Nikon D5 High ISO test and first impressions

In Photo Tips by Matt Shetzer

So the new Nikon D5 arrived last week, and I got to shoot it a little this weekend. (High ISO Samples below)


I’m only interested in wildlife results (not tests images of wine bottles, etc) as I’m a wildlife photographer. I went out to a local Bald Eagle nest and found a subject to test the ISO settings and new auto-focus system.


The combo I shot was a Nikon D5 with a 600mm + 1.4tc and really harsh light. The only noise reduction is what was done by the camera setting in the High ISO Noise reduction as this was set to normal. No post processing was done except I cropped the images and saved them as JPG 80% for the web. Keep in mind, this is not a scientific test where I’m locking down everything in the environment. The light is changing, and I’m out of the sweet spot of the lens due to all the light the high ISO is providing (not to mention the teleconverter). I’m just going out and seeing what the camera will do with real life targets in the field for subjects that I will be using the camera for.


I took it all the way to ISO 16,000.


As for the auto focus, I was very impressed with it. It was extremely snappy even with the 1.4tc on (which normally I can’t stand have one on), and it did not hunt or fine tune at all. More time will tell, but my initial impression was the auto-focus was excellent.


The next month I’ve got 4 hummingbirds workshops, so I’ll have a lot of fast moving subjects to experiment with the different and new auto-focus settings. What better than fast moving small birds to test auto-focus.


Here are the ISO samples.

Nikon D5 Test Image

Nikon D5 at ISO 3,200

Nikon D5 Test Image

Nikon D5 at ISO 4,000

Nikon D5 Test Image

Nikon D5 at ISO 5,000

Nikon D5 Test Image

Nikon D5 at ISO 8,000

Nikon D5 Test Image

Nikon D5 at ISO 10,000

Nikon D5 Test Image

Nikon D5 at ISO 12,800

Nikon D5 Test Imageh

Nikon D5 at ISO 16,000