A couple of weeks ago I rented a Nikon D500 from Apeturent to test out as a potential new camera for my self. I was very pleased with its performance compared to the D750 I had rent previously. The D500 has been out on the market for two years now, so if you want the full on reviews from the pixel peepers, there will be plenty for you find via a google search. Personally, I prefer the hands on reviews of photographers who are using the cameras in real world photography situations. I have been researching cameras for about a month while trying to decide which camera would best fit my needs. I would really like to go to the Sony A7 III, but the switch in systems would be cost prohibitive. The next question was Full Frame or DX? Well, after seeing the performance of the D500, I’m not sure that matters so much any more. Below are my thoughts and some images from my test with the D500.
It’s Fast, no I mean it is scary fast, so fast that in Continuous High (10FPS), I could not get my finger off the shutter release fast enough and when trying to take just one image, I would end up with at least two. For general shooting the Continuous Low (7FPS), is fast enough for most people, but for shooting sports, I like the 10 FPS. But can it focus fast enough to keep pace? You bet it can. It has focus sensors that cover the frame or you can switch to groups of focus points or single. For the gymnastics meet, I shot in Group Focus with 25 AF points selected. With the super fast focus and it ability to track, I was able to get a high percentage of in focus images with the high frame rate. It is plenty fast enough for what ever you want to shoot. Sports, wildlife, birds, race cars, and speedy little kids would be no problem for the D500. Oh, and it will focus in really dim light too!
I was very impressed with the D500’s ability to focus fast and in low light. I was also very pleased with its sensors ability to deal with High ISO noise. All the gymnastics images were shot at ISO 6400 as JPEG’s(Need to update Lightroom to handle the NEF files). I did a comparison between the D500 and the D750 as far as noise goes. They seem to be nearly identical, with the D500 being about a 1/3 to 1/2 stop better. I know that sounds crazy being a DX sensor vs a FF sensor, but that’s what it looked like to me. The D500 at ISO 6400 looked like the D750 at ISO 4000 and to me the “grain” pattern of the noise in the D500 was more pleasing to the eye, maybe it was smaller “grains” than the D750.
After reading all the specs on the D500 and finally getting to use one in real world shooting for a few days, I think it will be the camera I get this year. With its impressive frame rate and super fast focus along with all the other features like a tilting screen with touchscreen capability, in camera time lapse, and the ability to shoot 4K video, it is a real steal at $1896.95. I will most likely get a used one and pick up the vertical grip for it as well. I like the vertical grips for the extra controls and shutter release as well as longer battery life.