CES: Nikon floats FF and crop sensor flagships

CES_dinkusThe long-awaited, much-announced Nikon D5 full frame DSLR will be launched in Australia in March, with a price point which may push into five figures.

As usual, journalists are directed to ‘refer to Australian authorised resellers for local pricing’, but given we don’t have a Tardis at the ready to beam us a few months into the future, the best we can do is note the US ‘manufacturers suggested retail price’ is US$6500, which converts to A$9120. Add GST or even just the so-called ‘Australia Tax’ and it becomes a $10K+ purchase.

Thr D5 has impressive specifications, but will the probable $10K+ body only price find the new Nikon flagship out of reach for a lot of prosective purchasers?

Thr D5 has impressive specifications, but will the probable $10K+ body-only price find the new Nikon flagship out of reach for a lot of prosopective purchasers?

Nikon also announced a new top-of-the-range APS-C sensor DSLR, the D500 and a new ‘Snap Bridge’ system designed to let cameras and smart devices communicate, ughh, ‘seamlessly’. But that’s not important right now…

The D5 features a new 20.8-megapixel full frame (aka FX format) CMOS image sensor and Expeed 5 image processor which, together deliver a remarkably wide ISO range: ISO 100 to 102,400 (Nikon claims that’s expandable at ‘Hi-5’ to ISO 3,280,000. Yeah, maybe.)

The new camera shoots at up to 12 frames/second (fps) with full AF and AE performance and has a buffer memory that can hold up to 200 NEF (RAW) and/or Large JPEG shots in a single burst.

The redesigned autofocusing system features 153 focus points, 99 cross-type sensors and a dedicated processor as well as a new AF area mode, and tracking for sports photography. The system is configurable in 153-, 72- and 25-point coverage when used with Continuous AF. All 153 points are compatible with AF Nikkor lenses f5.6 or faster and the 15 central points work with an effective aperture of f8.

A new 180K RGB Advanced Scene Recognition System ensures correct exposures in a wide variety of lighting conditions. The D5 is also capable of 4K (UHD) video recording, a first for a full-frame Nikon DSLR. Movies are recorded with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels at 30/25/24p with an angle of view approx 1.5x lens focal length. 4K UHD Time-lapse recording is supported. Full HD video is also available at 60/30/24p. Professional video capabilities include simultaneous external and internal recording, Flat Picture Control, Zebra Stripes and a built-in stereo microphone with 20-step increment adjustments.

Nikon has two options – a dual CompactFlash slot model and a dual XQD card slot model. (XQD being CompactFlash on steroids – faster read/write and transfer speeds ). A high resolution XGA Touchscreen LCD with a smartphone-like interface makes it easy to select AF points or Spot White Balance in Live View, swipe through shots, pinch to zoom and edit file names. The D5 is the first Nikon full-frame DSLR to incorporate control for its new radio controlled Advanced Wireless Lighting system. With the optional WR-A10 (Wireless Remote Adapter) and WR-R10 Wireless Remote Controller (transceiver), the D5 can control and fire up to six groups of SB-5000 Speedlights.

Nikon D500
The new crop sensor/APS-C/DX DSLR in the Nikon line-up the is the D500, which features a 20.9-megapixel DX format CMOS sensor and the same EXPEED 5 image processor and 153-point AF system as the D5.

The crop-sensor D500 shares advanced features with its full-frame sibling. Body-only pricing of around $3000 puts it up there among the most expensive APS-C cameras.

The crop-sensor D500 shares advanced features with its full-frame sibling. Body-only pricing of around $3000 puts it up there among the most expensive APS-C cameras.

Native ISO sensitivity range is ISO 100 to ISO 51,200 with expansion available to Lo 1 and Hi 5 (50 – 1,640,000 equivalent). Like the D5, the D500 also supports 4K  video and continuous still frame recording at up to 10 frames/second. It is the first Nikon DX camera to utilize the new XQD memory card technology, which provides faster read/write and transfer speeds. The D500 has dual memory card slots that can also accept SD cards.

The D500 also features a 3.2-inch 2,359,000-dot tilting RGBW LCD touchscreen monitor which facilitates Live View shooting from high or low angles. Another new feature is D500’s SnapBridge functionality, which enables multiple built-in connectivity options, including Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), Near Field Communication (NFC) and built-in Wi-Fi.

The D500 is also compatible with the optional WT-7A, enabling transmission of files to an FTP server or computer at speeds of up to 866.7 Mbps.

The D500 will be available in Australia in March. As usual, no pricing is supplied, but US street pricing for pre-orders is US$2000 body only (around $2800).


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