The D300s was released back in 2009 and ever since then people have been anxiously looking forward to a real upgrade from the dated D300. It took so long that many people gave up and announced Nikon’s DX line is dead, but six and a half years later it finally happened – Nikon just announced a new DX flagship DSLR, the D500.
The wait was long, but judging by the specs it might have been worth it. As was the case with the D3 and the D300 back in 2007, the D500 looks like a mini D5 – and that’s awesome!
Boasting a 20.9 megapixel (DX-format) sensor, EXPEED 5 image processing engine, 4K video and the same Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system, this little monster has a lot in common with its bigger brother.
Add to that an ISO range of 100-51,200 (expandable to 50-1,640,000!) and 10 frames per second (with full AF and AE) and you’ve got yourself one hell of a camera. Buffer wise the camera can capture up to 79 shots (14-bit, uncompressed RAW/NEF) or 200 shots (14-bit lossless compressed RAW). Nikon calls the D500 “DX: Supercharged”, and I can’t disagree. Offering the small body and crop factor of a DX camera, owners will still enjoy many of the high-end features found in Nikon’s most expensive model.
Here’s the D500’s 10fps in action:
Further proof that Nikon takes the D500 seriously can be found in the circular viewfinder, which was reserved for full-frame FX cameras up until the recent release of the cheaper FX models.
Additional features include:
- Dedicated processor for AF function
- Side-to-side AF points coverage
- 180K RGB Metering system
- Advanced Scene Recognition System
- Identical weather sealing as the D810
- Body top and rear made of magnesium alloy, front is reinforced with carbon fiber
- Shutter mechanism tested for 200,000 actuations
- 2-inch 2359k-dot touchscreen LCD
- Tilting LCD, similar to that of the D750
- Dual memory card slots: XQD and SD (That’s right, no more CF!)
- SnapBridge for sharing images
- Built-in Bluetooth, NFC and Wi-Fi
- 4K UHD video at up to 30p (3840×2160)
- 4K time lapse movies in-camera
- Full HD 1080p at up to 60p
- Uncompressed HDMI output
- Picture Controls
- Auto ISO smoothing during video recording
- New 3-axis electronic VR feature for 1080p Full HD video (regardless of which lens is used!)
- Active D-Lighting in Full HD video recording
“Nikon has answered the call from photographers to once again re-invent this camera category and offer an unmatched combination of performance and value that is hard for any photographer to resist,” said Masahiro Horie, Nikon’s Director of Marketing and Planning.
I usually don’t pay too much attention to the marketing fluff including in press releases, but this time it seems pretty accurate.
Off the bat this seems like an incredibly awesome camera, especially for wildlife and sport photographers, and will no doubt sell plenty more of Nikon’s 200-500mm lenses.
Despite the many features the D5 and the D500 have in common, luckily the price differs greatly. While the D5 will set you back a whopping $6,500, the D500 can be pre-ordered for $1999.95. It’s not cheap, but you get plenty of bang for the buck.
The camera will also be sold in a kit with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens for $3,069.95. Accessories include the MB-D17 grip for $450 and the WT-7A Wireless Transmitter for $935.
The D500 will be available in March 2016, as will the D5 and the other newly announced accessories.
More information can be found on Nikon’s dedicated website.