Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

Started Nov 25, 2017 | User reviews
Lobbamobba Contributing Member • Posts: 514
Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
27

I made a video version of this review as well with 30ish samples, video samples and a couple of more thoughts on the Nikon D500.
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b8bbXIJo4YE

A beauty and a beast.

Mirrorless vs DSLR

There are a lot of ups and downs to both type of systems. One can't yet completely replace the other.
If you are a full time sports shooter choosing a DSLR is a no brainer.
If you are just a casual shooter a mirrorless might make more sense.
What camera to get is always very individual.

I switched to mirrorless in 2013 with the Panasonic GH3.
Since then I have bought a number of mirrorless cameras. And if not counting interchangeable lens video cameras, range finders and premium compacts they are,

  • Panasonic
    GF3, GF5, G7, G85, GX7
  • Olympus
    OMD-EM5, Pen-f, E-P5
  • Sony
    Nex-5, a6000, a6300, A7, A7ii, A7sii
  • Samsung
    NX1, NX500
  • Fuji
    X-T10, X-T20, X-T2, X-Pro2
  • Leica T

This list is not to try and show of. Its to pre answer a comment I have gotten a lot on youtube which is, "you tried the wrong mirrorless".

At the end of the day, how good I think those cameras where and how much I liked them. There are things they can't give that a DSLR sure can.

5 Reasons I bought a DSLR

1. Size and grip
Shooting on the street is one thing. But covering a full day at a sports arena or event. Then I want something to hold on to.
Mirrorless needs to compromise the sensor size to be smaller. Otherwise the lenses (which will actually be bigger than DSLR lenses) will make the balance unbearable (imo) for a full day.
For street and casual shooting I have already made my choice.
So my backup system with interchangeable lenses can be as big as it want. Still would have needed a bag if I had gone mirrorless.

2. Viewfinder
I love EVFs. I always have.
But I can't deny how nice it is to look through the lens again. Seeing everything crystal clear. Even in dim lighting.
And the OVF on the D500 is very nice. Like crazy nice.

The live view isn't bad. Its not as fast as mirrorless but its touch screen so you can point to focus and/or shoot.

For video its fine, still no peaking but the screen is clear enough to focus manually.
The video by the way is excellent. Same great quality as the D750. I made a full review of its video features.
And on top of the D750 quality, in s35, it has 4K.
I know, people go bananas over the x2.25 in 4K. But here me out.

The crop is less than a GH4 in 4K. Its less than a Blackmagic Cinema Camera. And its way less than a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera.
It really isn't that bad.
I use it to my advantage. Since I deliver in HD anyway I can get 27-460mm with a constant f1.8 from only two lenses (18-35 and 50-100).
Thats pretty sweet.

3. Auto Focus
The AF of DSLR like the D500 still walks all over the mirrorless options. Even in the dark it locks on every time.
My Sigma 50-100/1.8 that some say doesn't always lock is at 100% hit rate. I kid you not. I have 100% successful and accurate hits so far.
Never experienced focus like this.

Couple that with the 10fps Raw in up to 200 bursts..
And the highlight weighted metering which basically is instant ETTR.

Im golden

4. Battery
I seriously haven't charged my camera for a week.

5. Coming home
This is all subjective and might just be me. But I feel joy when shooting with a simple, straight forward and intuitive DSLR again.
There really isn't any compromises made from not having a mirror, a certain style or size.
Its a machine thats made to let you take pictures fast and efficiently. Nothing else. Its all it does and it does a great job.
That translates in to relaxation, confidence, joy, etc in me as a shooter.

Samples

Like I said, lots of samples in the video . But here are a few to peep at.

Tamron 70-200mm f2.8 G2, great lens.

The affordable 50mm f1.8 G.

Nikon D500
21 megapixels • 3.2 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: Jan 5, 2016
Lobbamobba's score
4.5
Average community score
4.7
bad for good for
Kids / pets
great
Action / sports
excellent
Landscapes / scenery
good
Portraits
great
Low light (without flash)
great
Flash photography (social)
okay
Studio / still life
excellent
= community average
tdwesbo
tdwesbo Senior Member • Posts: 2,127
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
2

You just like to buy them things. No harm in that, but you’ll be moved on to whatever is next in a few weeks.

 tdwesbo's gear list:tdwesbo's gear list
Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm X-H1 Fujifilm X-T4 7artisans 25mm F1.8 Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 +5 more
AWG_Pics Senior Member • Posts: 1,475
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
3

Well reasoned and candid article. Thanks for sharing. I agree with your conclusions for much the same reasons.

photoholiko Senior Member • Posts: 2,788
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
1

That's why I never gave up or stopped buying DSLRs but I do the same with Mirrorless, all because I'm a GAS-o-Holic!

 photoholiko's gear list:photoholiko's gear list
Canon EOS 400D Olympus PEN E-PL1 Epson PhotoPC 850 Zoom Minolta DiMAGE 7 Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ200 +34 more
OP Lobbamobba Contributing Member • Posts: 514
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
3

Bla bla bla.

bjn70 Veteran Member • Posts: 3,992
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

But I can't deny how nice it is to look through the lens again. Seeing everything crystal clear..

Once I looked through the viewfinder of an SLR I was hooked and I haven't been able to give that up.

I want to try some of the tricks of the EVF.  I'm thinking about a smaller EVF to carry when I don't want to carry the larger DSLR, but I realize that compromising on the size of the DSLR also compromises the usability.

I was visiting with a nephew at Thanksgiving and discovered that he was now using an EVF.  He had gone from his Sony DSLR to a new Sony full frame EVF.  Looking through the viewfinder of his camera, it definitely did not pass my test.  I was looking at him across the breakfast table and couldn't see the detail in his face that I could see through my D7200 at 3 times the distance.  But then the old TLRs that we used to use were much worse than this.

arniebook Senior Member • Posts: 1,223
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
2

Thanks for your article ... now I won't worry about trying one myself ... I've always had SLR's & DSLR's.  The D500 is really great.

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What we spend on this stuff is equal to the depth of our pockets squared ($²) times what we (j)ustify in our minds as to what we expect to do with our pictures plus (+) the (e)njoyment we experience from using our stuff and sharing the result ... $xxxx=$²(j+e )

 arniebook's gear list:arniebook's gear list
Nikon D500 Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4D Nikon D300 Nikon AF-S 70-200mm F2.8E FL ED VR +2 more
Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,241
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

"And the highlight weighted metering which basically is instant ETTR."

Hmmm.. I always thought "ETTR" was lifting shadows by Adding "+ exposure compensation?"

For me, "Highlight weighted metering" is "Exposing to the left."  Am I wrong?

 Wahrsager's gear list:Wahrsager's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z50 +27 more
OP Lobbamobba Contributing Member • Posts: 514
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

Pretty wrong imo

Exposing to the right is, according to me and everyone I know, to go as close as you can before clipping highlights.

Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,241
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

Lobbamobba wrote:

Pretty wrong imo

Exposing to the right is, according to me and everyone I know, to go as close as you can before clipping highlights.

Wow. I guess I'm ignorant.

 Wahrsager's gear list:Wahrsager's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z50 +27 more
Josh152 Senior Member • Posts: 2,149
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
1

Wahrsager wrote:

Lobbamobba wrote:

Pretty wrong imo

Exposing to the right is, according to me and everyone I know, to go as close as you can before clipping highlights.

Wow. I guess I'm ignorant.

Well you're just confused because many erroneously say you have to pull shadows back up after ETTR because they don't really understand how to do it right or basic metering that well.  Read this post as well as the ones by The Davinator and you'll understand it better.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57584639

Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,241
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

Josh152 wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Lobbamobba wrote:

Pretty wrong imo

Exposing to the right is, according to me and everyone I know, to go as close as you can before clipping highlights.

Wow. I guess I'm ignorant.

Well you're just confused because many erroneously say you have to pull shadows back up after ETTR because they don't really understand how to do it right or basic metering that well. Read this post as well as the ones by The Davinator and you'll understand it better.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57584639

I guess it should be called then "Exposing to protect the right."

This is where my brain is.. Maybe I'm dyslexic.

When I choose "Highlight Weighted Metering" on my D500, the histogram is pushed to the left.

Thanks for the link!  I've been enlightened!

 Wahrsager's gear list:Wahrsager's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z50 +27 more
Josh152 Senior Member • Posts: 2,149
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

Wahrsager wrote:

Josh152 wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Lobbamobba wrote:

Pretty wrong imo

Exposing to the right is, according to me and everyone I know, to go as close as you can before clipping highlights.

Wow. I guess I'm ignorant.

Well you're just confused because many erroneously say you have to pull shadows back up after ETTR because they don't really understand how to do it right or basic metering that well. Read this post as well as the ones by The Davinator and you'll understand it better.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57584639

I guess it should be called then "Exposing to protect the right."

This is where my brain is.. Maybe I'm dyslexic.

Not really. The name comes from the correct way to set your exposure in a Low dynamic range scene, like say an overcast day with no highlights and few to little blacks and shadows. In this case if possible you should increase your exposure to just shy of clipping.  It is called expose to the right because in this scenario if you just set the exposure to what the camera wants the histogram will be a hill in the middle with little to no data on either side. Once you add exposure to the point it's just shy of clipping the "hill" moves to the right.  Of course when you process the raw file you have to adjust it so the brightness is lower and matches the scene brightness. So that's where the name comes from.  The reason to do this is to increase the signal to noise ratio which reduces noise and improves the color accuracy and tonal gradations.  Low signal, in other words low amounts of light hitting the sensor, is the primary cause of noise in a photo not the ISO like many are taught incorrectly as beginners.

In a scene with more dynamic range that your sensor is capable of recording as discussed in that thread it becomes a game of trying to keep the highlights you don't want to clip from doing so while not having to expose the mids so low when you pull them backup up they are noisy and have poor color. Sometimes the only solution is to blend two exposures.

Wahrsager
Wahrsager Senior Member • Posts: 2,241
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

Josh152 wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Josh152 wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Lobbamobba wrote:

Pretty wrong imo

Exposing to the right is, according to me and everyone I know, to go as close as you can before clipping highlights.

Wow. I guess I'm ignorant.

Well you're just confused because many erroneously say you have to pull shadows back up after ETTR because they don't really understand how to do it right or basic metering that well. Read this post as well as the ones by The Davinator and you'll understand it better.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57584639

I guess it should be called then "Exposing to protect the right."

This is where my brain is.. Maybe I'm dyslexic.

Not really. The name comes from the correct way to set your exposure in a Low dynamic range scene, like say an overcast day with no highlights and few to little blacks and shadows. In this case if possible you should increase your exposure to just shy of clipping. It is called expose to the right because in this scenario if you just set the exposure to what the camera wants the histogram will be a hill in the middle with little to no data on either side. Once you add exposure to the point it's just shy of clipping the "hill" moves to the right. Of course when you process the raw file you have to adjust it so the brightness is lower and matches the scene brightness. So that's where the name comes from. The reason to do this is to increase the signal to noise ratio which reduces noise and improves the color accuracy and tonal gradations. Low signal, in other words low amounts of light hitting the sensor, is the primary cause of noise in a photo not the ISO like many are taught incorrectly as beginners.

In a scene with more dynamic range that your sensor is capable of recording as discussed in that thread it becomes a game of trying to keep the highlights you don't want to clip from doing so while not having to expose the mids so low when you pull them backup up they are noisy and have poor color. Sometimes the only solution is to blend two exposures.

Thanks for this.. My brain is starting to get it.

Dare I ask.. What if I'm using "Highlight Weighted" and dial in "+" EV? No need if it's to annoying a question.. I'm on the right track of understanding.

 Wahrsager's gear list:Wahrsager's gear list
Nikon D4S Nikon D500 Nikon D5 Nikon Z6 Nikon Z50 +27 more
Josh152 Senior Member • Posts: 2,149
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
1

Wahrsager wrote:

Josh152 wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Josh152 wrote:

Wahrsager wrote:

Lobbamobba wrote:

Pretty wrong imo

Exposing to the right is, according to me and everyone I know, to go as close as you can before clipping highlights.

Wow. I guess I'm ignorant.

Well you're just confused because many erroneously say you have to pull shadows back up after ETTR because they don't really understand how to do it right or basic metering that well. Read this post as well as the ones by The Davinator and you'll understand it better.

https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57584639

I guess it should be called then "Exposing to protect the right."

This is where my brain is.. Maybe I'm dyslexic.

Not really. The name comes from the correct way to set your exposure in a Low dynamic range scene, like say an overcast day with no highlights and few to little blacks and shadows. In this case if possible you should increase your exposure to just shy of clipping. It is called expose to the right because in this scenario if you just set the exposure to what the camera wants the histogram will be a hill in the middle with little to no data on either side. Once you add exposure to the point it's just shy of clipping the "hill" moves to the right. Of course when you process the raw file you have to adjust it so the brightness is lower and matches the scene brightness. So that's where the name comes from. The reason to do this is to increase the signal to noise ratio which reduces noise and improves the color accuracy and tonal gradations. Low signal, in other words low amounts of light hitting the sensor, is the primary cause of noise in a photo not the ISO like many are taught incorrectly as beginners.

In a scene with more dynamic range that your sensor is capable of recording as discussed in that thread it becomes a game of trying to keep the highlights you don't want to clip from doing so while not having to expose the mids so low when you pull them backup up they are noisy and have poor color. Sometimes the only solution is to blend two exposures.

Thanks for this.. My brain is starting to get it.

Dare I ask.. What if I'm using "Highlight Weighted" and dial in "+" EV? No need if it's to annoying a question.. I'm on the right track of understanding.

It does the same thing it does in any other metering mode.  The trick is to watch the histogram/highlight warning ( AKA blinkies) so you don't get clipping of highlights you don't want to clip but also remember the histogram is based on the jpeg so if your'e shooting raw it'll show clipping before there really is any.  On my D800 for example I know if the highlight warning just starts blinking I will be just below clipping on the raw file.  It just takes some practice to get a feel for it with your camera.

SarahTerra Regular Member • Posts: 108
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500
4

I prefer a DSLR period, but shooting video on a Nikon and claiming it is "good" is an extreme reach and kind of outs you as a fanboy/girl or PR shill. There are far, far more "pros" who use a crappy iphone than a nikon body for video work.
The fact remains that going nikon for video simply shoots you in the foot right off the bat due to lens mount distance. and you sacrifice a ton of compatibility with quality manual focus lenses, whereas going sony etc. you can use any nikon lens made with a simple adapter.
Also the D500 is not some end all be all perfect camera, it has serious limitations in connectivity, flash control, battery life and contrary to popular belief.... autofocus.

Nonetheless i still feel despite it's limitations it is the best overall DSLR for sport and wildlife on the market when size, cost, weight and performance are all considered.

AWG_Pics Senior Member • Posts: 1,475
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

Agree. Video on my DSLRs is clunky, unimpressive and a pain in the rear to use.

OP Lobbamobba Contributing Member • Posts: 514
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

SarahTerra wrote:

I prefer a DSLR period, but shooting video on a Nikon and claiming it is "good" is an extreme reach and kind of outs you as a fanboy/girl or PR shill. There are far, far more "pros" who use a crappy iphone than a nikon body for video work.
The fact remains that going nikon for video simply shoots you in the foot right off the bat due to lens mount distance. and you sacrifice a ton of compatibility with quality manual focus lenses, whereas going sony etc. you can use any nikon lens made with a simple adapter.
Also the D500 is not some end all be all perfect camera, it has serious limitations in connectivity, flash control, battery life and contrary to popular belief.... autofocus.

Nonetheless i still feel despite it's limitations it is the best overall DSLR for sport and wildlife on the market when size, cost, weight and performance are all considered.

This post was too long for me to read. I only read the first lines where you made up lies about me and where very insulting.

I also saw you make up some lies about what professional video and TV producers like me use and don't use.

Its pretty clear to me by just those thre-four lines that you know almost nothing about the subject and that any further debate is useless.

And as you might have guessed, I wont return to read any smart reply you might have copied of the internet to pass on as your own.

So feel free to get the last word.

OP Lobbamobba Contributing Member • Posts: 514
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

Practice makes perfect. I use mirrorless for video as well. To bad the DR isnt up to the levels of a DSLR.

I also use cinema cameras like Red and Blackmagic.

And thats my tip to you. Learn the craft, not just the easiest way to get ok results. The camera is just a tool, invest in yourself.

AWG_Pics Senior Member • Posts: 1,475
Re: Mirrorless vs DSLR - Why I switched to a Nikon D500

You are right, of course. If I got serious about video. As I have with some aspects of still photography, then I am sure I could get much better results. I have not invested the time to get good video out of some of my very fine DSLRs. I have no one to blame for that except myself.

So I retract my disparaging comments about video from my DSLRs. I have no basis to judge.

I suppose in some ways I am daunted by what seems like a steep learning curve and I only have so much bandwidth at this time. Perhaps this winter I will invest the time.

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