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Nikon D100 vs D500

The Nikon D100 and the Nikon D500 are two enthusiast cameras that were announced, respectively, in February 2002 and January 2016. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D100 has a resolution of 6 megapixels, whereas the D500 provides 20.7 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Nikon D100 versus Nikon D500
Nikon D100 Nikon D500
Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
6 MP, APS-C Sensor 20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor
no Video 4K/30p Video
ISO 200-800 (200 - 1,600) ISO 100-51,200 (50 - 1,640,000)
Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
1.8 LCD, 118k dots 3.2 LCD, 2359k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Tilting touchscreen
3 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
not weather sealedWeathersealed body
370 shots per battery charge1240 shots per battery charge
144 x 116 x 81 mm, 780 g 147 x 115 x 81 mm, 860 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D500? 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.

Body comparison

An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D500 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Nikon D100 vs Nikon D500
Compare D100 versus D500 top
Comparison D100 or D500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D500 is somewhat larger (1 percent) than the Nikon D100. Moreover, the D500 is markedly heavier (10 percent) than the D100. It is noteworthy in this context that the D500 is splash and dust-proof, while the D100 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D100 gets 370 shots out of its EN-EL3 battery, while the D500 can take 1240 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15 power pack.

The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life 1
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch 2
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D100 144 mm 116 mm 81 mm 780 g 370 n Feb 2002 1,999i
 
Nikon D500 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i
 
Canon 10D 150 mm 107 mm 75 mm 850 g 500 n Feb 2003 1,999i
 
Nikon D7500 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i
 
Nikon D7200 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199i
 
Nikon D7100 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199i
 
Nikon D610 141 mm 113 mm 82 mm 850 g 900 Y Oct 2013 1,999 i
 
Nikon D300S 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 938 g 950 Y Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D90 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D300 147 mm 114 mm 74 mm 925 g 1000 Y Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D40 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 470 n Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D80 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999i
 
Nikon D70s 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 500 n Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D200 147 mm 113 mm 74 mm 920 g 400 Y Nov 2005 1,699i
 
Nikon D70 140 mm 111 mm 78 mm 679 g 400 n Jan 2004 999i
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 retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. 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.

Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units 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.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Nikon D100 and Nikon D500 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D500 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 megapixels, compared with 6 MP of the D100. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.22μm versus 7.85μm for the D100). However, it should be noted that the D500 is much more recent (by 13 years and 10 months) than the D100, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D500 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.

The resolution advantage of the Nikon D500 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D500 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.8 x 18.6 inches or 70.7 x 47.1 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 22.3 x 14.8 inches or 56.6 x 37.7 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.6 x 12.4 inches or 47.1 x 31.4 cm. The corresponding values for the Nikon D100 are 15 x 10 inches or 38.2 x 25.4 cm for good quality, 12 x 8 inches or 30.6 x 20.3 cm for very good quality, and 10 x 6.7 inches or 25.5 x 16.9 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Nikon D100 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 200 to ISO 800, which can be extended to ISO 200-1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D500 are ISO 100 to ISO 51200, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-1640000.

D100 versus D500 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.

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Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
 
Nikon D100 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none........
 
Nikon D500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483
 
Canon 10D APS-C 6.3 3072 2048none21.110.957157
 
Nikon D7500 APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386
 
Nikon D7200 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387
 
Nikon D7100 APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683
 
Nikon D610 Full Frame 24.2 6016 40161080/30p25.114.4292594
 
Nikon D300S APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.512.278770
 
Nikon D90 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773
 
Nikon D300 APS-C 12.2 4288 2848none22.112.067967
 
Nikon D40 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none21.011.056156
 
Nikon D80 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.111.252461
 
Nikon D70s APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950
 
Nikon D200 APS-C 10.0 3872 2592none22.311.558364
 
Nikon D70 APS-C 6.0 3008 2000none20.410.352950

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D500 indeed provides for movie recording, while the D100 does not. The highest resolution format that the D500 can use is 4K/30p.

Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D100 and the D500 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D500 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the D100 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. In addition, the viewfinder of the D500 has a higher magnification (0.67x vs 0.53x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D100, the Nikon D500, and comparable cameras.

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Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
 
Nikon D100optical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D500optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 1/8000s 10.0 n n
 
Canon 10Doptical Y 1.8 118 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D7500optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 1/8000s 8.0 Y n
 
Nikon D7200optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D7100optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D610optical Y 3.2 921 fixed n 1/4000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D300Soptical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/8000s 7.0 Y n
 
Nikon D90optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 4.5 Y n
 
Nikon D300optical Y 3.0 922 fixed n 1/8000s 6.0 Y n
 
Nikon D40optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 2.5 Y n
 
Nikon D80optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70soptical n 2.0 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n
 
Nikon D200optical Y 2.5 230 fixed n 1/8000s 5.0 Y n
 
Nikon D70optical n 1.8 130 fixed n 1/8000s 3.0 Y n

One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D100 has one, while the D500 does not. While the built-in flash of the D100 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.

The Nikon D500 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.

The D100 writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D500 uses SDHC or XQD cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D100 only has one slot.

Connectivity comparison

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 D100 and Nikon D500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
 
Nikon D100Y-----1.1---
 
Nikon D500YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYY
 
Canon 10DY-----1.1---
 
Nikon D7500YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-Y
 
Nikon D7200YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-
 
Nikon D7100YstereomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D610YmonomonoYYmini2.0---
 
Nikon D300SYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
 
Nikon D90Ymonomono--mini2.0---
 
Nikon D300Y----mini2.0---
 
Nikon D40Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D80Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70sY-----2.0---
 
Nikon D200Y-----2.0---
 
Nikon D70Y-----1.0---

It is notable that the D500 offers wifi support, which can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location. In contrast, the D100 does not provide wifi capability.

Studio photographers will appreciate that the Nikon D500 (unlike the D100) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.

The D500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D100 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D100 was succeeded by the Nikon D200. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.

Review summary

So what conclusions can be drawn? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D100 or the Nikon D500 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D100:

  • Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
  • Easier fill-in: Is equipped with a small onboard flash to brighten deep shadow areas.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.7 vs 6MP), which boosts linear resolution by 85%.
  • Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 4K/30p video.
  • More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
  • Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.67x vs 0.53x).
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 1.8") for image review and settings control.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 118k dots).
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (1240 versus 370) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 1.1).
  • 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.
  • 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 modern: Reflects 13 years and 10 months of technical progress since the D100 launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D500 is the clear winner of the contest (21 : 3 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 wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

D100 03:21 D500

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Nikon D100 and the Nikon D500 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D100 or the D500 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major 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.

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Review Scores
  Camera
Model
camera
  labs  
dp
review  
ephoto
  zine  
imaging
resource
photography
  blog  
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
 
Nikon D100..+ +oo.. Feb 2002 1,999i
 
Nikon D500+ +91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i
 
Canon 10D..+ +..o.. Feb 2003 1,999i
 
Nikon D7500+ +86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i
 
Nikon D7200+ +84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199i
 
Nikon D7100+ +85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199i
 
Nikon D610+ +87/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,999 i
 
Nikon D300S+ +82/1004/55/54.5/5 Jul 2009 1,799i
 
Nikon D90+ ++ +4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299i
 
Nikon D300+ ++ +5/5o4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,799i
 
Nikon D4081/100+ +o5/54.5/5 Nov 2006 499i
 
Nikon D80++ +o4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999i
 
Nikon D70s......o5/5 Apr 2005 899i
 
Nikon D200+ ++ +o5/5.. Nov 2005 1,699i
 
Nikon D70..+ +..o.. Jan 2004 999i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

The above review scores should be interpreted 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. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.

Nikon D100:
Check Ebay offers
Nikon D500:
Check Amazon price

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities of other camera models, just use the search menu below. Alternatively, you can follow any of the listed hyperlinks for comparisons that others found interesting.

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    Specifications: Nikon D100 vs Nikon D500

    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 Specifications
    Camera Model Nikon D100 Nikon D500
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Digital single lens reflex
    Camera Lens Nikon F mount lenses Nikon F mount lenses
    Launch Date February 2002 January 2016
    Launch Price USD 1,999 USD 1,999
    Sensor Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D500
    Sensor Technology CCD CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor APS-C Sensor
    Sensor Size 23.7 x 15.6 mm 23.5 x 15.7 mm
    Sensor Area 369.72 mm2 368.95 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 28.4 mm 28.3 mm
    Crop Factor 1.5x 1.5x
    Sensor Resolution 6 Megapixels 20.7 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 3008 x 2000 pixels 5568 x 3712 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 7.85 μm 4.22 μm
    Pixel Density 1.63 MP/cm2 5.60 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter no AA filter
    Movie Capability no Video 4K/30p Video
    ISO Setting 200 - 800 ISO 100 - 51,200 ISO
    ISO Boost 200 - 1,600 ISO 50 - 1,640,000 ISO
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) .. 83
    DXO Color Depth (bits) .. 24.0
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) .. 14.0
    DXO Low Light (ISO) .. 1324
    Screen Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D500
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder Optical viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95% 100%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.53x 0.67x
    Top-Level Screen Control Panel Control Panel
    LCD Framing Live View
    Rear LCD Size 1.8inch 3.2inch
    LCD Resolution 118k dots 2359k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Tilting screen
    Touch Input no Touchscreen Touchscreen
    Shooting Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D500
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Phase-detect AF
    Continuous Shooting 3 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Shutter Life Expectancy50 000 actuations200 000 actuations
    Time-Lapse Photographyno IntervalometerIntervalometer built-in
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash no On-Board Flash
    Storage Medium CF cards SDXC or XQD cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Dual card slots
    Connectivity Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D500
    External Flash Hotshoe Hotshoe
    Studio Flash no PC Sync PC Sync socket
    USB Connector USB 1.1 USB 3.0
    HDMI Port no HDMI mini HDMI
    Microphone Port no MIC socket External MIC port
    Headphone Socket no Headphone port Headphone port
    Wifi Support no Wifi Wifi built-in
    Near-Field Communication no NFC NFC built-in
    Bluetooth Support no Bluetooth Bluetooth built-in
    Body Specs Nikon D100 Nikon D500
    Environmental Sealingnot weather sealedWeathersealed body
    Battery Type EN-EL3 EN-EL15
    Battery Life (CIPA)370 shots per charge1240 shots per charge
    Body Dimensions 144 x 116 x 81 mm
    (5.7 x 4.6 x 3.2 in)
    147 x 115 x 81 mm
    (5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
    Camera Weight 780 g (27.5 oz) 860 g (30.3 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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