Nikon D5 Performance


Timing and Performance

Excellent performance, with significant improvements over the D4S.

Startup/Play to Record

Power on
to first shot

~0.4 second

Time it takes for camera to turn on.

Play to Record,
first shot

~0.2 second

Time until first shot is captured.

Startup including taking a shot was fast though oddly a bit slower than the D4S's ~0.2 second. Play to Record and taking a shot was even faster, about the same as the D4S.

 

Shutter Response (Lag Time)
Optical Viewfinder

Full Autofocus
Single Point
(Center) AF

0.132 second

Time from fully pressing shutter button to image capture using optical viewfinder. All timing performed with a Nikkor AF-S 60mm f/2.8 Micro lens.

Manual focus

0.041 second

For most cameras, shutter lag is less in manual focus than autofocus, but usually not as fast as when the camera is "prefocused".

Prefocused

0.039 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button.

Live View

Prefocused

0.095 second

Time to capture, after half-pressing and holding shutter button in Live View mode.

In terms of the Nikon D5's ability to determine that it's properly focused when shooting the same target multiple times (with no change of focus setting between iteration, to remove the impact of lens AF speed), its speed was very good. The D5's AF shutter lag measured only 0.132 second using single-area (center) AF mode with a Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G Macro lens. The D4S took 0.204 second with the same lens, so a noticeable improvement here.

Manual focus lag was 41 milliseconds, a bit faster than the D4S's 44ms. When prefocused, shutter lag was only 39 milliseconds, which is very fast for a DSLR and once again improved over the D4S's 43ms.

When prefocused in Live View mode shutter lag was 95 milliseconds, much faster than the D4S's 239ms, but still more than twice as long as when using the optical viewfinder. We no longer test autofocus speeds during Live View mode for DSLRs, since it's very lens dependent.

To minimize the effect of different lens' focusing speed, we test AF-active shutter lag with the lens already set to the correct focal distance.

 

Cycle Time (shot to shot)

Single Shot mode
Optimal Quality JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Single Shot mode
RAW + L/F JPEG

< 0.3 second

Time per shot, averaged over a few frames (we no longer test for buffer depths in single-shot mode).

Early shutter
penalty?

No

Some cameras don't snap another shot if you release and press the shutter too quickly in Single Shot mode, making "No" the preferred answer.

Continuous High
Large Fine JPEG
(Optimal Quality)

0.08 second
(12.1 frames/sec);
200 frames total;
<1 second to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over buffer length of 200 shots. (Maximum programmable limit.)

Continuous High
14-bit RAW (Lossless Compressed)

0.08 second
(12.1 frames/sec);
183 frames total;
5 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 183 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.15s or 6.6 fps with a full buffer.

Continuous High
14-bit RAW (Lossless) + L/F JPEG

0.08 second
(12.1 frames/sec);
74 frames total;
7 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 74 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.17s or 6.0 fps with a full buffer.

Continuous High
Mirror Up
Large Fine JPEG
(Optimal Quality)

0.07 second
(14.1 frames/sec);
200 frames total;
3 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over set buffer length of 200 shots. (Maximum programmable limit.)

Continuous High
Mirror Up
14-bit RAW (Lossless Compressed)

0.07 second
(14.1 frames/sec);
121 frames total;
6 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 121 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.10s or 10.5 fps with a full buffer, but with a lot of variation.

Continuous High
Mirror Up
14-bit RAW (Lossless) + L/F JPEG

0.07 second
(14.1 frames/sec);
65 frames total;
8 seconds to clear*

Time per shot, averaged over 65 shot buffer, then slowed to an average of 0.19s or 5.9 fps with a full buffer with a lot of variation.

Flash recycling

N/A

Flash at maximum output.

*Note: Buffer clearing times measured with a Lexar Pro 2933x XQD 2.0 400MB/s flash card. Slower cards will produce correspondingly slower clearing times. Slow cards may also limit length of bursts in continuous mode. ISO sensitivity and noise reduction settings can also affect cycle times and burst mode performance.

Single-shot cycle times were so fast that they were difficult to accurately measure as they depend on the tester's dexterity and ability to maintain an optimum rhythm, so your results may vary. (Note that we no longer test single-shot mode with just RAW files, as the results are usually somewhere in between JPEG and RAW+JPEG.)

Continuous High burst mode has improved over the D4S. We measured the D5's at just over 12 frames per second, compared to just under 11 fps for the D4S, despite the increase in resolution. And with the mirror locked up (focus and exposure locked at the first frame), the Nikon D5 managed just over 14 frames per second at full resolution.

Buffer depths have also improved over its predecessor, however we don't have direct comparisons because we stopped testing the D4S at 50 frames, and we used different flash cards. With an incredibly fast Lexar Pro 2933x XQD 2.0 card rated at 400MB/s for writes, the D5 captured 200 best quality JPEGs in a continuous 12fps burst, which is the maximum programmable limit. When shooting 14-bit lossless compressed RAW files the buffer depth was 183 frames, and 74 frames for 14-bit lossless compressed RAW+JPEG files. In mirror lockup mode, buffer depths for RAW and RAW+JPEG files fell to 121 and 65 frames respectively, because of the faster 14.1 fps burst rate.

The Nikon D5 also offers uncompressed and lossy compression options for RAW files, as well as a 12-bit option. Small (5.2MP) and Medium (11.6MP) size RAW files are available as well, but only at 12 bits with lossless compression.

Buffer clearing was very fast given the burst speeds and buffer depths. When shooting best quality JPEGs, buffer clearing ranged from under one second (pretty much instantaneous) to 3 seconds after 200 frames. When shooting lossless compressed RAW or RAW+JPEG files, buffer clearing ranged from 5 to 8 seconds depending on the mode and file type in our tests.


Bottom line, as you'd expect from a flagship pro model, the Nikon D5 is very fast, with noticeably improved AF speed, shutter lag and burst mode performance over its predecessor.

Battery

Battery Life

Outstanding battery life.

Test Conditions
Number of Shots
Lithium-ion rechargeable battery,
(CIPA standard, Optical Viewfinder)
3,780
Lithium-ion rechargeable battery,
(CIPA standard, Live View LCD)
Unknown

The Nikon D5 uses a custom EN-EL18a 2500 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack for power, and comes with both a single battery and a dedicated dual battery charger. The CIPA rated 3,780 shots per charge using the optical viewfinder is outstanding for a pro SLR, but keep in mind the D5 does not have a built-in flash which is normally fired for 50% of shots when tested using the CIPA standard. Still, battery life is exceptional. Unfortunately, Nikon does not seem to publish battery life for Live View mode, but it's a safe bet that it's considerably shorter.

The table above shows the number of shots the camera is capable of on fully-charged battery, based on CIPA battery-life and/or manufacturer standard test conditions.

(Interested readers can find an English translation of the CIPA DC-002 standards document here. (180K PDF document))

 



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