Should you upgrade from a D500? Probably not.
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Should you upgrade from a D500? Probably not.

If you're currently shooting with a D500, the question of whether you should upgrade to the D850 is a bit more complicated. Because they're such different cameras, on balance I wouldn't recommend replacing a D500 with a D850. But if you have the cash, the D850 would make an excellent companion to a D500, fulfilling a slightly different set of requirements.

The 20MP D500 is a high-speed, relatively low-resolution DSLR, with a very wide AF area. This makes it ideal for shooting sports and wildlife, where its 1.5X crop factor can be extremely useful. It's weather-sealed, and offers many of the same ergonomic refinements that make the D850 a more pleasant camera to use than previous-generation D800-series DSLRs.

The D850 offers substantially greater resolution, a nice bump in Raw dynamic range, and a feature set better suited to landscape and studio work

The D850 on the other hand offers substantially greater resolution, what's likely to be a nice bump in Raw dynamic range at ISO 64, and a feature set better suited to landscape and studio work, as well as portraiture and astrophotography. The D850 can also shoot 4K video without a crop, making it more useful for occasional video work than the D500, too.

The only caveat here is that if you've built up a collection of DX format lenses for your D500, you'll need to drop even more cash on some full-frame zooms or primes for the D850. Hopefully though, Nikon's conspicuously-crummy DX-format lens lineup has already prompted you to invest in full-frame glass.

Reasons to upgrade:

  • Greater resolution
  • Greater dynamic range
  • 4K video with no crop

Stick with your D500 if:

  • You mostly shoot sports / wildlife (or anything where the 1.5X crop and greater AF coverage is handy)
  • You don't have any full-frame lenses