Close-up: Nikon D5 Video Options image

Close-up: Nikon D5 Video Options

Nikon’s first full-frame DSLR to sport 4K video recording comes with many useful video-specific features. We take a closer look.

Nikon D5

4K video has finally come to Nikon’s pro-grade “D” series of cameras. Nikon has added additional controls and clever extras to make shooting and output easier. In the following article we examine the options available to the video user and how the camera can be customised for video shooting.

The Basics

The Nikon D5 has a broad selection of video recording options with regards to resolution and frame size, including 4K UHD footage (3820×2160 pixels) at 30fps (29.97fps), 25 fps and 24fps (23.976fps) settings. The 4K recording has a crop factor of 1.5x, which means that a lens with focal length of 28mm will actually provide an effective focal length of around 42mm. In other words, you may end up needing to use a wider lens than you initially anticipate.

 Nikon D5 Video Options

Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) recording at 60fps (59.94fps), 50fps, 30fps and 25fps and 24fps is also provided, as is Standard HD (1280×720 pixels) with 60fps and 50fps options. Additionally, all of the Full HD options can be recorded at a 3x crop factor, which is useful for distant subjects such as wildlife or sports.

Nikon D5 Video OptionsAll video footage is recorded in the MOV format using the H.264/MPEG-4 codec, with 8bit 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. This results in 4K footage recorded at a maximum bit rate of 144Mbps, with Full HD footage recorded with a maximum 48Mbps bit rate. When recording Standard HD or Full HD footage, you can also select a ‘Normal’ recording quality as an alternative to the ‘High Quality’ option, and this has the effect of halving the maximum bit rate.



To refocus during recording you have the following options:

  • Press either the AF-ON button or the shutter release control
  • Let the camera refocus automatically by setting it to Full Time Servo (AF-F)
  • Press the touchscreen where you want the camera to focus
  • Use manual focus instead

All footage is recorded to either XQD or CompactFlash media, depending on which model you have (the D5 is available in either dual XQD [below] or Dual CompactFlash formats).

Nikon D5 Video Options

Colour and white balance

Many of the same controls that are available when shooting stills, such as white balance and Picture Style, are available when recording videos. These include the Flat Picture Style first seen in the D810 that has been designed to produce low-contrast footage that’s more appropriate for grading.

When setting white balance and Picture Style, you can select ‘Same as Photo Settings’ rather than selecting a particular preset. This is helpful when capturing stills in the same conditions and particularly useful when using a setting that has been customised (Auto White Balance with a slight bias, for example).

Nikon D5 Video Options

You can also bring up video-specific options by pressing the ‘i’ button when in the video mode. This allows you to quickly view and amend settings like headphone volume, frequency response for example.

Image capture

When using the Live Frame Grab option, the D5 allows you to capture an image as you’re recording footage, by pressing the shutter release button.
The images are saved without interruption and at the recording resolution. Without the Live Frame Grab option selected, pressing the shutter release button has the effect of terminating the recording to take the image.

Nikon D5 Video Options

As with other 4K-enabled cameras the D5 allows you to extract an image from recorded footage, with images output at an 8MP resolution.

Movie editing and playback

Pressing the ‘i’ button during playback allows you to specify a start and end point for footage. This can either be saved as a new file or over the existing footage. You can also rate footage and send it to another card or folder.

One nice touch when playing back footage is the option to initiate playback by pressing a large virtual Play button in the centre of the display, rather than any physical buttons.

Nikon D5 Video Options


The Nikon D5 has stereo microphones located on its rear panel, although an external microphone with a 3.5mm jack can be plugged into its side for better quality recording. Regardless of the microphone used, the user can adjust sensitivity manually over 20 levels or leave it to an auto setting, with levels for each displayed on the rear monitor.

 Nikon D5 Video Options

It’s also possible to adjust the frequency range between wide and vocal settings, call upon a wind noise filter as well as disable audio recording. You can also monitor audio while recording, through a set of headphones via the 3.5mm jack port on the camera’s side.

Nikon D5 Video Options


With the exception of its three ‘Lo’ settings that are available for stills capture, the D5 is capable of using its full native and extended ISO range when recording video. This runs from ISO 100 up to the Hi5 option that is equivalent to ISO 3,280,000. You also have the same control over Auto ISO as you do when shooting stills, and you can specify a maximum sensitivity if you’re concerned about noise levels.

Nikon D5 Video Options

Recording limits

Upon its launch, the D5 could only record three minutes of 4K video at a time, although the v1.10 firmware update announced in June took away this limitation to extend recording time to a maximum 29mins and 59secs. Any recording that generates a file larger than 4GB (the limit for the FAT32 format) will be split across up to eight individual files. These can be stitched together in post production.

Physical controls

You can customise many controls around the body to serve a variety of functions that are useful when recording video. Index marking, for example, can be quickly called upon to place markers at specific points during video recording so that those points can be reached easily upon playback. Nikon’s Power Aperture feature, which closes/opens the aperture smoothly, can also be assigned to a function button.

Nikon D5 Video Options

Other settings

Nikon D5 Video OptionsThe majority of video-specific functions fall under the Movie Shooting Menu tab. These include the options to give files a specific three-letter prefix and to designate a card for videos if you use both slots. The card capacity in recording-time is indicated when selecting card slots.

Helpfully, should you make lots of changes and just want to go back to default options without resetting the camera entirely, you can do this with the first option in the video settings menu.



Nikon D5 Video OptionsAs with many previous Nikon DSLRs, the camera can be programmed to record images at regular intervals for the creation of time-lapse footage.

You can capture images as quickly as once per second and record for up to 7 hours and 59 minutes, with a maximum length of recorded videos set to 20 minutes. The camera also indicates how long it will need to capture the video at the settings you select and displays the proportion of the memory card required for this. Exposure smoothing is available, this attempts to even out exposures should there be any sudden changes in the scene between frames.

Electronic VR

Nikon D5 Video OptionsThe same firmware update that lifted the recording time limit also gave video shooters an electronic VR setting. The Electronic VR is not available when recording 4K footage or when recording in one of the cropped Full HD options. It also has the effect of very slightly reducing the angle of view.




HDMI out

Nikon D5 Video Options
The D5 is equipped with a Type C HDMI port around its side. This allows you to output uncompressed footage with 4:2:0 chroma subsampling.

Last but not least, you can simultaneously record to the card inside the camera while recording to an external device via HDMI.



Close-up: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Video Options image

Close-up: Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Video Options

We drill deep into the video functionality offered by Canon’s 4K-shooting EOS-1D X Mark II

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II

Canon’s flagship EOS DSLR, the EOS-1DX Mark II, is one of the company’s few DSLRs to record 4K-resolution video, and this is supported by a range of additional control over recording, playback and output. We’ve gone deep into the menu system to find out exactly what’s possible, and how the camera can be set up to meet your requirements. 

The Basics

The EOS-1D X Mark II records DCI 4K-resolution footage (4096 x 2160 pixels) using the Motion JPEG format, with 8bit 4:2:2 chroma subsampling. Having a slightly higher horizontal resolution than UHD 4K, the DCI 4K format records with a 17:9 aspect ratio, and this happens at a crop factor of around 1.3x.

If, however, you choose to record in Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), this is recorded at an aspect ratio of 16:9 without any crop factor applied, with the camera using the MPEG4 AVC / H.264 codec instead. Incidentally, it’s not possible to select standard HD (1280 x 720 pixels) or VGA (640 x 480 pixels) recording; Full HD is the lowest resolution available.


4K footage is recorded as a MOV file, at 50fps, 25fps and 24fps when set to PAL. Those recording in NTSC, meanwhile, have 60fps (59.94fps), 30fps (29.97fps) and 24ƒ/23.98fps options available to them. Motion JPEG takes up a fair bit of space next to more modern formats, which means that when set to either the 50fps (PAL) or 59.94fps (NTSC) options bit rate is around 800Mbps. Using the lower frame rates in 4K, meanwhile, causes this drops to around 500Mbps.

When recording Full HD footage, however, the user has the choice of MOV and MP4 recording. Here, the camera records 8bit 4:2:0 footage, with a choice of ALL-I, IPB and IPB Light compression options.

High-frame-rate recording

When set to Full HD the camera can capture footage at up to 119.9fps (NTSC) or 100fps (PAL), recording this at 30fps and 25fps respectively (ie a quarter of the speed) for slow-motion results.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Video Options

This records using the MOV format and ALL-I compression, at a bit rate of around 360Mbps, which should help to maintain better image quality than the IPB options.

As we might expect, audio is not recorded as this happens, while the time limit for individual clips is 7mins and 29secs.




Just as you can set a specific range of available sensitivities when shooting stills, you can do the same for video. The camera provides the option of specifying a range for when the camera is set to its ISO Auto mode and a separate range when manually selecting ISO, and separate adjustment over 4K and Full HD recording is provided.


It’s not possible to select the very lowest ‘L’ option, equivalent to ISO 50, for video recording of any kind, and, similarly, the highest H4, ISO 409-600-equivalent setting is also off limits.

Instead, you can choose a minimum ISO between ISO 100 and H1 (equivalent to ISO 102,400) inclusive, and a maximum limit between ISO 200 and H2 (equivalent to ISO 204,800) inclusive.



Time limits

The camera can record up to three minutes of 4K footage at a time, and up to 29mins and 59secs of Full HD footage. Interestingly, Nikon’s D5 also arrived with the same limitation, although this was later removed through a firmware update. Should you be using an external recorder, however, you can bypass this three-minute cap.

When recording 4K footage in camera, Canon recommends using a CFast 2.0 card – otherwise, it’s possible to record footage to CompactFlash media (up to UDMA 7) as the camera features a slot for each format.

In line with many other 4K-enabled cameras, you can also use the camera’s Frame Grab feature to extract individual frames from 4K footage before saving them as JPEGs in camera. With footage recorded at 4096 x 2160 pixels this equates to a file with a resolution of approximately 8.8MP. It’s not, however, possible to extract images from footage recorded in Full HD.


Canon-EOS-1D-X-Mark-II-Video-OptionsAside from the availability of 4K recording, one of the main advantages of the new model over the previous EOS 1D X is the inclusion of Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF system. This feature has been included in many models much lower down in the EOS range, although the EOS-1D X Mark II becomes the first full-frame model to employ the system (now joined by the EOS 5D Mark IV).

Dual Pixel CMOS AF provides phase-detect autofocus from the main imaging sensor, something made possible by each pixel having two photodiodes.

This system allows for focus to be acquired quickly and for continuous focus (Servo AF) while recording video, and you can also set the camera to track faces with the Face Detection feature. 

Canon-EOS-1D-X-Mark-II-Video-OptionsThanks to the camera’s touchscreen, it’s possible to select the point of focus prior to or during recording by simply pressing the screen. Should you do this while you’re recording, the Dual Pixel CMOS AF system will gently pull focus to the specified point in the scene, much more fluidly than contrast-detect AF systems found elsewhere.

The touchscreen also allows for Servo AF to be stopped and started, thanks to a small virtual button in the bottom left hand corner than responds to touch.

Canon has provided the option to adjust the speed of the AF Servo mode to suit whatever it is you’re shooting. You can set this to focus quickly for everyday footage, where you want the camera to quickly lock onto subjects, or reduce the speed where you want to continue using autofocus for smooth and professional-looking focus transitions.

You can also vary the tracking sensitivity of the AF Servo system over seven levels. This adjusts the focusing system’s behavior in the event that it loses focus of the subject being tracked. “Responsive” will quickly engage the auto focus if your subject is lost. “Locked on” holds the focus position longer even if your subject is obstructed or moves briefly out of shot.


On-screen controls

It’s possible to bring up a range of on-screen information when recording videos, from frame rate, white balance and Picture Style to the option of overlaying a two-axis virtual electronic level. You can also bring up a series of different grids to help with both levelling and composition, although this is not maintained once you start recording.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Video Options

Although video options are split across a handful of screens, you can also group many video-specific options together for quick access using Canon’s My Menu tab.

 Physical controls

On default settings, movie recoding requires you to press the Start/Stop button on the rear panel (with the collar around it set to the video option) although you can also configure the shutter-release button to perform the same action through the menu system, should you find this to be easier.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Video OptionsAnother useful video-centric feature is the option to control the camera silently whilst recording. When this feature is enabled you can use the touch pad around the Quick Control dial on the back to perform a number of commands. Ordinarily the sounds from pressing buttons and turning dials may be picked up by the camera’s on-board microphone.

The controls available depends on the shooting mode used. In the Manual exposure mode you can control shutter speed, aperture, ISO, audio recording level and the output volume, if using headphones to monitor sound.


Playback and output

The camera has a Type C HDMI mini port on it’s side, which allows for clean (uncompressed) 8bit footage to be output with 4:2:2 chroma subsampling and audio, although only at a maximum Full HD resolution.

YCanon EOS-1D X Mark II Video Optionsou can output this to an external recorder, stream it to an external display, or use a unit that combines the two. In fact, you may wish to use an external display anyway, as this can be used to provide features not present on the camera itself, such as focus peaking, false colour and zebra patterning.

Something else the camera allows is for 4K footage to be recorded internally while Full HD footage is output via the HDMI port. Time code can also be appended to recordings output via HDMI.

You can also choose to maintain the feed on the rear display when outputting to an external one, and decide whether the rear display should show shooting information.


With a built-in microphone, located on the front panel, it is possible record (mono) audio without any external microphones. For better quality audio there is a stereo microphone port available for a range of external microphones.

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II Video Options

If you shoot outside and choose to record using the built-in microphone, you can employ the wind filter to help reduce wind noise. The wind filter does not work with external microphones. However, you can use these in conjunction with more effective wind shields such as a dead cat.

There is also an attenuator, which can be used to keep audio balanced should there be any sudden loud noises. As with the wind filter, if this is engaged, an icon will show up on the rear display.

Last but not least, the 3.5mm headphone port beneath allows audio to be monitored during recording, a useful new feature which was not present on the original EOS-1D X.

Behind the Scenes: World Cup Final image

Behind the Scenes: World Cup Final

Sports photographer Eddie Keogh recalls photographing the all-important Germany-Argentina clash of 2014


Germany's Mario Goetze lifts the World Cup trophy after the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro

Germany’s Mario Goetze lifts the World Cup trophy after the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh


I felt very privileged to be part of the Reuters photo team covering the World Cup in Rio in 2014, but was even happier when asked to be part of the team that stayed to cover the World Cup Final between Argentina and Germany.

It was an incredible setup: eleven photographers covering every angle on the pitch and from balcony positions high in the stand. There were even cameras bolted to the roof to give a very high view of each goalmouth.

Now as you can imagine, almost every media outlet in the world wanted to use a picture of the winning team holding aloft the World Cup trophy. So this was a big deal for Reuters, and by extension for us. We knew that if we got it wrong, our whole World Cup would finish on a downer.

We started with a team meeting, three hours before kick-off, where our photo editor Pawel Kopczynski briefed us all with the plan on how we were going to shoot the game, shoot penalties if it came to that, and finally how we would tackle the all-important trophy lift.


Camera equipment is seen inside the Canon loan service office at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 12, 2014. In a project called "On the Sidelines" Reuters photographers share pictures showing their own quirky and creative view of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh (BRAZIL - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP SOCIETY MEDIA SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - RTR3YLVY

Camera equipment is seen inside the Canon loan service office at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh 


The shoot


Our most important moments were in the aftermath of the game. When the dust settled, Germany emerged victorious. Mario Gotze scored the winner in extra time, finally putting down a frustrated Argentina who had not once managed a shot on target.

My colleague Dylan Martinez, also based in the UK, but with a sizeable amount of Argentinian blood in his veins, nailed the shot of the winning goal for Germany and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

When the final whistle blew, Germany immediately celebrated, and photographers were left with the choice between shooting that or getting a picture of Argentina’s Lionel Messi looking distraught.

Meanwhile, our two German photographers Kai Pfaffenbach and Michael Dalder were manoeuvring for the best head on presentation positions.


Photographers take their position for the award ceremony of the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray (BRAZIL - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP) - RTR3YGZZ

Photographers take their position for the award ceremony of the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. REUTERS/David Gray 


Due to the amount of photographers in that exact position, it wasn’t possible for Kai and Michael to shoot tethered. A photo technician had to wait behind them, ready to grab their card as soon as they felt they had the picture. It would then take valuable minutes before the photo technician would be able to get the pictures back to the computer to spool them into the desk.

Myself and three other photographers on the pitch remained tethered to our cables so that our pictures were moving real time as we shot the lifting of the trophy. I was positioned on the other side of the pitch, about  70 metres away from where the trophy was being presented, using my Canon EOS-1DX with a 600mm f/4 and shooting at ISO 1600, 1/1000sec at f/4.


Germany's captain Lahm lifts near coach Loew the World Cup trophy after the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro

Germany’s captain Philipp Lahm lifts near coach Joachim Loew (R) the World Cup trophy after the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh


For jobs like this, the editor and processors in the office will have a caption ready, meaning as soon as the first pictures arrive they can be cropped, captioned and sent out to our clients via satellite. On this job, pictures were dropping with our clients within three minutes of the trophy lift, which even by these standards is incredibly quick, and goes with Reuters’ reputation for moving world-breaking pictures with speed and accuracy.

It was a great night, everything went to plan, and we finished it off by knocking a few beers into the back of the net.


The Reuters photographers after photographing the 2014 World Cup Final, pose for a picture at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. (Top L-R) Michael Dalder, Leonhard Foeger, Dylan Martinez, Sergio Moraes, Kai Pfaffenbach, Damir Sagolj and Paulo Whitaker. (Bottom L-R) Darren Staples, David Gray, Eddie Keogh and Ricardo Moraes. In a project titled ?On The Sidelines?, Reuters award-winning photographers are sharing pictures showing their own quirky and creative view of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Their images offer an insight behind the scenes of the tournament, revealing the photographers? experiences as they live in and travel around Brazil. REUTERS/Paul Robinson (BRAZIL - Tags: MEDIA SOCIETY SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP) - RTR3YWJL

The Reuters photographers. (Top L-R) Michael Dalder, Leonhard Foeger, Dylan Martinez, Sergio Moraes, Kai Pfaffenbach, Damir Sagolj and Paulo Whitaker. (Bottom L-R) Darren Staples, David Gray, Eddie Keogh and Ricardo Moraes. REUTERS/Paul Robinson 


Eddie Keogh is a professional sports photographer. View his portfolio at his website,

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