Nikon D500 Comparison Review
The Nikon D500 is a DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera that was revealed to the public in January 2016 and is equipped with an APS-C sensor. It offers a resolution of 20.7 megapixel.
Is the Nikon D500 a good camera? The D500 has a Camera Elo of 2289. This rating puts the D500 among the top 20 percent of all digital single lens reflex cameras. In terms of its sensor size category (APS cameras), the D500 ranks among the top 30 percent. Based on its within category standings, the camera earns a 4.5-star performance rating.
|Digital single lens reflex|
|Nikon F mount lenses|
|20.7 MP, APS-C Sensor|
|ISO 100 - 51 200 (50 - 1 640 000)|
|3.2 LCD, 2359k dots|
|10 shutter flaps per second|
|1240 shots per battery charge|
|147 x 115 x 81 mm, 860 g|
Read on to find out more about the camera's size, sensor, features, reception by expert reviewers, and how it compares to other digital cameras.
Body comparison with a credit card
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size of the Nikon D500 vis-à-vis a credit card. 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 table below summarizes the key physical specs of the Nikon D500 alongside a set of comparators. If you want to review a camera pair side-by-side, just select a right-side 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 comparisons there.
|Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|Canon 6D Mark II||144 mm||111 mm||75 mm||765 g||1200||Y||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon 80D||139 mm||105 mm||79 mm||730 g||960||Y||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Panasonic GH5||139 mm||98 mm||87 mm||725 g||410||Y||Jan 2017||1,999|
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 listed prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The Nikon D500 was launched in the US market at a price of $1,999. 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.
Sensor comparison with a 35mm slide
The size of the sensor inside a digital camera is one of the key determinants 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. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
The Nikon D500 features an APS-C sensor and has a format factor (sometimes also referred to as "crop factor") of 1.5. Within the spectrum of camera sensors, this places the Nikon D500 among the medium-sized sensor cameras that aim to strike a balance between image quality and portability.
For most cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. 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 table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
|Canon 6D Mark II||Full Frame||26.0||6240||4160||1080/60p||24.4||11.9||2862||85|
|Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|Panasonic GH5||Four Thirds||20.2||5184||3888||4K/60p||23.9||13.0||807||77|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities. The highest resolution format that the D500 can use is 4K/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. For example, the D500 has an optical viewfinder that provides a field of view of 100% and a magnification of 0.67x. The following tables report on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D500 and comparable cameras.
|Canon 6D Mark II||optical||Y||3.0||1040||swivel||Y||1/4000s||6.5||n||n|
One useful feature of the D500 is a presence of a top-level LCD. While being, of course, smaller than the rear screen, the control panel conveys some of the essential shooting information and can be convenient for quick and easy settings verification.
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 D500 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
|Canon 6D Mark II||Y||stereo||mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
It is notable that the D500 has a microphone port. Such an external microphone input can help to substantially improve the quality of audio recordings when a good external microphone is used.
While the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the handling experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D500. 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 hands-on reviews by experts are important. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog).
|Nikon D500||+ +||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|Canon 6D Mark II||+||80/100||4.5/5||4/5||4/5||Jun 2017||1,999|
|Canon 80D||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2016||1,199|
|Nikon D7500||+ +||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|Nikon D7200||+ +||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|Nikon D750||+ +||90/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|Nikon D7100||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|Nikon D610||+ +||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|Nikon D600||+ +||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|Nikon D300S||+ +||82/100||4/5||5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|Panasonic GH5||+ +||85/100||4.5/5||5/5||5/5||Jan 2017||1,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Thus, a score needs to be put into the context of the launch date and the launch price of the camera, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.
Nikon D500 FAQ
Below are some additional questions and answers concerning some particular features of the D500.
What technology is the imaging sensor in the D500 based on?
The camera has a CMOS (Complementary Metal–Oxide–Semiconductor) sensor at its core.
Which image processing chip is used to convert the raw signal into an image file and perform noise reduction and image sharpening?
Nikon equipped the D500 with the EXPEED 5 image processor.
What is the ISO sensitivity range of the D500?
The camera has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-1640000.
What is the life expectancy of the shutter in the Nikon D500?
Nikon mentions a shutter rating of 200 000 actuations for the D500. This number represents a Mean Time before Failure, that is an average value. The shutter might fail earlier, or it might last longer. Anyway, in order to exhaust the expected shutter life of the D500 over, say, three years, one would have to take about 200 pictures each and every day.
How do I find the shutter count on my Nikon D500?
Nikon embeds the number of shutter actuations in image metadata. You can check the number of shots that your D500 has taken up to now by uploading a recent image to the online shutter count app.
Do I need to purchase an external camera trigger to shoot time-lapse sequences?
No, the Nikon D500 has an intervalometer built-in, so that low frequency shooting (for example, flower blooming, sunset, moon rise) can be undertaken without the need to purchase a separate external intervalometer and related software.
What is the fastest shutter speed that can be used with flash?
The D500's flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Does the Nikon D500 support the Ultra High Speed (UHS) bus interface for SD cards?
Yes, the camera can indeed use UHS-II cards (data transfer speed of up to 312 MB/s).
Which battery does the D500 use?
The camera gets its power from the EN-EL15 (here at amazon), which is a rechargeable Lithium-Ion power pack.
Is there a vertical grip available for the D500?
Yes, Nikon offers the MB-D17 as an optional accessory to facilitate shooting in portrait orientation and to provide additional battery power.
Where can I find the best deals for the D500?
Camera to camera comparisons
In case you would like to check on the differences and similarities with other camera models, just make your choice using the following search menu. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 1D Mark II N vs Nikon D500
- Canon 77D vs Nikon D500
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Nikon D500
- Leica S-E Typ 006 vs Nikon D500
- Nikon 1 J4 vs Nikon D500
- Nikon 1 V1 vs Nikon D500
- Nikon D500 vs Nikon Z5
- Nikon D500 vs Olympus E-330
- Nikon D500 vs Olympus E-PL9
- Nikon D500 vs Olympus XZ-1
- Nikon D500 vs Panasonic G9
- Nikon D500 vs Panasonic LX5
|Camera Model||Nikon D500|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016|
|Launch Price||USD 1 999|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm|
|Sensor Area||369 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5 568 x 3 712 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.22 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.60 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51 200 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 1 640 000 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||83|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.0|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1324|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|LCD Size||2359k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF|
|Manual Focusing Aid||no Peaking Feature|
|Maximum Shutter Speed||1/8000s|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations|
|Silent Shooting||no E-Shutter|
|Time Lapse Photography||Intervalometer Built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC or XQD cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots|
|UHS card support||UHS-II|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||Wifi built-in|
|Near-Field Communication||NFC built-in|
|Bluetooth Support||Bluetooth built-in|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Type||EN-EL15 power pack|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1240 shots per charge|
147 x 115 x 81 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
|Camera Weight||860 g (30.3 oz)|
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