Nikon D500 vs D700
The Nikon D500 and the Nikon D700 are two enthusiast cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2016 and July 2008. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on an APS-C (D500) and a full frame (D700) sensor. The D500 has a resolution of 20.7 megapixels, whereas the D700 provides 12.1 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Nikon D500 and the Nikon D700? 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 D500 and the Nikon D700 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.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D700 is notably larger (7 percent) than the Nikon D500. Moreover, the D700 is markedly heavier (25 percent) than the D500. In this context, it is worth noting that both cameras are splash and dust-proof and can, hence, be used in inclement weather conditions or harsh environments.
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. A larger imaging sensor (as in the D700) will tend to go along with bigger and heavier lenses, while more compact options are available for the smaller-sensor camera (D500). You can compare the optics available in the Nikon Lens Catalog.
The following table provides a synthesis of the main physical specifications of the two cameras and other similar ones. If you would like to visualize and compare a different camera combination, you can navigate to the CAM-parator app and make your selection from a broad list of cameras there.
|1.||Nikon D500||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||860 g||1240||Y||Jan 2016||1,999|
|2.||Nikon D700||147 mm||123 mm||77 mm||1074 g||1000||Y||Jul 2008||2,999|
|3.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|4.||Nikon D5600||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||465 g||970||n||Nov 2016||699|
|5.||Nikon D3400||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||445 g||1200||n||Aug 2016||499|
|6.||Nikon D5500||124 mm||97 mm||70 mm||470 g||820||n||Jan 2015||899|
|7.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|8.||Nikon D750||141 mm||113 mm||78 mm||750 g||1230||Y||Sep 2014||2,299|
|9.||Nikon D810||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||980 g||1200||Y||Jun 2014||3,299|
|10.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|11.||Nikon Df||144 mm||110 mm||67 mm||760 g||1400||Y||Nov 2013||2,749|
|12.||Nikon D610||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Oct 2013||1,999|
|13.||Nikon D600||141 mm||113 mm||82 mm||850 g||900||Y||Sep 2012||2,099|
|14.||Nikon D800||146 mm||123 mm||82 mm||1000 g||900||Y||Feb 2012||2,999|
|15.||Nikon D3S||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1240 g||4200||Y||Oct 2009||5,199|
|16.||Nikon D300S||147 mm||115 mm||81 mm||938 g||950||Y||Jul 2009||1,799|
|17.||Nikon D3||160 mm||157 mm||88 mm||1300 g||4300||Y||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Note: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. 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 D500 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 33 percent) than the D700, which puts it into a different market segment. Normally, street prices remain initially close to the MSRP, but after a couple of months, the first discounts appear. 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.
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 tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Nikon D500 features an APS-C sensor and the Nikon D700 a full frame sensor. The sensor area in the D700 is 133 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.5 and 1.0. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
In terms of chip-set technology, the D500 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 5) than the D700 (EXPEED), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Nikon D500 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 megapixels, compared with 12.1 MP of the Nikon D700. 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 8.43μm for the D700). However, it should be noted that the D500 is much more recent (by 7 years and 6 months) than the D700, 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 D700 are 21.3 x 14.2 inches or 54.1 x 36 cm for good quality, 17 x 11.3 inches or 43.2 x 28.8 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.4 inches or 36 x 24 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Nikon D500 has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 51200, which can be extended to ISO 50-1640000. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D700 are ISO 200 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.
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 Overall DXO ratings for the two cameras under consideration are close, suggesting that they provide similar imaging performance. The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|2.||Nikon D700||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2303||80|
|8.||Nikon D750||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/60p||24.8||14.5||2956||93|
|9.||Nikon D810||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/60p||25.7||14.8||2853||97|
|11.||Nikon Df||Full Frame||16.2||4928||3280||none||24.6||13.1||3279||89|
|12.||Nikon D610||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.4||2925||94|
|13.||Nikon D600||Full Frame||24.2||6016||4016||1080/30p||25.1||14.2||2980||94|
|14.||Nikon D800||Full Frame||36.2||7360||4912||1080/30p||25.3||14.4||2853||95|
|15.||Nikon D3S||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||720/24p||23.5||12.0||3253||82|
|17.||Nikon D3||Full Frame||12.1||4256||2832||none||23.5||12.2||2290||81|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The D500 indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the D700 does not. The highest resolution format that the D500 can use is 4K/30p.
Beyond body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D500 and the D700 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 D700 (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the D700 has a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.67x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The adjacent table lists some of the other core features of the Nikon D500 and Nikon D700 along with similar information for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Nikon D500||optical||Y||3.2 / 2359||tilting||Y||1/8000s||10.0/s||n||n|
|2.||Nikon D700||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|3.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0/s||Y||n|
|4.||Nikon D5600||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|5.||Nikon D3400||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|6.||Nikon D5500||optical||n||3.2 / 1037||swivel||Y||1/4000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|7.||Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|8.||Nikon D750||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||tilting||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|9.||Nikon D810||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||5.0/s||Y||n|
|10.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|11.||Nikon Df||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D610||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||6.0/s||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D600||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.5/s||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D800||optical||Y||3.2 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0/s||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D3S||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|16.||Nikon D300S||optical||Y||3.0 / 920||fixed||n||1/8000s||7.0/s||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D3||optical||Y||3.0 / 922||fixed||n||1/8000s||11.0/s||n||n|
|Notes: *) Information refers to the mechanical shutter, unless the camera only has an electronic one.|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D500 has a touchscreen, while the D700 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
The Nikon D500 and the Nikon D700 both have 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 D500 writes its imaging data to SDXC or XQD cards, while the D700 uses Compact Flash cards. The D500 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the D700 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 D500 and Nikon D700 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Nikon D500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||Y||Y|
|2.||Nikon D700||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|4.||Nikon D5600||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||Y||Y|
|5.||Nikon D3400||Y||mono / mono||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||Y|
|6.||Nikon D5500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|7.||Nikon D7200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|8.||Nikon D750||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|9.||Nikon D810||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||Y||-||-|
|10.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|11.||Nikon Df||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D610||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|13.||Nikon D600||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|14.||Nikon D800||Y||mono / mono||Y||Y||mini||3.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D3S||Y||stereo / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D300S||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D3||Y||- / -||-||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
It is notable that the D500 offers wifi support, while the D700 does not. Wifi can be a very convenient means to transfer image data to an off-camera location.
Both cameras feature a PC Sync terminal to control professional strobe lights, which will be appreciated by studio photographers.
The D500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D700 has been discontinued (but can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D700 was succeeded by the Nikon D800. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Nikon website.
So what is the bottom line? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D500 or the Nikon D700 – 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.
Advantages of the Nikon D500:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (20.7 vs 12.1MP) with a 31% higher linear resolution.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- More dynamic range: Captures a larger spectrum of light and dark details (1.8 EV of extra DR).
- Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 5 vs EXPEED).
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 4K/30p movies.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (2359k vs 922k dots).
- More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 8 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 214g or 20 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Longer lasting: Can take more shots (1240 versus 1000) on a single battery charge.
- Faster data transfer: Supports a more advanced USB protocol (3.0 vs 2.0).
- 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.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (33 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 7 years and 6 months of technical progress since the D700 launch.
Arguments in favor of the Nikon D700:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.72x vs 0.67x).
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in July 2008).
If the count of individual advantages (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D500 is the clear winner of the match-up (20 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. 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 D500 and the Nikon D700 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 technical specifications can provide a useful overview of the capabilities of different cameras, it remains partial and cannot reveal, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance when actually working with the D500 or the D700. 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.
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 (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). 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.
|1.||Nikon D500||5/5||+ +||4.7/5||91/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jan 2016||1,999|
|2.||Nikon D700||..||89/100||..||+ +||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jul 2008||2,999|
|3.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|4.||Nikon D5600||4/5||..||4/5||79/100||4.5/5||4/5||Nov 2016||699|
|5.||Nikon D3400||4/5||+||4/5||76/100||4/5||4.5/5||Aug 2016||499|
|6.||Nikon D5500||5/5||+||..||79/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2015||899|
|7.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|8.||Nikon D750||5/5||+ +||4/5||90/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||2,299|
|9.||Nikon D810||5/5||..||5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Jun 2014||3,299|
|10.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|11.||Nikon Df||4/5||..||..||81/100||4/5||4/5||Nov 2013||2,749|
|12.||Nikon D610||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Oct 2013||1,999|
|13.||Nikon D600||4/5||+ +||..||87/100||5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2012||2,099|
|14.||Nikon D800||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||5/5||5/5||Feb 2012||2,999|
|15.||Nikon D3S||5/5||..||..||89/100||4.5/5||5/5||Oct 2009||5,199|
|16.||Nikon D300S||5/5||+ +||..||82/100||4/5||4.5/5||Jul 2009||1,799|
|17.||Nikon D3||..||..||..||+ +||5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2007||4,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The review scores listed above should be treated with care, though. The ratings are only valid when referring to cameras in the same category and of the same age. 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. 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? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon M6 vs Nikon D700
- Epson R-D1 vs Nikon D500
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Nikon D500
- Fujifilm X-A3 vs Nikon D500
- Fujifilm X30 vs Nikon D700
- Kodak S-1 vs Nikon D700
- Leica V-LUX 3 vs Nikon D500
- Nikon D500 vs Olympus E-M1
- Nikon D500 vs Olympus E-M1 II
- Nikon D700 vs Olympus E-PL5
- Nikon D700 vs Panasonic FZ100
- Nikon D700 vs Pentax K-70
Specifications: Nikon D500 vs Nikon D700
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 D500||Nikon D700|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Nikon F mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||January 2016||July 2008|
|Launch Price||USD 1,999||USD 2,999|
|Sensor Specs||Nikon D500||Nikon D700|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||Full Frame Sensor|
|Sensor Size||23.5 x 15.7 mm||36.0 x 23.9 mm|
|Sensor Area||368.95 mm2||860.4 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||28.3 mm||43.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||20.7 Megapixels||12.1 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5568 x 3712 pixels||4256 x 2832 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.22 μm||8.43 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.60 MP/cm2||1.40 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||no AA filter||Anti-Alias filter|
|Movie Capability||4K/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 51,200 ISO||200 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||50 - 1,640,000 ISO||100 - 25,600 ISO|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||EXPEED|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||83||80|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||24.0||23.5|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||14.0||12.2|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||1324||2303|
|Screen Specs||Nikon D500||Nikon D700|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%||95%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.2inch||3.0inch|
|LCD Resolution||2359k dots||922k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Tilting screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Nikon D500||Nikon D700|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||10 shutter flaps/s||8 shutter flaps/s|
|Shutter Life Expectancy||200 000 actuations||150 000 actuations|
|Time-Lapse Photography||Intervalometer built-in||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC or XQD cards||CF cards|
|Second Storage Option||Dual card slots||Single card slot|
|Connectivity Specs||Nikon D500||Nikon D700|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||PC Sync socket|
|USB Connector||USB 3.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Headphone Socket||Headphone port||no Headphone port|
|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 D500||Nikon D700|
|Environmental Sealing||Weathersealed body||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||1240 shots per charge||1000 shots per charge|
147 x 115 x 81 mm
(5.8 x 4.5 x 3.2 in)
147 x 123 x 77 mm
(5.8 x 4.8 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||860 g (30.3 oz)||1074 g (37.9 oz)|
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