Camera - - AWARDS -

Here’s a thing. Nikon an­nounced the D500 at the same as the flag­ship D5 so it was a bit over­shad­owed by all the head­lines gen­er­ated by its big brother. But, to all in­tents and pur­poses, the D500 is a D5, only with an ‘APS-C’ size sen­sor which makes it both smaller and lighter. This also makes it quite a cam­era… in our opin­ion the best D-SLR of 2016 re­gard­less of sen­sor size or cat­e­gory. The best, full stop. In the old days we used to hand out just one award – the Aus­tralian Cam­era Of The Year – and if we were still do­ing that, you’d be look­ing at the win­ner right here.

The sys­tems and fea­tures it shares with the D5 give the D500 pro­fes­sional as­pi­ra­tions and, in truth, it could have com­peted quite ca­pa­bly in that cat­e­gory, but it’s su­perla­tive as an en­thu­si­ast-level cam­era and here it’s sen­sor size is a def­i­nite as­set… as is its pric­ing (both rea­sons why Canon’s EOS 5D Mark IV is on the pro cat­e­gory short­list rather than here). As we noted in the in­tro­duc­tion, sen­sor size is be­com­ing less of an is­sue, but as far as pros are con­cerned, big­ger is still bet­ter… even if the D500 eas­ily dis­proves it.

There’s no bet­ter en­dorse­ment of why the D500 wins here than in our ‘The Ver­dict’ con­clu­sion to our road-test of the cam­era – “The bot­tom line is that the D500 is, to all in­tents and pur­poses, an ‘APS-C’ for­mat D5. It bor­rows so much from the full-35mm cam­era that the dif­fer­ences in per­for­mance – both cam­era-re­lated and im­age-re­lated – are neg­li­gi­ble and, in fact, the D500 does a lit­tle bet­ter in a few ar­eas. It looks to be just as strongly built and the viewfinder is equally good. It’s ac­tu­ally nicer to han­dle and, of course, is a lot lighter to carry around. If you choose to fit non-DX Nikkor lenses you get a 1.5x fo­cal length in­crease for free which also trans­lates into sav­ing weight.

“The key per­for­mance dif­fer­ence be­tween the two cam­eras is the top shoot­ing speed – 12 fps ver­sus 10 fps – but in re­al­ity this is go­ing to rep­re­sent no dif­fer­ence to many pho­tog­ra­phers who sim­ply don’t need the ex­tra 2.0 fps. The al­limpor­tant burst length is still the same for shoot­ing both JPEGs and RAWs. So all this is brought into sharp fo­cus by the dif­fer­ence in the prices… the real bot­tom line.

If it was all rel­a­tive, the D500 should be sell­ing for around $6000 (or maybe more), but it’s half this price which makes it the best value propo­si­tion any­where.

The fact that this ac­tu­ally isn’t the most com­pelling rea­son for buy­ing the D500 gives you some idea just how good the rest of the pack­age is.

Mir­ror­less may be on the march, but here is the most con­vinc­ing ar­gu­ment for buy­ing an­other D-SLR – and, what’s more, an ‘APS-C’ one – that there is. Bravo!”

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