Have you ever looked at a technology and just laughed. Laughed because it was so ridiculously good that it changed what you could do. Well covering the NASL Whitecaps game the other night with a D5 and a D500 was just one of those times.

Nikon D5 at 3200 ISO

Typically at the poorly lit BC Place Stadium in Vancouver I will shoot 1600ISO+ (1/500th at f2.8), but with new Nikon D5 and Nikon D500 in my hands, I was able to shoot ISO’s up to 6400 and get the same image quality results.

What had me chuckling to myself was that I could shoot shutter speeds up to shoot at 1/4000th of a second (at f/2.8) in most cases with the Nikon D5 and up to 1/2000th of a second ( at f/2.8) with the Nikon D500. People who see me covering sporting events know that I have a pretty low threshold when it comes to “noise” in High ISO images but when I saw what the new Nikon camera can do that threshold got moved up.

The gallery below is a real world test of the ISO capabilities of the Nikon D5 and Nikon D500 and were processed out in Photoshop Lightroom for a client. There was no special magic in the Lightroom processing, and output sharpening was applied to display here on the web. The file names in the gallery show the Camera and ISO information.

The sharpness of the Nikon D5 at 12,800 ISO

During the warm up for the game, I shot the photo of one of the players hair at 12,800 on the Nikon D5 (file number NIKON D5-12800-ISO-DSC_0075 in the gallery) and saw on the cameras LCD the sharpness and color retained I started to laugh.

The Big Surprise came from the 3D Autofocus. Nikon has made some improvements in the AF settings and performance of the Nikon D5 and Nikon D500, and the settings have become more sophisticated and accurate. I shot most of the game Wednesday night with the recommended settings by Nikon (AF-C, D-25, Blocked Response 2, Standby Timer 1 Min, Focus and Release, A7 – Store by Orientation) and you can skip the manual and go to Nikon’s D5 Tec Solutions for AF, and they worked great.

But having watched the 3D-AF Tracking mature ever since it was introduced in Nikon Cameras in 2007 I decided to give it a try o the Nikon D5, and was it had me laughing once again. I shot about half the game in 3D-AF, and it hit the mark most times. I have a couple of still photo sequences processed as videos below shot on the Nikon D5 at 12 fps and 3D-AF. While the High ISO is a big selling point in the Nikon D5 and D500 the AF performance is also improved in performance and accuracy to the point that further experimentation in different situations is needed.

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