Nikon D5 Setting with the Atomos Ninja Blade

Disclosure: Please note that links to merchants posted on this blog may be an affiliate link which means that I may receive a commission from any purchases made using the affiliate link. This is at no additional cost to you.

For video capture I attached to my Nikon D5 using the HDMI output the Atomos Ninja Blade 5″ HDMI On-Camera Monitor & Recorder.

Why did I do this is a great question. Most all DSLRs that record video have a 30 minute time limit. I understand this has to do with avoiding a double tax in some countries.

So how do you record a musical as I did that goes an hour and half for just the first Act? This is where the Atomos Ninja Blade comes to the rescue.

Atomos Ninja Blade 5″ PRODUCT HIGHLIGHTS

Key Features
– 325DPI, 5″ IPS 1280 x 720 capacitive touchscreen monitor/recorder.
– Waveform RGB & luma parade, vectorscope with zoom, and test pattern generator.
– Adjustable gamma, contrast and brightness.
– HDMI input and output.
– Real-time monitoring, playback, playout to a PC or Mac with QuickTime, and edit logging.
– Focus peaking, 0-100% zebra, and two modes of false color monitoring.
– Records 10-bit, 4:2:2 in ProRes or DNxHD.
– S-Log / C-Log recording.
– Trigger REC/STOP from camera (Canon, Sony, ARRI, Panasonic, RED, JVC)
– Timecode from camera. [Nikon has no timecode]
– 2.5″ HDD/SSD media storage.

It records up to 1080 30p/60i resolution via HDMI to an available HDD or SSD using either Apple’s ProRes or Avid’s DNxHD codecs. Recording at 10-bit with 4:2:2 color sampling, this unit provides you a monitoring and recording solution in one compact battery powered unit.

Now I bought the ADATA Technology 256GB Ultimate SU800 SATA III 2.5″ Internal SSD card.

Here are the Settings for Nikon D5

Set your frame size and frame rate in the Movie Shooting Menu. Whatever you set here is what will come out of the HDMI connection. I use 1080p/24.

1080p/24. 1080p/24 is a resolution and framerate indicative of Hollywood movies on Blu-ray discs. 1080p is the resolution, implying a full HD resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. The “P” stands for “Progressive.” which means each frame has all the pixels listed.

Next go to the Pencil Menu/Custom Setting Menu and select the C Timers/AE Lock and toggle to right.

Pick the C4 Monitor off delay and then toggle right again.

Go to the bottom Live view and toggle right once again.

Set this to No Limit. Now you can just click menu button to get out of the menu.

Select video on the Live View and push the button. Now to record on the Atomos Ninja just tap the REC button.

When you do that there will be a red line around the screen and red light on the right side of the recorder. The only thing limiting your time is the size of your hard drive.

This setup worked great for a two and half hour performance of Oklahoma.

Fuji X-E2, Fuji XF 55-200mm, ISO 1600, ƒ/4.7, 1/100

While the Nikon D5 will record 4K I don’t need this most of the time, so the Atomos Ninja Blade 5″ was perfect.


If however you would like to record at 4K you can get the Atomos Shogun Flame 7″ 4K HDMI/12-SDI Recording Monitor. They make other higher end models as well.

If you are not a video shooter and are more of a stills shooter then for capturing video you need to be a little more hands on technically.

What I mean by this is that the exposure and sound vary through a production and you may need to adjust this as you are recording.

With the Nikon D5 attached to the Atomos Ninja Blade using the HDMI port just siphons this off before it hits the H.264 encoder and you are recording in ProRes format. This isn’t really recording in RAW video but more like a TIFF file than say a JPEG.

Now I cannot share the Oklahoma! video because of copyright. [I am recording it for the Shuler Awards in Georgia]

The cool thing is right now you can buy the Atomos Ninja Blade 5″ for $395 without a hard drive which gives you the 5″ monitor. I would recommend buying a SSD hard drive of your choice in size.

Nikon D5, Sigma 120-300mm ƒ/2.8 DG OS HSM | S, Sigma TC-2001 2x, ISO 5000, ƒ/5.6, 1/250

There are three more performances for me to tweak my exposure and sound on to capture the best quality possible out of my setup. At the same time each performance traditionally gets better each time.

Fujifilm X-E2, Fuji XF 55-200mm, ISO 2000, ƒ/5, 1/100

By the way Aunt Eller is my daughter Chelle. This is her senior year and last production. She also taught the choreography to the cast.

Fuji X-E2, Fuji XF 55-200mm, ISO 1000, ƒ/4.5, 1/100

I hope these tips will help you thinking of ways to use your DSLR to do more than just take photos. I know I wanted to use the high quality CMOS chip to get a wonderful keepsake video of our daughter to cherish for the rest of her life.

Fake News & Product Endorsers

Fake News

Turn on the news or pick up a newspaper today and there most likely have been articles about how to spot “Fake News”. Sadly you must do a lot of research sometimes.

Some sites intentionally write false, humorous stories under the satire genre. A prime example is The Onion. Many people realize The Onion is a satirical publication. But if there’s any doubt, it’s pretty clear if you click on the site’s “About Us” tab.

One of the easiest ways to figure out if a news story is legitimate or not is to check it against the stories posted on other reputable sites.

If sites like The New York Times, CBS or CNN are running the same story, it’s likely true.

Here are some tips that many of these stories all say to look for:

1. Pay attention to the domain and URL
2. Read the “About Us” section
3. Look at the quotes in a story
4. Look at who said them
5. Check the comments
6. Reverse image search

Camera Gear for Football Games

Product Endorsers

First I have many friends who are affiliated with Nikon, Canon, Sigma, Fuji and Sony. Most of them do a great job of letting you know they are affiliated with these companies. I listen to them and take their advice many times. One of my favorites through the years is Bill Fortney. Formerly Bill was a Nikon Representative. Today he is retired but now a Fuji X-Photographer and does incredible work.

However nothing ticks me off more lately in the photography industry than those photographers who are not forth coming with their affiliations with manufactures. Actually the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t like it at all either and will come after you.

Here’s the golden rule behind all of the FTC’s guidelines: if money is changing hands, obvious disclosure must occur in-ad.

As a person reading blogs and articles you need to really be careful in this industry. As a whole I find many who are compensated in some way are not disclosing this to you as the reader.

Endorsers will seldom talk about other gear that may work as well or even better than what they are recommending. You just see their wonderful work and think if I buy that piece of gear I can shoot like them.

While I am first to say it is always the photographer and not the gear that is the main factor in getting a great photo, there are times where camera gear will let you make a photo otherwise not possible.

What I think is the bottom line is I want those photographers who are endorsing a product to be sure that the audience is aware that they have stepped into the Manufacturer’s Show Room when they are reading the comments.

Photographers who are being endorsed when they tweet they need to generally start the tweet with the words “Ad:”. This applies whether you’re using Sponsored Tweets, Promoted Posts, etc. or using paid evangelists or spokespeople who are promoting on your behalf.

This is a great post showing examples of how and not to Tweet.

Corporate sponsors like Nikon, Canon, Sony, Sigma or any other business expect you to be their representative to the public. All of them have you signing some sort of an agreement for which you will be compensated in some way.

Sponsorships for photographers can be huge for no other reason than it shows a major manufacturer that is also endorsing you. This is great for marketing purposes.

At this moment I have and have never had a relationship for where I have been compensated for by a company other than recently when I signed up to be an Amazon Affiliate. However the only way I make money is if someone clicks on my link and buys something. While I may make a very small percentage of the sale the cost to the consumer is the same.

One of my favorite corporate sponsored photographers is Bill Fortney. He was always telling people he worked for Nikon and then gives you advice. Sometimes he would be really honest and even say while I work for Nikon I would buy this instead. Now if he did this too much I am sure Nikon would have fired him. Bill had actually found a way to be a transparent Nikon representative that made me listen more to him and take a lot of advice of his. I felt like he was really looking out for me.

How to know if someone is a Sponsor

1. Find their website and see if they are listed as

a. Nikon Ambassador
b. Canon Explorers of Light
c. Sony Artisan
d. Fuji X-Photographers
e. Sigma Pros

2. Do they post material without revealing their affiliation

a. Tweets
b. Facebook
c. Instagram

I don’t care how great a photographer’s work is, be careful in listening to any photographer who is being compensated for promoting any gear, software or product of any kind.

My advice to you is before you buy gear based on a pro’s recommendation know if they are endorsed and receive compensation of any sort from that manufacturer. If they are, then look for some users who are not endorsed and see what they are saying. Most of the online camera stores now have comments section that often is more revealing of gear than these spokespersons.