Nikon Announces Their New Flagship FX and DX Cameras, the D5 and D500, Plus Accessories

Nikon Announces Their New Flagship FX and DX Cameras, the D5 and D500, Plus Accessories

2016 is going to be an exciting year for gear-lovers. Both Canon and Nikon will be updating multiple camera bodies and lenses, while Sony, Fujifilm, and Pentax are all continuing their charge against the big two. Today, Nikon kicked off the new year with the announcement of their new flagship cameras, the D5 and D500.

Nikon D5

​Those of you who need the ultimate in AF performance, fast shooting, and low-light performance need not look any further. The Nikon D5 has arrived, and even I, as a Canon shooter, have to admit that some of these specs have my interest quite piqued. Check them out:

  • Two body options: One variant will use dual XQD cards (1,405 g/49.5 oz.), while the other will use traditional dual CF cards (1,415 g/49.9 oz.)
  • A new 20.8 MP CMOS sensor, as opposed to the previous 16 MP on the D4S
  • EXPEED 5 Processing System
  • 4K video with built-in time-lapse function and uncompressed HDMI out
  • 153 AF points (99 cross-type), with 15 f/8-enabled points (55 (35 cross-type) points are selectable by the photographer)
  • Focusing at EV -4
  • 12 fps continuous shooting with full AF/AE tracking
  • 14 fps continuous shooting with mirror lockup and fixed AF/AE
  • Buffer of up to 200 frames of raw files
  • High ISO of 102,400
  • Extended ISO of 3,280,000
  • 3.2-inch, 2.36 million dots LCD touchscreen
  • USB 3.0​
  • Weather-sealed

I'm particularly struck by the vastly upgraded AF system (triple the points of the D4S), the almost limitless buffer, the extended ISO of over 3 million, and the inclusion of a touchscreen. Clearly, Nikon set out to create a no-compromise camera. Expect the D5 to be available in March 2016 at an MSRP of $6,499.95.

Nikon D500

Those who shoot the DX system, Nikon's APS-C format, will be pleased to know that Nikon also introduced its new flagship DX camera, the D500. It has quite the impressive spec list itself:

  • Dual XQD and SD card slots
  • A new 20.9 MP CMOS sensor
  • EXPEED 5 Processing System
  • 4K video with built-in time-lapse function and uncompressed HDMI out
  • 3-axis electronic VR feature for 1080p video
  • 153 AF points (99 cross-type), with 15 f/8-enabled points
  • 10 fps continuous shooting with full AF/AE tracking
  • Buffer of up to 79 frames of raw files
  • High ISO of 51,200
  • Extended ISO of 1,640,000
  • 3.2-inch, 2.36 million dots LCD tiliting touchscreen
  • SnapBridge sharing technology to allow easy transfer of photos to smartphones and other connected devices
  • Weather-sealed

Expect the D500 to be available in March 2016 at an MSRP of $1,999.95.

Nikon SB-5000 Speedlight

Nikon also announced a new flagship speedlight, the SB-5000, the first Nikon speedlight with RF capabilities. It features a 30-meter (98-foot) range, and when paired with the WR-R10 transmitter, it can control up to six groups or 18 speedlights. With a new cooling system, the SB-5000 can fire continuously for up to 120 shots at five-second intervals. It also features an updated interface and controls, with a tilt range of -7° to 90° and full 180° horizontal rotation. Expect it to be available in March at an MSRP of $599.95.

Nikon WT-6A Wireless Transmitter

Lastly, Nikon has also announced the WT-6A Wireless Transmitter for use with the D5. Offering file transfer speeds of up to 130 mbps via the 802.11ac standard, the transmitter has a range of approximately 656 ft. and when in HTTP mode, also offers wireless camera controls, Live View shooting, and HD recording controls. Expect it to be available in March 2016 at an MSRP of $749.95.

More Images

Nikon D5

Nikon D500


Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Oh yeah, DSLR is sooo much dead, mirrorless guys kept saying.... :D

That's because it is dead...more warmed over tech when they should be building something completely new.

I do like the USB 3, Clean HDMI out and 4K video though...

You have it wrong. Mirrorless is dead. After 15 minutes of battery use, that is!

I know you are just joking but it totally cracked me up. :)


Anyone want to buy a 7d2?

How much ?

$1100 gripped with extra battery

With such ISO's, there'll now be an entire cottage industry making scrims to block the harsh moonlight

Dear Nikon, I hate you. Please replace my D800. Sincerely, #switchingtosony.

They already did haha

The D810? It was an improvement to the D800 in absolutely every single way. Night and day. I argued they should have called it the D850 because it was such a massive jump up.

AND Nikon recently offered to overhaul my D800 for free because it was a nearly serial number that suffered from the left AF point issue.

You sound like a Nikon sales rep at a trade show. I argue that the D810's name is apt; they added 1/80th of what they should've. You can't tell me putting a new processing engine in the same camera is an upgrade when Canon and Sony are out here doubling resolution and boosting dynamic range of already industry leading models. There are zero significant improvements that should make a D800 user upgrade so laterally. We shouldn't be excited about the same camera but faster, we should be asking for a better camera.

I don't work for Nikon. I'm just someone who makes my living with their cameras and from someone who owns both, they're totally different in real-world usage, I'm not how you can say there were no significant upgrades. It was enough to noticeably improve my workflow and the speed and quality of my work.

-The AF is far more advanced, faster, and has more features (group AF is awesome).
-Redesigned body with better/deeper grip.
-The shutter was totally redesigned and is insanely quiet.
-It's actually got a different sensor (slightly different pixel resolution) than the D800 with better ISO performance and expanded in both directions.
-25% faster max shooting speed.
-Live view is instantaneous and actually works. On the D800 it was flat-out broken for use with people because of how slow long the blackout was.
-Higher resolution screen
-New viewfinder and OLED heads-up display
-33% more shots per battery charge
-A lot of video upgrades, but I don't shoot video.

The D810 didn't HAVE to double resolution and dynamic range because the D800 had already done that. The D810 was the highest resolution camera on the market at the time, only besting its predecessor... and the a7R, which was essentially just a slightly tweaked D800 sensor itself. And putting "Canon" and "dynamic range" in the same sentence? Now I know you're just trolling. Canon's newest cameras don't hold a flame to even Nikon's bodies from two generations ago in DR.

Of course it's not perfect. But it's not missing anything Nikon refuses to add to any of their pro bodies. Still no flippy screen, and no U1/U2 user banks. I'd also love to see in-camera multiple exposure overlay and a firmware program like Magic Lantern. And overall *all* DSLRs suffer from a lack of serious innovation and competition.

The D810 the best overall general-purpose DSLR on the market. Period.

As a D810 user, I'm sorry but the camera itself is really impressive. I know when it was released it looked like a minor upgrade. But it seems it was more than that.

Nikon gave me the opportunity to try the D800 before, and I just didn't enjoy it. When the D810 was released, Nikon lend me one and tested it during my travel to Italy. Just after I came back, I bought one for myself!

Yea, I sent mine in too, came back worse :(
some bracket inside wasn't even clipped in correctly and was a horrible distraction when shooting as well as my fine tune is at +20 now and not even sharp :\
**Sigh** sending it back today, another 3-4 weeks without my D800.

Wonder if they'd give me a deal for a D810 swap??

That sucks. I've sent two bodies into Nikon for free service and both came back awesome. I'm sure they'll take care of you this time.

If you can get a great price on a D810, I'd do it. Despite what Josh says above, it's a big jump up from the D800 in handling.

Just what I need in case I get sucked into a black hole.


D500?!!! WHAT?!!!!

SO many questions; Does the D500 have an AA filter? Does it have a Toshiba sensor like the D7xxx series or a Sony sensor? Max shutter 1/8000? Max sync? Magnesium body throughout, or just top and back like the D7100? New battery format, or will they take our EN-EL15s?...

EN-EL15 like everything else in the recent lineup (except D-x bodies) No AA Filter, same buffer and processing specs as D5, 1/8000, $2000

Sooo, after the press conference I was thinking, who want's to buy a bag of Canon gear....? :D

me, do you have a 11-24mm f4L for sale?

Nope, but we've got 14-24 f/2.8s over here on the dark side.

Yay 4K!

I hear unfortunately it's a 2x crop, on both bodies if I'm not mistaken.

Aside from being cropped doesn't this camera only film up to a maximum of 3 minutes at a time?

If this is true for the D5 seriously WHY?! lol

from nikon : Movie Maximum recording time 3 minutes at high quality only for 4K UHD 3840 x 2160/24/25/30p recording .so it's true.

For the love of god... Nikon why are you even a company :P.

3 Min if you are writing directly to the card, unlimited if you are using an external recorder/monitor like Atmos

That's simply not good enough, at this price it's not good enough at all.

I believe this is a limitation of the FAT32 filesystem that is used on the memory cards. FAT32 will only allow files up to 4GB in size. A 4k video that's 3 minutes long is about 4GB.

That's not's the way the camera is built. Weather sealing tends to retain more heat in a camera and when you combine that with a FF sensor this thing will overheat with continuous use. Canon made the same observation as to why they haven't implemented it yet.

Part of me thinks that might be true. But, I also read that you can go past the 3 minute limit when using an external recorder.

You can but your $6500 camera just costs you $8000 if you are adding an external recorder such as a Ninja.

Understood, but off topic when it comes to the technical reasons behind the 3 minute limit.

but Nathan...there is no technical reason. It's the laws of physics. The same design that makes the camera so solid and weather sealed prevents heats dissipation. The three minute limit was as reliable as the could get. It's a crutch for a real problem...that others have solved various ways.

then how did Canon bypass physics years ago with the weather sealed 1DC and longer than 3 minute 4k?

The 3 minute limit is not there when recording to external recorder. So, are you saying that enormous amounts of heat are being generated by writing to internal SD, and therefore they must use a 3 minute limit to avoid overheating?

Ok so I buy a $7K camera and turn around and buy a $2K Atmos just to get around something the manufacturer should have worked out for that kind of money?

Would rather buy a Sony A7SII. Also the 1Dc is a video centric camera and it's still not worth the money either.

All things being equal it's better to get the D500...similar specs, less money etc.

The 1Dc is almost 4 years old and was the first camera able to shoot 4K internal video and blazing fast sports and wildlife.
Any comparisons to a camera that old is trite.

If you are in the market for a D5 then you can easily afford another backup stills/primary video camera.

Nikon has confirmed the 3 minute max 4K recording time limit is due to Fat32 restriction, it doesn't have to do with overheating. You can record continuously to an external device or multiple 3 min clips to the card.

Can they be reformatted?

Your camera will format the memory card and you get the filesystem that your camera says that you will get. There's no choice in the matter, unfortunately.

Other cameras have gotten around this limit by automatically creating as many 4GB files as needed while you're recording. So, for example, you can record an uninterrupted 20 minute movie, and on the memory card you'll see four files at 4GB each.

I would think that Nikon would technically be able to do this as well. Unless there really is some sort of overheating issue when writing to internal SD when compared to writing to external recorder.

Thank you Nathan that was very helpful, appreciate it.

Technically, your camera may not [actually] format the card, this is to say that a literal format of the card may not be done by your camera automatically (none of my cameras do). In a lot of cases, cameras simply write to the card; however, even if your camera doesn't specifically do an actual format, it most likely will offer to format it. The most simplistic answer for that reasoning is the camera simply ensures the proper directory structure is in place. FAT32 simply can't read more than 4GB of data, period, and I highly doubt it has anything to do with heat whatsoever. As Nathan correctly points out, other cameras work around is to create multiple files that max out at 4GB. This is the ideal workaround and I can't speak to why that software isn't available in cameras. Also, " get the filesystem that your camera says that you will get", is correct literally, but the spirit of that statement really means, "you're getting what the data storage industry says that you will get."

However, reformatting isn't really an option either. While there are a plethora of potential formats it could be reformatted to, NTFS would be the most reasonable, and even so, it's not ideal. The reason is because NTFS is transactional in nature. Simply put, that's going to put a lot of wear and tear on both the card and the software in the camera. Most cards would need to be built stronger or reduced in price to account for their diminished longevity.

Pretending the camera could write to an NTFS formatted disc though, the software in camera needs extra processing power to handle the increased work of an NTFS format, THAT could potentially lead to a heating issue whereby the processor is getting hotter just from working harder.

One last thing, writing to off camera storage devices is not an issue because either A) the drive is formatted in something like NTFS and any modern computer is gonna play nice, B) the drive is an SSD; fine, but it's more reliable and built to withstand more write cycles that won't wear out the memory cells.

if you are shooting 4K you'll quickly realise that you need to change your mindset about recording everything. this is a good thing, it's back to the old days where you have to think about what you are capturing rather than just everything. 4K footage is big, you will fill up those cards quickly. I've been filming 4K in a 1DC since it was released and it has really improved my craft. at no point have I ever recorded over 2 minutes. peeps need to be realistic about 4K footage and presentation medium.

So I buy a $6500 camera and change the way I shoot to accommodate it?

I have to disagree Nigel by that logic we should all revert back to film. I do see your point, however it's not one I can agree with because I think technology improves so we can have more or better choices. With this camera you're paying more for a limitation, it's not a good thing, it's not an advantage.

Simply put it is about picking the right tool for Job. If your focus is on capturing stills especially sports, action, and news events the D5 is the camera especially in low light. If my focus is Video especially long takes and needing good audio then I am using Panasonic AG-HPX370.

Nikon has a strong tradition of focusing on still images first then video. Remember Nikon was the first to introduce low noise high ISO sensors, even through at the time they sacrificed megapixels.

It is like trying to argue which is better a phillips screwdriver or a flathead.

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