As the flagship model within Nikon's DX-format DSLR line, the D500 is characterized by its robust physical construction, apt imaging capabilities, and of course, a more compact, sleek form factor than its FX brethren. Revolving around a 20.9MP CMOS sensor and EXPEED 5 image processor, this camera appeals to both still and video shooters with its fast 10 fps continuous shooting rate and 4K UHD video recording abilities. The sensor and processor also combine to avail a native sensitivity range up to ISO 51200, which can be further expanded to ISO 1640000 for working in dark and difficult lighting conditions. Benefitting the fast shooting performance, the D500 is also characterized by its expansive Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system, which features 99 cross-type points for fast performance and accurate subject tracking capabilities. While sleek in stature, the D500 is by no means slim on functionality and versatility.
Besides the imaging assets, this advanced DSLR also features an impressive handling design that incorporates a 3.2", 2.36m-dot, tilting LCD touchscreen, which affords a comfortable means for working from high and low angles. An updated version of SnapBridge is also featured, which provides Wi-Fi connectivity with NFC, as well as Bluetooth Low Energy technology for linking your mobile device for wireless image sharing. In addition to the convenience features, the D500 is housed within a durable magnesium alloy chassis that is both dust- and weather-sealed for working in inclement conditions and harsh environments.
The 20.9MP DX-format CMOS sensor enables recording high-resolution still imagery and 4K UHD or full HD 1080p video with the utmost clarity, low noise, and smooth color gradations. Additionally, the sensor pairs with the advanced EXPEED 5 image processor to provide native sensitivity to ISO 51,200, as well as expanded to 1,640,000 for shooting in even dimmer lighting conditions.
The sensor and processor combination also enables a continuous high shooting rate of 10 fps at full resolution, continuous low of 1- 9 fps, and a quiet-continuous of 3 fps. Enhanced buffer capacity allows you to record up to 200 sequential 14-bit NEF, lossless compressed or 79 14-bit uncompressed files.
The EXPEED 5 processing power extends beyond still imaging performance to benefit 4K UHD video recording in multiple frame rates of 30/25/24p fps and full HD 1080p of 60/50/30/25/24p fps. During recording, fully manual control over shutter speed and ISO settings is possible along with the ability to utilize Auto ISO adjustment in manual mode with a top sensitivity of ISO 51,200. Zebra stripe highlighting can be applied to aid in controlling overexposure during recording too, along with in-camera Picture Control profiles, custom tone curves, and a flat profile to benefit color-grading applications. Recording to an optional external recorder is possible in order to gain uncompressed, 4:2:2, 8-bit output through the HDMI port, and when recording externally, use of the camera's LCD monitor for simultaneous live view monitoring is possible.
In regard to audio recording, an in-camera stereo microphone can be used, or alternatively, an input is available for utilizing an optional external stereo microphone. Sound levels can be adjusted across many levels prior to and during recording, along with the ability to monitor audio via the headphone output.
Supporting the imaging capabilities of the D500 is an autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection, fine-tuning, and 153 focus points, including 99 cross-type sensors and 15 sensors that support f/8, of which 55 (35 cross-type) sensors, and 9 f/8 sensors are available for selection. AF modes include Single-Point, Dynamic Area 25, 72, and 153 AF points, Group Area AF, 3D-Tracking, and Auto Area AF.
The f/8 sensors are of great benefit when using telephoto lenses, teleconverters, and filters. 3D Tracking, a part of the intelligent Scene Recognition System, also works to benefit maintained focusing on moving subjects for greater accuracy when shooting at high continuous shooting speeds. Furthermore, Single-point AF, Dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, and Auto-area AF modes are also available. And, when working in either horizontal or vertical shooting orientations, you can individually select your focus point and AF area settings to best fit the frame.
The intelligent Scene Recognition System with 3D Color Matrix Metering utilizes a 180k-pixel RGB sensor to evaluate and analyze all aspects within a scene, including brightness, contrast, subject distance, and the scene colors, to quickly determine an accurate exposure and white balance setting to best render the scene at hand. The information gathered is also checked against onboard reference images to ensure consistency from image to image in regard to exposure, white balance, i-TTL flash settings, and subject-tracking AF performance.
Supporting a wealth of sharing and tagging possibilities, the D500 features built-in SnapBridge Wi-Fi connectivity to enable seamless transfer of imagery as well as remote shooting capabilities. BLE, Bluetooth Low Energy technology, enables communication between the camera and a smart device. Additionally, the mobile device can remotely trigger the shutter and display a live view image from the camera to enable working from a distance. NFC (Near Field Communication) is also supported to provide a quick and simple tap-to-connect method for linking your mobile devices with the camera.
Included with the camera body is the AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR lens, which provides a 24-120mm equivalent focal length range that covers wide-angle to telephoto perspectives. A bright f/2.8-4 maximum aperture range benefits working in low-light conditions and also affords greater control over focus placement for selective focus shooting. The optical design of this DX-dedicated zoom incorporates three aspherical elements and four extra-low dispersion elements, which combine to reduce both spherical and chromatic aberrations throughout the zoom range. This lens also incorporates a four stop-effective Vibration Reduction system to minimize the appearance of camera shake, and an electromagnetic aperture mechanism offers greater exposure stability at fast continuous shooting rates. Super Integrated and Nano Crystal Coatings have been applied to individual lens elements to control lens flare and ghosting, and both the front and rear elements also receive a fluorine coating to guard against smudging, moisture, and dust.