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Why did Nikon make the D500?


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#1 LightMeter

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 11:36 AM

I thought Nikon was never going to make another pro DX body. Did Canon come out with one and put pressure on Nikon?


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#2 Sailjunkie

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Posted 08 May 2016 - 12:32 PM

Sorry, Bill, but I don't really know.  I stopped worrying about D300 replacements when I decided to upgrade to full frame.  I think a lot of other folks made the same choice.  

 

Not sure if even Nikon knows because, in Vancouver, the D750 is $200 less than the D500.  That's a marketing strategy?   :unsure:   Perhaps BP has some thoughts?


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#3 Gary Worrall

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 08:28 AM

They lost the #4 stencil


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#4 Herman

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 11:51 AM

Due to further development of Canon's 7D being the Mark II?


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#5 LightMeter

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 12:04 PM

They lost the #4 stencil

Yes Nikon skipped an entire generation of a pro DX body by denying it's users the D400.


Edited by LightMeter, 09 May 2016 - 12:05 PM.

Bill

 

Still shooting DX digital and don't plan on going full frame.

 

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#6 Black Pearl

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 04:27 PM

Sorry, Bill, but I don't really know.  I stopped worrying about D300 replacements when I decided to upgrade to full frame.  I think a lot of other folks made the same choice.  

 

Not sure if even Nikon knows because, in Vancouver, the D750 is $200 less than the D500.  That's a marketing strategy?   :unsure:   Perhaps BP has some thoughts?

 

First we need to dissect the phrase "Upgrade to Full frame" as there is a lot of blether talked about FF cameras and a lot of misinformation - please note I'm not getting at you Mark this is just in general. A FF camera can produce better results than a crop body when the light drops and you have to increase the iso - when I say can its on an understanding that this is based around a body generation thing and a pixel size thing. A very high pixel count (small pixel size) FF sensor wouldn't be better than a crop sensor with a low count sensor that ended up with bigger pixels. There are some modern very high quality crop sensors that can pretty much match a FF sensor so its not a clear cut advantage. A FF sensor can aid a very narrow depth of field which for portraiture is often desirable - that does not make it a better format, just a better format if you want a wafer thin DoF. Flip that round and it can be argued that a crop sensor can give a greater DoF so if you shot say macro or landscapes there may be advantages. 

 

Bodies also come into it. When FF sensors first came about they were found in pro bodies which had the latest and greatest but this isn't always now the case. As much as the D6xx bodies produce very high quality files they are far from being high spec. The old and horribly outdated (sensor wise) D300s will run rings around a D610 in terms of out and out body performance and this leads me nicely to the D500. 

 

The D500 is a profession camera body, a proper pro Nikon body with a price tag to match. A D750 may be (now that its been out a while and settled in price) cheaper but in many key ways it isn't a patch on the D500. Again if we are talking body performance then the D500 is better built - it is capable of a higher frame rate - it has a HUGE buffer - the AF is in another world - it has a dedicated AF-ON button - the buttons like the D5 are illuminated - its a pro body. I'm not knocking the D750 but its not in the same league - yes the sensor is nice and yes its very good but its not a proper pro Nikon body and for those that use them it matters enough to pay for them.

 

As for it being an answer too the EOS7D Mkii - I would argue the D500 has been a good while in the making and was launched inline with its bigger brother the D5 and not to counter a camera from another brand. 


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#7 james23p

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Posted 09 May 2016 - 05:00 PM

I agree 100% BP!

 

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#8 ericbowles

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 07:56 AM

I think the delay was caused by two factors - the disruption of the D400 production due to tsunami and earthquakes in manufacturing areas, and an incorrect perception that users would be happy with either Nikon 1 or FX.  The Nikon 1 format is essentially a replacement for the compact camera footprint, but Nikon has not used it that way and has focused on interchangeable lenses.  That puts DX in an odd place - small but not really small.

 

It's a bit baffling to me that Nikon ignored the DX lineup for so long.  The main reason people have used for moving to mirrorless is to have lighter gear.  DX format is generally lighter and smaller - fitting the bill nicely without radical changes.  That makes DX format an ideal candidate for a mirrorless camera larger than the Nikon 1.  

 

I think DX has a place as a compliment to FX.  We'll see if I really mean that in a couple of weeks when I photograph a big event.  I'm tempted to leave my D800E in the car.  But it will mean a difference in thought process related to lenses.  I have to balance the crop factor with the desired shallow DOF, so I'll probably  take a 35mm or 50mm lens and use them at f/2 to have a shallow DOF. 

 

For me, the jury is out on using the D500 for wildlife.  I used it for a weekend shooting lots of shorebirds as well as general photography in the Okefenokee.  The problem areas were the long end - too much reach - and the wide end - not wide enough.  The difference in DOF was a bit of a challenge - even stopped down it was not intuitive.  


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#9 Sailjunkie

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 03:03 PM

Good points by both BP and Eric.

 

However, I think that consumer buying decisions include personal as well as technical reasons.  When I bought my D40X, I immediately noticed that the crop sensor meant that my image would never capture everything that I was seeing in the view finder.  I spent many a night pining for the AE-1 that I had traded in.  That continued to bug me even when I bought the D80.  I finally reached a cross roads when I decided to upgrade from the D80.

 

If the D500 had been available when I decided to upgrade from the D80, I would have given it serious consideration.  I seriously considered the D7200.  Then my "nit" about crop sensor cameras returned.  After deciding that FF met my requirements, the remaining choices didn't take long.  As good as the D500 appears to be, I doubt if it could have overcome my "nit" about crop sensor cameras.  

 

I'm sure that D500 will be a VERY popular camera.  If fortune smiles on us, it might even make a great second camera.  However, many of us chose the full frame route for various personal reasons as well as technical ones.  I haven't regretted my decision.


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#10 Black Pearl

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Posted 10 May 2016 - 04:24 PM

Not all viewfinders on crop cameras are small......

 

The largest (up until recently) viewfinder on any DSLR is in the Canon EOS 1D-X - the one in my Fuji X-T1 is bigger:

 

vf-sizes.jpeg


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#11 Sailjunkie

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 02:21 PM

But does the final image match what one sees in the view finder?  I always found the final image to be smaller.


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#12 Black Pearl

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 03:00 PM

Don't follow?

The last three bodies I've owned had 100% viewfinders so what you see is what you get and even lower range bodies have 96-98% viewfinders so you actually end up with more final image.
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#13 Art

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Posted 11 May 2016 - 05:00 PM

As some of you may know, I was at a Nikon event on Tuesday.  They had a table with gear we could play with so I played with the D500.  I was really quite impressed.  It weights nothing and is FAST!!!!  FAST!!

 

I also played with the D810 and that has an extremely nice feel to it as well.  However, after playing with the D500, the D810 felt like it was stuck in mud.  1/2 the speed.  I also found it quite light.  The D5 took a walk somewhere for the time I was at the table, so I never got to play with it.  Maybe next Tuesday.

 

I must say, I am really impressed with the new gear.  Really High ISO ratings and over all nice feel.  It is really NOT wise to look at new equipment.

 

I was quite impressed with the new 300mm fresnel lens.  Small and light as well.  I was also really impressed with the Nikon crew at the show, all were on top of their game.  Quick and knowledgeable answers to all questions.

 

Although I am not really answering the original question, I don't know that it matters why they skipped the D400, the D500 is an awesome product.  Maybe, it is a marketing ploy to somehow have a tie in to the D5 with a similar label.


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#14 Sailjunkie

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 03:13 PM

Don't follow?

The last three bodies I've owned had 100% viewfinders so what you see is what you get and even lower range bodies have 96-98% viewfinders so you actually end up with more final image.

 

BP, I don't think that I have done a very good job explaining what I mean.  In fact, I'm starting to think that I know just enough to be really dangerous.

 

What I do know is:

  • when I really began to get interested in photography, my choices seemed to be between film cartridges for smaller film or 35 mm for range finder cameras and SLRs'.  I immediately took a liking to 35 mm, starting with a range finder, then going to an SLR.
  • when I decided to upgrade to a DSLR, my choices were between a crop sensor camera and a full frame camera.  For budget reasons, I chose a crop sensor camera and immediately started kicking myself for trading in the AE-1.
  • megapixels and resolution aren't as important to me as knowing that my image can potentially cover the same area as 35mm film would.  A 5 mp FF camera would make me just as happy as a 36 mp FF camera.  Not sure what the image quality would be like, though.
  • even if 100% of the image can be seen in the view finder, knowing that it is smaller than 35 mm film would drive me nuts.  That is my head playing games with me.
  • there are cameras where what is seen in the viewfinder may be smaller than the actual image.  The D810 has an autocrop mode that will make automatic adjustments when a DX lens is used on the camera.  Users know this is happening because when they look in the view finder, they will see a smaller border that shows the area that will be in the image.  It looked like the viewfinder comparison that you posted on Tuesday.  While this is intended to help with composition, I was being reminded of how much of the image was being cropped.  When I saw what a difference there was, i decided that upgrading to FX lenses should happen sooner than later.  

One of the things that I enjoy about photography is that the learning never stops.  This conversation has taught me that there is still much for me to learn.   :)


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#15 Sailjunkie

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 03:15 PM

the D500 is an awesome product.  Maybe, it is a marketing ploy to somehow have a tie in to the D5 with a similar label.

 I'm inclined to agree, but the market will have the final say.


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#16 Black Pearl

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 03:29 PM

 

BP, I don't think that I have done a very good job explaining what I mean.  In fact, I'm starting to think that I know just enough to be really dangerous.

 

What I do know is:

  • when I really began to get interested in photography, my choices seemed to be between film cartridges for smaller film or 35 mm for range finder cameras and SLRs'.  I immediately took a liking to 35 mm, starting with a range finder, then going to an SLR.
  • when I decided to upgrade to a DSLR, my choices were between a crop sensor camera and a full frame camera.  For budget reasons, I chose a crop sensor camera and immediately started kicking myself for trading in the AE-1.
  • megapixels and resolution aren't as important to me as knowing that my image can potentially cover the same area as 35mm film would.  A 5 mp FF camera would make me just as happy as a 36 mp FF camera.  Not sure what the image quality would be like, though.
  • even if 100% of the image can be seen in the view finder, knowing that it is smaller than 35 mm film would drive me nuts.  That is my head playing games with me.
  • there are cameras where what is seen in the viewfinder may be smaller than the actual image.  The D810 has an autocrop mode that will make automatic adjustments when a DX lens is used on the camera.  Users know this is happening because when they look in the view finder, they will see a smaller border that shows the area that will be in the image.  It looked like the viewfinder comparison that you posted on Tuesday.  While this is intended to help with composition, I was being reminded of how much of the image was being cropped.  When I saw what a difference there was, i decided that upgrading to FX lenses should happen sooner than later.  

One of the things that I enjoy about photography is that the learning never stops.  This conversation has taught me that there is still much for me to learn.   :)

 

I follow now - you want a 50mm to act like a 50mm does on a 35mm based format and a 28mm to act like a 28mm etc etc.

 

I think I come at it slightly differently in that for most of my formative years then though school, college and university I used multiple formats from half frame to 10x8 sheet film on a fairly regular basis so I don't think in terms of the 35mm format as being standard. My favourite lens on my Fuji is my 35mm which in FF terms gives a similar FoV to a 50mm but I don't think of it as a 50mm - I just shoot with it as it is and 'see' shots in terms of what it can reproduce. If someone gave me a FX body to use I'd simply bung a 50mm on it and shoot in the same way, if a MF body I'd bung a 75mm on and just shoot. 

 

I think what I'm trying to say is I don't think of a crop body in terms of it being cropped - its just a camera and I think in terms of what it can offer.


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#17 Art

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 04:15 PM

 I'm inclined to agree, but the market will have the final say.

 

The only down side I can see is the price.  I am not easily impressed... the D500 impressed me... a lot! 

 

I suspect, the really, really fast frame rate and good sensor are the motivating factors to the name and I would bet, the coincidence with similar names D500, D5, is intentional.

 

The D500 in my books is a winning design.

 

Name means nothing.  A tie in to the D5, in my opinion, is clever.


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#18 Sailjunkie

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 02:19 PM

 

Name means nothing.  A tie in to the D5, in my opinion, is clever.

 

Agree with you on the name.

 

Eric is the only user I know who has bought one.  Reviewers and people like yourself, who have played with it, all seem to have good things to say.


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#19 ericbowles

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Posted 13 May 2016 - 03:43 PM

I'm still quite happy with the camera.  Thom Hogan has been keeping track of some of the issues with older batteries, new cards, etc.  But the camera flies with the XQD card and is perfect for wildlife - especially birds.  The one meaningful design issue is the lack of an on-camera flash (I used it in Commander mode and for occasional fill flash).

 

Battery life with the included battery is great.  I've got 220 frames on the current battery that I put in the camera three days ago.  It still has 87% left.  At that rate we are looking at 1500 frames on a single charge.

 

I think the D500 is a big winner.


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#20 Old Dog New Tricks

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Posted 17 May 2016 - 12:52 PM

Regards the fail to use D400, I agree that it was probably to stay in step with the D5.  Fuji jumped from S3Pro to S5Pro because the number 4 is considered a bad sign to the Japanese.  I will probably regret my one step purchase after I get a chance to see the D500.  Oh well, such is life!!


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#21 pendennis

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 02:23 PM

I retired in 2007, and decided to buy my first DSLR, a D200.  In the past I had worked in most all formats; 35mm, medium format, large format, Polaroid.  I've done professional portrait and wedding work, but still like general photography, and pretty much whatever pleases my eyes.

 

I've worked with it off and on since then, and pretty much ignored the technology changes.  The D200 suited my needs, so there was no big hurry to advance.  I've become familiar with Photoshop, and have had some real fun with editing.

 

However, last month, I figured I'd better see into an upgrade.  I looked at both the D500 and the D750.  Both were the same amount, so I opted for the newer D500.  I'm not looking back.

 

The D500 runs faster, has higher image capacity, and enough features on it that I'll probably never be able to take advantage of them.  Even using the "standard settings", the image quality through the sames lenses, is better than on my D200, and the throughput speed is astonishing. When the shutter cycles, only one sound, and very muted from the D200.  It took a few exposures to get used to it.

 

Mine came with the newer Li ion battery, and the firmware upgrade was a snap.

 

I own a Tokina 500mm f5.6 AF lens, put the Kenko 1.4 T/C on it, and the A/F worked like a charm; no hunting, and very clean test images.

 

In my prior professional life, I was an information technology manager for a large company.  We constantly had to weigh the value of existing technology with the whiz bang of the current offerings.  It's only a matter of when you  jump in.


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#22 james23p

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 04:27 PM

Welcome penndennis to the planet. Do me a favor go to the new member forum and introduce yourself it is a custom we like to keep here on the planet. Oh and congrats on the D500 what a great camera! :lol:

 

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#23 justshootit

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 09:09 PM

They made it because Herman kept asking for it. All the professional DX proponents thank you, Herman!! :D :lol:
Don
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Digital: D610 backed up by a D1x.  Quoted from an unknown source by a fellow planeteer, "Never get rid of a working D1x." I've got to agree.

Film: N90s, F3, F100, F4s, C330s. A few lenses.

Why film photography? I like shooting with the equipment. 6x6 Velvia slides from a C330 have an appeal all their own.

Why automated 35mm/Digital cameras? Event photography is about capturing moments. It often requires quick response. Well done automaton can be your friend or your enemy. It all depends on knowing what it can and can't do. "A man's got to know his (camera's) limitations." paraphrasing Dirty Harry...

#24 Blanco

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 01:39 PM

I'm shopping the prices on the D500 now. Black Friday seems to motivate sale prices a bit.

I shot my aircraft photos with a D7100 for the longest time and had gotten very comfortable with it. I ran across a D750 at a very good price earlier this year and thought it would be fantastic to move to a FX.

The 750 is lightyears ahead of my 7100 as far as performance. What is interesting in my case. Longer shots with my 7100 and my 50~500 Sigma would still fill the frame. With the 750 I get a LOT of empty frame. When I crop my shots from the 750 to the same level as the 7100 I am losing end resoloution. On the closer shots the 750 is quite incredible when the frame is full, but with aircraft most time, distance is a premium.

My assumption is with the D500 I would gain back the resolution while filling the frame  ? Or am I seeing this wrong?  



#25 Black Pearl

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 01:51 PM

You would get that crop (magnification) back along with an AF system that is not only lightyears ahead in performance terms it covers a far greater percentage of the frame. Add to that the frame rate and gigantic buffer and the dedicated AF-ON button and you've got a serious sports/aircraft/wildlife tool.


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#26 Blanco

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Posted 22 November 2016 - 02:19 PM

Just as I suspected Nikon has conspired to pick my pocket once more .....



#27 ericbowles

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 06:56 AM

I'll update this thread with my experience with the D500.

 

I've been using the camera for about 6 months now.  The role is exactly as intended - my D800E is the primary camera and the D500 is my fast action camera.

 

AF is terrific - far better than any other Nikon I have owned.   It took a little time to figure out the difference between Dynamic 25 and Group AF area modes, but each now has its place and can be used successfully.

 

The frame rate and large buffer are terrific.  On a recent shoot I lost a few images due to a full buffer on the D800E, but my D500 has never slowed - even when shooting RAW + JPEG (basic).  Cards were a little confusing at first but that issue is figured out now.

 

I consider the D500 a great action camera.  For general use, the lack of the pop-up flash is a disadvantage but that's about the only problem.  On a tight budget or if you don't need action, the D7200 remains a good alternative.

 

Using multiple camera bodies, the layout of buttons is a bit of a challenge.  My three cameras all have different locations for the ISO button - nicknamed In Search Of.  I like the location of the ISO button on the D500 right next to the shutter, and find that I change ISO more now than with other cameras.

 

If you get the D500, stay away from third party batteries and grips.  It is sensitive over power needs.  With Nikon power, there have been no issues at all.


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#28 pendennis

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Posted 23 November 2016 - 02:47 PM

...If you get the D500, stay away from third party batteries and grips.  It is sensitive over power needs.  With Nikon power, there have been no issues at all.

I heartily second Eric's observation.  When I bought mine, I bought a "Promaster" battery as a backup.  While the battery would show fully charged on the Nikon charger, it would not function in the camera.  The shop manager tried it in both another D500, and D750, but neither would function with the 3rd party battery.


Best,

Dennis





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