I’ve been shooting the D500 all summer, and I thought I would share some impressions on this ‘mighty little camera’ from Nikon. I’ve shot thousands of images with this camera from Indonesia to Alaska. On one assignment in Alaska I shot over 4000 images using the D500 for variety of subjects from portraits to wildlife. What’s the verdict? Wow!
First off, let’s talk about autofocus performance. The D500 steals the same autofocus system as the flagship D5, but puts all those sensor points in a smaller frame to match the 1.5x sensor. What that means is you have more focus points, literally one side to the other side, in the D500. Better coverage than even the D5. If you want to track eagles in flight, you’ll love the D500. And at 10FPS and a buffer that never seems to fill up using fast SD cards, you will have more frames than you need.
Next, how about weight? This camera is small and lightweight, coming in at 1.14oz. Add the new 16-80mm (24-120 full frame equivalent), and the total package weighs 2.9 pounds. By comparison, the Fuji XT1 with 18-55mm (27-84mm full frame equivalent) weighs about 1.7 pounds, so the difference is around a pound, but the Fuji lens doesn’t have as much zoom as the 16-80mm. The Sony A7 with a comparable lens is about the same weight as the D500 with the 16-80mm. So with comparable lenses you have less than a pound difference between many mirrorless equivalent systems.
How many times do you thumb through your phone pictures or screens during the day? Just use your finger the same way on the touch LCD screen on the D500. At first I couldn’t stop using the thumb dial, but now all I do is rapidly scroll through my images using the touch screen. And I even found myself using the articulating screen to get a better look at my macro flower shots.
Probably the biggest concern I had was moving to a 1.5x sensor camera since I use D810s for all my shooting. There were a few times I wanted a wider angle than I could get using my standard 24-120mm F4 full frame lens. But on the flip side, I photographed Alaskan wildlife using the 300mm PF F4, which gave me an angle of view of 450mm. I’m seriously considering buying the DX format 16-80mm to use for travel and portrait photography.
The downsides? I am super excited to use Snapbridge to wirelessly transfer images from my D500 to my iPhone, but currently the IOS version isn’t available. Nikon says it should come out this month. With that released, the D500 is going to add another feature that makes this one powerful camera.