Reader Questions About the Nikon Z5

Latest questions on top.

-----Update July 26, 2020-----

"Does the Z5 have a dust removal system?"

Yes, the Z5 shares the same ultrasonic system as the Z6 and Z7.

"How much of the frame does the autofocus system cover?"

About 90% both horizontal and vertical.

"Is the buffer really 100 shots for anything?"

Yes. One of the "benefits" of a 4.5 fps rate is that the camera is offloading images to the card fast enough that the sensor can't outrun that. Effectively, there's no buffer constraint other than Nikon's usual stop-at-100-shots approach.

-----Update July 22, 2020-----

"Are there any differences in autofocus between the Z5 and Z6?"

Only one that I can identify: with low light AF set, the Z6 reaches -6EV while the Z5 only reaches -3EV. In normal light, they're closer (-3 versus -2). Overall, the Z5 has less performance with autofocus in low light than the Z6, but in normal or bright light, they're very similar.

"How is the EN-EL15c battery different?"

It has 2280mAh as opposed to 1900mAh in the previous EN-EL15's.

-----original below-----

"Will you write a Complete Guide for the Z5?"

I've done so. See this page.

"What about other crops?"

The Z5 supports FX, DX, 1:1, and 16:9 image areas.

"What's the size of the image files?"

The largest raw file is about 27.8MB (14-bit lossless) and the smallest about 19.5MB (12-bit lossy). A JPEG Fine Large image should be about 10.2MBs.

"Does the Z5 have a low pass (AA) filter?"

Yes, though it's a mild filter.

"Can I clean the sensor on my Z5?"

Probably, but it's an "at your own risk thing." Nikon did one right thing here: when the camera is off, the sensor VR is put into some sort of a lock position. Many other IBIS type solutions I've seen to date don't lock the sensor position, which led Olympus to disclaim user sensor cleaning, while early Sony A7 models tended to have IBIS failures until Sony beefed up the mechanism.

Nikon, unfortunately, is staying tight-lipped about user sensor cleaning and recommending that a dirty sensor be returned to them for cleaning. 

"What is really different between the Z5 and Z6?"

  • Sensor technology: BSI (Z6) versus FSI (Z5)
  • Max Image Size: 6048 x 4024 (Z6) versus 6016 x 4016 (Z5)
  • Image quality: JPEG/NEF/TIFF supported (Z6) versus only JPEG/NEF (Z5)
  • Exposure bracketing: +/- 5 stops (Z6) versus +/-3 stops (Z5)
  • Timelapse: Z5 generates both still files and video, Z6 only video
  • Continuous shooting speed: 12 fps (Z6) versus 4.5 fps (Z5)
  • Buffer: not compatible due to frame rate difference, but 43 raw (Z6) versus 100 (Z5)
  • Frame rate: 12 fps (Z6) versus 4.5 fps (Z5)
  • Top LCD:  yes (Z6) versus no (Z5)
  • Mode dial: locking (Z6) versus not locking (Z5)
  • Card support: 1 XQD/CFe (Z6) versus 2 SD UHS-II (Z5)
  • 4K video: oversampled no crop (Z6), full sample 1.7x crop (Z5)
  • 1080P video: 120P slow motion (Z6) versus 60P slow motion (Z5)
  • Other video: HDMI video support/N-Log/ProRes Raw (Z6) versus no HDMI video support (Z5), Zebras (Z6) versus none (Z5)
  • Interval shooting: Yes (Z6), No (Z5, but Time-lapse generates interval shots)
  • Rear LCD: 2.1m dot (Z6) versus 1.04m dot (Z5)
  • Wi-Fi: 802.11ac (Z6) versus 802.11n (Z5) means no 5Mhz on Z5
  • USB charging: battery only (Z6) versus battery or shooting (Z5)
  • Build: the Z5 has some additional plastic parts where the Z6 had magnesium alloy
  • MSRP: US$1995 (Z6) versus US$1399 (Z5) (note: additional current US$200 discount on Z6)

"How is the Z5 different than the Canon RP and R8?"

  • Stabilization: on-sensor (Z5) versus lens-only (RP/R8)
  • Card support: dual slot SD (Z5) versus single slot (RP/R8)
  • Frame rate: 4.5 fps (Z5) versus 4 fps (RP) 6 fps (R8 mechanical, 40 fps electronic)
  • Shutter: max 1/8000 second (Z5) versus 1/4000 second (RP/R8)
  • Rear LCD: tilting (Z5) versus pivoting (RP/R8)
  • Battery life: 390 shots (Z5) versus 250 shots (RP) 290 shots (R8)
  • Video: 4K/30P (Z5) versus 4K/24P (RP) 4K/60P (R8)
  • Size and weight: the RP and R8 are slightly smaller and lighter

"Can I power the camera from USB? Can I charge my EN-EL15?"

Yes, if you are using EN-EL15b or EN-EL15c battery. 

"Does the Z5 have focus stacking?"

Yes, it does.

"Isn't there a vertical grip for the Z series?"

We have the MB-N10 Multi-Power Battery Pack, which also works with the Z5. That external unit will take two EN-EL15b batteries and appears as if it might connect into a dummy battery in the camera (ala how the EH-5 works). But it doesn't have a vertical shutter release or any controls. It's a mess of a product.

"Does Nikon recommend a third-party battery for running the Z5?"

Yes, they do. They recommend the Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD (45W). The claim is that this should power the camera for about 2120 frames.

"Does the USB charger come with the camera?"

Surprisingly, Nikon provides the usual MH-25a AC charger with the camera. The EH-7P USB charger/power adapter would have been a better choice, I think.

"Can I use the MC-DC2 remote with the camera?"

Yes. The Z5 has the same 10-pin rectangular connector as the Z6/Z7.

"Can you connect the Z5 wirelessly to your computer?"

Yes. The Z5 has the same ability to transfer images to your computer as the Z6 and Z7 (this requires Nikon Wireless Transmitter Utility installed on your computer, macOS or Windows).

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