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Nikon D500 Expert Review - Verdict

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Nikon D500 (1)

Value For Money

The Nikon D500 is available for £1729 body only which makes it one of the most expensive APS-C Digital SLR cameras available, however, it is also one of the most feature packed. Alternatives to look at include the following: 

Canon EOS 7D Mark II, 20mp, 10fps, FullHD video, £1179 body only
Sony Alpha A77-II, 24mp, 12fps, FullHD video, Wi-Fi, EVF, £849 body only
Sony Alpha A6300, 24mp, 11fps, 4K video, Wi-Fi, EVF, £999 body only
Panasonic Lumix GH4/R, 16mp, 12fps, 4K video, Wi-Fi, EVF, £999 body only

Have a look at more in our Top 10 Best APS-C DSLRs. You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Nikon D500 Verdict

The Nikon D500 goes head-to-head with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, and offers 10fps continuous shooting, an updated and rapid focus system with excellent frame coverage, as well as 4K video. The weather-sealed camera body is also set up for outdoor shooting in less than ideal conditions, and with light up buttons, the camera can be used in low-light. The camera also offers a tilting touch-screen, which is relatively rare making the camera more versatile than most other Digital SLRs. 

The camera has a wide range of video options, and the camera can record 4K (UHD resolution) video to the internal memory card. Alternatively the camera offers clean HDMI out. When recording FullHD video there is the option of switching on electronic vibration reduction (VR), and the use of lenses with VR will help when recording hand-held videos. Detail is good, and colour reproduction is particularly good. You can use Picture Control to setup video recording to your own personal tastes, and there is a "Flat" option setup for video recording.

The lack of built-in flash may put some people off, but the impressive noise performance of the camera partially makes up for this. The price of the camera may also put some people off, however, if you're the kind of camera buyer that makes their investment last, then the D500 shouldn't have any problems working for many years to come. 

Built in Wi-Fi with Bluetooth and NFC is something that has quickly become a must-have feature, and the implementation of this on the Nikon D500 is certainly impressive, with low-power Bluetooth image transfer reducing the battery draining effect. The only area where we'd like to see some improvement is in the app, which could have more remote shooting controls. Hopefully this is something that Nikon plan on developing over time. 

If you're looking for the best ISO performance available in an APS-C camera, without having to go over to the larger full-frame format, then the Nikon D500 delivers some of the best results we've seen from this size sensor. The camera also offers excellent auto white balance performance, which improves image quality thanks to delivering excellent colour and saturation. The focus system is shared with the much more expensive Nikon D5, and the automated AF fine-tune system can help speed up the calibration of your camera and lenses. All of this combines to deliver excellent image quality. 

Nikon D500 Pros

Excellent noise performance - best in class
Improved white balance performance, and settings
High resolution tilting touch-screen
Dual-axis electronic level
100%, 1.0x magnification viewfinder
Quick live view shutter response 
153 focus points, 99 cross-type
10fps continuous shooting and rapid AF
Wi-Fi / NFC / Bluetooth connectivity
Tough weather-sealed body
Separate port covers, USB3
Illuminated buttons
Automated AF Fine-tuning
2 year warranty
Built-in help

Nikon D500 Cons

Photo shooting menu bank / custom settings may not be to everyone's preference
Remote shooting app could do with some better controls
Limited touch-screen controls
Lacks built-in flash
Price

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

The Nikon D500 offers the best ISO performance of any camera in this class, along with the latest connectivity and some truly useful features.

 


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Photographs taken using the Nikon D500

Ivy blossomLow tide at Rhossili Bay, Gower.Three Times A DayReflection on a Truck50 shades of greyWild Lettuce---againBee eaterThe Air That I BreatheThe rule of thirds!White CosmosEscape to the lightCarreg Cennen Castle, Carmarthenshire.Great White EgretStarlingWild Asters

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Comments


GsanG 7 Malta
7 Jan 2016 5:00PM
To the tester.
When testing the burst rate of the shutter what was your impression of the shutter sound. Was it better than the D750 or D7100?

Thanks

George Swindells
Clearly the D500 is a top-performing camera - pro-spec as they say! It's launch price is showing as significantly higher than current FX models such as D610 and D750.

And yet how well supported is the DX format with pro-spec lenses? I have but rarely use on my D7100 the 17-55 mm f2.8, largely because of its lack of VR; instead I find myself using the 16-85 f3.5-5.6mm as it has VR and of course it's much lighter too.

There is the recent and much costlier 16-80 mm f2.8/4 which hasVR and wider aperture availability but is it actually a better performer than the 16/85; one review I've read tells that in terms of image quality there's little difference.

Might there be a VR upgrade to the 17-55 mm in the pipeline?

Does this matter anyway... after all FX lenses work!

Trevor Littlewood
11 May 2016 4:43PM
I'm sure this will be a wonderful camera.
After all we have waited such a long time; the D300 was introduced before the very first iPhone!

My only reservation is with the MB-D17 battery grip.
Again Nikon have produced yet another model rather than use an existing one such as the D800 or D7200 grip.

But at 429 for what is fundamentally an empty plastic box with some buttons .... come on Nikon, don't take us as fools.
pablophotographer 10 1.9k 411
12 May 2016 12:53PM
This or the Pentax K-1? I'd go for the latter..... You?
BHSnapper 12 14 United Kingdom
14 May 2016 7:42AM
Re Pentax K-1 - to some extent it depends on whether you have to buy lenses or not. f you had a good set of quality Nikon glass, changing to a different marque makes little sense unless you can afford it!. But if you have no lenses, then maybe. Or maybe not! I very much doubt that if I laid out photos side by side, printed extremely large and to a very high standard, you could tell the difference between them.
Tcoat3 5
16 May 2016 9:28AM
Even the A77 II is usable up to ISO25600 if shooting in RAW. And I'm not suggesting the 4 megapixels more would be noticeable over Nikon D500 either, but you literally are going to be paying the price for the improved ISO performance and the 4K. I'm waiting for the A77 III (if that camera ever happens), or the OM-D E-M1 MK. II, which is not too far away --I'm also assuming it will have 4K.
mannypr 10 9 Puerto Rico
6 Jul 2016 8:35PM
There is one thing I don't understand . By what your review states the Nikon D500 is the best aps-c type camera in the world . No other camera has better specs . Has the best focusing system , best high iso performance . No other camera does better . Then why give it 4.5 stars ? You give the pentax K-3 5 stars and the Nikon is way above the Pentax in almost every way if not all . Scatching my head , don't get it . Is it because of the price ? What does the price have anything to do with the cameras performance ? Come to think of it , 2,000 dollars is really not that much money for what you are getting , the worlds best , so

You have pentax in both number 1 and 2 spots . Why is that ? Is there something going on between you and Pentax ? Looks like I can confidently say that when you review the Pentax K-1 you 'll put it worlds best as the best FF camera above the Nikon 810 and canon 5D mark 3 .

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