Nikon D5 vs Nikon D4S Comparison Review


Nikon have just launched their new Nikon D5 DSLR camera and it’s undoubtedly their most impressive DSLR to date, but the question most users want answering is how does it compare to their previous flagship model - the Nikon D4S?

In this Nikon D5 review, we take an in-depth look at the main technical differences between the models and see what major improvements Nikon have introduced.

To go straight to our comparison table, please click here.


The 35.9 x 23.9 mm FX-format CMOS sensor on the Nikon D5 series has been completely redesigned and boasts outstanding ISO sensitivity and improved colour reproduction. At 20.8 MP (21.33 in total), it’s a definite step up from the 16.2MP sensor found on the Nikon D4S. Standard images on the D5 are at 5568 x 3712 pixels, with medium (11.6MP) and small (5.2MP) options also available.

The D4S uses a 91,000 pixel RGB metering sensor, but on the D5 this is increased to 180,000 pixels.

ISO sensitivity

One of the most impressive aspects of the Nikon D5 camera that immediately jumps out at anyone who views the technical specifications is its unbelievable ISO sensitivity. Where the D4S had a range from 100-25,600, extendable to 409,600, the D5 ranges from 100-102,400, extendable to 3,280,000. This means that the D5 can actually capture images beyond the scope of the human eye - essentially night-vision capability - and sets a new industry standard. Shooting subjects under moonlit conditions is now finally possible.


The Nikon D4S can capture full HD 1080p video at up to 60p and this feature is continued on the D5. A new attribute however is the addition of 4K UHD video capture at 3840 x 2160 at up to 30fps, as well as the ability to take 8 MP still images from the recorded footage. Furthermore, users can also capture time-lapse footage at 4K resolution.

Image processing engine

The Nikon D4S is based around the EXPEED 4 engine, but the D5 utilises the EXPEED 5 engine which makes the most of the new powerful sensor and captures vivid colours and ultra rich tones, even in extreme low-light conditions. In fact, the engine is so dedicated to capturing as much detail as possible, that Nikon have included a secondary processor, just for dealing with autofocus.


The D4S uses Nikon’s Multi-CAM 3500FX module and has 51 focus points (15 cross types) and is sensitive down to -2EV. The D5’s focusing is based around the new Multi-CAM 20K system and has 153 autofocus points, of which 99 are cross type. 55 are available for selection in total and of these, 35 are cross type, and the camera is now more sensitive in low-light conditions down to -4EV.

Detecting subjects at the frame periphery has been improved on the D5, and vertical shooting is more advanced than on the D4S.



One element that has decreased slightly on the newer Nikon D5 is the magnification of the viewfinder, which has been reduced from 0.72x on the D4S to 0.70x. In addition, the eyepoint is now at 17 mm, compared to the 18 mm found on the D4S.

LCD screen

The size of the screen is the same on both the D4S and the D5, remaining at 3.2 inches, but the resolution has increased from 921k dots to a staggering 2.36 million. Moreover, the D5 now features a high resolution XGA touchscreen, which according to Nikon is as responsive as those found on smart devices.

Burst shooting and depth

Where the D4S offers 11fps for AE / AF tracking, the D5 extends this to 12fps and 14fps mirror up. One high-speed burst will capture up to 200 NEF or large JPEGs, so it’s simple to photograph high-speed events without taking your finger off the button.

The buffer on the D4S can capture up to 104 14bit RAW files in one burst, but on the D5 this has increased to up to 200 14bit lossless RAW+JPEG files in a single burst with the use of an XQD card.

CF and XQD slots

On the D4S, CompactFlash or XQD cards can be used in one slot for each type but on the D5 two separate DSLR models are available, with dual slots for either CompactFlash or XQD.

Data transfer

USB data transfer on the D4S is achieved via a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 port at 480MB/second. On the D5, SuperSpeed USB 3.0 is incorporated with a Micro-B connector, with a transfer rate of up to 5GBit/second.

Ethernet connectivity is available on both the D4S and the D5, but transfer speeds on the newer model are up to 1.5 times faster.

Battery performance

Both models use the Nikon EN-EL18A battery, but due to the improved efficiency of the EXPEED 5 engine, 3,780 shots can be captured on the D5, compared to the 3,020 per charge found on the D4S.

Weight and dimensions

If you include the battery and XQD card, the D4S weighs in at 1,350g. By comparison, the XQD version of the D5 weighs 1,405g and the CompactFlash version weighs 1,415g. 
In terms of size, the D4s measures 132 x 101 x 78 mm and the D5 is 160 x 459 x 92 mm.

Our opinion

With the release of the D5, Nikon has truly taken digital SLR photography to the next level. The standout feature is perhaps its extraordinary ISO range, and the inclusion of 4K video is a welcome, if expected addition. The combination of the EXPEED 5 engine with the higher resolution sensor ensures some of the most stunning images achievable are easily within any professional photographer’s grasp.

Nikon D4S vs Nikon D5 specs comparison

Nikon D4S
Nikon D5
Metering sensor size
91,000 pixels
180,000 pixels
ISO sensitivity
100-25,600 > 409,600
100-102,400 > 3,280,000
Full HD 1080p video at 50/60p
4K - 3840 x 2160 at up to 30fps
Focus points
51 focus points, 15 cross types
193 focus points, 99 cross types
EVF magnification / eyepoint
0.72x / 18 mm
0.70x / 17 mm
LCD screen resolution
921k dots
2.36 million dots touchscreen
Burst shooting
12fps, 14fps mirror up
Burst depth
104 14bit RAW
200 14bit lossless RAW+JPEG
CF / XQD slots
1 slot for each type
Dual slots for either CF or XQD
Data transfer
Hi-Speed USB 2.0 - 480MB/s
SuperSpeed USB 3.0 - 5GBit/s
3,020 shots per charge
3,780 shots per charge
1,350g with battery & XQD card
XQD - 1,405g, CF - 1,415g
132 x 101 x 78 mm
160 x 459 92 mm

So, if you would like to find out more about the Nikon D5 digital SLR camera, please contact our expert staff on 01444 23 70 70 or email them at sales@parkcameras.com and they will be happy to advise and assist you.

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