Nikon B500 vs Pentax 645D
The Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Pentax 645D are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in January 2016 and March 2010. The B500 is a fixed lens compact, while the 645D is a DSLR. The cameras are based on a 1/2.3-inch (B500) and a medium format (645D) sensor. The Nikon has a resolution of 15.9 megapixels, whereas the Pentax provides 39.5 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
|Nikon B500||Pentax 645D|
|Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|22.5-900mm f/3-6.5||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|15.9 MP, 1/2.3" Sensor||39.5 MP, Medium Format Sensor|
|1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO 80-6,400||ISO 100-1,600|
|No viewfinder, LCD framing||Optical viewfinder|
|3.0 LCD, 921k dots||3.0 LCD, 921k dots|
|Tilting screen (no touchscreen)||Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)|
|7.4 shutter flaps per second||1.1 shutter flaps per second|
|not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|600 shots per battery charge||800 shots per battery charge|
|114 x 78 x 95 mm, 541 g||156 x 117 x 119 mm, 1480 g|
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon Coolpix B500 and the Pentax 645D? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon B500 and the Pentax 645D is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive views from the front, the top, and the rear side are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The B500 can be obtained in two different colors (black, red), while the 645D is only available in black.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Pentax 645D is considerably larger (105 percent) than the Nikon B500. It is noteworthy in this context that the 645D is splash and dust-proof, while the B500 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the B500 has a lens built in, whereas the 645D is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup.
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, just use the right or left arrows in the table to switch to the respective camera. Alternatively, you can also navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from the full list of cameras there.
|Nikon B500||4.5 in||3.1 in||3.7 in||19.1 oz||600||n||Jan 2016||299|
|Pentax 645D||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.7 in||52.2 oz||800||Y||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Canon 1D X||6.2 in||6.6 in||3.3 in||54.7 oz||1120||Y||Oct 2011||6,799|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||6.1 in||6.2 in||3.1 in||43.4 oz||1500||Y||Oct 2009||4,999|
|Leica S Typ 006||6.3 in||4.7 in||3.1 in||44.4 oz||..||Y||Sep 2012||21,950|
|Nikon B600||4.8 in||3.2 in||3.9 in||17.6 oz||280||n||Jan 2019||349|
|Nikon A1000||4.5 in||2.8 in||1.6 in||11.6 oz||250||n||Jan 2019||429|
|Nikon P1000||5.7 in||4.7 in||7.1 in||49.9 oz||250||n||Jul 2018||999|
|Nikon W300||4.4 in||2.6 in||1.1 in||8.1 oz||280||Y||May 2017||389|
|Nikon B700||4.9 in||3.3 in||4.2 in||19.9 oz||350||n||Feb 2016||499|
|Nikon P900||5.5 in||4.1 in||5.4 in||31.7 oz||360||n||Mar 2015||599|
|Nikon L840||4.4 in||3.1 in||3.8 in||19.0 oz||590||n||Feb 2015||299|
|Nikon D3S||6.3 in||6.2 in||3.5 in||43.7 oz||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Panasonic FZ80||5.1 in||3.7 in||4.7 in||21.7 oz||330||n||Jan 2017||399|
|Pentax 645Z||6.1 in||4.6 in||4.8 in||54.7 oz||650||Y||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Sony HX80||4.0 in||2.3 in||1.4 in||8.6 oz||390||n||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony H200||4.8 in||3.3 in||3.4 in||18.7 oz||240||n||Jan 2013||249|
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.
(1) Number of images that can be taken on a full battery charge according to the CIPA-standard; (2) Official announcement.
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The manufacturer’s suggested retail prices give an idea on the placement of the camera in the maker’s lineup and the broader market. The B500 was launched at a lower price than the 645D, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. All other things equal, a large sensor will have larger individual pixel-units that offer better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon B500 features a 1/2.3-inch sensor and the Pentax 645D a medium format sensor. The sensor area in the 645D is 5086 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 5.6 and 0.79. Both cameras feature a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 4:3.
With 39.5MP, the 645D offers a higher resolution than the B500 (15.9MP), but the 645D nevertheless has larger individual pixels (pixel pitch of 6.06μm versus 1.33μm for the B500) due to its larger sensor. However, the B500 is a much more recent model (by 5 years and 10 months) than the 645D, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that enhance the light gathering capacity of its pixel-units. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that neither of the two cameras has an anti-alias filter installed, so they are able to capture all the detail the sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Pentax 645D implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the 645D for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 36.3 x 27.2 inches or 92.3 x 69.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 29.1 x 21.8 inches or 73.8 x 55.3 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 24.2 x 18.1 inches or 61.5 x 46.1 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon B500 are 23 x 17.3 inches or 58.5 x 43.9 cm for good quality, 18.4 x 13.8 inches or 46.8 x 35.1 cm for very good quality, and 15.4 x 11.5 inches or 39 x 29.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon Coolpix B500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 80 to ISO 6400. The corresponding ISO settings for the Pentax 645D are ISO 100 to ISO 1600 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|Pentax 645D||Medium Format||39.5||7264||5440||none||24.6||12.6||1262||82|
|Canon 1D X||Full Frame||17.9||5184||3456||1080/30p||23.8||11.8||2786||82|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||APS-H||16.0||4896||3264||1080/30p||22.8||12.0||1320||74|
|Leica S Typ 006||Medium Format||37.5||7500||5000||none||23.9||12.2||824||76|
|Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|Pentax 645Z||Medium Format||51.1||8256||6192||1080/60i||26.0||14.7||4505||101|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The B500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the 645D does not. The highest resolution format that the B500 can use is 1080/60i.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the 645D has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the B500 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon B500 and Pentax 645D along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|Canon 1D X||optical||Y||3.2||1040||fixed||n||1/8000s||14.0||n||n|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||optical||Y||3.0||920||fixed||n||1/8000s||10.0||n||n|
|Leica S Typ 006||optical||Y||3.0||922||fixed||n||1/4000s||1.5||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The B500 has one, while the 645D does not. While the built-in flash of the B500 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Pentax 645D has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the B500 and the 645D write their files to SDXC cards. The 645D features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the B500 only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Nikon Coolpix B500 and Pentax 645D and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 1D X||Y||mono||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||Y||stereo||-||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|Leica S Typ 006||Y||-||-||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the B500 offers wifi support, while the 645D does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Pentax 645D (unlike the B500) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the B500 and the 645D have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The 645D was replaced by the Pentax 645Z, while the B500 was followed by the Nikon B600. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon and Pentax websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Nikon B500 better than the Pentax 645D or vice versa? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon Coolpix B500:
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/60i movies.
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (7.4 vs 1.1 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Ready to shoot: Comes with a built-in lens, while the 645D requires a separate lens.
- More compact: Is smaller (114x78mm vs 156x117mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter even though it comes with a built-in lens (unlike the 645D).
- Sharper images: Has hand-shake reducing image stabilization built-in.
- Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
- Easier file upload: Has wifi built in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
- Easier device pairing: Supports NFC for fast wireless image transfer over short distances.
- Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
- More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 10 months of technical progress since the 645D launch.
Advantages of the Pentax 645D:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (39.5 vs 15.9MP), which boosts linear resolution by 58%.
- Better image quality: Features bigger pixels on a larger sensor for higher quality imaging.
- Richer colors: The pixel size advantage translates into images with better, more accurate colors.
- More dynamic range: Larger pixels capture a wider spectrum of light and dark details.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Larger pixels means good image quality even under poor lighting.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Easier setting verification: Features a control panel on top to check shooting parameters.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More flexible: Makes it possible to change lenses and thus to use specialty optics.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (800 versus 600) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in March 2010).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the 645D emerges as the winner of the match-up (15 : 13 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon B500 and the Pentax 645D place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best Superzoom Camera and Best DSLR Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the comparison of technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the B500 and the 645D in practical situations. At times, user reviews, such as those published at amazon, address these issues in a useful manner, but such feedback is on many occasions incomplete, inconsistent, and unreliable.
This is why expert reviews are important. The adjacent summary-table relays the overall verdicts of several of the most popular camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, and photographyblog). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|Nikon B500||+||..||4/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2016||299|
|Pentax 645D||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Mar 2010||9,995|
|Canon 1D X||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2011||6,799|
|Canon 1D Mark IV||..||89/100||..||5/5||..||Oct 2009||4,999|
|Leica S Typ 006||..||..||..||..||..||Sep 2012||21,950|
|Nikon B600||+||..||3.5/5||..||3/5||Jan 2019||349|
|Nikon A1000||+ +||..||3.5/5||..||3/5||Jan 2019||429|
|Nikon P1000||+||73/100||3.5/5||4.5/5||3.5/5||Jul 2018||999|
|Nikon W300||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||May 2017||389|
|Nikon B700||+||..||4/5||..||4/5||Feb 2016||499|
|Nikon P900||..||77/100||4/5||4.5/5||4/5||Mar 2015||599|
|Nikon L840||+ +||..||3.5/5||..||4/5||Feb 2015||299|
|Nikon D3S||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|Panasonic FZ80||+ +||..||4.5/5||..||4.5/5||Jan 2017||399|
|Pentax 645Z||..||..||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Apr 2014||8,499|
|Sony HX80||..||..||..||..||..||Mar 2016||349|
|Sony H200||..||..||3.5/5||..||3.5/5||Jan 2013||249|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? If you would like to see a different side-by-side camera review, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.
- Canon 5D Mark III vs Pentax 645D
- Canon SL2 vs Nikon B500
- Canon SX60 vs Nikon B500
- Contax N Digital vs Nikon B500
- Fujifilm X-T3 vs Pentax 645D
- Fujifilm X70 vs Nikon B500
- Leica SL vs Pentax 645D
- Nikon B500 vs Sony A3000
- Olympus E-PM2 vs Pentax 645D
- Panasonic GH1 vs Pentax 645D
- Pentax 645D vs Samsung NX500
- Pentax 645D vs Sony A6000
Specifications: Nikon B500 vs Pentax 645D
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Nikon B500||Pentax 645D|
|Camera Type||Fixed lens compact camera||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||22.5-900mm f/3-6.5||Pentax 645 mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||March 2010|
|Launch Price||USD 299||USD 9,995|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon B500||Pentax 645D|
|Sensor Format||1/2.3" Sensor||Medium Format Sensor|
|Sensor Size||6.17 x 4.55 mm||44.0 x 33.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||28.0735 mm2||1452 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||7.7 mm||55 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||15.9 Megapixels||39.5 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||4608 x 3456 pixels||7264 x 5440 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||1.33 μm||6.06 μm|
|Pixel Density||56.73 MP/cm2||2.72 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/60i Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||80 - 6,400 ISO||100 - 1,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||82|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.6|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||12.6|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1262|
|Screen Specs||Nikon B500||Pentax 645D|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||98%|
|Top-Level Screen||no Top Display||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||921k dots||921k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon B500||Pentax 645D|
|Focus System||Contrast-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||7.4 shutter flaps/s||1.1 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||Build-in Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||no||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon B500||Pentax 645D|
|External Flash||no Hotshoe||Hotshoe|
|Studio Flash||no PC Sync||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||micro HDMI||no HDMI|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in||no Wifi|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in||no NFC|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in||no Bluetooth|
|Body Specs||Nikon B500||Pentax 645D|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||600 shots per charge||800 shots per charge|
114 x 78 x 95 mm
(4.5 x 3.1 x 3.7 in)
156 x 117 x 119 mm
(6.1 x 4.6 x 4.7 in)
|Camera Weight||541 g (19.1 oz)||1480 g (52.2 oz)|
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