Nikon ambassador Bill Frakes headed to his home state Nebraska to shoot a 4K video with the Nikon D5. The question is does the 3min limit of 4K footage really matter?


Perhaps the biggest announcement at CES was the launch of the Nikon D5. One of the key features was the fact that camera shoots 4K video footage, however a closer inspection of the specification reveals that it can only shoot at this resolution for 3mins.

We have since spoken to Nikon about the reasons behind the 3min record time. Watch our interview with them here.

For many videographers, and photographers, this was bemoaned as not being long enough. The argument is that whilst there are few times that you would ever use a clip that is 3mins long, for situations such as interviews or live performances you need to record for far longer, even if the clip that is eventually used is only a few seconds long.

Now the first videos shot in 4k with the Nikon D5 are beginning to circulate. The first, entitled ‘My Nebraska’ has been shot by photographer, and Nikon Ambassador, Bill Frakes. The video sees Bill returning to his home state of Nebraska, last autumn, filming the places, people, wildlife and colours of the state.

Just about every time of photography is covered in the video, which includes, landscape, wildlife and portrait footage. And of course there are nighttime timelapse shots which test the cameras low-light credentials.

The video itself is 5:26 long, but there are few clips within it that are longer than 5secs, and certainly none that even come close to the 3min maximum 4 record time of the Nikon D5.


So, is the the 3min 4k record time a deal breaker?

The answer, as with most things to do with photography and filmmaking, is that it entirely depends on what you shoot. If you are doing live music or sports events, or recording a documentary with lots of interviews, then the Nikon D5 isn’t going to be for you, at least not if you want to shoot in 4K (it can do either 10 or 20mins in 1080p, depending on the quality of footage you require).

However, for narrative work, or travel documentaries (such as ‘My Nebraska’) then the D5 should be suitable. Also lets not forget that the camera does have a live HDMI output that allows for 4:2:2 footage to be captured to an external recorder, which should get around the 3min 4k record time (though we are yet to know at what point the camera will turn off due to overheating).

We hope to test the video features of the Nikon D5 in the coming months. So let us know what you think, and if there is anythibg specific you would like to see tested. Please comments below.