for.
Nikon is still innovating in the DSLR market and have so far, at least publically, ignored the mirrorless professional market. I am one photographer who really likes shooting with DSLRs because of their excellent speed and top-notch autofocus. Time will tell what Nikon intends to do with the mirrorless world.
In addition to the two new cameras, Nikon also released a new SB-5000 flash and a new sports-action camera called the KeyMission 360. Read below for more details on all these new products.
This DX (small sensor) DSLR is truly a professional camera in a smaller body. Nikon shooters have been waiting many years for a Nikon D300/D300s replacement and we now have our new DX flagship camera that is a small version of the full-frame Nikon D5.
This smaller camera is approximately the same size as a D750 or a D810 and utilizes the same autofocus system as the Nikon D5. This new AF module incorporates 153 autofocus points for almost full coverage of the entire frame. Additionally, quite a few of the sensors (15 to be precise) will operate at f/8 effective maximum aperture.
The native ISO range has been increased to 100 – 51,200. The D500 also uses expanded ISO options of Hi-1, Hi-2, Hi-3, Hi-4, and Hi-5. Hi-5 is an equivalent of ISO 1,640,000!
In the interest of speed and high ISO performance, Nikon has chosen a 20.9 MP CMOS sensor for the D500. I would have liked to have seen more pixels, but 20.9 is perfectly adequate for almost all shooting scenarios we come across. I’ve become used to the 36 MP sensor on my D800, but I also shoot quite extensively with my 24 MP D750 and find its resolution just fine.
High Speed Continuous
Again, working to claim its title as a professional DX camera, the D500 will shoot at 10 frames per second. Nikon claims the camera will sustain 10 FPS for a total of 79 shots in a row while shooting 14-bit compressed RAW using an XQD card. That’s unheard of in a camera this size. Truly amazing. Kudos to Nikon.
Tilting Touch Screen
The D500 incorporates one of my favorite features of the Nikon D750; the tilting screen. The screen allows me to place the camera in awkward positions while still being able to compose during live view. The D500 monitor adds touch screen capability, a first in the DSLR world.
Nikon has created a new light meter, increasing the resolution of the light sensor to 180,000 pixels. As many of you know, Nikon uses the light meter to work in tandem with the focus system, so this new light meter will be better suited for subject tracking and facial recognition.
Automatic AF Fine Tune
Nikon has created an internal automatic AF fine tune utility. Supposedly, it compares a live image on the CMOS sensor with a captured image, then fine tunes the focus for each specific lens.
XQD and SD Cards
Further tipping its hat to professional photographers, the D500 utilizes both XQD cards and SD cards. The XQD format is blazingly fast and allows transfer speeds of 400 MB/s write and 350 MB/s read. That’s over twice as fast as the current super-speed CF cards of 160 MB/s.
For the video enthusiasts in the crowd, the D500 can shoot 4K video at 30p. It also shoots 1080p at a variety of frame rates. While shooting video, it has the ability to send 4K video to the memory card and an HDMI simultaneously.
Cost and Availability
The D500 is set to retail for $1,999.95 and should start shipping March 15, 2016.
The Nikon D5 is a professional FX (full-frame sensor) camera. At a price point of $6,500 USD, it is out of reach for most casual shooters, but does things that no other camera before it has done.
The brand-new autofocus module is shared with the D500 and boasts 153 AF points. 99 of those are cross-type sensors. The center sensor will that operate down to EV -4, which allows full autofocus on moonlit nights.
The native ISO range of the D5 is 100 to 102,400. With an expanded ISO up to Hi-5, the system will take pictures at an ISO equivalent to 3,276,800. Yes, that’s ISO three million. Unbelievable.
The FX (full-frame) sensor comes in at 20.8 MP. This is a modest increase in pixel count from the D4s’ 16.2 MP sensor, but is sufficient for most everything a professional sports or action photographer might need.
High Speed Continuous
The D5 will shoot 12 frames per second with full AF and AE tracking. The frame rate increases to 14 FPS with the mirror locked up. In that scenario, the camera won’t track autofocus or exposure. The camera has a 200-frame buffer when shooting at 12 frames per second. With this performance, you can shoot for almost 17 seconds straight without stopping.
4K UHD Video
Along with the D500, the D5 offers 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) video at 30/25/24p. It uses dot-by-dot readout, which means it doesn’t use the full frame when recording 4K video, so the crop factor ends up being about 1.5x. When shooting 1080p, the camera does use the full frame.
The great thing about video with this camera is that you are able to use the full range of ISO sensitivities while recording. This will allow ISO ranges from 100 to 3 million. Imaging shooting video in almost complete darkeness!
Nikon created a brand-new 180,000 pixel light meter for the D5 and D500 cameras. Coupled with the EXPEED 5 engine, this camera’s metering performance should be the best in Nikon’s history.
The D5 uses a new touch screen monitor on the back of the camera. This LCD is 3.2 inches diagonal and 2.4 million dots of resolution. Unlike the D500, the screen doesn’t pivot, but the new touch functionality will dramatically improve navigation through pictures.
The camera ships with one of two options for memory cards; either dual CF cards or dual XQD cards. Most professionals will probably opt for the dual XQD cards due to the increased speed they provide over CF cards. Nikon says the card slots are modular, so I’m guessing that you’ll be able to send the camera back to Nikon and swap out one module for the other.
Pricing and Availability
The D5 will retail at $6,500 USD and will be available March 15, 2016.
This new flash packs more power than the SB-910 into a smaller form factor. Also, it adds radio control in addition to the standard infrared light-pulse system of the legacy creative lighting system (CLS).
The cool thing about the new SB-5000 is it will now work with up to six groups while the previous CLS allowed three groups. It allows control up to 18 flashes within those 6 groups, so you’ll have no more excuses for not having enough flash control.
The SB-5000 is backward compatible with the previous CLS control system, allowing it to use three groups in legacy CLS control with three groups in the new radio CLS control.
The operation of the new wireless radio control requires a Nikon D5 or D500 to send the signal with the optional WR-R10 wireless transceiver. Radio control allows the off-camera flashes to be positioned around corners and even outside the room. The previous system was IR light controlled, so all flashes had to be line of sight in order for the system to operate.
Because the flash is smaller and more powerful, Nikon designed an internal cooling system to prevent overheating. Previous flashes like the SB-800, SB-900, and SB-910 would overheat or even shut down after firing multiple flashes in a row. Now, Nikon says the SB-5000 will shoot 120 continuous frames at 5-second intervals without overheating.
Price and Availability
The SB-5000 will retail for about $600 and will be available in March of 2016.
This is an action camera built in a similar form factor as a GoPro, but with significant differences. The KeyMission 360 uses two cameras pointed in opposite directions. Each camera has a super-wide-angle lens so that the system captures a full 360 degrees of coverage while recording in 4K. You can edit the video so you have continuous spherical coverage of the action.
The camera is waterproof to 30 meters (100 feet) and shockproof to 2 meters (7 feet). It also has in-camera electronic image stabilization.
We’ve just posted new Nikonians Academy workshops for Seattle and San Diego this September and December as well as a brand-new trip to Tanzania scheduled for November 4 – 11, 2014. Our classroom topics in Seattle and San Diego will include Mastering the Nikon D600/D7100/D7000, Mastering Lightroom 4, and Masering the Nikon iTTL Wireless Flash, CLS.
For the existing trips in 2013, we have two seats remaining for our July 2013 photo adventure to Iceland, and four seats remaining for our November 2013 photo safari to Tanzania.
Be sure to check back soon as we’ll be adding 2014 excursions to Iceland and Galapagos in the coming weeks.
Follow this link to sign up: www.nikoniansacademy.com.
Our newest book, the 2nd Edition of the very popular The Nikon Creative Lighting System, is about to hit the shelves. The update includes brand-new chapter content on the SB-700 and SB-910 flashes. Of course, the book also has excellent chapters on using the SB-600, SB-800, SB-900, and R1C1 Flashes. At almost 300 pages, the it is chock full of detailed information that will help you understand your Nikon wireless flash system.
The Nikon Creative Lighting System book was designed to help Nikon flash users wrap their heads around the amazing capabilities of Nikon’s new breed of flashes. The writing style is simple and straight forward, while still providing detailed instruction on setting up features such as wireless mode, SU-4 mode, TTL BL mode and much, much more. One entire chapter is dedicated to setups in the field, showing you flash and camera settings so you’ll be able to duplicate the results for yourself. There are 17 chapters covering topics such as flash operation, camera settings for flash, flash theory, batteries, beeps, buttons and everything in-between!
Order an autographed copy here: Out There Images Book Webpage
Here’s a link to the RockyNook press release: The Nikon Creative Lighting System
You can sign up here for these events:
Master Nikon D300/D300s In Depth 4/14/2011
Master Nikon D300/D300s Advanced 4/15/2011
Master Nikon iTTL Wireless Flash, CLS 4/16/2011
Master Nikon D700/D3/D3s/D3x In Depth 4/17/2011
… from a Texas workshop participant – Carl Licari.
Ever had people or pets blink when you take flash photographs of them? The Nikon CLS (Creative Lighting System) uses pulses of light to communicate to the remote flashes in your lighting arrangement. These pulses of light are sent out before the shutter opens, so if the subject has fast reflexes, they will often blink from the pre-flashes and your photographs will suffer from a terrible condition called “Preflash blinkosis”. The solution to Preflash blinkosis is to use the FV Lock function on your camera.
Before I get to the details, here’s an email I received a couple days ago from a reader of my recent book on the Nikon CLS.
Hi Mike. I just bought your excellent book on “The Nikon Creative Lighting System” and have a question which I hope you can answer for me. I use a D700 and D3, and 4 SB-800 strobes. In trying to photograph dogs, I have run into a “blinking eye” problem. Finally I figured it out: the preflashes cause the blinking
Question: can I disable the preflash and use this set-up as the old time “TTL” metering? Or if I hold the shutter at 1/2, will the preflash fire and not fire the main flash? Then perhaps the dogs will reopen their eyes.
Any help or ideas would be most appreciated. Thanks, Morton, Arizona, USA.
The answer to Morton’s question is to use the FV Lock function built into your Nikon dSLR. Everyone needs to know that using Nikon flashes in TTL or TTL BL or even Manual will always result in pre flashes if you are operating in the Nikon CLS. What I mean is that if you have an SB-800 Commander (or a camera’s pop-up Commander like the D90, D300, D700) communicating with the remote flashes in channels/groups, then the preflashes are used to communicate between Commander/Remotes and can’t be turned off.
However, there is a great workaround solution that is called FV Lock. You can program one of your camera’s buttons to activate the FV Lock function so that when you press the button, it causes all the flashes in the system to do the preflash at that moment. Then, the camera remembers the Flash Value (FV) and allows you to take the real shot without the preflashes. I do this when photographing pets or kids with fast reflexes who are prone to blinking.
To program the FV-Lock capability into your camera, you’ll need to go to your Custom Settings Menu (the pencil icon) and find the FV Lock menu item. On some Nikon models like the D70/D80/D90 you can program the AE-L/AF-L button to activate FV Lock. On other Nikon models like the D300/D700/D3/D90, you can program the Func button or the AE-L/AF-L button to activate FV Lock.
Most photographers don’t ever have a need to use FV Lock, but I find that pet photographers run into this issue more often than people photographers.