Closer inspection of the video capabilities of the professional Nikon D5 reveal it isn't quite as good as it seems

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Amidst all of the excitement of the launch of the Nikon D5, the precise details of the 4K video capture seem to have been somewhat overlooked. Scroll through the full specification of the camera reveals that in the 4K UHD video capture the Nikon D5 only has 3mins of recording time.

Niikon D5 WEB SIZE

The reason behind the short recording time remains unclear. One theory is that the sensor and processor are simply not designed to cope with the amount of data that is created by shooting 4K video, although this seems unlikely given the shooting rate of the camera, and the fact it can make use of XQD cards. A more likely suggestion is that the camera can simply not disperse the heat generated by the sensor and processor when in this mode. With the advanced weather sealing on the Nikon D5 there are few places for heat to escape the camera, and the recording time may have crippled to 3mins to prevent over heating which could potentially damage the camera.

Whether you consider the 3min recording length to be too short will depend entirely on what you intentions are with the Nikon D5. Three minutes as actually a very long time for a single shot, with most shots we see on television only a few seconds long. However, interviews and live events will require far longer than 3mins recording time, even if the eventual shots used between cuts are far shorter.

With the camera aimed at photojournalists there is an argument that short clips of less than 3 mins will be fine for news and reportage. However, equally as a journalist you will be required to interview people and 3mins just isn’t long enough. Then again, if you are recording seriously recording 4K to an external recorder will get around the problem completely.

What is interesting is that the Nikon D500, with its APS-C sensor can record for almost 30mins at 4k resolution, which may make it the more convenient camera for shooting video.

We will be speaking to Nikon about the 4K recording in the D5 and D500 over the next few days, so keep checking back to find out more.