Back to the action: Nikon D500 Review
The Nikon D500 is a 21MP APS-C DSLR capable of shooting at up to 10 frames per second and featuring an autofocus system derived from the one in the D5. In other words, it’s exactly the kind of high-end DX format body that appeared to have become extinct with the D300S.
The six-and-a-half years that have passed since the D300S’ launch have seen the camera market move on considerably but the D500 does much to reclaim the position as one of the preeminent APS-C camera on the market.
As you might expect, much of the improved capability of the camera centers around sports and high-speed shooting, with significant upgrades to the shooting rate and autofocus system, but there are also major upgrades to the viewfinder, video capabilities and connectivity options which expand its utility beyond one particular niche.
- 20.7MP APS-C (DX-format) sensor
- 153 point AF module with 99 cross-type points
- 180,000 pixel RGB sensor for metering and subject recognition
- AF point joystick
- 10 fps shooting for up to 200 shots (lossless compressed 14-bit Raw to XQD card)
- 4K (UHD) video from 1.5x crop of sensor
- 100% coverage viewfinder with 1.0x magnification
- 2.36M-dot tilting touchscreen display
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with NFC for setup
- Mic and headphone sockets
- USB 3.0 connector
- Anti-flicker option for working under artificial lighting
A good sport
Much of the D500’s capability is built around the ability to focus and shoot very quickly. Its 153-point AF module offers near full-width coverage and is linked to a 180,000 pixel RGB metering sensor to further improve its AF tracking capabilities. Interestingly, and like the D5, the D500’s AF system now offers two parameters for fine-tuning the autofocus tracking behavior, letting the user specify the type of subject movement and the correct response to another object blocking the targeted subject. Existing Nikons only let you specify duration, suggesting Nikon is trying to expand the range of shooting situations for which the AF system can be optimized.
Only 55 of the camera’s AF points can be directly selected and the D500 gains both a joystick and a touchscreen to make it as fast as possible to select the point you want to use. Add to this the ability to shoot up to 200 Raw frames before slowing down (if you use an XQD card), and it becomes obvious that the D500 is intended as a high-speed pro/semi-pro camera in a way the D7000 series never was.
|How's that for coverage? The D500 doesn't just boast a lot of autofocus points, it also offers them across most of the width of the frame, which is useful whether you're manually selecting a point or letting the camera track your subject.|
The D500 also gains an anti-flicker option designed to ensure the camera shoots in-sync with the brightest point in the flickering cycle of artificial lights. It's a feature we first saw on the Canon EOS 7D Mark II and we'd expect it to be particularly valuable for shooting indoor sports such as basketball.
Another sign that this is a true high-end camera is the inclusion of a larger viewfinder. Like previous DX00 class cameras it has 100% coverage but it also offers 1.0x magnification, which is the largest optical viewfinder we can remember seeing in an APS-C camera (electronic viewfinders are a different matter, since size and brightness isn't constrained by sensor/mirror size).
The D500 can also shoot 4K video and includes both an input for using an external mic and a headphone socket for audio monitoring. The camera also offers a flat picture profile to provide more post-processing flexibility, on-screen highlight warnings and power aperture control that allows you to select and change the aperture when in movie mode. There’s no focus peaking option, though, and you can’t zoom-in while you record to confirm or adjust focus as you record.
One of the other big features Nikon is touting is its Snapbridge system that uses Bluetooth LE (a low-power variant of Bluetooth also known as Bluetooth Smart), and Wi-Fi to maintain a connection between the camera and a smart device. This includes the ability to auto-transfer images from the camera, as well as initiating the Wi-Fi connection for remote shooting or manual image transfer.
To show where the D500 sits in the lineup, here are the major feature differences between it and the less expensive D7200, along with a comparison back to the D300S – not because we expect anyone to be choosing between them, but to show how much of a step forward the camera represents.
|Nikon D500||Nikon D7200||Nikon D300S|
|AF points||153 (99 cross type)||51 (15 cross-type)||51 (15 cross-type)|
|Max frame rate||10 fps||
|Buffer depths||200 lossless compressed 14-bit Raw||
~17 14-bit Raw
|30 lossless compressed 14-bit Raw|
|Shutter durability rating||200,000||150,000||150,000|
|Wi-Fi?||Yes (and Bluetooth)||Yes||No|
|Body construction||Magnesium Alloy + Carbon fiber composite||Magnesium Alloy + Carbon fiber composite||Magnesium Alloy|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1240 shots/charge||1100 shots/charge||950 shots/charge|
|Weight (Body Only)||760g||675g||
|26 April 2016||Studio scene and Raw dynamic range published.|
|16 May 2016||Introduction, Body and Handling, Operation and Controls, Wi-Fi and Connectivity and Video pages published|
|25 May 2016||Autofocus, Loose Ends and Conclusion pages added. Review finalized|
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #9 spot we have the Fujifilm GFX 50S, a medium-format camera that took CP+ 2017 by storm.
Instagram is testing a new feature that lets you follow hashtags in addition to people, making it possible to keep track of your favorite #landscapes or #portraits without leaving your home feed.
Despite the gigantic volume of second hand film bodies in existence, it seems there is still a demand for new 35mm SLRs with a retro feel. The latest is a remake of the Ihagee Elbaflex from the 1960s, but with a Nikon F mount.
The Polaroid Insta-Share Moto Mod straps an instant printer directly to your Moto Z smartphone, so you can print your photos as soon as you've captured them.
The Mitakon Speedmaster 135mm F1.4 lens is being relaunched in 7 different mounts, including: Sony A, Sony E, Canon EF, Nikon F, Fujifilm G, Pentax K, and Leica L. Got an extra three grand lying around?
In January, Kodak announced it would bring back the beloved slide film Ektachrome. The timeline has been pushed back a bit, but Kodak says you can expect to purchase Ektachrome again in 2018.
Instagram popularity is threatening some of the most beautiful landscapes in the US, as hordes of 'nature lovers' trample over the same spots over and over again in search of the same exact shot.
You’d have to be pretty brave to immerse your $50K RED cinema camera underwater. But if you've got the guts, Gates just released a new housing you can be pretty sure won't wreck your unbelievably expensive toy.
Adobe has released a 'Lightroom Downloader' app for Windows 10 and macOS High Sierra that allows you to download all of your images from the Adobe Cloud, all at once.
After releasing a popular 4K action cam and an affordable mirrorless M43 camera, Chinese camera maker YI is diving into yet another market: 360° VR. Meet the YI 360 VR: a powerful little two-lens camera that can shoot and stream in 4K.
The DJI Spark has received a lot of attention thanks to its diminutive size, but how does it stack up? In our review, we take a look at what it's like to fly this pint-sized drone, as well as what's in it for photographers.
Between now and the end of the year we'll be counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Coming in at #10 is a fast wide prime and part of the highly-acclaimed Sigma Art series.
DxOMark has awarded the Pentax 645Z 101 points, making it the second-highest scoring medium format camera it's tested (or the highest scoring from 2015 to now, based on the originally published results).
A small explosion that sounded like a gunshot caused a panic and 24 flight cancellations at Orlando International Airport last Friday. As it turns out, it was a camera battery that exploded inside a traveler's bag.
At last, a premium superzoom bridge camera with phase detect autofocus. Is this the best all-in-one camera ever made? Read on.