Unveiled: Nikon's 4K-Capable D5, DX-Format D500 & Radio-Controlled SB-5000 Flash


Apparently dreams do come true, because Nikon has unleashed a torrent of high-end gear at CES 2016 with the announcement of the latest flagship D5 DSLR, equipped with a revamped AF system and 4K video, a long-awaited top-of-the-line DX-format D500 DSLR, and a radio-capable SB-5000 AF Speedlight

Starting with the top dog, the D5 improves upon its predecessor in almost every manner, but most notably with the use of a 20.8MP FX-format CMOS sensor, the EXPEED 5 processor, and a brand new 153-point Multi-CAM 20K phase-detect AF sensor. This combination of factors brings greater detail, enhanced processing, and fast, accurate focusing in nearly all conditions. Also, it adds the ability to record 4K UHD video at up to 30 fps, a huge plus for demanding hybrid shooters. One note about the latest flagship is that there will be two available: an XQD-type that sports dual XQD card slots and a CF-type with dual CF card slots, as opposed to the mixed card slots of the D4S.

This card-based camera selection allows users with an existing CF card workflow to upgrade without worry by choosing the CF-type model, as well as allow users desiring enhanced speed to standardize solely on the newer and faster XQD card type by picking up the XQD-type model. Dual card slots further the professional’s workflow by providing either overflow or backup depending on specific needs.

Image quality improvements are obvious across the board, but one standout feature is a native ISO range of 100 to 102400, which can be expanded from 50 to an outrageous 3280000 when set to Hi5. Also, there is a new noise-reduction system to go along with this ISO range, and the upgraded processing has an added benefit of 25% more shots on each charge, rating at 3780 images with a single battery. The sensor itself has an anti-reflection coating on certain components to further limit ghosting and flare. Accuracy is critical to this system with a new 180,000-pixel RGB sensor for matrix metering, with support for scene recognition, including face detection and user-selected watch areas. Additionally, a Keep White setting was implemented in White Balance to ensure natural colors in the final image.

All of Nikon’s top-level DSLRs have had a penchant for speed, and the D5 is no different, with a 14 fps maximum continuous frame rate with fixed focus and Mirror Lock-Up or 12 fps with full auto exposure and focusing. A larger buffer grants a total of 200 consecutive full-res frames without pause or slowdown to ensure you capture the decisive moment. Adding to this speed is the accuracy and efficiency brought by the Multi-CAM 20K phase-detect AF sensor, which offers 153 AF points, including 99 cross-type and 15 capable of functioning down to f/8. Along with this, it has a dedicated AF processor, something previous models have lacked, and the ability to work within brightness ranges of -4 to +20 EV.

During operation, the AF controls have been enhanced with focus tracking with lock now offering two parameters, subject motion (erratic/steady) and blocked shot response (quick/slow), which will ensure the camera reacts as you need for your specific subject matter. Also, 3D tracking is furthered with face detection and a new Watch Area setting of wide or narrow that will provide users with much more control than previously possible. Another advantage is auto AF fine-tuning, which simplifies a more tedious process of calibrating specific lenses to a camera body by using contrast-detection to automatically lock–in these settings. While phase-detection steals the show here, contrast detection has not been forgotten with a marked 50% improvement over the D4S.

While primarily a stills camera, the D5 marks a huge jump in video quality for Nikon by bringing 4K UHD 3840 x 2160p recording at 30 fps to its DSLR line. This high-resolution format is available using the 1.5x DX-crop setting, which provides a perfect pixel-by-pixel readout of the sensor for maximum sharpness and minimal artifacts. Full HD video is available as well in FX, DX, and a 3x crop configuration that also features a full pixel readout.

The D5 greatly benefits from Nikon’s other video improvements over the past couple of years by featuring clean HDMI output, Flat Picture Control, smooth exposure compensation, zebras, power aperture control, and more, including the ability to save a video still as an 8MP photograph. Stereo audio recording is possible via a built-in mic or the external mic jack and headphones can be plugged in for monitoring. And, time–lapse shooting is again possible with the same basic functionally as its predecessor, but with the added touch of 4K UHD output.

With all of these internal changes, the outside of the D5 has maintained the same form factor as its immediate predecessor, though with some notable upgrades. The headline physical change is a 3.2" LCD touchscreen with dense 2.36m-dot resolution, offering a dense 403 ppi for the utmost in clarity. Touch functions make operation much more intuitive, as well. Other handling additions are an extra front-facing Fn button, bringing the total to two, and a new rear facing Fn button for extra control. The optical viewfinder gets a bump to 0.72x magnification and improved visibility during continuous shooting with a shortened blackout time and reduced blur. The eyepiece adapter is fluorine coated for easy cleaning and is compatible with the optional Rain Cover. A Quick Settings feature allows for adjusting release mode and command dial while looking through the viewfinder.

Connectivity is a huge advantage of the larger D5-style bodies and that has not changed with the company's latest release. This includes an update to SuperSpeed USB 3.0 for the standard connection, as well as a 1000Base-T Ethernet port for transfers at up to 400 Mbps. Along with this, it can have wireless added via the optional WT-6A transmitter, which supports speeds of up to 130 Mbps. And, the D5 is still equipped with a hot shoe, PC terminal, HDMI output, headphone and mic jacks.

Nikon has been keeping DX-format shooters satisfied with consistent updates to the D7000 series, but many were still clamoring for a true D300s replacement. Today is the day their wish comes true with the out-of-nowhere release of the D500 DSLR, which can be purchased as a kit with the 16-80mm lens. Practically a DX-sized D5, the D500 shares many specifications and features with Nikon’s latest and greatest DSLR, including the EXPEED 5 processor, the 153-point Multi-CAM phase-detect AF sensor, and 4K UHD video recording. Where it differs is in the more condensed body design and the use of a 20.9MP DX-format CMOS sensor that omits the optical low-pass filter for maximum resolution.


While not the mind-blowing 3 million ISO of the D5, the D500 has a very respectable expanded ISO range of 50 to 1640000 and a standard range of 100 to 51200. It also takes on the speed specialty with a maximum continuous shooting rate of 10 fps with a buffer of up to 200 shots with lossless compressed RAW. We can also find the 180,000-pixel RGB sensor used for matrix metering and scene recognition, as well as the new Keep White white balance setting.

For video, it sounds very much the same as the D5 with the same exact options for 4K UHD at up to 30 fps and Full HD at up to 60 fps. One notable change is the additional 1.5x crop of the DX-format sensor when shooting 4K, ensuring maximum quality in this mode. Also, Full HD is available with either the full DX sensor or a 1.3x crop. Advanced time–lapse controls are available, as well in both Full HD and 4K UHD.

Handling is improved with a tilting 3.2" 2.36m-dot touchscreen LCD and an optical viewfinder with 100% coverage and a 1.0x magnification. Also, it has added a rear-facing Fn button for further customization during use. As with all its flagship cameras, the D500 is equipped with two card slots, one XQD and one SD, ensuring maximum speed when necessary, as well as overflow storage and backup when needed. A significant difference from the D5 is the built-in connectivity, and the D500 is being billed as the perfect partner for the smartphone era. It incorporates Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC in its body for fast, consistent pairing with Nikon’s snapbridge app on mobile devices.

And, speaking of connectivity, the D5 and D500 are the first DSLRs to be completely compatible with the just introduced radio-enabled SB-5000 AF Speedlight, the new flagship and likely the first in a series of radio-capable flash units. Designed for the demands of professionals, this Speedlight takes the Creative Lighting System with Advanced Wireless Lighting (CLS with AWL) to new dimensions with integrated radio control, in addition to the traditional optical triggering setup. The radio option supports instant non-line-of-sight triggering from up to 98' away. Additionally, it has a dedicated cooling system, a world’s first for a shoe-mounted flash, and enables the triggering of 100 consecutive shots.

This new radio-controlled system allows D500 and D5 users to utilize the WR-A10 Wirless Remote Adapter and WR-T10 Wireless Remote Controller to remotely work with up to six groups of SB-5000 AF Speedlights, all at up to 98' away. It also allows for a combination of optical and radio flashes to be used simultaneously, as long as the camera is equipped with both an optical master and the radio transceiver. This setup is compatible with the Camera Control Pro 2 software, as well, and allows for changes made with the camera, computer, or flash to all be synchronized.

As a standard Speedlight, the SB-5000 AF is at the top of its game with a powerful guide number of 113' at ISO 100 and 35mm zoom position. It also offers full tilt and rotation capabilities and a zoom head for maximum control over light placement. Along with these features, the unit has an Info button for fast access to settings and a smaller footprint than comparable models. And finally, it has a built-in wide-angle diffusion panel, a bounce card, and a plethora of your standard accessories included.


Vídeos realmente inspiradores !!!

I am curious about doing multiple exposures of more than 2 or 3 exposures...all that's available with my D7000. The D300s was capable of more than 2 or 3. Does the D500 have the same capability?

At this point we are not yet able to confirm on this specification, as Nikon has not published details on it.  Once they do, or once they post the instruction manual on their website we will be able to confirm. 

Does D500 support video autofocus, and would you hear lens zoom /focus motor noise in the video? How would it compare to Canon STM lens in video performance?

The D500 does support autofocus in video; however the on sensor Phase Detection Autofocus used by many (though not all) of Canon’s DSLR will be faster than the contrast detection method used by Nikon. Nikon lenses featuring their Silent Wave Motor AF System will provide the least amount of noise, though there may still be some in the recording and this will vary lens to lens. With either Nikon or Canon using an external mic would be recommend for Audio as this would provide far better and more professional results than could be had with audio capture directly from the camera body. 

Personally I'd like to see Nikon eliminate the mechanical shutter from their cameras and simply use the electronic shutter that is currently used for video. That way the objectionable "machine gun" sound of the existing cameras during continuous mode is totally eliminated. Also, instead of being limited to a 14, 12, 10, or any other comparitively slow fps, you could shoot stills at 30 fps or greater with no problem. Also, I would like to see the fully articulating lcd monitor offered on all DX and FX cameras. I have appreciated having the fully articulating  lcd monitor on my earlier D5100, D5200's, and currently on my D5300's. In fact I won't buy another Nikon that does not have the fully articulating screen. At some time I would love to upgrade to FX, but that definitely won't happen until they have the fully articulating lcd monitor available on an FX. For those who may look down on a fully articulating lcd monitor as too "consumery", the monitor can always be kept in the same orientation as the fixed monitors. But having used the fully articulating lcd monitors for several years now, there are times when it is essential to have one to even consider buying a camera that does not come with a fully articulating lcd monitor. Another feature I'd love to see be made available in addition to the new UHD video would be to have full in-camera panorama capability, such as exists with smart phones and tablets. 

Will these new cameras feature trap-focus? For some reason, Nikon refuses to add this feature (that I had on my F4S) to my D600 via firmware update. I'm not updating any of my equipment until they do.

I hope they do include the feature, however there is not any details released on the topic at this time.  Once Nikon releases more details and publishes the owners manual online, we can then better determine if the cameras will feature this option or not.

I've been waiting for a new Nikon DX model to replace my D7000.  However, I have been hoping for more pixels. The D500 has fewer MPs than does the D7000.  Why is that?  Other manufacturers are working on 40 and 50 MP sensors.  Why doesn't Nikon do the same?  I will likely keep waiting until they significantly increase MPs before buying a new camera.

While I cannot speak for Nikon, I can guess that they traded down from a higher pixel number in the D7100 & 7200 (your D7000 actually has a 16mp sensor and is less than the D500’s 20mp number) in favor of a higher ISO range.  The D7000 and D7100’s ISO range topped out at 25,600.  The D7200 increased it to 102,400 and the new D500 has a top ISO of 1,640,000.  This is a major feature for many shooters to embrace. 

The cameras with 40 & 50mp sensors are typically all full frame models, and also their ISO ranges are very prohibited, topping out at around 6400, making them less generally useable for day to day work by comparison of other models with a more liberal ISO range.  The higher pixel cameras are better for landscape and studio work where most aspects of the exposure are controlled by the shooter.

Hopefully the next batch of new cameras from Nikon will show a higher pixel number for those that have that need.

I hope the new model dont came with problems like D810 and D600

I love Nikon but quality control is poor for the new models

I agree with Juan, I wasted a good chunk of change on a D600.  It is disappointing to see a new camera model every 6 months. 

Hmmm.........lots of comments about gear but little if any about the great photos by these artists.  Most of the photos in photography mags to me are hype photos.  This video had some real art that makes one want to view them over and over and over.  That to me is what is important in photography and not the equipment.  Essentially can the photographer make a great photo out of what appears to be a normal, uninteresting scene?  

Nice, but with this price range (overpriced gadget), I will rather go (keep) with the Canon 6D full frame...(which I got)  :)

I, after YEARS of waiting, finally gave up on a D300 replacement and purchased the D7200 LAST FREAKING MONTH! Can I return the slightly used D7200 and get on the list for the D500???

I feel your pain, Frederick, and I am sure hundreds of people did the same as hope for the D400 left us all. I sold my D300S for a decent price when I had a good opportunity a couple years ago and have been regretting it ever since they announced the D7000 as the new top-of-the-line DX camera. That move by Nikon was nothing short of treachery. I have been shooting with a D800/600 combo and dragging along a 5200 to use a couple special wide-angle/fisheye DX lenses, but no motor on the 5200 for those lenses made it a pain. After my last wedding I decided I had to get the 7100 or 7200 before my next wedding for the lens motor, even though I didn't want to get a camera that was a very fake D400. Another couple weeks and I would have been in your shoes. There was absolutely no reason for them not to crank out a D400 in the interim. They lost a lot of money with that move - I think many people didn't bite on the 7000 series, but would have gladly bought the non-existent D400 and still upgraded to the D500.

P.S. - Anyone else upset about the lack of a flash? Radio may be the way to go, especially with other companies having it built in and the pain of line-of-sight triggering, but an optical commander option (and even a quick pop-up flash for low batteries on an SB for a quick casual shot where the "moment" could be lost during a battery or even flash change) would have been the polite thing to do. Forcing radio and the purchase of additional components (radio-related or optical commander) is very Apple-esque. But I get it: why waste time on old tech? Get with the future and spend more unnecessary money. Still glad the wait is over!

I'm sorry for your frusteration and can totally relate to you on this.  In regards to returning/exchanging your D7200 goes, you would need to contact our Customer Service Agents directly and they can assist you with the return process. Below is a link to our Return Policies page on our website, where we list all the elgibilty details as well as direct contact links to start the process with. 


I purchased the D4s earlier this year in February and now the D5 comes out. I'll never keep up. Time to go back and saving every penny, hah

Hey, you've had 11 months of the D4S. Sell it on Craigslist, if you feel the need. There will be plenty of buyers.

Is there a 30 minute time limit on video recording?  Also is there is 30 minute time limit on clean HDMI output even when not recording?  This has been the case in my former Nikon cameras, so I have moved on to Panasonic GH4, but have kept my Nikon glass hoping Nikon would resolve this limit that is a deal breaker for continuous video capture beyond 30 minutes even when using an external recorder such as Blackmagic or Atomos.  Can you let me know?

Hello Rene,

As per our current information and the fact that we do not yet have physical cameras to test we can say that it is limited to a max of 29 min 59 sec when shooting normal quality at Full HD 30p or lower. Other restrictions we have are 4K UHD is limited to high quality only and for only 3 minutes. Full HD at 50/60p is limited to 10 minutes at highest quality or 20 minutes at normal quality. I hope this clears some things up.

External recording should eliminate some of these restrictions and in theory should be possible for longer than 30 minutes. I have not heard of a camera having a limit on the clean HDMI output unless you were simultaneously trying to record in camera as well or there is an overheating , though I would like to test it out if we get the chance to try out one of these cameras.

That time limit does not apply when sending the signal over HDMI, even on current Nikon bodies (D610, D810, etc), so we can probably assume that these two will also allow "unlimited" external recording.  Some environmental concerns still apply such as overheating, but you generally won't run into that unless you're in full sun during summer.  Remember that the 30 min internal record time is a *tax* limitation, not a technological one.  Video cameras are defined as being 30+ min record time, and are taxed differently during import than still cameras are.  That's why every company limits it to 29min 59sec, to avoid being defined as a video camera.  Aren't tax laws great?  :-/

I had a Nikon D300, and my last Nikon was a D5300.  The D5300 had clean HDMI.  BUT, the menu for power saving forced timeout had several choices, none of them more than 30 minutes.  So even when not recording, the D5300 would just turn itself off at the 30 minute mark, so the fact that I had an external recorder did not circumvent the time limit.  This was the end of my life in the Nikon ecosystem, except I still hang on to several thousands of dollars of glass.  I have several external recorders that will work with HDMI or SDI, but I need cameras that will stay on more than 30 minutes.  The manuals have not addressed this feature clearly, and with my D5300 (which was an upgrade from the 5200, and the 5100) were all dissapointing bad news about the 30 minute limit even with external recording.  I had to find out the hard way by buying one. I look forward to someone actually having a new D400 and then letting it sit on a tripod while on to see if it stays on.  This go around I am not buying one to find out.  Hope is not a good strategy.

596 dollars for a speedlight... sorry i can't help... now even more than there are VERY good alternatives FULL alternatives wireless RADIO controllers and integrated receivers in speedlites costing MUCH less. Actually you can get 3 HSS TTL wireless speedlight with their controller for less than the cost of this speedlight....Nikon Cameras and lenses yes... speedlights sorry i pass.


OMG.  Christmas in January!  I have been waiting for the D5 for years and they threw in the D500 after I had given up all hope and buried my D300.  I am tempted to get both now.  I think the D500 may be more bang for the buck though?  What does everyone think?

  These are must have items. Everyone knows that having the best camera makes you the greatest photographer in the world. It's not the axe, it's the one swinging it! I've seen award winning pictures taken with a pocket instamatic.

That logic goes both ways, Equally, why spend money on a pocket Instamatic when a pinhole camera will do the job?

It's the new gismo tech that keeps us awake while winning those awards. :-)

The thing is, NC, that the low-light capability makes it possible to shoot photographs that were impossible to take just a few years ago. 

That makes a difference, no matter who is handling the camera.

it is the eternal question about the best compromise : I use my D 300 since it appears on the market, I use it always with the battery grip because I prefer to have heavy camera (I used professionally a Mamiya RZ for industrial photography) Two years ago I make a test : capture the same views with my D300 and... my iPhone 4S : results are better with it !
Of course I must forget zooming, fine focusing on plan i choose, setting speed and aperture, the clear TTL view, and lot of D300 options, but basically iPhone is always in my pocket and ready to shoot very quickly. The just medium camera is the graal I have never meet it....



It's a business decision, not an artistic one. If you are in a position to need a new camera body, one of these would be the ones to reach for. If there is no business need, use what you have. I hold onto my D300 and DX lenses as a back up to my backup. I always carry two cameras when shooting weddings, so I don't have to change lenses (weddings move really fast). Results from my D300 are still just fine, but it's sister took a dive at a waterfall shoot. When I went to replace it, full frame made more sense, so I bought two D800's. It was a business decision that paid for itself. I'm far more excited about the radio control on the new speedlight; I've been jealous of Canon shooters having that for a couple years now.

One has always been able to take great low light photos, but you had to really know what you were doing. Now, as with all automation and digital cameras, anyone can make an acceptable exposure in low light. A great photograph? You still need talent for that. 

Will try to break the news gently...u dont need much "talent" to shoot good images. Art photography is mostly location and technology. Understanding all the buzzers and whistles and how they work and interact is more about tech knowledge rather than artistic talent. Hell all u really do is release the shutter, its not like morphing into Van Gogh.

if manual mode is your thing... you could definitively deliver top notch content on the D500. If critical timing is part of it or you do a lot of low light video/photo then bite the bullet and get the D5...

I still shoot with my Df as if it's the film F2 I shot most of my career ... selecting aperature, shutter speed and film speed and lens for specific purposes. My brain and a lot of practice is the "computer." Guess I wouldn't a good candidate for the D5, which is bigger that the 6x6 SLRs of yore.

I'm jazzed about this...been waiting for an upgrade to the D300s with a higher ISO in APS-C format and we get this HOT D500 as a replacement.  ISO 3200/6400 just doesn't cut it most of the time and was thinking of possbly switching over to Canon...now I won't have to! Kinda wish they'd come out with a a body that used CF cards though...got a bunch of those.  The other thing I would've wanted was no video, like the D300.  Don't know if I'm old fashioned or what?

No video? Simple. Don't USE it!

I used to two camers D800e and D300s also wait upgrade model D300 because often shoot on DX. The D4 is noise of mirror but Canon have more attractive model. Nowday we may see adding wireless commutication in D500, it will be perfect! 

Yes, it's a great camera, and I hope Nikon enjoys it. I too need a new still cam, but personally, I do not need , want and will/would not spend that kind of money on another 'jello cam'. RCA deveoped the global shutter cmos in the late 70's. Without that shutter the camera is already obsolete..

   I am not just a photographer but a woodworker and many of my friends say many other things.  With my hobbies, professional life and personal attitude to try for the very best, I have come to several conclusions but first let me teach from my little knowledge.  If you are not raising those around you to greater heights and inspiring them to grow, succeed and chase their dreams you have not reached and touched what you could have. Now with my venture into woodworking when I was young I could only afford the very cheapest of tools and though I could deliver wonderful projects the precision and detail I desired seemed to somehow elude me.  As I aged and became able to afford better quality tools my work seemed to improve.  Some of the improvement was time and practice but a good portion was the improvement in tools, they made it simpler to achieve my goal.  I could use the lesser tools now and almost achieve what I do now but that would take 10 times as long and because lessor steel just does not ever cut like quality steel it would never be equal.  It is the same with photography, a new camera just might inspire us to create something beautiful or a new technology might make our goal easier to achieve.  I shoot Nikon, but Canon and the others make wonderful cameras and lenses.  So Nikon is for everyone.  The thing about it is without the other manufacturers Nikon would not be as good as it is.  It is the same with photographers, without us seeing others work how could we know if we are doing well and especially how could we improve, inspire and grow?  So now some conclusions.  I have also seen beautiful things done with simple instruments and tools but if you place a masters tool in a masters hand, we receive great beauty.  Could Ansel Adams have achieved the same with just a pinhole camera and only 35mm film, or do you think that Michael Angelo used thatch for his brushes? Now after all my musings I think the most important thing to say is: What could your next picture do?  Could it inspire world peace, or inspire the person who does?  Could it log the most significant historical event in history, or inspire you son or daughter to take that picture?  Could it brighten someone's day, or tell a story that touches millions. We will never know unless you get out your old cameras or buy the new camera that excites you into taking that very next picture, the most important picture of your life.

How is the silent shutter mode in this? I am curious to know because I envy the Canons clicking away at minimal noise when my D4 makes distracting noise in quiet mode too.

Don't ask. If you like canon, take a canon ! NIKON isn't for everyone :)

Oh, so Nikon is not for me? All this time I have used Nikon, beginning with an F3 circa 1980. So I need to rethink.

All I wanted to know was how quiet the quiet mode is!

Damnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn, I've only used Nikon since 1969.

Radu.. you are so smart... what a revelation !!!!

Good question

This came into my mind also. That's what I like the D810 for! I don't know about the D4s in this regard.

Good Morning,

I am a D4s owner and is not very 'quiet' in quiet mode.  The D750 has a unique shutter sound in normal mode; the quietest Nikon camera I've ever owned.

 We would need to wait for real world samples to be released before commenting on the performance of the camera.  At this time there is no way for us to know how loud the shutter mechanism might be on the D5.