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Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum is the mirrorless camera with a full frame sensor (24x36mm) that, thanks to the improved sensitivity in H-alpha and increased range in spectrum, is now a wonderful solution for astronomical and UV-IR photography! This mirrorless camera offers many advantages over a standard DSLR camera. It has a large full frame sensor (measuring 24x36mm, 24MP resolution, with large 6 micron pixels) that is only 16mm from the bayonet, this way it allows you to achieve focus more easily on different types of telescopes. The Nikon Z bayonet offers a wide 55mm free opening to avoid vignetting even with fast focal ratios. By adding the optional "Baader filter changer UFC for Nikon Z" you can easily use a 2" filter in front of the sensor (for example a light pollution filter) and have the sensor 55mm from the front thread for telescope connections, often requested from different type of optical correctors.
Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum camera uses a very large 24x36mm sensor with 6 microns pixel and the wide Nikon Z bayonet to avoid vignetting.
In the Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum camera sensor is placed just 16mm from the front bayonet, this makes easy to reach focus with all telescopes.
In order to have correct color balance in the daytime photographs, DSLR and mirrorless cameras use a filter, placed in front of the sensor, that is not completely transparent, especially at longer wavelengths corresponding to red. In astronomy applications this is a problem because the most important emission line, H-alpha (emitted by many nebulae for example) lies in the red part of the spectrum. Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum mirrorless camera uses a clear filter that replaces the standard one in front of the sensor that increases sensitivity at the H-alpha line and entire red part of the spectrum. That's why, by comparing an astrophotography image recorded by the Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum with the same model but unmodified (recorded with the same telescope and the same exposition time), you can see that the Full Spectrum camera is able to show weaker details. Tip: Since not all telescopes are corrected in infrared and ultraviolet, for astrophotography you can use the Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum together with a UV-IR Cut filter.
Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum camera uses a special clear filter (in front of the sensor) instead of the standard one for an increased sensitivity of the red part of the spectrum and, in particular, of the important H-alpha line.
Performance comparison of the Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum camera with the unmodified Nikon Z5: the Full Spectrum camera is able to record weaker nebulas. Both pictures are 90 seconds exposition time, with the same telescope (90mm apocromatic refractor), same camera settings and in the same moment.
The Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum mirrorless camera extends the sensitivity of Z5 camera to the infrared and ultraviolet parts of the spectrum. Usually, when you change the filter inside the camera, you lose proper autofocus operation because even if the filter is made of the same thickness than the original, some infinitesimal differences remain. Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum mirrorless camera is instead recalibrated after filter replacement, allowing autofocus to work perfectly with Nikon lenses! In order to make infrared or ultraviolet images, you can use IR-pass or UV-pass filters (not included with this camera) to be threaded in front of the lens you are using. Please note that most of the photo lenses allow IR light to pass allowing you to use any lens for IR photography, but most of these lenses cut off UV light. In order to use this Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum camera in UB, you will have to use a UV-pass filter in addition to a special lens that built for UV imaging. By adding an UV/IR-cut filter in front of your lens, this camera can be used for standard photography (filter not included, it may require to color recalibration with image processing software).
By adding IR-pass filter in front a photo lens with the Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum camera, you can record great IR images. This comparison shows the same image recorded with the Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum camera (left) and with a standard Z5 camera (right).
IR image recorded with Nikon Z5 Full Spectrum camera and IR-pass filter in front of the photo lens.
By using different band pass filter with the Full Spectrum camera, you can record different pictures in UV, visible and IR light.
|Sensor||Nikon CMOS 24MP|
|Resolution||6048 × 4024|
|Sensor dimensions (mm)||35.9mm x 23.9mm|
|Sensor diagonal (mm)||43.5|
|Pixels dimensions (µm)||6|
|A/D converter||14 bit|
|Readout Noise (e-)||-|
|ST4 integrated autoguide port||No|
|Telescope interface||Baionetta Nikon Z|
|Connection to PC||USB-C|
I received the modified Z5 a few days ago. PrimaLuceLab had done a great job with the conversion leaving the sensor perfectly clean. The camera is very capable for multiband and infrared photography, with excellent response and low noise levels at least up to ISO 3200. I found no issues with internal light sources or amplified glow. The dreaded 'striping' issue seems largely to be absent as well. I do have a small reservation about the coverglass over the sensor, as the graph by PrimaLuce indicates the response rolls off fairly quickly in UV. They ought to provide at least the option for a cover (quartz) glass with extended UV transmittance, to make the camera better suited for UV photography. However, provided a UV-capable lens is deployed one still can get good UV photographs of say botanical subjects.
Handling and battery performance are scarcely different from the other Z models and thus poise no new challenges for a Nikon user. In short, a well-handling unit with good ergonomics features. Accessories from other Z models, such as L-brackets, GPS devices, or remote controls, will fit directly.
Low temperatures will drain the battery quickly, but the ability to charge the camera in real time through the USB port, or using an A/C mains adapter, will solve many of these problems.
So far, I'm happy to be able to expolore invisible worlds through the eyes of the PrimaLuceLab Z5.