Yesterday, January 5th 2016, Nikon has announced two new and amazing DLSR: the middle/high segment D500 and the professional D5.
They are packed with a lot of new technology, really interesting and significantly upgrade previous models, respectively D300s (after six years, I am happy that industry takes time to innovate and not just throw out new models every 6 months just to make your camera seem obsolete) and D4x.
Let's see most interesting points.
- it has a DX format (crop, not 35 mm / full-frame) CMOS sensor with 20.9 megapixels (luckily no more since smaller pixels in crop sensor mean loss of real resolution at small aperture shots for diffraction besides some more noise and less light dynamic range).
- new AF system (Multicam 20K) with great features:
- 153 focus points of which 99 are cross sensors (focus both on horizontal and vertical lines). Just be aware that only 55 points are manually selectable out of the 153 (not every website will tell you that).
- center point focus with low light as -4 EV! And this is combined with Nikon leading AF tracking technology.
- Also these focus points are spread along the entire width of the frame! No more problems in focusing or tracking objects that stay at the edge of the frame.
- A new auto AF tuning feature that promises to tune the AF used when shooting with the viewfinder (that is a phase detect system) for the center AF point using probably the AF on the sensor (the same used when shooting with Live View. Will be interested to test it, it might be aimed to improve accuracy of AF of DSLR that sometimes are less precise than AF on mirrorless where focusing on the sensor is more precise even if slower - the race between DLSR and mirrorless is quite interesting, in my opinion DLSR are struggling to survive in the medium term, mirrorless have more chance to win in the long term.
- metering with 180'000 pixels, impressive.
- burst rate of 10 frame per second with buffer for...200 RAW shots, this huge buffer is never seen so far on other cameras.
- 100% coverage of the optical viewfinder.
- Enhanced connectivity: besides wifi, the new camera will be able to use low power bluetooth (or also wifi) with new system "Snapbridge" to keep an always on connection with a smartphone so that images can be real-time transferred, watermarked, GPS-located... Amazing.
- Video feature: 4K/UHD recording (3840 x 2160) at 30/25/24 fps, even if it as progressive mode it is limited to 3 minutes. There is also the nowadays "normal" full-HD format with usual 30 minutes limit (imposed by taxes) but also at 60 fps. But there's more: it is able to create in-camera 4K timelapse, there is an uncompressed HDMI output (that works also with concurrent writing to the card) and for HD shooting (not for 4K) there is a new "electronic vibration reduction", so made by software and not by usual VR systems with gyroscopes in Nikon (and other brands) lenses.
- ISO range up to 51600, with expansion up to... 1.6 million ISO equivalent. Well, these numbers let me between amazed and doubtful, if anyone remembers when 1600 ISO in film was an extremely high sensitivity for very special condition.
- 3.2 inches LCD with touch-screen (Nikon has been behind Canon on this) and 2.4 million pixels. Funny that now rear LCD has the same resolution of digital cameras some years ago , the screen tilts - I think it's essential for shooting in non usual positions.
- Two media card slots, one SD and one XQD (no Compact Flash).
- Weight: 860 grams with XQD card.
The official announcement is available at this link. The new camera will be available from March 2016 with initial price of $2000 (I am not writing the exact price of $1999.95 since I don't like this tricks) for the body-only configuration, besides a bundle with a lens, also a new battery pack, expensive at 450 $, and a new wireless transmitter at $935 ill be available.
Why D500 and not D400 since it is an upgrade from D300s? Since it shares a lot of technology with the new pro camera: the D5. Let's see the main news on this one.
I will report here only the main difference with respect to D500:
- full frame sensor (35 mm) with 20.8 megapixels;
- burst rate of 12 fps (vs 10 fps of D500);
- ISO range up to 102400.
- weight: 1415 grams (with Compact Flash card).
Official announcement is at this link.
Finally, if you like a short interview with product manager of Nikon on these two new models right after the announcement at the CES 2016 fair, it is available at this link (by DPReview).