Nikon D5 vs Df
The Nikon D5 and the Nikon Df are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and November 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with a full frame sensor. The D5 has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the Df provides 16.2 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D5 and the Nikon Df? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The physical size and weight of the Nikon D5 and the Nikon Df are illustrated in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Df can be obtained in two different colors (black, silver), while the D5 is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon Df is considerably smaller (38 percent) than the Nikon D5. Moreover, the Df is substantially lighter (46 percent) than the D5. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
Concerning battery life, the D5 gets 3780 shots out of its EN-EL18a battery, while the Df can take 1400 images on a single charge of its EN-EL14 power pack. As can be seen in the images above, the D5 has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the Df, there are third party battery grips available as optional accessories (see here on ebay).
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Nikon D5||160 mm||159 mm||92 mm||1415 g||3780||Y||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||158 mm||168 mm||83 mm||1530 g||1210||Y||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D6||160 mm||163 mm||92 mm||1270 g||3580||Y||Feb 2020||6,499||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon D850||146 mm||124 mm||79 mm||1005 g||1840||Y||Jul 2017||3,299||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon D4S||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1350 g||3020||Y||Feb 2014||6,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|10.||Nikon D4||160 mm||157 mm||91 mm||1340 g||2600||Y||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D3X||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1260 g||4400||Y||Dec 2008||7,999||ebay.com|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The Df was launched at a markedly lower price (by 58 percent) than the D5, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Both cameras under consideration feature a full frame sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the D5 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 5) than the Df (EXPEED 3), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the Nikon D5 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 megapixels, compared with 16.2 MP of the Nikon Df. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 6.44μm versus 7.29μm for the Df). However, it should be noted that the D5 is much more recent (by 2 years and 2 months) than the Df, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D5 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D5 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.9 x 18.6 inches or 71 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.4 x 14.8 inches or 56.8 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.3 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon Df are 24.6 x 16.4 inches or 62.6 x 41.7 cm for good quality, 19.7 x 13.1 inches or 50.1 x 33.3 cm for very good quality, and 16.4 x 10.9 inches or 41.7 x 27.8 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D5 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 102400, which can be extended to ISO 50-3280000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon Df are ISO 100 to ISO 12800, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-204800.
Technology-wise, both cameras are equipped with CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensors. Both cameras use a Bayer filter for capturing RGB colors on a square grid of photosensors. This arrangement is found in most digital cameras.
For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.
|1.||Nikon D5||Full Frame||20.7||5588||3712||4K/30p||25.1||12.3||2343||88|
|2.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Full Frame||20.0||5472||3648||4K/60p||24.1||13.5||3207||88|
|4.||Nikon D6||Full Frame||20.7||5568||3712||4K/30p||25.3||14.3||2886||95|
|5.||Nikon D850||Full Frame||45.4||8256||5504||4K/30p||26.4||14.8||2660||100|
|6.||Nikon D4S||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/60p||24.4||13.3||3074||89|
|7.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|8.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|9.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|10.||Nikon D4||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||1080/30p||24.7||13.1||2965||89|
|11.||Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|12.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|13.||Nikon D3X||Full Frame||24.4||6048||4032||none||24.7||13.7||1992||88|
|Note: DXO values in italics represent estimates based on sensor size and age.|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D5 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the Df does not. The highest resolution format that the D5 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The D5 and the Df are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinders of both cameras offer the same field of view (100%), but the viewfinder of the D5 has a higher magnification than the one of the Df (0.72x vs 0.70x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D5, the Nikon Df, and comparable cameras.
|1.||Nikon D5||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||optical||Y||3.2 / 1620||fixed||Y||1/8000s||16.0/s||n||n|
|4.||Nikon D6||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||fixed||Y||1/8000s||14.0/s||n||n|
|5.||Nikon D850||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||9.0/s||n||n|
|6.||Nikon D4S||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|7.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D4||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|11.||Nikon D600||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|12.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|13.||Nikon D3X||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D5 has a touchscreen, while the Df has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Nikon D5 and the Nikon Df both have an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The D5 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash or XQD cards, while the Df uses SDXC cards. The D5 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the Df only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon D5 and Nikon Df and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D5||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|4.||Nikon D6||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.1||Y||-||Y|
|5.||Nikon D850||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|6.||Nikon D4S||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|8.||Nikon D810||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D4||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||micro||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon D600||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D3X||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
Both the D5 and the Df have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on ebay. The D5 was replaced by the Nikon D6, while the Df does not have a direct successor. Further information on the features and operation of the D5 and Df can be found, respectively, in the Nikon D5 Manual (free pdf) or the online Nikon Df Manual.
So how do things add up? Is the Nikon D5 better than the Nikon Df or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Nikon D5:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.7 vs 16.2MP) with a 13% higher linear resolution.
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 5 vs EXPEED 3).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.70x).
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 921k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (14 vs 5.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (3780 versus 1400) on a single battery charge.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More modern: Reflects 2 years and 2 months of technical progress since the Df launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Df:
- More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (0.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.5 stops ISO advantage).
- More compact: Is smaller (144x110mm vs 160x159mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 655g or 46 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (58 percent cheaper at launch).
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in November 2013).
If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D5 is the clear winner of the match-up (13 : 6 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D5 and the Nikon Df place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D5 or the Df. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Nikon D5||..||..||4/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||6,499||ebay.com|
|2.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749||ebay.com|
|3.||Canon 1D X Mark II||..||..||4.5/5||89/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||5,999||ebay.com|
|4.||Nikon D6||..||..||4/5||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2020||6,499||amazon.com|
|5.||Nikon D850||4.5/5||+ +||5/5||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2017||3,299||amazon.com|
|6.||Nikon D4S||5/5||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2014||6,499||ebay.com|
|7.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299||ebay.com|
|8.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299||ebay.com|
|9.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999||amazon.com|
|10.||Nikon D4||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2012||5,999||ebay.com|
|11.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099||ebay.com|
|12.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199||ebay.com|
|13.||Nikon D3X||..||..||..||86/100||4/5||5/5||Dec 2008||7,999||ebay.com|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.
Specifications: Nikon D5 vs Nikon Df
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon D5||Nikon Df|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||November 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 6,499||USD 2,749|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D5||Nikon Df|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||35.9 x 23.9 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||858.01 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.1 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||16.2 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5588 x 3712 pixels||4928 x 3280 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||6.44 μm||7.29 μm|
|Pixel Density||2.42 MP/cm2||1.88 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 102,400 ISO||100 - 12,800 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 3,280,000 ISO||50 - 204,800 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||EXPEED 3|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||88||89|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||25.1||24.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||12.3||13.1|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||2343||3279|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D5||Nikon Df|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||2359k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D5||Nikon Df|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||14 shutter flaps/s||5.5 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||400 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF or XQD cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D5||Nikon Df|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Nikon D5||Nikon Df|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||3780 shots per charge||1400 shots per charge|
160 x 159 x 92 mm
(6.3 x 6.3 x 3.6 in)
144 x 110 x 67 mm
(5.7 x 4.3 x 2.6 in)
|Camera Weight||1415 g (49.9 oz)||760 g (26.8 oz)|
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