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Nikon D500 is fast, rugged and ready for any assignment

Create: 01/05/2016 - 17:59
Nikon D500


  • New 20.9-MP CMOS DX sensor
  • Body is made to stand up to professional use with weather seals and magnesium and carbon fiber construction
  • Can capture 10 frames per second with autofocus and autoexposure engaged for each shot

Nikon introduced the D500, a DX-format (APS-C) DSLR that replaces the D300S.

The D500 borrows a number of features from its full-frame sibling, the D5.

Nikon says the D500 uses an all-new 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor that is coupled with the new EXPEED 5 image-processing engine that reduces image noise.

“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,” Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc., said in a press release. “When paired with the amazing imaging capabilities of legendary NIKKOR optics, photographers can capture intimate portraits, mind-blowing macros or action from extreme distances. The possibilities are endless.”

The ISO range is 100-51,200, which can be expanded to 50-1,640,000. As you would expect of a pro-level camera, performance is high. It uses a new Multi-CAM 20K 153-point autofocus system, and images can be captured at 10 frames per second that couples with a huge buffer that allows for up to 79 RAW/NEF images at a time. Autofocus and autoexposure remain engaged with every shot.

The D500 can record 4K UHD video at up to 30p (3840x2160), as well as Full HD (1080p) video at several frame rates. The D500 borrows some pro-level video features from the D810, such as uncompressed HDMI output and Picture Controls, while adding a few new tricks. The D500 can create 4K time-lapse movies in-camera, Auto ISO smoothing to provide fluid transitions in exposure during recording, and the capability to record 4K UHD video to the card and output to HDMI simultaneously.

When capturing 1080p Full HD content, the camera also has a new 3-axis electronic Vibration Reduction feature that can be activated with any lens. Active D-Lighting will help balance exposure to help prevent blown-out highlights.

The camera does not have a built-in pop-up flash.

Nikon says D500 uses the "same amount" of weather sealing as the D810. The D500's body is a monocoque structure that uses magnesium alloy for the top and rear. The front is reinforced with carbon fiber. The shutter has been tested for 200,000 actuations.

The camera has a 3.2-inch tilting LCD, which includes Live View and touch-screen abilities.

It has two memory card slots – a speedy XQD slot plus another SD slot.

The body has built-in WiFi and NFC.

The Nikon D500 body will be available in March 2016 for US$1,999.95. When paired with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens, it will cost US$3,069.95. The MB-D17-battery pack will also be available in March 2016 for US$449.95.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.