March 26th

Hey, Nikon heard me (and others)! The i button can be used to generate star ratings on images you’re reviewing on the camera, and those ratings appear to carry over to Photo Mechanic and Lightroom just fine. Which means we sports photographers can chimp away between plays and get some images we want to transfer to the services ready for our mad rush at the computers during halftime. As I’ve been writing for most of a decade now, workflow improvements are the ones I want to see most these days. This new ability to rate an image is a small but very useful one.

Autofocus sensors: Nikon giveth and Nikon taketh. We asked for wider autofocus areas, especially for the FX cameras. Well, we got them, but we also have to put up with the impact of that. In particular, the outermost columns of autofocus sensors aren’t available for lenses slower than f/4, and not even for a few f/4 lenses: they’re deactivated in those cases. Going to take some time to evaluate whether that really has a tangible impact to my shooting or not. 

The geometry of the mirror-relay phase detect systems is a real tough beast. Nikon’s played at the edge of the geometry before (D2 series), and they had issues as they used multiple parts that needed individual alignment to get that coverage, and small errors in alignment tended to make for focus problems. More recently in the D750 Nikon made the autofocus sensor array ever so slightly smaller in area, which gained us something in low light, but lost a bit of area in which we can focus (not much, most people don’t notice it). Now with the D5 (and D500) we’re going the other way again, so it seems clear that Nikon has heard the complaints about focus area size. Still, they’re somewhat constrained by geometry, as the new system shows.

I’ve gotten a lot of feedback on deliveries. It appears that most deliveries got to stores on Friday, including NPS Priority Purchase deliveries. But not all, apparently. I’ve got reports of stores not getting their units on Friday. 

As for the back-order situation, I don’t think that there is one. As of Saturday morning I know of at least two dealers that had uncommitted bodies available, and there certainly must be more than that. If you’re looking for a D5 to purchase and your local dealer doesn’t have it, start working your way down the Nikon authorized dealer list (look for NPDs). I’m pretty sure you’ll find units available. At least at the moment.

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