Nikon (Finally) Announces the D500 Pro-level Crop Sensor DSLR

Nikon D500 with AF-S 16-80mm
Nikon D500 with AF-S 16-80mm f/3.5-5.6ED VR

Nikon today announced the new and highly anticipated D500, a pro-level DSLR with a crop sensor (DX) which shares quite a bit of features of the D5. It has a 20.9MP APS-C sensor as well as the new EXPEED 5 image processor found on the D5. This is the long-awaited successor to the very popular D300S.

ISO sensitivity, while not as high as the D5, is still an impressive 100 to 51,200. This can be expanded to 50—1,640,000. In terms of continuous shooting speed, the D500 can shoot at up to 10fps using the same 153-point AF system as the D5. On the D500, these AF points cover almost the whole of the frame. A large buffer allows for 79 14-bit raw files in burst mode.

Nikon D500 (Rear), showing the 3.2" tilt/swivel LCD touch screen.
Nikon D500 (Rear), showing the 3.2″ tilt/swivel LCD touch screen.

Being a pro-level camera, it has a rugged weather sealed body like the D810, and features a magnesium-alloy top/rear and a carbon-fibre reinforced front. At the back of the camera is a 3.2″ tilt/swivel touch-screen LCD with 2.4 million dots, similar to the one found on the D750, The viewfinder has a 100% coverage with a magnification of 1.0x, giving a bright and big view. Storage duties are performed by a XQD slot and a regular SD slot.

On the video side of things, the D500 can shoot 4K/30p and 1080p at various frame rates. Like the D810, it features Picture Controls and an uncompressed HDMI output. New to the D500 are in-camera 4K time-lapse, Auto-ISO smoothing and the ability to send 4K video to the card and HDMI outputs simultaneously.

The D500 also features SnapBridge, a new technology developed by Nikon which lets you establish an always-on Bluetooth connection between the D500 and a smart device. This allows you to do automatic image transfers between devices and is addition to the more common WiFi and NFC options which are also available on the camera.

The D500 will be available in March 2016 with a SRP of US$2,000. There’s also an option to purchase it with the AF-S 16-80mm f/3.5-5.6ED VR lens for US$3,070.

CK: Wow, this sure took Nikon a long time! When I was looking to upgrade my D200 many years ago, I didn’t have that much options. The D300/300S was getting a bit long in the tooth, making the D7000 more attractive as an upgrade. Of course, the D7000 isn’t a pro-level camera, and didn’t handle as nicely as the D200, but it’s decent enough. Many photographers have also yearned for a D300-type successor but none was coming. Nikon has basically ignored the pro DX shooters for a long time. We probably got to thank Canon for coming up with the EOS 7D Mark II which kicked Nikon in the you-know-where.

Too late however, at least for me. Many photographers, myself included, have moved on to APS-C mirrorless cameras. That said, this still looks like a very impressive camera to be had.

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