Not content with launching its flagship full-frame D5 and revealing a 360-degree shooting action camera, Nikon has also outed a new flagship APS-C DSLR with the long-awaited D500. The camera is billed as packing the performance of the D5 into a compact, lightweight body.
The D500 is a camera we didn't know if we'd ever see. Since the D300s back in 2009, the best new additions to Nikon's APS-C DSLR range have been the D7XXX cameras, such as the D7200. But now the Nikon D500 looks like a true flagship crop sensor DSLR, and one which can give the Canon 7D Mark II a run for its money.
At the heart of the Nikon D500 is a 20.9-megapixel APS-C DX CMOS sensor which measures 23.5 x 15.7 mm. The sensor is paired with the same EXPEED 5 image-processing engine as in the Nikon D5. However, with the smaller than full frame sensor comes a more restrained ISO range of 100 to 51200 (though it's still expandable to an impressive 1640000 equivalent).
On the speed front, the D500 offers continuous shooting at 10 fps (for up to 200 shots in 14-bit lossless compressed RAW) and features the same 153-point autofocus system (with 99 cross-type points) as the D5. This could make the camera a solid option for pros who want a more affordable second camera, along with sports and wildlife photographers, or enthusiasts who don't want to compromise.
Video recording reaches all the way up to 4K UHD 3840 x 2160 at 30/25/24 fps, with Full HD 1080p frame-rates increasing to 60/50 fps. Of use to videographers will be the new 3.2-inch 2,359k-dot LCD monitor which is both tilting and a touchscreen, this is something we've been waiting some time to see on a high-end Nikon.
Build quality of the D500 puts it between high-end enthusiast models like the D7200 and thoroughbred professional cameras, like the D5, by featuring a magnesium alloy top and back panel. It also offers the same amount of weather sealing as the Nikon D810. The camera measures 147 x 115 x 81 mm (5.8 x 4.6 x 3.2 in) and weighs 860 g (1 lb 14.4 oz). Interestingly, there's no built-in flash, and the D500 uses one XQD and one SD memory card.
Connectivity is a strong point of the D500 and it features Nikon's new version of SnapBridge. This lets users connect the camera to a compatible smart device via built-in NFC, Wi-Fi and low-power Bluetooth, making it considerably easier to transfer images, or use the smart device to browse images stored in the camera, than many other high-end DSLRs.
The Nikon D500 will set you back US$2,000 body-only when it becomes available in March, or around $3,070 with a 16-80-mm F2.8-F4 kit lens, which will give a 24-120-mm equivalent in 35-mm-format because of the APS-C sensor.
Product page: Nikon D500