CES 2016

Every year about this time the Consumer Electronics Show provides an opportunity for manufacturers to showcase their stuff.  One of the big announcements this week has been from Nikon.

Faithful Nikonians have been waiting for an update to the very long-in-the-tooth D300, a pro-level, scaled down DX (crop-sensor) version of Nikon’s (then) top-end D3.  Now we have a new pairing—a D5/D500.  For excellent initial coverage of the details, see Thom Hogan’s description here.  There are a host of upgrades in both bodies, which should strongly appeal to nature photographers invested in the Nikon system.

Of special interest is the transition in memory cards.  The D5 will be available with either dual CF or dual XQD card slots.  The CF card speed specification is maxed out—1066X (~160 MB/s) is as fast as it gets.  XQD is already at 2933X (~440 MB/s) and has room to go way higher.  There are other memory card formats, but Nikon has clearly bet on XQD.  The practical difference is illustrated with the D5/XQD having a 200-shot buffer for uncompressed raw (along with a 12 fps burst rate.  Interestingly, the D500 will have one XQD slot and one SD slot; with only the XQD slot loaded, the same 200-shot buffer is available, but if an SD card is also loaded the raw buffer drops to 79!

Lot’s more to come at CES, including a whole list of new Windows laptops raising the bar for field work.  The leap in capability in storage and displays in particular will be hard to absorb.  The times they are a changin’.

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