Ann

Discovering The Nikon D5

166 posts in this topic

I have only had my D5 for a few hours but my first impression is that, this camera is SWEET, SWEET, SWEET.

 

The balance and ergonomics are perfection
The AF is incredible: it can focus (admittedly with a f/1.4 on its snout) in a totally dark room where my eyes could barely see anything.
(However, the result of that experiment would only be useful if one needed to identify a burglar who was operating in that darkened room.)

 

The D5 seems to share certain characteristics with the D3S but with 75% more pixels, enormously expanded sensitivity providing one with the ability to operate under an extreme range of lighting conditions.

 

After VERY preliminary testing, it seems that my D5 is behaving in a similar manner to the D3S and the easy way to fix this is in the Custom menu and with the B7 settings.

 

Nikons have always tended to underexpose and that is because Nikon's mid-tone Grey is a 12% Grey not the traditional Kodak 18% Grey

 

Providing you are shooting RAW:
+0.6 EV appears to be a good choice for the Matrix exposure meter setting for general shooting conditions;
and for the Spot meter, I set it for +1.0 EV which is spot-on for the way in which I use a spot-reading.

 

This is how I set my D3S (and now the D5 as well).

 

By setting the meters in this way; shooting ETTR as far as I safely can; and then setting the Black point in subsequent processing: I am not pushing-up shadows in post-processing and I have found that Noise is minimized, banding eliminated, shadows don't block, and I usually have more than sufficient DR under almost all circumstances.

 

I haven’t processed any NEFs yet but have made some quick sun and shade xRite Colour Passport shots so I can now make some preliminary Camera Profiles for ACR.

 

I have set the in-camera Profiles to Neutral; and in ACR, if I didn't always use my own camera profiles, I would choose "Camera Neutral" as my starting CP and not Adobe Standard

 

I consider that the complaints about noisy shadows and insufficient DR (which I have seen voiced over the Internet (and particularly on DPR!) are mostly due to misuse of exposure settings and failure to ETTR sufficiently.

 

It is becoming rather clear to me that most of those measurbators on DPR don’t have a clue and some of them even are beginning to question their own methods of testing.

 

I still have a LOT more to learn about the operation of my D5 but so far it is exceeding all of my expectations (and those were pretty high to begin with!).

 

If the D500s are anything like this camera (and I am certain that they will be) people who opt for that model are going to be VERY happy campers.

 

Editorial note: please follow this article/thread as Ann will be adding her observations as she continues working with her D5. You can get instant or emailed notifications by clicking on the "Follow" button at the top of the piece.



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I consider that the complaints about noisy shadows and insufficient DR (which I have seen voiced over the Internet (and particularly on DPR!) are mostly due to misuse of exposure settings and failure to ETTR sufficiently.

 

It is becoming rather clear to me that most of those measurbators on DPR don’t have a clue and some of them even are beginning to question their own methods of testing.

 

 

Just as I predicted earlier - put the camera into the hands of people who actually know and understand what they're doing and in real life shooting the D5 will comprehensively prove that it does not have inferior DR to the two D series before it. The speed at which this nonsense DPR factoid has spread through the Net has been breathtaking indeed.

 

The D5 will comprehensively prove to be the best digital Nikon yet, Nikon wouldn't chance it any other way with their flagship.

 

Unfortunately the price of the beast in Australia will likely keep it out of the hands of many - at AU$8,550 or thereabouts it is perhaps out of reach of many who would love to have it, but with the photographic industry being the over-participated and competitive beast it is here these days, few will probably be able to justify that bottom line hit, particularly as the D4s was sold new at under AU$6,000.

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Just as I predicted earlier - put the camera into the hands of people who actually know and understand what they're doing and in real life shooting the D5 will comprehensively prove that it does not have inferior DR to the two D series before it. The speed at which this nonsense DPR factoid has spread through the Net has been breathtaking indeed.

 

 

One or two of the more knowledgable ones over at DPR  (like Iliah Borg and Marianne Oelund)  seem finally to have cottoned-on to the part that under-exposure plays in creating low-grade DR, bad colour and noisy NEFs.

 

The D5 seems to under-expose RAW nefs quite heavily unless you calibrate the Exposure meter settings correctly.

The in-camera Histogram was designed for JPGs and is useless as an indicator for correct exposures when shooting RAW.

 

This is a screen shot showing how a RAW Nef can open in ACR with NO adjustments to any Sliders at all — not even the WB — when you make a Custom Camera Profile for your own camera and use it instead of the canned Adobe Standard or Camera Profiles and calibrate the Exposure meter correctly.

 

I have put eye-droppers on all the grey-ramp patches: just look how close they all are to neutral with only a minute and easily adjusted preponderance towards blue which is consistent right across the range

 

The data is nicely centred on the ACR Histogram with no clipped shadows or highlights and I don't see anything to complain about in the clear clean colours; nor any lack of DR in this sample which was shot at base-level 100 ISO.

 

I used two shots to make this Dual-lighting Camera Profile: one with direct evening sunlight falling on the Passport; and the second with my body blocking the sunlight so that the Passport was lit only by the bluish open sky.

 

The procedure is to shoot the two shots as NEFs and then use Adobe DNG Converter to convert those to DNG.

 

Then you drop the two DNGs into the window of xRite's "ColorChecker Passport" software and, in just a few seconds it creates the combined Dual light-sources Profile and installs it in the correct Library on your computer.

 

Thereafter, you use that Custom Camera Profile in ACR or Lightroom when converting any images shot with that particular camera under similar lighting conditions.

 

I will be making Camera Profiles for my D5 for every odd-ball discontinuous spectrum light sources and mixed lighting-sources that I come across.

 

It does occur to me that it may not only be Nikons which under-expose when shooting RAW but digital cameras from other manufacturers could easily be doing the same thing.

 

Owners of those cameras might want to experiment along the same lines as I have done with the D5.

 

[FZ's software only shows the left half of this screen shot so please click on the image to see the whole thing.]

post-5806-0-76793500-1459473706_thumb.jp

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Ann,

 

It seems that, on first acquaintance, the D5 will live up to expectations! 

 

I am certain you will do great things with it; however, as to photographing the nocturnal burglar, it might be more effective if you swung the camera at his head!

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Ann, the advantage of your profiling and calibration procedures is that if they are unifornly applied to each camera in your photographic stable, then each camera should provide you with consistent and predicatable results - thereby accounting for sample variation between multiple examples of any given model of camera and likewise minimising the differences between different models of camera from the same  maker (and I guess to some extent even between cameras from different makers).

 

Obviously if the D5 has a higher DR than its predecessors, or any other special qualities, then these will show up independent of the commonalities that are accounted for in your profiling and calibrations.

 

Not many people on other sites seem to talk about this stuff.

Edited by Hugh_3170

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Thanks for the info Ann.

 

I would like to see what the D500 is capable of, as my D300 is getting close to end of life for me, I believe.  Like you said, if the D500 is even close to some of the capabilities of the D5 - I can see that being the next Nikon acquisition for me.

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As a follow-up to the Camera-Profiling issue, here is a screen shot showing a comparison between the output from two different Converters from the same NEF.

 

The left image shows a straight Conversion  to 16-bit Tiff made by Nikon's own Capture NX-D Converter v.1.4.0

and the one on the right is a 16-bit PSD that was converted in ACR 9.5 using my own "Sun & Shade" Camera Profile (which was created with xRite's ColorChecker Passport software).

 

Both are absolutely non-adjusted conversions: no Slider adjustments of any sort were used in either case.

 

post-5806-0-68186900-1459529449_thumb.jp

 

[Please Click on image to see its full width]

 

I think that this comparison shows exactly why we should never rely on images which purport to show the quality of any camera based on a conversion from an original RAW file; and why most of the examples that are currently being posted on various popular web sites in connection with the new D5 tell us very little about the real performance and capabilities of that camera.

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Watching this thread very closely, thanks Ann for the info you have shared thus far.

 

I'm amazed by the response to characteristics of this camera by many so called experts on DP Review,

I've no PhD(or similar) but my basic understanding of how sensors in modern digital cameras work allows me to get fantastic results from all of Nikon's recent cameras that I've owned or used, quite why people are surprised when a new camera still adheres to the fundamental basics is beyond me.

 

So called experts should not be surprised or consider it a revelation when under exposing still produces 

less than ideal results. 

I have to wonder how many of these people actually use cameras, or are capable of using them to their potential.

 

Thankfully Ann I know you will absolutely get the best from your new D5, please keep us

up to speed with your findings.

 

tony.

Edited by wildoat

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And getting the best possible result from the camera, also means getting the best result from the (often expensive) lenses we attach to our cameras.

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I have finally set my options for all of the menu settings — and there are dozens of choices and more configurable buttons than we have ever had before.

 

Some of the functions which are new to me (coming from a D3S) and are delighting me; will already be familiar to those who have a D4S; but there some entirely new features in the D5 too.

 

Some button-positions have been changed and the move of the Mode button to the left-side cluster on the top of the D5 is the one which is most noticeable. If you want to change Mode with your right hand, just use one of the programmable buttons such as the Movie-Record  button as an additional Mode Button.

 

A Manual/Autofocus switch is on the front of the camera. When it is in the AF position, you can depress it and use the Sub-Command Dial to change your AF Area settings.

 

There are now three programmable function Buttons in the finger-groove besides the Landscape-view Grip. You can distinguish  between them by touch because their tops have either convex or concave profiles.

 

The top one is labelled Pv and I have mine set for Previewing stopped-down DOF for my selected aperture.

 

Middle Button is Fn1: I have programmed this to go to the Top Item in my Custom Menu where it immediately switches Virtual Horizon on in the rear LED panel. This VH shows both horizontal and vertical Tilts and works in both portrait and landscape positions.

 

Bottom button is Fn2: Mine switches a Horizon tool in the Viewfinder on and off: Two lines of illuminated squares (like the focus points) indicate if you are tilting the horizon to the left or right.

 

An ISO button (close to the Release button) is used to set ISO.

When it is depressed, you can use the Main-Command Dial to set a fixed ISO; or the Sub-Command Dial to switch to Auto ISO.

 

Another helpful addition to the Release Mode Dial (under left-side cluster on the top of the D5) is a position for Quick Release Mode Selection.

With that selected, you can then press the Quick Release Mode button on the back of the camera and

use the main Command Dial to cycle between the various Release modes. The selected mode is displayed in the LED.

 

There is also a Fn3 button on the rear of the D5. It is primarily meant for network functions but can also be used as a Voice Memo Button which is how I am using mine.

 

These are just a very few of the ways in which you can customise the various control buttons and dials on a D5 to suit your personal needs.

 

The Menus on the D5 are extremely complex and offer an enormous number of choices so some guidance to the various functions will be needed by most people.

 

Although this information is all included in the "D5 Users Manual", Nikon have also posted a "D5 Menus Guide" which is downloadable as a PDF. Both the Menu Guide, and a PDF version of the main Users Manual can be downloaded from here:

 

http://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/products/320/D5.html

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Nikon have at last given us decently-spaced Bracketing:

 

Up to 9 Frames and steps of 0.3, 0.7, 1.0 EV (as before) …

 

but we now also can choose up to 5 Frames with intervals of  2.0, and 3.0 EV as well.

 

Having to shoot seven frames to get a sufficient range of exposure for the 3 frames needed for an HDR always seemed to be an unnecessary waste of time and storage-space.

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SILENT Shutter Mode:

 

And that means completely SILENT!

 

The D5 still provides Quiet Mode (which works under regular view-finder shooting and dampens the sound by splitting it into two parts), but if you flip into Live View, you can choose to use the electronic Silent Shutter although you need to hold the camera at arms' length to do it.

 

Useful for Weddings, Theatre, Classical Music Concerts and surreptitious shots in places like certain museums which don't permit photography.

 

Just be sure that you are not shooting in CH mode because you could find you have shot bursts of a dozen exposures which you were totally unaware that you were shooting.

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From the Manual:

 

"For Your Safety:"

 

post-5806-0-27364400-1459567288_thumb.pn

 

 

I am being VERY careful to follow that advice.

 

:thankyou:

 

 

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Come on, show us some pics! You're being a tease. ;-)

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Patience, patience … I have to learn how to drive her first!

 

I really do read right through a Manual, and physically identify and try out every feature, on any equipment; before I start to use it. Always.

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The last person on earth who actually reads manuals. Great to know you. I will tell my grandchildren!!! :rofl:

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Come on, show us some pics! You're being a tease. ;-)

++10,000,000,000,000,000,000,

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SILENT Shutter Mode:

 

And that means completely SILENT!....

about time , let's see how long it takes to get that to models I may consider buying 

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Pictures next week!

 

I don't have a cat !

 

I would only want to post photographs that have interesting content: not just a series of shots of my messy table with all my testing paraphernalia and camera gear strewn across it.

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We see a train ride in your near future that will lead you to the MOMA or the Guggenheim or Times Square at midnight. ;) 

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 Testing the Auto-Focussing:

 

I put the 24-20 mm Nikkor on the D5;

 

Set AF to use "Group Area mode" (which is somewhat like using single point but is a small cluster of points);

 

Release Mode was CL at 6 frames per sec.;

 

Camera was hand-held and I gunned the shutter for 20 frames while simultaneously zooming the lens from 24mm to 70mm.

 

The D5 maintained focus through every frame but I have just picked four of the series which is enough to show how this worked:

 

[Please note that the spotty background is not due to a dirty sensor but is an excellent example of a kitchen window in serious need of some Windex.]

 

post-5806-0-89021100-1459645503_thumb.jp

 

post-5806-0-37690100-1459645505_thumb.jp

 

post-5806-0-49843700-1459645506_thumb.jp

 

post-5806-0-60419200-1459645507_thumb.jp

 

"Group Area AF" looks very promising for wild-life photography.

 

 

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Patience is indeed required. :D

 

However Ann, your images will be well worth the wait  -  unlike some D5 images from those that just rush in and start shooting - as seen on certain other sites.  These images remind me of  Pepe's tiger - just spraying around and marking territory!   :crazy:

 

 

 

Patience, patience … I have to learn how to drive her first!

 

I really do read right through a Manual, and physically identify and try out every feature, on any equipment; before I start to use it. Always.

Edited by Hugh_3170
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That is impressive performance.

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unlike some D5 images from those that just rush in and start shooting - as seen on certain other sites.  Those images remind me of  Pepe's tiger - just spraying around and marking territory!

 

Classic!

:rofl:   :D

 

I shall be remembering that remark every time that I visit that  "other" Site!

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Brackets: the hardware variety:

 

Really Right Stuff are developing a new L-Bracket for the D5 but it is not yet ready to ship.

 

Meanwhile I can use  my D3 version on the D5 although it does block the use of some of the network connection ports but, fortunately, not the opening of the battery compartment.

 

I don't know (and can't test) any of the L-brackets from other manufacturers but they probably will need to address the same issues.

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