Nikon D500 Review: Summary
The flagship Nikon DSLR camera (D3/D4/D5) has long been considered a niche camera, a very specialized tool. It does a few things in a way lesser models can’t match. Things like very fast continuous capture, insane low-light performance and physical toughness. But with the more affordable models becoming more and more capable, and the cost of the top model continuing to rise, the niche seems to be getting smaller with each iteration.
I think the introduction of the D500 will push the D5 into even more specialized territory. How many potential D5 buyers will be taking a long look at the D500 as a viable alternative? I think many. When the D4 was introduced, was there a serious alternative elsewhere in the Nikon lineup? At that time (2012), the D300S was three years old. The D700 was four years old. The D500 is a serious contender as an alternative to a D5. Before the announcements, I thought in 2016 I would be buying a D5. Now I’m probably more likely to own two D500s than a single D5. Having said that, a D5 and a D500 would be a terrific combination for action photography.
It seems to me that the D500 is in its own way a niche camera. It is bigger, heavier and costs a lot more than any of the other DX models. It has high-end features most people won’t take advantage of. How many really need 10 fps and a 200 shot buffer? The current 51-point AF system found in the D7200 performs extremely well, and comparing sensors, the D7200 has similar dynamic range and noise levels, along with more pixels. At around half the price, the D7200 looks like great value for such a capable camera.
Nikon D500 Review: Final Thoughts
The D500 is an instant classic. So long anticipated and it gets so many things right. I’ve spent some time in this review pointing out some disappointments or frustrations with the camera, and there have been a number of operational glitches uncovered by users, causing lock-ups. In fact, my own D500 has locked up twice on me, requiring battery removal to reset. But I can overlook those things because this camera is so capable, so much fun to use, even exciting.
I see possibilities with the D500 I didn’t see before. The capture speed will get me moments I previously missed. The autofocus system will deliver more in-focus shots of fast action. The sensor performance is making me rethink how high I can realistically push ISO on a crop sensor. The controls are very well laid out and it feels good in my hands. It’s the right size, even without an accessory grip.
Yeah, I love this camera. One month, 11,000 frames, and I didn’t pick up my D810 once. Tom Redd, who owns a D4 and D500, summed it up when he told me if he were to sell a camera today, it would be the D4. Before we knew there would be a D300S successor, many questioned if a market even still existed for that kind of camera. Seems funny now. Nikon is going to sell a lot of D500s for sure!
Where to Buy
You can purchase your copy of the Nikon D500 from our trusted partner B&H Photo Video for $1,496.95.
- Build Quality
- Focus Speed and Accuracy
- Image Quality
- High ISO Performance
- Size and Weight
- Metering and Exposure
- Movie Recording Features
- Dynamic Range
- Ease of Use
- Speed and Performance
Photography Life Overall Rating
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