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Nikon D500 Review & Samples

The Nikon D500 is Nikon’s $2,000 sports and wildlife camera. Watch the video for complete details, but here’s a quick¬†summary:

  • Better than the¬†Canon’s 7D Mark II. It solidly beats Canon’s APS-C flagship camera, and the D500 is now our recommendation for the ultimate wildlife camera. It¬†focuses better and faster, it’s images are sharper because the sensor lacks an AA filter, the tilting touchscreen makes¬†4K video easy to record, and SnapBridge makes pictures easy to share.
  • Better than Nikon D7200. As expected, it outperforms the less-expensive D7200 in every way.
  • Mostly better than the $6,500 Nikon D5.¬†The D5 gets 16% more shots in focus when tracking action, thanks to its higher frame rate.¬†The D500 wins in every other way: better usability, a full 30 minutes of 4K recording time,¬†focusing¬†points spread to the edge of the frame, a tilting touch screen, and¬†SnapBridge.

In short, it’s the best wildlife and sports camera available, for most photographers.¬†Landscape and portrait photographers might be better served with a full-frame camera, such as the Nikon D750 or Nikon D810.

Sample Images

Click to see each full-sized image.

1/125, f/2.8, ISO 200, 100mm

D500 sample picture

These next two perched bird shots were taken through glass, but there’s¬†still plenty of sharpness.

1/200, f/5.6, ISO 800, 500mm


1/160, f/5.6, ISO 320, 500mm

The D500’s focusing system got essentially 100%¬†in-focus for real-world birds-in-flight using the Nikon 200-500mm lens. Using a faster lens, such as a 500mm f/4, we could expect it to get at least 20%¬†more in focus. Wait, what?

1/600, f/5.6, ISO 800, 500mm

This photo was underexposed by a stop and recovered in post:

1/320, f/6.3, ISO 160, 500mm