I am writing this review from a wildlife photographers perspective who are mostly worried of the FPS and ISO and focal length when on field . My first impression about D500 when the specs were announced was very good .the most important thing I noted in the specs was reduction of the megapixels of the sensor which directly translates in better ISO performance and addition of a powerful new Nikon image processor, the Expeed 5 was just a icing on the cake so my first worry about the ISO performance was almost negated . I will be pointing out some useful features in D500 for wildlife photographers as below
What I liked the most in D500
ISO PERFORMANCE –
When I got D500 from Primes and Zooms the first thing I tested was the ISO performance and I was blown away by the low light ISO performance ISO 6400 images came out very well and usable but still I wanted to test some higher levels so pushed it to ISO 8000 and ISO 10000 and where I felt its time to stop from a wildlife photographers perspective where almost 80% images need some percentage of cropping and at those ISO levels cropped images turn ugly I am saying above ISO 10000 .The best thing is D500 is not producing any color noise which is very difficult to reduce in post processing . I will limit myself upto 6400 as very usable range and 6400 to 12800 as a very desperate range or for images where cropping will not be required and where the subject fills the frame or the frame is well composed before taking the image and no cropping is required .So on ISO performance of D500 I am very satisfied ..
FRAMES /SECOND (FPS) –
No doubt that D500 which is 10FPS and having massive buffer of 200 shots with RAW 14 bit when using XQD card is built for action and only for action ,any wildlife photographer who will get this body in hand cannot resist from capturing action shots and get addicted to action photography ..which is mostly appreciated in Wildlife photography.
CROP FACTOR –
D500 being a DX format body and having a 1.5x crop factor is very helpful to increase the focal length which is a concern for almost all wildlife photographers and this body will pair perfectly with the new Nikkor 200-500mm f5.6 and with the ultra sharp Nikkor 300f4 which is one of my favorite lens so for 200-500mm users the focal length will increase to 300-750mm and for 300mm+1.4x TC users it will become 630mm which is not bad at all.
FOCUS TRACKING OR 3D TRACKING –
I use this feature extensively while shooting rapidly moving subject or during any action . 3D tracking of D500 is outstanding I will say much improved than my D750 which I am currently using this is a very good feature for shooting birds in flight etc..the new 153 focus point Advanced Multi-CAM 20K system which is similar to D5 and the 153 focus points cover almost all the viewfinder of the D500 which helps in 3D tracking.
NO ANTI ALIASING FILTER OR AA FILTER –
D500 is not having the AA filter in front of its sensor so the images come out very sharp and more detailed ,one more thing which most of the wildlife photographers are very concerned.
NARTICULATING LCD TOUCHSCREEN –
This screen is very useful while shooting from above the head or at ground level to capture the frame at a perspective where you cannot shoot by looking though the viewfinder this is very helpful mostly while shooting macro or ground level shots and now you can change the focus points by just touching the screen that’s cool 🙂
SEPARATE ISO BUTTON ON TOP AND JOYSTICK –
ISO button placed on top right was very useful in D500 compared to my D750 where it is on the back left side of the camera which feels more awkwardly positioned ,and the JOYSTICK is real JOY to have as now its easy to shift focus points while shooting, it can be so easily changed as the subject moves in the viewfinder and those 153 AF points 🙂 nothing more is required.
AUTO AF FINE TUNE –
D500 is loaded with all practically useful features .earlier it was a very complicated process to micro adjust AF with the attached lenses by using those charts and all ,which I never did earlier, but now this is a very easy process and fine tuning your lens with the body is now just a matter of seconds and its done automatically, by following the procedure and you are assured to get maximum sharpness of the lens attached.
4K VIDEO –
Personally I am not into video but those who shoot wildlife in video this is a very good news where now its possible to shoot 30min of 4K video.
Some sample shots taken from D500:
About the Author –
Anup Deodhar – An acclaimed wildlife photographer whose “Warrior of the grassland” entry won a special award in the People’s Choice category of the prestigious BBC Wildlife Awards. He is a passionate photographer who believes that Patience is the key in wildlife photography. His work features in leading magazines, sites & articles. You can view more of his work at:
Wild colours by Anup Deodhar