Nikon D500 DLSR: Our Complete & Unbiased Review

Searching for photography gear can be a long and intensive process since there are so many options, brands, and features to consider. This task can be especially arduous if you're searching for the camera itself. We recognize how valuable your time is and we want to help you along the way. Since we specialize in offering photography tools and resources, we have prepared for you an in-depth and comprehensive review of four industry-leading digital SLR cameras. We are specifically highlighting the Nikon D500 in this article to offer a solid and powerful camera as a base comparison for your search.

Comparison Table

Along with the detailed review of each product, we will give you an overall summary of each camera by listing its pros and cons, and where you can look more closely at the camera's specifications. With this article, we aim to help you feel more confident and informed along the way as you shop for your new favorite camera.

What Is the Nikon D500?

Photo of a woman using a black Nikon camera

​Image source: pixabay

The first DSLR camera we are spotlighting is the Nikon D500. The Nikon D500 is an action shot-loving camera ideal for adventure photography and subjects in motion. This camera offers incredible shooting speeds, resolution, and low-light performance for capturing wildlife and sports with incredible clarity.  

The Nikon D500 is built for travel and demanding environments. This powerful unit is equipped with a compact camera body which holds a DX sensor and compatibility with lightweight DX lenses from the NIKKOR lens line. Although the Nikon D500 is lightweight and excellent as your travel buddy, its image quality delivers with a 20.7MP CMOS sensor. This compact sensor offers the camera more agility without sacrificing rich colors, textures, and precision clarity.

The Nikon D500 is a top-competitor in photography but also offers its user stunning 4K Ultra-HD video capture. This element of the Nikon D500 gives you diverse and beautiful options for capturing your favorite moments. The Nikon D500 is a powerhouse high-speed shooter and improves on the Nikon D300S in the categories of shooting speeds, autofocus system, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

Product Specs

Looking at the Nikon D500's product specifications, we will find many exciting and high-quality, precision photography elements which make this model one of the most advanced DSLR travel cameras on the market. The Nikon D500 delivers power, speed, and accuracy with a 20.7MP APS-C (DX) sensor, 153-point AF module, 180,000-pixel RGB sensor for improved metering, and an autofocus point joystick.

Photo of a man with a black Nikon camera

​Image source: pixabay

This Nikon D500 DSLR is excellent for close-up and detailed action photography, low-light captures, landscapes, and so much more. The Nikon D500's 2.36M-dot tilting touchscreen review screen will give you optimal reviewing pleasure, especially for your 4K Ultra-HD videos shooting at 30 fps. A few more key specifics about the Nikon D500 are its improved Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for easy photo transfer, an auxiliary microphone and headphone socket, USB 3.0 connection, and body dimensions of 5.8 x 4.6 x 3.2 inches.

Pricing

The Nikon 500D is a premium and high-performing camera at a professional price point. The Nikon 500D camera body can be purchased for around $$$ USD on Amazon.com. This camera delivers professional quality at a moderately approachable price. Please note: this is the price for the camera body only.

How It Compares

We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.    

Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera
Sony A77II Digital SLR Camera
Nikon D4S

Nikon D500 DX-Format Digital SLR (Body Only)
  • 20.9MP DX Format CMOS Sensor.Viewfinder:Eye level pentaprism single lens reflex viewfinder
  • EXPEED 5 Image Processor;Monitor Size: 3.2 inches diagonal
  • 3.2 inches 2,539k Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD
  • 4K UHD Video Recording at 30 fps
  • Multi CAM 20K 153 Point AF System

Price

Ease of Use: 5 / 5 stars

The Nikon D500 is an approachable yet complex camera with many functions and potential applications. The ergonomics of this model are excellent for long-term use and secure handling. Its AF joystick is a unique feature which makes navigation of your focus settings on-demand and at your fingertips. The most used buttons are placed in intuitive positions and easy to access. Photo playback is a breeze which adds to the convenience of shooting with the Nikon D500 in the fast-paced and action-packed environments.

​Features: 4 / 5 stars

The Nikon D500 is loaded with unique and useful features, such as a 20.9-megapixel CMOS sensor, EXPEED 5 processor for actions shots, native ISO range of 100 - 51,200 for incredible light adjustments, and 4K UHD 2160p video capture. This Nikon performs under intense circumstances and is built to last. Our caveat with this powerful unit is the sensor's 1.5x crop factor and variable battery performance. Extra batteries are always on a photographer's mind, but they prove to be necessary with the Nikon D500.

​Design Quality: 4.5 / 5 stars

​We really appreciate the thoughtful and high-performing, durable design of the Nikon D500. This camera delivers on ergonomics, button placement, intuitive interface, and overall touchscreen functionality. Its low-light performance is responsive and customizable, with a comfortable eyepiece for intensive, night photography sessions. Its LCD screen is bright, clear and high-resolution for reviewing your content on-the-fly. Ergonomics are smart and compact design is helpful for travel and outdoor expeditions.

PROS

  • Fast and accurate AF capabilities
  • High-performing ISO range, great in low light
  • Wider sizing options for photos at 20.7MP
  • Ergonomic, lightweight, and comfortable
  • 4K Ultra-HD video capture
  • Auxiliary microphone and headphone socket

CONS

  • Software inconsistencies
  • Variable battery life
  • Low-performance video focus
  • Mid to high-end price point — body only
Sale
Canon EOS 7D Mark II Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
  • 20.2 MP CMOS sensor and ISO 100-16000
  • High speed continuous shooting up to 10.0 fps
  • 65-point all cross-type AF system
  • Stunning Full HD video with Custom Movie Servo AF (speed and sensitivity)
  • Dual Pixel CMOS AF enables you to shoot video like a camcorder

Our first camera for comparison to the Nikon D500 is the Canon EOS 7D Mark II DSLR. This Canon offers its users ergonomic design, intuitive shooting response, advanced Dual DIGIC 6 Image Processors, and more. This Canon is designed for adventure photography with quick responses to on-demand creativity. The body of this Canon 7D Mark II is a heavy-duty and high-quality DSLR with magnesium construction, matte black appearance, and protective weather seals. This Canon is versatile and customizable with a range of compatible lenses and EOS accessories.

Price

The Canon 7D Mark II is a versatile and intuitive camera best suited for artistic photography. This mid to high-range DSLR unit can be purchased for around $$$ on Amazon.com. Please note: this is the price for the camera body only.                   

Ease of Use: 4 / 5 stars

This Canon feels wonderful in your hand with a sturdy and textured rubber grip with finger grooves. Its 3" LCD screen is clear and vivid under most lighting circumstances, though we wish the size was slightly larger with a touchscreen. Its controls are intuitively placed with an upgraded DOF button and a programmable lever and joystick. The Canon 7D has a slower AF mode than the Nikon D500 has.

Features: 4 / 5 stars

The Canon EOS 7D Mark II is feature-rich with 10fps continuous shooting, customizable controls, detailed high ISO, 1/8,000-second shutter speed, 65-point cross-type AF system, GPS, and 1080p 60fps video. More key features of this canon are its 20.2MP CMOS sensor, ISO range 100-16000, and its Dual Pixel CMOS AF system which gives the user more versatility and performance when shooting video. The Canon 7D's size parameters are 5.9 x 3.1 x 4.4 inches and it weighs in at 2lbs.

Design Quality: 4.5 / 5 stars

The Canon EOS 7D is a great camera designed for lightweight and ergonomic performance, which helps make long shooting sessions more comfortable. Its 1080p video function shooting at 60fps offers users professional quality video with responsive focus. CD and SD memory focus ports give you more diverse storage options for full days of shooting.

PROS

  • High-quality, professional video capture with great focus
  • Customizable settings and many EOS compatible accessories
  • Comfortable grip
  • Intuitive interface
  • High-speed image processor

CONS

  • No built-in Wi-Fi or remote connectivity options
  • Variable battery life
  • Poor low-light performance
  • Mid to high-end price range
Sony A77II Digital SLR Camera - Body Only
  • Superb subject tracking
  • Astonishing image quality
  • OLED Tru-Finder
  • Superior movie performance
  • Wi-Fi/NFC connectivity

The next DSLR we are highlighting is the Sony A77II. This Sony DSLR takes a few common features to the next level offering users the world's fastest channel 01 shooting at 12fps, with accurate 79-point Phase Detection AutoFocus and a 24.3MP APS-C sensor. These features give a better response time while delivering in-focus subjects and stunning images. Equipped with a premium BIONZ X image processing engine, the Sony A77II DSLR enhances your photography experience with high-speed, full-frame processing power. This Sony DSLR unit hosts an improved AF system that boosts its low-light performance to capture quality images as low as ISO 100. The Sony A77II is great for shooting moving subjects and action.

Price

The Sony A77II is a moderately priced DSLR designed to help you capture detailed, beautiful, and diverse photos. You can purchase the base unit for around $$$ USD on Amazon.com. Please note: this is the price for the camera body only.

Ease of Use: 4 / 5 stars

Sony's Autofocus system is fast, accurate, and great for object tracking. Electronic View Finder is excellent in low-light conditions and offers its users live feedback on picture composition per shooting parameters. Its operating system is heavily customizable and has seemingly endless program features. The camera runs extremely well in both manual and full-auto settings. Ergonomics make this unit comfortable and easy to handle. Intuitive setup and interface and flawless photos can be expected from this camera.

Features: 4 / 5 stars

12fps capture speed at full resolution, 79-point Phase Detection for comprehensive subject capture, 24.3-megapixel resolution, wide sensitivity range—ISO 100 to 25,600 for incredible low-light and high-speed captures, three-way tilt LCD screen for comfortable viewing, and a built-in flash. Comprehensive features that seem to cover all the bases for a well-rounded and high-performance DSLR.

Design Quality: 4.5 / 5 stars

Sony applied many thoughtful and innovative upgrades in their design of the Alpha 77II. Its powerful image processor gives the camera fast shutter speeds for moving subjects and very slow speeds for low-light con

PROS

  • Fast operation—shutter speed, menus, scrolling, content review
  • In-camera image stabilization dramatically increases low-light function
  • Increased buffer depth for great continuous shooting speeds
  • Useful EVF for reliable image composition and live image feedback

CONS

  • No 4K video capture, overall low-performance video capture
  • Complex AF settings
  • Heavy as compared to cameras with higher quality image sensors
Sale
Nikon D4S 16.2 MP CMOS FX Digital SLR with Full 1080p HD Video (Body Only)
  • 16.2 megapixel FX-format CMOS sensor
  • 30% faster EXPEED 4 image processing engine
  • 51-point AF system and 3D Color Matrix metering III with a 91,000-pixel RGB sensor
  • Noise-free shooting from ISO 100 to 25,600
  • Professional video and audio capabilities

The last DSLR we are highlighting is the Nikon D4S. This DSLR is packed with a full-frame, FX-format, 16.2MP CMOS sensor with an EXPEED 4 image processor. This powerful unit offers high-resolution photos and full HD 1080p video capture. The Nikon D4S features an expansive and sensitive exposure range working from ISO 100-25600 to give your photos clarity even in dark or obscure environments.

Its 51-point AF system can be customized to group up to five AF points as one focal point for increased object recognition. A unique feature of the Nikon D4S is its fast file transfer speeds which come from a 1000 Base-T wired LAN connection and 12-bit RAW SIZE S file compatibility.

Price

The Nikon D4S is a high-end DSLR that delivers stunning photos but at a premium price. This Nikon can be purchased for around $$$ USD on Amazon.com. Please note: this is the price for the camera body only.                                                  

​Ease of Use: 4 / 5 stars

The Nikon D4S has dual-axis ergonomics for supreme comfort with intuitive control placement and a durable, metal body. Although it feels nice in the hand, it is rather heavy with an added lens. Its setting menu is comprehensive yet complex and requires a learning-curve period. Rubber grip could be more sturdy and durable, especially the portrait grip. Burst mode makes for easy capture of high-speed subjects. Group autofocus is helpful and effective.

​Features: 4 / 5 stars

A professional full-frame image sensor, a wide spectrum ISO performance, 51-point AF system, 10.4fps burst shooting convenient for high-speed subjects, time lapse function, dual memory card slots, HDMI output, and 1080px60fps video capture.

Design Quality: 4.5 / 5 stars

The Nikon D4S offers its users considerate and functional design while delivering outstanding image quality, high-speed shutter response, dynamic ISO range, impressive buffer capacity, quick autofocus, and seemingly endless customizable settings. Professional-level photos with more clarity, more depth, and less noise

PROS

  • Full-frame image sensor
  • Premium buffer capacity
  • Wide-range ISO performance
  • Quick-response focus

CONS

  • High-end price point, very expensive
  • 16MP resolution limits print potential
  • External GPS and Wi-Fi add-ons
  • No built-in flash
  • Only 1080p video capture, no 4K

Conclusion

Photo of a man using a black Nikon camera

​Image via ​Pixabay

After looking carefully at these four competitive and powerful DSLR cameras, we hope that you feel well informed so you may make a confident decision regarding which camera is the perfect fit for you.

Having compared the Nikon D500 with these other high-performing and capable models, we are certain in delivering a 4 out of 5 stars as our overall rating of this versatile and high-power DSLR. We like the Nikon D500 for its fast and accurate AF capabilities and its ergonomic and comfortable feel. Its 4k Ultra-HD video capture and 20.7MP allows for versatile content capture with a stunning image quality ideal for adventure, nature, and action photography.

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