D500: feeding time

Started Jun 27, 2016 | User reviews
nilanjanray Contributing Member • Posts: 747
D500: feeding time

I test-drove the D500 last weekend. Had gone to a nearby National Park, but since I didn't have any interesting animal encounter, I spent a few hours stalking red-rumped swallows. Took me an hour till I eventually got close enough (using a bush for a cover) without them getting spooked.

These feeding sequences (mouth interlock) would last 1/10s - 1/5. Took me a little time to figure out their behaviour patterns (I am not a birder, more of a big mammal shooter, so this was new to me). Handholding the D500 + 200-500mm for minutes at an end, waiting for the right moment, put some strain on my back and hands after a few hours (there was nothing to rest the gear on, I always shoot handheld). And unless I pointed the camera in the right direction, that too with some pre-focus, I wouldn't have time to shoot the birds when they would land, feed and fly off (1-2 seconds, the entire sequence). Note to myself: think of a monopod or a gimbal set-up - which I have resisted till now - if I plan to shoot birds again.

Quick impressions (I have shot with the D7100, D810, D610):

* Seems to be at least a stop better than my D7100 once the ISOs start increasing (not noise, but the overall quality of the picture - colour, DR, noise pattern). In good light/low ISO, there is not much difference. Perhaps the colours are a little better.

* I processed a few photos using Capture NX-D and a couple using ACR. Colour is richer when using CNX-D, IMO. Not that I am pp expert. An interesting finding: the noise reduction default setting on CNX-D for >ISO 1000 photos is: Better Quality 2013 + 50%/50% for both types of noise. That is rather heavy noise reduction IMO , but the details are not that bad even at 100% viewing. Some Nikon secret sauce for D500 NEF processing.

~92% crop. NEF conversion with CNX-D, and crop+resizing. No other processing.

* The files hold up much better than the D7100's when lifting shadow or doing exposure compensation in pp. No banding.

* The metering is very nice, reminded me of the D810.

* One feels rather pampered with the FPS and buffer AF, buffer,

* Handling: very much like the D810, perhaps a little better. Balanced well with the 200-500mm.

* AF: better than the cameras I have used. I tried Dynamic 25, 3D and Group AF-C. Tracking lock-on settings were kept at 3 (didn't want to play with too many variables). I did have to use manual AF to lock on the bird a few times when there was undergrowth right behind the bird. I guess that has more to do with the slow lens than the D500's AF. Btw, the ability to change AF settings on demand - through a custom button - is very nice. I would use Group AF through AF-ON, and press the Preview button to get dynamic 25 pts when the situation warranted it.

~40% crop, not bad for ISO 9000! Selective noise reduction, quick and dirty. Processed with ACR.

* AF with the 200-500mm when compared to D7100 and D610: much better. The afternoon I got the camera, I went for an evening drive and tracked a black dog (with a few streaks of white) as it was coming towards me. The keeper rate was much better when tracking a black animal, compared to what I got with D7100 and D610. This was in overcast conditions, in bad light.

* The battery (EN-EL 15 that I used) drained rather fast, even in aeroplane mode.

Nikon D500
21 megapixels • 3.2 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Jan 5, 2016
nilanjanray's score
Average community score
bad for good for
Kids / pets
Action / sports
Landscapes / scenery
Low light (without flash)
Flash photography (social)
Studio / still life
= community average
Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon D500
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Guido de Kleijn Regular Member • Posts: 169
Re: D500: feeding time

A great set of shots! Love the color and sharpness.

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 Guido de Kleijn's gear list:Guido de Kleijn's gear list
Nikon D500 Sigma 105mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm F1.8G Tokina AT-X Pro 11-16mm f/2.8 DX II Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm F2.8-4E ED VR +1 more
OP nilanjanray Contributing Member • Posts: 747
Re: D500: feeding time

Guido de Kleijn wrote:

A great set of shots! Love the color and sharpness.

Thank you, Guido!

James Larsen
James Larsen Veteran Member • Posts: 4,500
Re: D500: feeding time

I agree, it is a great set. Glad you like it!!

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15 yr old Aspiring Wildlife Photographer. Hoping to be a Cinematographer.

 James Larsen's gear list:James Larsen's gear list
Canon EOS 6D Canon EOS 80D Canon EF 85mm F1.8 USM Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM Canon EF-S 10-18mm F4.5–5.6 IS STM +3 more
OP nilanjanray Contributing Member • Posts: 747
Re: D500: feeding time

Thanks James

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