As the flagship model within Nikon's DX-format DSLR line, the D500 is characterized by its robust physical construction, apt imaging capabilities, and of course, a more compact, sleek form factor than its FX brethren. Revolving around a 20.9MP CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5 image processor, this camera appeals to both still and video shooters with its fast 10 fps continuous shooting rate and 4K UHD video recording abilities.
The sensor and processor also combine to avail a native sensitivity range up to ISO 51200, which can be further expanded to ISO 1640000 for working in dark and difficult lighting conditions. Benefitting the fast shooting performance, the D500 is also characterized by its expansive Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system, which features 99 cross-type points for fast performance and accurate subject tracking capabilities. While sleek in stature, the D500 is by no means slim on functionality and versatility.
- 20.7MP APS-C (DX-format) sensor
- 153 point AF module with 99 cross-type points
- 180,000 pixel RGB sensor for metering and subject recognition
- AF point joystick
- 10 fps shooting for up to 200 shots (lossless compressed 14-bit Raw to XQD card)
- 4K (UHD) video from 1.5x crop of sensor
- 100% coverage viewfinder with 1.0x magnification
- 2.36M-dot tilting touchscreen display
- Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity with NFC for setup
- Mic and headphone sockets
- USB 3.0 connector
- Anti-flicker option for working under artificial lighting
Besides the imaging assets, this advanced DSLR also features an impressive handling design that incorporates a 3.2", 2.36m-dot, tilting LCD touchscreen, which affords a comfortable means for working from high and low angles. An updated version of SnapBridge is also featured, which provides Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC, as well as Bluetooth Low Energy technology for linking your mobile device for wireless image sharing. In addition to the convenience features, the D500 is housed within a durable magnesium alloy chassis that is both dust- and weather-sealed for working in inclement conditions and harsh environments.
Much of the D500’s capability is built around the ability to focus and shoot very quickly. Its 153-point AF module offers near full-width coverage and is linked to a 180,000 pixel RGB metering sensor to further improve its AF tracking capabilities.The D500 can also shoot 4K video and includes both an input for using an external mic and a headphone socket for audio monitoring. The camera also offers a flat picture profile to provide more post-processing flexibility, on-screen highlight warnings and power aperture control that allows you to select and change the aperture when in movie mode. There’s no focus peaking option, though, and you can’t zoom-in while you record to confirm or adjust focus as you record.
Matching the speed and imaging capabilities is the apt Multi-CAM 20K AF system, which features 153 total phase-detection points, including 99 cross-type sensors for improved subject recognition, and 55 of the points are selectable for greater compositional freedom. Benefitting the use of super telephoto lenses and teleconverters, 15 of the points, including 9 selectable points, are compatible with an effective aperture of f/8 and all 153 points support working with effective apertures of f/5.6 or brighter.
Complementing the abundance of focusing points is a dedicated AF engine, which offers quick response times to benefit tracking fast and randomly moving subjects, even at the top 10 fps shooting rate. The AF engine also contributes to enhanced focusing sensitivity, with all points capable of focusing -3 EV and the center point capable of reading at -4 EV for working in very dark, low-contrast situations.