Why I sold my D5 for a D500 Locked

Started Jun 2, 2016 | Discussions thread
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Phathom Senior Member • Posts: 1,123
Why I sold my D5 for a D500

These are my general thoughts as a serious enthusiast about my time with the D5, why I decided it wasn't for me, and switched out to the D500.

First, let's go ahead and address the elephant in the room. I'm a gear guy. I like it, I'm not ashamed of it. When the D5 was announced I was ecstatic. I had been saving for it for awhile. I wanted that fast FPS becuase I mostly shot horseback riding and jumping events. Horse people are incredibly picky, so one frame might be fantastic and the next dreadful. I preordered the D5, and had it within the first two weeks of it being released. I got the camera and was clicking away ASAP. I'm not upset that I got the D5 (maybe a bit at Nikon for not revealing to us who the real market was for it). However, I think it's a great tool and will do wonders for the right people.

What I liked: Where to begin? It's truly a remarkable machine. The build quality is excellent, the AF system is out of this world. Much better than my D750 (that I was upgrading from). The FPS is great with very little blackout. The file size was right where I wanted it to make the images easily workable yet have enough data to crop a bit if needed. The touch screen and joystick were very intuitive and easy to use. Overall I will say this, if you want a camera that will "get the shot" every time, this is without question what you want.

What I didn't like:

The Dynamic range. I know, I've posted about this a lot and I wont rehash it all out here. I shoot a lot of events where there are covered arenas with bright open backgrounds. This means I need to push the shadows to try and balance the image. The D5 was a large step backward in comparison to my D750. Not a small step, or a trickle, but a large step. The images became noisy very quickly and the loss of detail was extreme. This isn't a "bad shooting" situation. I exposed my shots, as I had with other cameras, in order to not clip the highlights or lose the shadows in my conditions. I was shooting mainly events, so I couldn't use flash (nor would I want to), and the position I'm shooting from was limited. Overall when the charts came out it confirmed what I had been seeing. The D500, on the other hand, at low ISO's has a better dynamic range than the D5. Not by a marginal amount either. It's managed to be just about a stop less than the D750 and actually is better than the D810.

The AA filter. From the beginning I have found the images from the D5 to be dull. Yes, the D750 had an AA filter too, but it wasn't nearly as bad as this. Am I saying that some images I got weren't fantastic? No, I loved a lot of them. However, I couldn't ignore the loss of fine detail in some of my shots. Especially when I was really trying to capture serious action with dirt in the air and water on the horses. The lack of the AA filter on the D500 has been shown to be an excellent decision by Nikon. The images are incredibly sharp and moire just isn't a problem for what I shoot.

4k video recording time. Ok, just kidding. I don't care about this. It's a DSLR not a GH4.

The overall size/weight. The D500 was just a more comfortable camera body for me. Not that I don't like the feel of the D5, it's good for what it was, however you get almost all that power in a much smaller body. The D500 has everything I wanted in the D5 at a fraction of the size and weight. Fast FPS? Check. Excellent AF? Check. Outstanding Image quality? Check. I was finding myself taking out my D810 instead of the D5 simply because it was a pain to lug it around. It just wasn't working for me.

Final thoughts. I sold my D5 and got the D500. I also recouped about $3750 in the process in addition to the new camera. However, this wasn't about money for me. I spend too much on this hobby of mine and that's a decision I'm fine with. I only bring it up to show the vast different in prices and even after spending all that extra I wasn't satisfied with the result. It's not about getting the "most expensive" it's about getting the best tool for what you intended to do with it. I wanted the ideal camera for what I normally shoot and the D5 just wasn't it. The D500 is looking like it will be, but time will tell. I will note one thing, about 95% of my shots are at ISO 2000 or lower. If I shot regularly at ISO 2500 or higher it probably would have altered my opinions on this topic. The Nikon D5 was made to be a low light monster and Nikon pushed it more into that specialized field than it's previous iterations. If it has been simply an updated D4S, I probably wouldn't have made this switch. Anyways, thanks for reading my rant. If you have any questions about my decision, feel free to let me know.

-- hide signature --

Just a lawyer who spends way too much time and money pretending to be a photographer.

 Phathom's gear list:Phathom's gear list
Sony RX100 III Nikon D810 Nikon D500 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II +3 more
Nikon D4S Nikon D5 Nikon D500 Nikon D750 Nikon D810 Olympus Air Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4
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