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Camera Reviews

Nikon D500 review

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs)


Keywords: nikon, d500, dslr

Introduction - Delivery woes

The Nikon D500 DSLR is "condensed power" according to Nikon. Our members in the Nikonians Nikon D500 forum seem to agree. This article will be expanded with our experiences on the D500 in the coming months. For now it contains an overview of the D500, a list of Nikonians and external resources on the camera and sample images taken with it.

As a D300 user since the D300 came out, I expect the D500 to sell a lot, and I believe it will be exceptionally good. It took Nikon longer than normal to come out with it and it has quite a few tricks up its sleeve, such as its new Multi-CAM 20k Autofocus sensor, which it received from its larger sister, the D5.

Many of us are really eager to get our sweaty, little greedy hands on this camera, but Nikon has had delivery delays and the delivery date was pushed into the future a few times. Now though, we have seen this latest DX "prosumer" beauty hitting the shelves in the US 21-APR-2016 and Europe has gotten the first batches of it as well now 26-APR-2016. But, it seems it is oversold and not enough bodies are available to cover the current, pentup demand.

Price - $700 USD difference between USA and Europe

The D500 "body-only" goes for the suggested retail price of 1995.95 USD at both Berger Bro's and Roberts Camera, both taking pre-orders and will deliver once they are stocked. In Europe, Fotobrenner of Germany asks 2329 EUR (2706 USD as of 19-APR-2016) or ca. 700 USD more than the street price in the US, though still a tad cheaper than one of the large discounters in Netherlands.

 

20160419_172445_321786.jpg

The Nikon D500 comes with a 20.9MP DX format CMOS sensor and the new EXPEED 5 image processor, same as in the Nikon D5. Its Multi-CAM 20K Autofocus sensor has 153 (out of which 99 are cross-type sensors) AF points. Its ISO range is an impressive 100-51,200 which is expandable to 50 - 1,640,000 equivalent ISO using the "Lo 1" and "Hi 5" settings.  It can share images instantly with its built-in "SnapBridge" using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It shoots "cinematic" 4K UHD video and has dual card slots for both XQD and SD media.

Dimensions

The D500 weighs with battery 860g (1.90 lb or 30.34 ounces) at dimensions of 147 x 115 x 81 mm (5.79 x 4.53 x 3.19 inches). This makes the D500 over all slightly lighter but a tiny, tiny bit larger than the D300. The D300 weighted 65g more or 925 g with battery (2 pounds) and its dimensions were 147 x 114 x 74 mm (5.79 x 4.49 x 2.91 inches). These dimensions make me believe, that the D500 will fit like a glove for all of us who love our D300's. I also expect our currently used D300 L-brackets (for tripod mounts) from companies like Markins, RRS and Kirk to be compatible with the D500.

And yes, the battery is the EN-EL15, the one we know from Nikon cameras such as the Nikon D7200, the D800 and the V1, to name a few. Your trusty D300 EN-EL3e battery will do you no good for the D500.

The Nikon D500 user's manual as PDF

Are you a D500 owner?

Nikon is replacing older EN-EL15 Li-ion01 batteries that came with the first D500 cameras at no charge.

More reading on the D500

"Good things come to the one who waits" or something to that degree. While you are waiting for this most interesting camera to arrive at your doorstep, here is more to read:

The D500 book

Darrell is busy writing the book, but you can pre order your copy today. As always with the books in the popular NikoniansPress series, it contains a 50% voucher for a Gold membership at Nikonians.

 

Mastering the D500 book by Digital Darrell. A NikoniansPress Rocky Nook book

Our own Digital Darrell's book, Mastering the Nikon D500 is being written. Make sure you pre order yours!

Want to be published with your D500 image?

As with every NikoniansPress Rocky Nook book, we have some stunning images included taken by members using the very camera the book is about. If you have a stunning, vertical photograph taken with your D500, take the chance and potentially get published in the book.

20160419_190227_1559_d500_front.png

The D500's form factor is very close to that of the Nikon D300.
If you like your D200 or D300, you will love this one. No plasticy feel. No flimsy things.

 

Nikon D500 sample images

Some sample images taken by members are shown here. More to come!

 

Cute pet by ljordan316

Cute pet by ljordan316. Click for larger image
Nikon D500, 500mm f/4 at f/8, 1/1250s, 800 ISO, handheld.

 

Bird with D500. dhmiller

Bird by dhmiller. Click for larger image.
Nikon D500, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR (new version)
ISO 1600. Shutter speed faster than 1/2000s

 

Bird by dhmiller using a Nikon D500

Bird by dhmiller. Click for larger image.
Nikon D500, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR (new version)
ISO 1600. Shutter speed faster than 1/2000s

 

Bird by dhmiller using a Nikon D500

Bird by dhmiller. Click for larger image.
Nikon D500, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR (new version)
ISO 1600. Shutter speed faster than 1/2000s

 

Statues by dhmiller using a Nikon D500

 

Statues by dhmiller. Click for larger image.
Nikon D500, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR (new version)
ISO 6400. Shutter speed faster than 1/2000s

 

More images taken with the Nikon D500 camera

We have loads of more images taken with this camera in our galleries: Nikon D500 images - sample images and more!

 

 

 

(4 Votes )

Originally written on April 19, 2016

Last updated on September 29, 2016

Bo Stahlbrandt Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs)

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

Bratislava, Slovakia
Admin, 9099 posts

26 comments

James Salmons (Nikon James) on September 21, 2016

A number here have listed their "one disappointment" of one kind or another and I find nothing serious, really except perhaps that some do miss the handy if weak pop-up flash. My one disappointment is the name! I spent so many years thinking about and looking forward to a D400 that I feel unfairly tricked somehow. Still, I am honestly just happy that we finally got the kind of camera some of us have come to enjoy (the D200 was my first Nikon).

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on June 14, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@himtree: Glad to hear it! I am sure you will enjoy your D7200 :-)

Harry McCabe (hlmthree) on June 14, 2016

Thanks very much. I purchased the D7200, and so far I have been very happy with it. Prior to buying the 7200, I read through the D500's user manual, and it seemed that while that camera was a super model, it is probably more complex than I need or would have the time to learn well. Thanks again for your reply.

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on June 13, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@himthree: First of all, these are very different cameras. I always recommend a potential buyer to check them out in a store, compare how they feel in your hands. Rent them if you can and try them out. I personally love the format of the D500. It is just perfect for my (fairly large) hands. I further enjoy the built of the D100...D500's compared to e.g. the Nikon D7k bodies. Technically you may reach higher grounds with the D500 vs the D7200, but skills are so much more important! So, if you shoot a lot and you know photography very well, then the D500 is probably a good buy, else if you are rather intermediate, I think you will be happy with the D7200. It is also a marvelous camera.

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on June 13, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@mariekaz. Yes, Nikon's numbering system is indeed a bit hard to follow. Basically: single digits are pro bodies (D5, F6 ...) Triple digits are "prosumer" bodies (D300, D500, D750, D810). Four digit bodies are consumer bodies. We used to have two digit consumer and prosumer bodies as well (D70 and D90 for example). The D600 and above are FX. Below are DX.

Joel Coster (joel19522) on May 20, 2016

Thanks for this article. These photos appear to be 1200 pixels wide. Are the originals that heavily cropped? Also the contrast is not great on my monitor I know this is a common problem with light and dark colored birds on any un-processed photos. Bottom line, not to be critical, but this article doesn't seem to favorably highlight the capabilities of the D500. Furthermore, it was promised that this article would be updated, but I believe it has been a full month since the last update(?) i.e. Why is this thread pinned to the top of the D500 forum?

Harry McCabe (hlmthree) on May 18, 2016

For what I would describe myself as, an avid photographer with no really "professional"l skills, in looking at the D500 vs the D7200 (upgrading from a D5100), it seems that the 500 is probably a bit too complex at my skill level. Is there anything that someone shooting mainly grandchildren, birds and landscapes would get from the D500 that would make it a better choice than the D7200? Thanks.

Marie Kazalia (mariekaz) on May 15, 2016

I noted in an online search that in 2015 Nikon released a D5500 for an "entry level" camera. The D500 is meant to replace the D300. I know there is a D600. Obviously I'm not up on releases or numbering of series. How do I jump in and make sense of Nikon's D series numbering system? It seems to jump around a bit.

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on May 14, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@aerox: thanks. I am really looking forward seeing more of us Nikonians getting our hands on this great camera, making us able to share insights and experience.

James Young (aerox) on May 13, 2016

We are all accustomed to patiently waiting for new Nikon's we love to arrive. D500 is no exception, but your early-bird insights make the wait less painful. Thanks!

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on April 29, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@PRW: yes and no. Nikon is tagging a piece of hardware inside the camera EXPEED. This is the main piece of processing hardware, a custom circuit based upon ARM, earlier Fujitsu. It is also a trademark and marketing thing and here it gets fuzzy. I would assume that just like e.g. Volkswagen (take any automobile manufacturer here) does not like to talk about that an Audi A8 or A6 is using much of the same system components as a Volkswagen Passat or a Golf (or Skoda Octavia...), Nikon is in one way not too keen on making things appear too similar. From an electronics standpoint, I would personally try to use as much circuitry as possible across as many models as possible and then fine tune firmware for various things such as the specific sensors and actors around that piece.

Paul Wheeler (PRW) on April 28, 2016

I always believed that EXPEED was an image-processing system, and it does not refer to particular individual components within a camera. Therefore there isn't actually an EXPEED processor as such, and I sincerely doubt that the D500, as good as it will be, contains the same processor as the D5.

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on April 27, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@steve_king Thanks for reporting in, much obliged. Yes, every photographer I have met so far says the same: killer good AF!

Steve King (steve_king) on April 27, 2016

Bo, I echo your sentiments about the D500 after using it since last Thursday when it arrived. I've been using it mostly for sports at this point, but I will be testing it out on birds and landscapes this coming weekend. So far it works very well, is very light (which I was looking forward to), performs admirably at 9fps for sports, works great in low light, for me so far at ISO12800-25600 it's great. The autofocusing engine is the best I've used too.

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on April 26, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@richardd300: Yes, it is really irritating us in Europe have to pay so much more compared to the US. Hopefully you get your hot, sweaty hands on her this week though :-)

Richard Walliker (richardd300) on April 26, 2016

Can't wait and for once I feel all the hype will be worth it. My only slight disappointment, apart from the fact I haven't got it yet, is the UK price compared to the US. I really didn't think Nikon would ever get down to producing such a highly specified camera, but better late than never! These hot sweaty hands want it NOW! Richard

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on April 25, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@Garret Hayes: Yes, Darrel is going to write a D500 book. He is just finishing another book project.

Garrett Hayes (Garrett Hayes) on April 25, 2016

any talk of Darryl doing a book on the D500? With all my previous Nikon's (the Df apart) I have relied heavily on his books. I would love to hear that he is preparing one while I wait for delivery on my D500

mark egan (egosbar) on April 24, 2016

looks to handle noise well , I'm tossing between the d810 or d500 , the 500 might win as I only have one good fx lens the 105mm macro

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on April 23, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@beccas, We should be able to get samples soon I hope. We will post about it in the newsletter.

Becca S (beccas) on April 23, 2016

Hi Bo, Is it possible to take some 4K video in Flat and Standard/Natural profiles and upload a few samples uncompressed? Thanks, Bec

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on April 21, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@richardd300: I don't believe we have to be disappointed with the camera, with some statements of people though :)

Bo Stahlbrandt (bgs) on April 21, 2016

One of the two c-founders, expert in several areas Awarded for his valuable Nikon product reviews at the Resources

@seyfert137: Thanks for your input. The D7200 is for sure a great camera. As you know, the popup flash is fairly weak and can be considered a "super emergency" item. The best thing with it is IMO to use it for remote control of other flashes. For a planned shoot, it plays no role whatsoever (since for a planned shoot, you would bring enough light and that is not a popup flash). I think the main issue comes in when you are using the camera for unplanned things and then of a sudden miss that little light source, no matter how weak.

charles johnson (seyfert137) on April 20, 2016

I am an original D300 user. Have been waiting for its legitimate replacement. When I see that Nikon eliminated the onboard flash my heart sank. I do not intend on mounting an full size flash unit to use as fill flash. I cannot believe they did that on a prosumer camera. The onboard flash is way to handy. I decided to go with the D7200. Not only does it cost about half as much, it has an onboard flash!! I am finding out that the D7200 is a complex piece of photographic equipment and takes startling great photos. I ordered Darrell Young's Mastering the Nikon D7200 book and am wadeing through its 550 pages. This camera is light years ahead of my beloved D300. The D300 still takes great photos and will be a backup for the D7200.

Zita Kemeny (zkemeny) on April 20, 2016

Good news ...

Richard Walliker (richardd300) on April 20, 2016

Thanks Bo and I for one am eagerly awaiting its arrival. Like so many who have waited so long I am sure it will be everything we wished for and hopefully more. I am a little disappointed however, that there are some predicting problems with poor ISO noise handling before we have even got the camera in our hands. For me though, it is an exciting thought to finally be so close to geting a new semi pro DX for my wildlife photography. I am first on the list of my local camera store :-) Richard

G