Nikon D5 and D810 are two professional DSLR cameras. They use a full frame sensor. Quick question, which camera you should buy?

It takes a long enough analysis to answer this question. Both Nikon D5 and D810 have a full frame sensor, but there are many other aspects you need to consider before taking a decision which camera you eventually buy. Particularly because there is a significant enough different the matter of price. Nikon D5 is way more expensive than D810.

D5 itself is a flagship full frame DSLR from Nikon. It replaces the D4S and was announced by Nikon in January 2016. Nikon D5 is a DSLR camera that has a large body. This camera is widely by professional photographers to document sport events. Two of the advantages of Nikon D5 compared to other professional DSLR cameras from Nikon is that it has more autofocus points and an extremely higher ISO range.

Meanwhile, D810 was announced by Nikon in June 2014 to replace D800. The table below shows the specs comparison between Nikon D5 and D810.

Specs comparison: Nikon D5 vs Nikon D810

 Nikon D5Nikon D810
AnnouncedJanuary 2016 June 2014
Sensor20.8-Mpix full-frame CMOS36.37-Mpix full-frame CMOS
DxOMark score8897
Color filter arrayRGBRGB
Resolution5584 x 37287380 x 4928
ISO50 - 328000064 - 51200
Fastest - Slowest speed (s)1/8000 - 30.01/8000 - 30.0
Frame rate (fps)145
Mount typeNikon F FXNikon F FX
Weight1415 g980 g
Battery typeLi-Ion, EN-EL18a, 10.8V, 2500mAh, 27WhLi-ion, EN-EL15, 7V, 1900mAh
Number of autofocus points15351
Autofocus modesAutofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); Continuous-servo AF (AF-C); auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A)Auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A) Continuous-servo (AF-C)
StorageCF (Type I, compliant with UDMA), XQD Type MemoryCompactFlash (CF) (Type I, compliant with UDMA) SD SDHC SDXC
Image formatJPEG, RAW (NEF)JPEG, RAW (NEF)
Other featuresLive view, dust cleaning, tropicalization, mirror lockup, touch screen, exposure bracketing, WB bracketing, USB, ethernet, sound recording, external micro, histogram, GPS, live autofocusLivew view, dust cleaning, tropicalization, mirror lockup, exposure bracketing, WB bracketing, HDMI, USB 3.0, sound recording, external micro, histogram, live autofocus
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Compared to its predecessor (Nikon D4S), Nikon D5 comes with some new improvements. Some of which are new image sensor, new image processor, improved ergonomics and extented ISO range. In addition, Nikon D5 also comes with an improved auto focus mode.

Same as Nikon D5, Nikon D810 also offers some things compared to its predecessor D800, including increased frame rate, improved autofocus, extented battery life and doubled buffer size. In addition, Nikon D810 also offers an Expeed processor with noise reduction with claimed 1 stop noise improvement.

Nikon D5 is used by many sport photographers since its specs are indeed great to handle this sort of photography need. Probably it’s the best DSLR camera from Nikon for a sport photography. All sport photographers must be tempted to see a full frame DSLR camera that offers 153 autofocus points and 14.0 frame rates. Not to mention the extremely high ISO range which makes you be more flexible to use an extremely fast shutter speed. Nikon D5 offers the ISO range of 50 – 3280000.

Nikon D810 is actually not so bad for a sport photography. It offers the autofocus points of 51 and frame rates of 5.0 with the ISO range of 64 – 51200. But compared to Nikon D5, Nikon D810 is far behind. Both Nikon D5 and D810 offer the same shutter speed range of 1/8000 – 30.0.

Nikon D5

 

Nikon D810

 

 

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Other than technical photography aspects (ISO range, autofocus points, etc), you will also see a significant enough difference between Nikon D5 and D810 on the display section. The screen of Nikon D5 is way sharper in previewing the photos you took thanks to its super tight pixel density. The screen of D5 has pixel density of 2359000 dots, compared to 1229000 dots belong to Nikon D810. Another difference is that the screen of Nikon D5 supports touch operation while the screen of Nikon D810 doesn’t support the same functionality.

Despite its large sensor, Nikon D810 doesn’t have the capability of recording 4K videos. The maximum video resolution this camera capable of recording is 1920 x 1080 with the frame rate of 60 fps. Meanwhile, Nikon D5 is capable of recording recording 4K videos (3840 x 2160) although it has smaller frame rates, 30 fps. Nikon D5 has a large body because it comes with dual memory card slots. Both Nikon D5 and D810 have a long battery life. On a single charge, the battery of these cameras is capable of firing up the camera to take more than 1,000 photos. The battery of Nikon D5, however, is way longer than D810’s. On a single charge, the battery of Nikon D5 can fire up the camera to take up to 3,780 photos while the battery of Nikon D810 is only capable of taking about 1,200 per charging. Other features like exposure bracketing, white balance bracketing, live view and histogram are available on both Nikon D5 and D810.

Sensor comparison: Nikon D5 vs Nikon D810

Sensor is one of the most vital components on digital cameras. This is one of the determinants of the image quality generated by a camera. The larger the size of sensor, the better image quality generated by the associated camera. A large sensor has a better low-light sensitivity and richer color-depth. Nikon D5 and D810 are full frame DSLR cameras so they have a large sensor. Take a look at the image we have created below to compare the sensor size of Nikon D5 and Nikon D810.

As you can see on the image above, the sensor of Nikon D810 is actually slightly larger than the sensor of Nikon D5. In addition, the sensor of Nikon D5 also has a higher resolution. As a result, the maximum image resolution generated by Nikon D810 is higher than D5. The sensor of Nikon D810 has the resolution of 36 MP while the sensor of Nikon D5 has the resolution of only 20 MP.

Body comparison: Nikon D5 vs Nikon D810

One of the significant differences between Nikon D5 and Nikon D810 is the body dimension. Nikon D5 has an extremely large body. A full frame DSLR camera that has an equivalent body size to Nikon D5 is Canon 1D X Mark II. The difference between the body size of Nikon D5 and D810 is about 29 percent. While for the weight, Nikon D5 is about 31 percent heavier than D810.

Photo results comparison: Nikon D5 vs Nikon D810

You know that Nikon D5 and D810 have a large sensor and advanced enough specs. After you have analyzed the specs and features offered by these two cameras, chances are you have a big question on your mind “what kind of photos these two cameras capable of generating?”

Well, sensor of a digital camera determines the end results of photos taken using the associated camera. But, it is not the only determinant. There are also other aspects determining the image quality generated by a camera, including the used lens and applied settings. We have selected some of the examples of photos taken using both Nikon D5 and D810 from Pixabay. To allow you identifying the used lens type as well as the applied settings, we have also added the EXIF data of each photo.

  • Nikon D5
  • Nikon D810

Conclusion

Both Nikon D5 and D810 are professional-grade full frame DSLR cameras. Thanks to the large sensor they have, these cameras can be used to handle nearly all sorts of photography needs. However, for a professional sport photography, Nikon D5 is way better than D810. Nikon D5 is probably the best DSLR camera from Nikon for sport photography. It’s particularly a great for photographing sports like football and race.

For other photography needs like wildlife photography, travel photography, landscape photography and so on, these two cameras are relatively equivalent. Just tailor the lens according to your needs.

Given that there is a significant different in terms of price between these two cameras, you need to be wise before making a choice. Making sure your need is the key to choose the best suited camera. If you really need a camera to take the pictures of moving objects with an extremely fast movement then Nikon D5 is the choice. Conversely, you don’t need to waste your money for the photoshoots that can be handled by Nikon D810.

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