Nikon D500 Review With Images
Here is a mini review of the Nikon D500 After Thousands Of Images
My Nikon D500 review with images is a mini review i have created after shooting with the D500 for a few thousand images now and using it for many different shooting styles.
I do not like to post a review on a camera till i have had a good amount of time shooting with it and not just shooting one thing or kind of photography.
I used my D500 for shooting a low light event shooting at iso 2000 and 3200 using bounce flash. Shot a baseball game with it, Shot dirt bike riding in a dirt bowl in mid day sun, Shot horse racing with it, Went to a wild life park and shot birds and other animals with it, Then took it down by a water area for some shooting of boats and other subjects, Shot at a Botanical gardens shooting flowers and plants and then went and shot a Model portrait session using a lot of off camera lighting.
So i have covered a lot of ground shooting with my D500 and editing all the files. I feel like i now know the camera very well and how it shoots and what to expect from the images it produces.
Is The Nikon D500 Worth Buying
For me Yes i was on the edge of going all Sony and had the new A6300 in my hands and i own a a6000 as well. After waiting for the a6300 with all the hype on it as being some super great camera well its just ok and not that much of a upgrade for photography over the a6000 so i was glad i had ordered the Nikon D500 as well as i sent back the a6300.
I am a long time now Nikon shooter moving from Canon to Nikon when the D3 first come out and then buying two D700 bodys i also own a D40, D70 and a D7200 and have owned the D750 and D300 and now own and shoot with the D500 as well.
Getting the D500 has moved me back back into the Nikon camp the D500 is such a better camera in every way over the Sony a6300 the more you shoot with the D500 the more you love it and the more you start to get to know how it works the more you even love it more. It is the best Cropped camera hands down all the hype you read on the Sony a6300 is just that hype as for real shooting the D500 puts it to shame. If you are a pro shooter and make all or a good amount of your income from shooting the D500 is the clear choose for a cropped monster camera that will get you the shots you need with no hesitation.
D500 VS My Old D700 Test
After using two D700 body's for years as my main cameras i wanted to see how the D500 rates to them for high iso shooting and image quality. I put a 35mm on the D700 full frame camera and a 24mm on the D500 so they matched the same zoom range for the most part. I shot both cameras in a controlled environment with the same settings and same metering and ISO settings all in manual.
The end result was not as good as i was hoping for but was very good. The old Nikon D700 still produces cleaner images at all the higher ISO ranges by a little bit ISO 5000 on the D700 looks like ISO 4000 on the D500. I use to shoot a lot of MMA fights in some very dark places and i shot with the D700 and D750 at ISO 5000 and sometimes at ISO 6400 so i was sorry to see that a cropped D500 has still not come up to the now very old full frame D700 for high ISO shooting and clean images but it is close. So for this kind of event i would still be better off to shoot with one of my old D700 cameras as i no longer have a D750. For my weddings and other events the quality from the D500 is just fine it is cleaner then the D7200 and even more cleaner then the Sony a6300. At the lower ISO ranges the D500 is excellent and the colors are outstanding so i am keeping it to use as my main camera with the D7200 as my second or backup camera for this years shooting.
Shooting With The Nikon D500
Shooting At A Low Light Event
For this shoot my job was to shoot promo shots for a singer for his new website that i also made for him.
It was a VFW hall all older people dancing having a good time to him singing and playing guitar. It was a good sized room and they turn most all the lights out for the dancing so it was very dark to shoot in.
I used my Nikon 24-120 F4 lens i love the range i get with this and i used a AD360 bulb flash I bounced the flash off the white ceiling to flood light in any area i was shooting so i never used any direct flash on anyone. This being my first outing shooting with the D500 Some of the things i noticed was i loved the new placement of the ISO button this is so easy now once i started getting use to its new place on the camera. Then the focus point joy stick i started using as for years now i have been a point and recompose shooter but with this new joy stick it just felt right to start using it and i love it now.
With no focus assist light of any kind i was able to shoot in what i would say is lower light then my old D700 would be able to go down to or the D7200 and for sure the Sony A6300. The D500 locks on focus in very low light and it dose it super fast with no hesitation this camera needs no focus assist red beam or any help at all. Even shooting way across the room at 120mm the focus was dead on and fast.
I started out shooting at ISO 400 and then started pushing it up to 1600 then 2000 and then 3200 and at 3200 that was all i really needed and i had to turn down the flash very low. At ISO 3200 the images are very good and usable with very good detail in them. After my ISO test VS one of my old FF D700's i knew i would be good with ISO 3200.
The over all experience with shooting the D500 at this event was very good it felt like i was shooting a full frame camera with the nice large viewfinder. I also think the way it fits my hand is much better then the D7200 and the little extra weight over the D7200 feels just right.
D500 Shooting Horse Races
I took the D500 to a horse race track with the 70-300 VR lens and the 24-120 F4 lens and shot many races it was a long day and hot as it takes around 30 minutes form race to race. Everything was good except i re-confirmed my 70-300 VR lens is just not that great past around 225mm the more it gets close to 300mm the softer it gets this is not new news and has nothing to do with the D500 my 24-120 is sharp for everything from 24 to 120..
I ended up with many great shots this was my first time shooting at a horse race track so i was very pleased with the images i got from the D500. I tested a few different focus tracking settings and 3D did drop focus on the front running horse but the other horses look a lot alike and they are all going fast in a tight pack. Once it lost focus it started to lock on different horses as they ran not staying on any one horse this was all in a fast few seconds as they come around the corner coming right at me and then past me.
D500 Shooting Baseball
Next i took the D500 to a baseball game and i used my Nikon 24-120 F4 and the Nikon 50mm 1.4. For the first part of the game i had good to ok light out still so the 24-120 F4 lens just rocked it with no problems at all very fast focus and even focus tracking worked 100% i ended up shooting the most in Nine point focus. As it got darker out i put the 50mm on and dropped to 2.8 and the 50 did good just not as sharp as the other 24-120 lens i am going to sell off this 50mm it is just now for me.
The over all shooting experience with the Nikon D500 at the baseball game was very good I have the best images I have ever shot at a game and I have shot a few before this. The focus just works great and the camera is super responsive to shoot with. Viewing images on the back screen is nice and sharp and clear Nikons best back screen on any DSLR i have owned from them and the touch screen is just natural to use after using cell phones for years so it feels just right.
D500 Shooting Dirt Bikes
Next i went and shot dirt bikes in what they call the dirt bowel this was another hot day and we starting shooting around 1:30 I only shot with the Nikon 70-300 VR. I was surprised at how close i was able to get with all the riders racing around so fast but I found a good tree line area to shoot from so i did not shoot much past the 200mm range of the lens for much of anything a good thing when using the 70-300 VR.
I only shot for just over a hour here blasting out hundreds of images as bikes went flying past me it was a lot of fun and i plan to go back with my new 70-200 F4 next time. I got a lot of great shots some not as sharp as i would of liked but very usable this must of been me as i am not a big dirt bike shooter I hope to get it better with the 70-200 F4 next time i go..
Not much to report on this the D500 did its job and gave me good images.
D500 Shooting Wildlife
Another D500 owner i meet invited me to go shoot with him in a wild life park so i went and shot for a few hours. I shot many birds and other animals including a black bear named Bart. On this outing i had just got in my 70-200 F4 lens so i shot everything with it. The 70-200 F4 is a nice and sharp lens and it being the F4 version it is not very heavy compared to the 2.8 version so it was a joy to shoot with and walk around with for many hours. I went with the F4 version just for the lighter weight as shooting beach weddings i am standing on the beach for a long time and can not set anything down.
The D500 shot like a champ even shooting past the fence with no problem at fenced in animals almost like it had no fence.
I also started shooting some in the D500 cropped mode for some extra zoom reach even shooting in cropped you can still shoot raw files so i got 12MP Raw files from shooting in the cropped mode. The images from the cropped shooting mode look every bit as good as the fill size image shooting mode just smaller files with more zoom in shooting range.
By the end of the shooting at the wildlife park i ended up with lots of great images and no problems with the camera by now the D500 is starting to feel like my new best friend. My fingers are starting to go right to the new ISO button and the new focus point stick.
D500 Shooting On The Docks
After leaving the wild life park i drove down the road to a boat launch area that can be fun to shoot at and shot some more of some small boats going by and other shots including some butterfly's and a Monkey on a small island that is called Monkey Island. I have shot the Monkeys before but this was the best images I have ever got to date of them and i shot it in the cropped mode as the island is a little away from my shooting area. Shooting with the 70-200 F4 it was a fun day of shooting and a lot of images to edit when i got home its time to buy some more hard drives.
D500 Shooting A Model Portrait Session
Now for some real fun shooting people in a real portrait session. For this i shot a local Model named Yvonne we shot at three different locations with the last location being the beach shooting at sunset with her modeling in the waves of the surf as the sun was setting one of my favorite shooting times.
I started out using a 36 inch Octia box and my AD360 bulb flash in it we started shooting at a local Botanical gardens in town moving to a few different areas within the gardens. Everything went good except i used that darn 50mm lens i do not like giving it one more try to start with never again will i use that lens it works just not well and the color is very cool it is the older version.
The D500 on the Model shots are fantastic very good skin tones and it is a joy to use the back screen for showing someone a image and panning around with your finger on the touch screen. Next we drove down by a area by the water that is a marsh land area with lots of greens and shallow water. Here it was a little windy so i used a small Normal soft box around 17 inch wide that is super easy to move around and can take a lot of wind before it will even start to tip over. I also switch over to my trusty 24-120 F4 lens.
Shooting by the marsh area was a lot of fun and i ended up with a lot of great images and the images area very sharp and have great face details. I can see no problem with using the D500 as my main portrait camera i am very happy with the results i am getting.
Now down to the beach and into the water well not me but the model. Here I used the same setup the Norman soft box with 350 flash and the 24-12 F4 lens.
To me this was going to be a very good test for the D500 as i have had a few other cameras non Nikon brand that had a very hard time with this kind of shot as i am shooting right into the sun as it is setting with the model very bright back lit from the sun. I have had other camera like the Sony a6300 and a6000 and Samsung NX1 miss focus very badly shooting a bright back lit subject that is strong back lit like this. The D500 did this with flying colors not missing a single shot not a single out of focus image or even soft focus image and with the super fast focus it just had zero problems and nailed every shot this gets me excited as this is a problem for many cameras and i shoot this kind of image a lot working and shooting on the beach all the time. For many of the shots i was laying down on a beach towel on my stomach shooting to get a low angle of her with the sunset colors in the background.
Shooting In The Cropped Mode
It is amazing how many people have a Nikon camera and have never shot it in the cropped mode or even know the camera has on so i added this extra section of the D500 review to talk about the cropped mode and what it is good for.
Don't Fear The Cropped Mode
What is the cropped mode it is when you change your cameras view that it shoots to a more tighter view so on the D500 you can change your shooting view to a cropped 1.3x and when shooting in this mode the focus points fill the shooting area even more making it even more easy to shoot.
Why shoot cropped ? well why not shoot cropped if you are shooting sports and need some extra reach or shooting birds or wildlife or any time you need extra zoom reach you can shoot in the cropped mode and get a lot of extra reach out of what ever lens you have on your camera.
I myself shoot in the cropped mode on my D700 12MP camera all the time at weddings and events for the wedding reception i never needed 12MP files for reception photos of people dancing and so on so i could shoot smaller more easy to deal with images for that or if i was just out shooting for fun with no plans to make any large prints i would shoot in cropped a lot. Now with the D500 i get 12MP cropped files
How dose shooting in the cropped 1.3 mode affect your images. I shoot all raw and it gives me a 12MP Raw file size that is 100% as good as the full size non cropped size file you just have a small size file. With the smaller size file it takes up less space on your card, loads into your computer faster, take less space on your hard drive and loads into any editing program faster. You can also shoot more frames a second just using a SD card and shoot longer as the files are smaller.
How will only a 12MP file effect making prints? Not really much if you think about it look at the older D700 it is a 12MP camera and using it images can get cropped when editing way down in size and still make amazing 16x20 or 16x24 lab prints with no problem. I myself printed hundreds of 24-36 prints from the 12MP files on a Cannon wide format printer i had with a good amount of cropping and they look fantastic i even have a 24-36 metal prints as well. As a portrait photographer we sold just loads of 16x20 and 20x20 framed wall portraits and we sold many large wood mounted prints as well so no the smaller file size at 12MP is not going to be a problem making any normal size print most anyone will order from you. I have even had full size billboards done from my 12MP images and trade show displays. The image quality from the D500 VS the D700 is they both are fantastic you could not tell one from the other when edited right and you would not be able to tell a 12MP print from a 21 or 24MP print.
Get the Extra Zoom Example
Here is a side by side image i shot showing what you can get from shooting in the cropped mode giving you some extra zoom.
This is the D500 on the left shooting normal full size with a Nikon 70-300 VR lens and on it.
Then on the right it is using the Nikon 70-200 F4 lens but i am shooting in the cropped mode to show how close the 70-200 can get to the 300mm end just by shooting in the cropped mode.
As you can see it is not to far off if i took a step forword with the 70-200 it would match the 300mm zoom of the 70-300 by shooting in the cropped shooting mode. So you can turn your 70-200 into a 300mm almost buy shooting in the cropped mode. Click on the image to see it larger