Nikon D5/D500 hands-on review (video)

Nikon-D500 Nikon-D5
Jeremy Smith just published his Nikon D5/D500 hands-on video review:

This entry was posted in Nikon D5, Nikon D500 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Ryan

    Thanks for the hands on review! Looking forward to seeing some test shots. Downloadable NEFs would be great 😉

    • Jeremy Smith-Photography

      As soon as I get more time with the cameras and am allowed to post samples I will make a more in-depth video!

      • Jezza in your opinion how much improvement did you see in the high ISO of the two? I’ve seen some pretty impressive images so far. I’m hedging at least a 2 stop improvement on the D5 and perhaps the D500 a stop under the D5?

        • I saw on the D5 jaw dropping improvements over the D810, and on the D500 I saw very impressive noise levels for 12k, 25k, 51k, on the D5 I was really impressed with 102k, great results indoors in lower light. Whether it is aggressive in camera reduction of noise or the execution of a really clean sensor design, the blacks and colors were handled well far in excess of 12k ISO. Handled the D500 and immediately preordered in the store – it’s going to be the perfect compliment to my setup. They also had a free Sony 64gb XQD card offer – the one card I may ever buy for the camera, I can use SD for typical work and then the XQD for buffer blasting sports photography.

        • Jeremy Smith-Photography

          I didn’t get to compare the two side by side as much as I would have liked to. I will say though that ISO 51,200 from the D5 looked very similar to ISO 6400 on my D800.

          • Andrew

            Awesome. This new image sensor may introduce a watershed moment for sensor design and performance. ISO performance is one of the main consideration (among others) for considering a full-frame camera versus a crop sensor camera though crop sensors have other advantages in terms of reach and weight (i.e. Lens). Anyway, great review.

          • Do you think, D5/500’s better monitor has some part in the images looking that good?

          • JoeFunny30

            Do you think he d500 beats the d750 for low light noise?

            • Nick

              It does. On the screen I believe it to be at least a 1.5 stop improvement. Possibly two.

            • LangerHans

              Also 1.5 stops more reflections?

        • Allen_Wentz

          I do not think that one can simplistically compare DX vs FS in terms like “stop improvement.” The resultant captures are just _different_ due to the much larger FX sensor and the fact that sensor parameters affect other image capture parameters.

      • fanboy fagz

        thank u smith. any high iso on the d500? iso 6400 is somthing id like to see. I dont think dx is as good as any ff out. I may be wrong

      • luca

        Hi Jeremy, I’m very interested in knowing how much quieter is the Quiet mode of the D500 compared to the Quiet mode of the D810? Which was/is imo the quieter Nikon DSRL in quiet mode…

        • It is much quieter…the overall shutter sound seems to on par with the D810.

          • nhz

            I’m currently using Canon DSLR and wondering about general D500 noise level for shutter/mirror action: does the Quiet mode mean I can get relatively quiet operation as long as I don’t need high framerates, without any other downside? Or should I expect a bit more noise compared to e.g. D5500/D7200 because of the stronger/faster D500 mechanism?

            I would use the camera mostly for nature photography, camera noise can be a problem.

          • Mike Gordon

            Have you shot a D600/D7000? If so how does the regular shutter compare?

          • luca

            I’d really like a quiet mode’s implementation ala Canon 5Dm3 where there is a _real_ quiet mode … and considering that the shutter size is DX Nikon could have done even better … but I already suspect this is not the case … they are slow thinkers … 🙁

        • Tom

          Tonight at the Boulder Co. launch event, someone asked about this. They said the 810 is still the best in Quiet mode.

          • luca

            that’s too bad… one of the missing point of recent DSLR is the silent mode … the point is that the 1st curtain electronic shutter in D810 implementation is on only MUP mode … 🙁

            • KnightPhoto

              I’ll toss in a little known little used feature of the D4, D4S, and D5: they have a TRUE silent mode with a whole range of compromises but it does work and is SILENT (not quiet mode):
              – must use LiveView;
              – if shooting handheld a loupe is best (almost mandatory in practical terms);
              – uses CDAF;
              – shoots jpg only, no RAW;
              – exposure limitations that for me means I use manual exposure;
              – results are really quite nice if you must be silent (otherwise just use quiet mode if you can get away with it, as Quiet mode doesn’t have the above restrictions).

            • KnightPhoto

              Here’s a sample SILENT mode shot (full size)- sorry haven’t figured out why they show up sideways ;-/

            • luca

              Totally useless! Nikon is the last one in NOT using hybrid AF systems in LiveView… so AF is barely acceptable with static subjects but with moving ones it’s definitely too slow …

      • LangerHans

        Did you check for oil spots?

    • Allen_Wentz

      Downloadable NEFs from pre-production cameras would just confuse. Nikon is totally correct to prohibit distribution of images from these cameras.

  • Nick O’Donnell

    Went to the Indy D5/D500 launch event last night. Shot the highest native ISO on both and they were very impressive. I think the d5 102K looks like 12800 on the D4 and 51200 on the 500 looks like 12800 on the D4. Both cameras feel amazing in the hand and the AF is stellar. Coming from the D4 I certainly won’t be looking back when buying both the D5 and 500!

    • 3 stops gain D4->D5 sounds a bit hard to believe, although I do hope it’s at least a stop improvement… I guess we have to wait until NEFs are available.

      • Nick O’Donnell

        Yeah just looking at the screen but it was beyond amazing. I wish they would put out some files aleady, tried like hell to get a card in them but the tape was all over the doors and it was some damn good tape! Plus the Nikon sales rep and the tech both stood over your should when you handled them

        • jag

          Any impressions on the D5 shutter noise as compared to the D4?

          • Nick O’Donnell

            YES! Much quieter. It was evident from my first few clicks with her. It’s more of a dull click, I think the 4 is almost a sharp clack. The tech rep said there is a new mirror braking system that controls the movement rather than it just dropping from being up. I guess it used to bounce and that took time so to speed it up they added a system to stop the mirror

            • jag

              Thanks Nick. That particular facet of the D5 (and D500) hasn’t been addressed on the interwebs, as far as my limited googling skills allow.

            • PhilK

              Yes, they are using a stepper motor to drive the mirror directly and with ramped speed, rather than springs that just slap it against the mirror stop. (With a damper) I believe this is a first for a Nikon SLR, film or digital.

      • T.I.M

        The D30x30 will have only one ISO step gain (ISO 800 looking like ISO 400 on D800) that the price to pay for a 48MP sensor.
        But the D30x30 exposure range (highlights and shadows) should be much better compared to the D800
        You can expect the D30x30 to be $3995 at release.
        I’m getting ready to sell my 2 D800.

        • Eledeuh

          Don’t you ever get tired of spouting random stuff like that ?

        • You didn’t update the delayed status of your D30x30. We were waiting for it to launch.

        • nwcs

          It’s still due to be announced October 2015, right?

          • T.I.M

            yes, but Nikon is still working on the packaging design.

          • PhilK

            The first prequel camera release. 😀

      • Aldo

        Especially when you factor in that they increased the pixel density on the d5. I just can’t wait for the NEFs out of the d500. It has me intrigued.

        • Eledeuh

          Pixel size impacts pixel-level noise.

          You have to compare the D5 output downsampled to 16MP if you wish to compare with the D4s.

          • Aldo

            Yeah but that is yet another form of processing… under that criteria the d750 is close to a d4

            • Eledeuh

              Well, that’s the point, the D750 *is* very close to the D4.

              One can’t decently argue that the D4 has better low-light performance than the D750 if it actually doesn’t have an edge when compared at the same resolution.

            • Aldo

              I think you can very “decently argue”… I mean the image falls apart… beyond the noise. The d4 preserves the image at higher ISO’s. Just right now as I’m posting this message.. I’m having a hard time balancing some colors out of my d750 at ISO 3200 (I can get rid of the noise, but I can’t bring back the detail… the natural colors… they are GONE)… and people here talk six figure ISO’s in newer cameras with unrealistic excitement. I crank up ISO in my cameras because I need more light. This is different from ‘testing’ ISO and you tweak other settings just so that you can ‘force’ a high ISO number.

        • Jerry Friedman

          The rep indicated there was an extreme ISO shot available for download on the Nikon site. A shot of a Gecko – Didn’t look great in his projector driven screen cap, but he said it was an amazing shot.

          • PhilK

            I believe that shot was either uploaded or linked-to in a previous post here.

      • Andrew

        Lustin, here is an ISO 51200 image of the D500 in pitch darkness. It is quite believable:

        Want further proof? This same image can be seen in full screen mode at time 2:35 into this official Nikon Canada video:

        • Aldo

          I’ll wait for the raw samples

          • Andrew

            Ah Aldo, don’t you trust the scientists? All of the anecdotal evidence is pointing in only one direction vis-a-vis a new groundbreaking image sensor. As the admin says, where there’s smoke, there is fire 😉

            • Aldo

              I dont trust anyone… no but really Im cheering for these cameras but until I see real world scenarios high iso raw files I wont believe the ‘many’ f stops improvement people claim the sensors have.

        • Andrew, I commented here on NR when that picture was first posted. Believe me, I would *love* for Nikon to have found a breakthrough in sensor technology, but I doubt any JPEGs (or even worse, movies)—I fear that Nikon has instead found a breakthrough in in-camera noise-processing.

          When NEFs are posted and I can load them in Lightroom or another RAW converter and compare them, then I’ll open the champagne bottle, but not before.


          • Andrew

            Lustin, you are a wise man 😉 It is usually a good thing to manage one’s expectations. But in this case, I am really allowing myself to get excited as right now it is creating a good feeling in me ;-).

            If everything plays out as I have heard notwithstanding the fact that Nikon itself is throwing out some pretty high ISO numbers, then I will be one happy camper. And if so, then this camera would have everything I have ever imagined. It does not get better than that.

        • Aldo

          f8 and 1/160? There is a lot of light there lol. ISO testing is A LOT different from real world ISO… you know when you actually ‘need’ to crank it up.

          • Andrew

            High ISO causes the camera to use more aggressive noise processing to allow for dimmer lighting situations – though a superior image sensor design may obviate the need for more aggressive processing because the sensor is collecting more light (and reducing electronic noise), and that is where the D500’s image sensor apparently excels.

            But OK, the Aperture opening at F8 is pretty wide and the shutter speed at 1/160 seconds is pretty low, thus letting in a lot more light – and I am certain using a tripod would also help things; but ISO 51200 should still introduce a lot of grain and in the case of the D500 it does not.

          • Max

            That’s true. When you shoot high ISO’s in good light, it always look very good. But when light is dim and you need it, it’s a different story. I also think that Chameleon was well lit.

    • Danzig

      Sorry Nick but that’s stretching it a bit much 🙂 D500 has 2 stops over the D4?!! Maybe you got that impression because NR was applied in camera? That would still be very promising, but I honestly think the D500 will be either at the same level as the D4 or a tad below that.

      • Nick O’Donnell

        I don’t think it will be that great but it will be close for sure. NR was off. I changed all the options for additional image processing off, been shooting D series since the D1 so I know how to use the cameras. It will surely be impressive.

        • Shutterbug

          You can’t turn NR completely off, JPEGs and even the RAW files have some baked in at the extreme ISO’s. Good news though, regardless of the actual figures, sounds like it will be a nice improvement.

          • Nick O’Donnell

            You can turn it off in the menu. Whatever is baked in is part of the file and it will be the same among all D5’s or 500s. Turning it off shows you exactly what the camera can do without the add on processing.

      • Even that would be impressive. Don’t you think? I am keeping my fingers crossed.

      • Nick O’Donnell

        I’ve got a iPhone shot of the screen on a 500 showing the raw file at full Rez at 100%. Admin let me know when I can send it if you’re interested.

        • The problem is that the LCD of the camera doesn’t show RAW; it shows the processed JPEG thumbnail that is (always) embedded in the RAW file, and which has the picture control and other settings applied—basically whatever processing the actual JPEG would have if you were to be shooting in RAW+JPEG or JPEG mode.

          So, as I said somewhere else, I would love for this to be true (many stops improvement), but unless I have RAWs that I can check for myself I’ll remain a bit skeptical.

          • PhilK

            It seems to me that even if the image is ‘processed’, the base quality is either going to be there or it isn’t. If heavy NR is applied to the on-camera preview, then yes one would expect the noise to be less visible, but at the same time one would expect details in the image to be muddy or non-existent. Regardless the processing applied, if a single displayed image appears to have good detail, low noise, good color saturation and dynamic range, then the quality of the captured image is good.

            And regarding the high-resolution display: I think if anything it would be far less forgiving of a poor capture with high noise or overly-aggressive NR than a lower-resolution display.

            • I agree that base quality is very important. However, regarding NR, that’s what current NR algorithms do: convert noise in low sharpness, as they apply NR equaly over the whole picture.

              My slight worry is that Nikon has found a way to do much much smarter NR, such that they’re able to keep detail in areas with enough light, and only reduce sharpness where it’s already missing, like in the shadows. And I say this based on the wording in the announcements.

              In any case, the images posted so far are indeed pointing to good base quality; I’m still conservative and want to see RAW files 🙂

            • PhilK

              There is a parallel in the audio world, where information below a certain threshold is “gated”. In analog audio there is a device called a “noise gate” that does this, in digital audio codecs, there is another term for it that escapes me at the moment. So for example on a poor quality VoIP or cellular connection, if neither party seems to be talking above a certain level, the codec will often “blank” the below-threshold sound, which is typically unwanted background or quantization noise. But this is sometimes disconcerting as well, as the complete silence often leads people to think the link disconnected. So nowadays they will sometimes put noise or dither in its place (there’s a term for this too but my memory is shot today), so people don’t think the link disconnected at those moments.

              So for example with that gecko photo, if you just fade everything below a certain threshold to pure black, it could certainly mask noise in the darker portions of the image. So that black part may not really be part of the on-sensor capture at all, it could just be blanked to 255/255/255.

              A lot of television or video products used to do this, to make the blacks look more ‘dramatic’ and give the impression of higher contrast, but the downside is you lose a lot of shadow detail if you pull that trick.

            • Sure, that would be a simple way to do it. But you don’t need to blank out; you can just apply more NR over the shadow areas (which is better than blank to 0/0/0) versus the areas with more brightness.

              Or even smarter: you could potentially have different algorithms for the shadow vs. highlight areas (beyond NR strength). I bet that today’s way to do NR is pretty simplistic.

    • TylerChappell

      I was there too! ISO 102,400 looked comparable to what 25,600 does on my D750. A little messy but probably still usable.

    • AlphaTed

      I went to an event the other day too. My plan to put an SD card failed, as the D500 was heavily taped. The rep was watching what you’re doing, and dozens of people behind you waiting for their turn.
      I just tried how fast it focus, via OVF and LiveView. Boy, the viewfinder is nice. The grip feels good.
      Got a glass of wine, and some basic meat, crackers, chips, cheese hors d’oeuvres.

      Oh, best of all, the hat is nice!

      • AlphaTed

        Oh, I signed up for another event. Next time, I’m getting the shirt. LOL.

      • Mato34

        Damn! I’d kill for that hat, you lucky buster! I say it’s time for a dance-off dude!!

    • GirchyGirchy

      Was it the Roberts downtown store? I love them.

  • shaun ly

    Does he have to use such shallow DOF for a product review. Not everything needs the cinematic look.

    • Captain Insane-O

      That wasn’t cinematic lol. Idk why. Perhaps he was trying to hide his carpeted back drop

  • sickheadache

    Nothing against Peter…but…Is this me…? This review is not a review…it seems he went to the press release or some camera store and filmed some points. Take it home. Play with it for a week..Get back to us all. This is one massive Fail. Show us the results in Pictures you took and video of the D5 and D500. Come on..this is easy stuff.

    • Joseph

      I believe the man works at the camera store and is truly unable to show samples before a specified date. The “easy” task of showing us samples would likely get him fired.

    • I guess the “hands-on” part is the key here.

    • Jeremy Smith-Photography

      Admin is correct; the “hands on” part is key. I will certainly be doing a lengthy video review of both cameras when I get more time with them (as I do with all the cameras I post videos on). This go around though I did all I could…I have already received a phone call for removing the tape to show the memory card slots. The bit in my video where I mention that the Nikon rep is a big dude and I don’t wish to press my luck isn’t entirely a joke ha.

      • D700s

        Thanks Jeremy! We are starving for info.

      • Haha, they contacted you already?

        • Jeremy Smith-Photography

          Yep lol. I almost got tackled when I pulled out an SD card…I had to quickly explain it was only for the D800 I was recording the video with…

      • AlphaTed

        Is he 6’5″ ?

      • Fly Moon

        Thanks Jeremy for the review.

    • Joven

      It’s a hands-on overview

    • T.I.M

      You must really love your wife to take her mother’s pictures as icon.

  • nicolaie

    Nice comprehensive video but he shot it in such a way it was tedious to watch. I wish he would have used a wider lens or a smaller senzor camera.

  • John Mackay

    Hi, I was wondering how the viewfinder blackout time compare between them as they have the same af system this is the thing that might make the difference in subject tracking. I was also wondering about the af in video on the D5, how smooth it is and how touch screen works with it. Thanks!

    • The viewfinder blackout on both is practically imperceptible; I didn’t try AF in video. It should be a bit better but because of the details given to me I wouldn’t expect it to be significantly (if any) better than what we have on current cameras.

      As far as the touchscreen is concerned (I show this a bit in the video) it’s really only used for playback and inputting text (copyright, IPTC, etc).

      • John Mackay

        Not much good for touch to focus in video then, either before or after you start recording? That’s disappointing. Lets hope the noise levels make up for it in the stills.

        • From what I could tell no…to be fair though most users purchasing a camera at this level probably aren’t going to use AF when shooting video.

          • John Mackay

            Canon users might be 🙁 I was wanting it for birds swimming on a lake etc, with big tele lenses where the camera wont give me one to one view or focus peaking while recording rather than a traditional film style set up.

  • I see where the Amazon “release” date on the D5 has been moved to March 24th, and BestBuy’s to March 28th. I wonder if we’re getting close to having “sooooo many orders” that they’ll have to officially delay the D5 as well? It’s a good thing the Olympics aren’t until August.

    • Joe Schmitt

      I also noticed that yesterday. Dammit.

      • Tom

        At the Boulder Co, Launch event tonight they said the D5 had been moved to the end of March, and the D500 end of April.

  • I have been to 3 D5/D500 events this week here in the Seattle area and I am very happy that others are seeing the same as I am as far as performance goes. Thanks for posting this Jeremy, my comments can be found on another well known forum in threads about the D500 even findings. Short version, I am VERY happy that mine is on order, and I am expecting that we are going to see improvements we had not expected. Partly due to new sensor technology, partly due to the split of AF to a separate processor, part due to Expeed5, and lastly just to general improvements in tech over the years. On both the D5 and D500, although my personal interest is in the D500. Don’t shoot the messengers, remember these are all pre-production bodies and the Nikon folks, as was stated, can lose jobs if cards are snuck in and images posted. Give them a break, I’m quite happy to see what I can. Although I am now depressed as I won’t get my hands on another until delivery.

    • AlphaTed

      I can’ remember reading (or maybe I’m not just paying much attention to it) that the new AF system will be using a separate processor.
      So like the Canon’s dual Digic processor, the new Nikons will have two separate processors as well. This will help offload the work from Expeed5. This is one of the new things I got from the event that I’m not aware of yet.

      • Absolutely correct. I suspect, but am not sure, that by offloading the AF processing to a separate processor the Expeed5 can now do more, and faster, which is probably a big part of what we are seeing with ISO. Nikon did make the point that it was a combination.

      • PhilK

        Yes, they say it now has a dedicated AF processor.

        But really, this talk about 2 Digic processors or 2 Expeed processors is kind of academic fluff, there is likely no reason why just having a single chip that is twice as powerful is any worse than 2 separate chips, it all depends on complex architectural details of which neither company is revealing.

        My guess is that Nikon simply has to, for marketing purposes, say they have 2 separate processors (that could be in the same LSI for all we know), simply to seem on-par with their main competitor. Until either Canon or Nikon start quoting MIPS or Ghz or some other computational metrics, it’s probably mostly just talk. 😉

        Neither do I see any likelihood they will divulge any such details any time soon. The proprietary signal-processing DSPs in a high-end DSLR like these are probably as close to each company’s “crown jewels” as you can come, in the digital photography age.

  • Jerry Friedman

    Launch Party Madness!

    • AlphaTed

      Don’t use the SnapBridge then.
      Not sure why you’re disappointed, as the features (or lack of) you mentioned are well known to the entire internet for a month now.

      • Jerry Friedman

        I spelled out my feelings – I guess reading isn’t as good for you as making comments and watching sales propaganda on your iPhone?

        • KnightPhoto

          I’m pretty sure there is touch to focus and shoot in LiveView.

          And SnapBridge offers remote shutter trigger. But I guess you are talking about changing aperture and SS, using a phone or the touch-screen, so you do have a point there. The V3 can do all of that on it’s touch screen (but not navigate and select menus).

          • Jerry Friedman

            No, there is NO touch focus – Thanks for playing though!

        • John Picking

          Have a Snickers.

    • Allen_Wentz

      Whatever are you talking about? If you do not want BLE communication on just leave it off, duh. Me, I do want to pick up my iPad and peruse recent pix with a client. Plus the D500 battery life alleges to be very good anyway.

      Like you I too went to a launch event yesterday. Unlike you I was _thrilled_ by the D500.

      • Jerry Friedman

        Fascinating – Thanks for sharing your insightful point of view?

        • You seem to have an odd perspective, but to each his own.

          • Jerry Friedman

            I have a D800E, I’m looking for an APC camera to take advantage of a fantastic F-mount collection of lenses I have.
            There is no touch control interface – Why? Dozens of other cameras and devices have given us this (ever hear of an iPad) capability for almost a decade now, but it is still missing from these “Flagships” Why?

            A tilt screen, really? WTF is that good for? I have a GH-1, must be a 40 year old camera by now, guess what “Fully Articulated Monitor”. Is fully articulated better than a flippy one – Yes, beyond ANY doubt it is and again it is old, tested technology – What is the rational that keeps these ‘top end’ cameras in the dark ages? And look at the BS Rube Goldberg design of the monitor support – What garbage, all those little arms and springs and…Why? Fully articulated means fully enclosed as well. No places for stuff to get lodged, nothing to bend or F-up (my old Panny has one and I often use it as a handle, still strong and secure as ever). Why? What’s the positive reason for antique little levers and limited travel?
            The snap-shit? It doesn’t improve your ability to use the camera – It is not a remote control – For that, Nikon will still soak you HUNDREDS of extra dollars to get basic remote control of your camera. And why is that? What’s the ‘philosophy’ behind that? Screwing your customer base. Olympus, Pany, Hell who doesn’t have a phone app that controls the camera?
            NIKON Does – But only in it’s “Flagship” models.
            Why does the 5500 have a fully articulated monitor but neither of these?
            Why does Nikon include WiFi or make it a cheap addition to all the cameras, but not the Flagships?
            Yes, the images will be great if there is not another D600 fiasco in the mix – Did you like how Nikon handled that?
            How about the left side focus issue on the d800 – Did they give good customer service or just replace the camera models and leave the consumer to suck it?

            Like I said, I am disappointed in the choices, the direction and the apparent corporate philosophy of Nikon. Yes the images will be great, yes they are fast, yes the ISO is breathtaking…Yawn
            But don’t you get tiered of the choices to screw the consumer?
            It is disappointing to see that Nikon has failed to keep pace in so many ways that hurt the user experience – And now they offer streaming data and commercial push feeds to ‘improve that’?

            So yeah, I have a strange perspective. I don’t trust companies that capture data from you and tell it’s fine – We put in a button that cuts off our revenue stream – Push it any time you want…

            • As I said, to each his own.

            • ITN

              I think a continuous connection to the smartphone is the best way to reduce the gap between smartphone camera connectivity and DSLR connectivity. It looks like Nikon is on the right track. I am sure you can turn it off if you would rather not connect to the internet.

              A tilt screen does not force the relocation of the buttons normally to the left side of the LCD. Thus the user interface is not compromised. For video, the camera is always in horizontal orientation and the tilting screen allows high and low vantage points with comfort. The tilting screen is also bigger than what a fully articulated screen would likely be. As to which functions should be implemented in touch screen and which should have dedicated buttons, Nikon probably starts by erring on the conservative side. A touch screen probably doesn’t work well in rain or when the photographer wears gloves thus none of the actively used controls that are frequently needed during shooting should be behind a touch screen interface.

            • PhilK

              Good point about an articulating display displacing the traditional buttons on the left side, hadn’t thought of that.

            • Jerry Friedman

              You make many points, some valid, some idiosyncratic and many should be’s and likely be’s.
              The ignorance and the perception – As touch screen interfaces have been implemented (over the past many years) few if any mandated its use. Ignorance of how it has been implemented leads some to the false idea that control point are moved to the monitor – When in fact the non touch interface is always intact. So touch is an option, but never the only way to control the camera.
              Some of what you guess; controlling in snow with gloves would and all that type of gussin’ criticism is of course still present in this new Nikon touch non-interface, right? So perhaps your lack of experience with touch devices leads you and Nikon to different conclusions, because they did include a limited touch interface, right? So if it was close to what you say – No one would really bother to try to implement them and we wouldn’t be discussing this new feature that Nikon has sold for how many years on how many models and NOW IT HAS COME to this body – So I think ignorance and prejudice guide some of your opinions.
              And to those who suggest you can set focus points – You are simply WRONG. Pinch, swipe, scrub in playback – Period. Oh yes, you can also use it to (get this) touch type copyright and other EXIF data settings! Worthless.

            • ITN

              I’ve used touch screens with various products and underlying technologies for many years, on a daily basis. I am not “guessing” they don’t work well with gloves on, or in the rain. None of the ones that I’ve used work well in such conditions, though I’m not saying that the rain problem cannot be solved. Touch screens have other disadvantages for hand held photography such as having to take off one of your hands from the camera/lens to operate the control that is provided by touch screen. Since most functions needed during shooting have dedicated functions, and these can be operated in adverse conditions (at least in the professional models, though there are a few difficult to reach controls, e.g. focus area selector), altering the user interface from the conventional presents some risks. On the other hand Nikon feels the pressure from the new generation that grew up with smartphones to provide a user interface that they can find intuitive in their cameras, this is also a part of the reason why they provide Snapbridge connectivity, so that the dedicated cameras keep up with the times.

              Yes, I understand that the touch screen functions do not remove the possibility of using buttons to achieve certain functions, but the problem is that if the user gets used to a certain way of using a camera that involves the use of the touch screen controls, then when they do have rain and gloves, they may not instinctively know what to do. Camera operation especially when photographing living and moving subjects has to become second nature otherwise one will miss some of the key moments. So, I think each key function should be implemented in a way that the photographer can operate it without looking at the control and without altering the position of their hands much. The touch screen is good for secondary functions (that are not necessary to operate during the action) such as browsing/zooming images and perhaps using the menus, and it makes sense to use it for focusing in live view. In the D5500 I’ve understood it is also possible to use it for focus point selection when using the viewfinder. However, the fact that Nikon didn’t enable this in the D500 suggests they’re not happy with the way it works in the D5500 and thus felt the professional/adam audience would find it problematic. Focus point selection in LV/video is possible using the touch screen interface, however, in the D500. In the D5, even that is not enabled, suggesting they assume an audience that demands a certain reliability in all conditions from that camera.

              Typing EXIF data copyright etc. is really slow using the conventional interface, and hard to do, that’s why there is a voice memo in the top models as that is much faster to operate. A touch screen is not as good as a keyboard for typing, but it’s better than a 4-way controller and a handful of buttons. So this seems very useful for professionals who must send the images online immediately after they were shot, to the editorial office. There must be either voice or EXIF annotation otherwise the people who are preparing to publish the images won’t know how to link the picture to the correct events.

              So I think Nikon are intelligently implementing the touch screen in areas where it is genuinely helpful but not in controls that are used in actual still shooting (for reasons of reliability and allowing the photographer to always have their hands on the camera, ready to shoot, even while accessing some of the most critical settings.

            • Jerry Friedman

              What a false argument…How often do I use gloves with my camera…Almost never – But the important point is that NO ONE EVER removed any buttons when they added touch interface – So if it is raining or you can’t remove your gloves – THERE IS NO REAL PROBLEM!
              Simply use the buttons as you have done for 45 years…
              Now, back to today – What about phones? Seem to be pretty important to modern life and they DO NOT HAVE ANY ALTERNATIVE controls. They are touch only operation.
              I am only suggesting adding additional methods of control – As every implementation of touch has been on DSLR’s…
              The (dumb) argument that many have made “Touch doesn’t work well” BUT “Nikon got this touch implementation just right” is stupid, partisan lies. It either works or it doesn’t. If it suck so bad (as so many express) that it is actually USELESS, then it is no help to include it for some functions, because it doesn’t work (well enough) and it isn’t any good when you’ll need it most.
              Regardless, it is what it is and that’s the state of the Art today – As of 1987…
              Nikon added some almost useless touch review controls and no amount of ignorant fan boyism will change that in a few years (how long do PRO bodies last..?) this will look like a antique.

            • Jerry Friedman

              I certain you have no basis for your certainty – What do you base your guesses on?

            • PhilK

              Re: the articulating display – have you checked the primary competition lately for the D500? (Canon 7D II) Fixed display. How about the primary competition for the D5? (Canon 1Dx II) Fixed display. Nikon is not an outlier here, they are either doing precisely what their only other real competitor in this area are doing, or they are AHEAD of them.

              Why doesn’t the D500 have a flipping/rotating etc display? Most likely because Nikon views the wiring and linkage necessary for such a design to be a reliability weak point. Canon must be thinking along the same lines because NONE of their top DX or FF cameras have that feature, despite the fact that they’ve had it in cheaper point-and-shoots and low-end DSLRs for years. (Including my old Canon G1 from 15 years ago) Clearly it’s not because Canon can’t figure out how to make an articulating display.

              The same likely applies to full touch menu camera controls. My guess is that Nikon is worried that if there is a glitch with such controls, the damage it could wreak (eg deleting all your photos by accident) is far more of a liability than the benefit of a touch UI that only some users will prefer anyway. Speaking for myself, it would really suck if I needed to change an AF setting, but couldn’t because it was only available on the touch interface and I had to wear gloves unless I wanted frostbite. Etc.

            • Jerry Friedman

              My point was not excitement that the new Nikons met the similar standards of other cameras…
              When they raised the MP’s with the D800…They didn’t wait on the competition – Did they?

            • PhilK

              They most certainly waited until someone had the technology to produce the required sensor. In that case, Sony. 😉

            • Allen_Wentz

              You ask “A tilt screen, really? WTF is that good for?”
              Actually a big deal for those of us seeking viewpoints other than eye level. Answers:
              A) Up shots from down low without having to get on one’s knees or belly, which takes time and involves groveling in the dirt.
              B) Down shots from higher than eye level:
              – Have you never been in a queue of photogs all trying to get a pic? Or trying to shoot over someone’s head?
              – Have you never had a high tripod or tripod+ladder shot set up?

            • Jerry Friedman

              But not as good as a fully articulated screen – Ever used one?
              My point is why was there is no reason to not include it. Just a bunch of excuses and supposition.

            • greepo

              Shit man, have a Coke and a smile!

    • PhilK

      I don’t know the details of their alleged privacy invasion, but it needs to be said that the things you describe don’t even come close to the kinds of data that most people leak to known and unknown parties every time they use a web browser these days. (Even worse on mobile devices because most of the commonly-used ones do not have the ability to add extensions to them to block most of that like desktop browsers do. Firefox does but it has a very small mobile marketshare.)

      Seems to me that the whole point of Snapbridge is to bring convenience to the process of shooting and sharing / distributing photos, which I assume is why it can also work when the camera is turned off. On this point I am quite pleasantly surprised that Nikon for once seems to “get” this sort of modern expectation and may even be leading in this area.

      People are slowly learning about the various ways their personal data is being digitally leaked these days, and I believe we will see more and more regulations stipulating minimum levels of data protection going forward. And I hope and trust that Nikon will adhere to those expectations. If not, there are ways to let them know what we think about it. 😉

      • Jerry Friedman

        Running off with the subject? This is a new mode of DSLR operation. What it does, who controls it is not yet clear – Where it goes as invasive technologies appear almost everywhere around us doesn’t look like a place I want my camera to go. Can a hacker steal my shots? Change the EXIF info and fight me for ownership of my own work?
        No. no. no. no – It just does stuff I don’t want done and doesn’t give me the basic functionality that other companies have chosen to offer.

  • Eric Calabros

    DPR added XPro2 to their studio tool.
    Baked raw, but not bad for a crop sensor. Can’t wait to compare D500 with this

    • HF

      Fuji ISO was found to be different compared to other manufacturers (when I had the XT1 it was almost 1 stop away from the D810). I don’t know what you describe as baked raw. Most of the differences is due to the RAW converters not being able to properly demosaic random/different color filter arrays (RCFA). RCFA usually lead to a difference in energy distribution amongst chrominance and luminance channels. Demosaicing artefacts appear as incoherent noise (there is a bunch of scientific literature on this). Many papers show that demosaicing in spectral space for best results is required. Otherwise problems like the smearing artefacts can show up. Looking at the files the lack in fine details is very apparent.

      • dclivejazz

        Interesting, I find that high ISO on my X-T1 is roughly equivalent to that on my D810 (possibly even slightly less noisy at 3200, but Fuji supposedly overstates their ISO values a bit). This is when shooting RAW; high ISO Fuji jpegs are too mushy due to excessive smoothing. Still, fairly impressive considering it’s a comparison between an APS-C and aFF sensors. Perhaps I’m over generous to the X-T1 in my comparison but it works out that way in real world low light shooting for me, which is a lot of what I do.

        I too will be very interested in comparing the D500 to the X-Pro2 in regards to image quality. FPS is less of a concern for me.

        • HF

          Did you compare per pixel or downsized to 16MP on the D810? In the latter case I can’t see any physical reason to have a sensor with twice the efficiency to overcome the twice larger light gathering area for the same f-stop.

  • aarif

    D500 ISO test

  • AlphaTed

    From the event I went to, somebody asked about the 3 minute limit of the D5 video, and if there’s any chance it will be updated once the camera is released. The rep said that it’s final and will not be changed.

    • Eric Calabros

      Well it would be odd to release a firmware update before shipping the body 🙂

      • AlphaTed

        Lol, I messed up that statement. Didnt proof read it, as its freaking small on my phone. 🙂

    • I received info from few other events (mainly in Europe) where hey confirmed the firmware update with extended 4K recording.

      • AlphaTed

        I’ll be in another event in 2 weeks, and will ask the same question. Maybe NikonUSA will get an update regarding the (non)feature. We’ll see.
        I asked the other rep who’s “guarding” the D500, if the touch screen feature is only for reviewing the images taken, she said no it can be used to focus in liveview. Then she can’t make it work. LOL.

        • thanks

        • PhilK

          Nikon’s literature makes it clear that it has the “touch to focus” feature, so I’m sure it’s there, even if she couldn’t find it. 😉

          See screencap below – from the D500 “Technology Digest” document.


    • PhilK

      Which is what I expected.

      I sincerely doubt Nikon would have “goofed” or just imposed an unnecessary arbitrary limit like that if it weren’t for some physical/technical limits in the component parts that made it infeasible or at the very least dangerous/dicey to do otherwise. (Eg, making the camera likely to either prematurely shut down due to overheating or actually destroying something.)

  • Ritvar Krum

    this is not a review it is a spec runndown… internet is not a trash – do not post if you have nothing to post (or you are not allowed)… oh wait – internet is a trash 🙁

    • That’s a little harsh, Jeremy posts some great reviews, think of this as a preview if you will, or a first hands on. There are not too many other videos out there so kudos to Jeremy for allowing us to see these cameras up close and personal.

  • Martin Huisman

    Hi Jeremy,

    Can you tell us a bit about the automatic AF fine tune feature?

    Thanks 🙂


    • Michael

      I played with a D500 pre-release sample at the Osaka Nikon Salon (probably firmware 0.20).

      Calculating and saving an AF-Fine-Tuning value proceeds as follows:
      (1) acquire live view focus;
      (2) two-second-two-button press to activate the new in-camera system (red movie record button top right as you hold the camera, and focusing mode (?) button front left);
      (3) dialogue box appears in the middle of the LCD asking if the user is ready to proceed;
      (4) after user confirms, a second dialogue box appears indicating that the value was calculated and saved.

      Note that all of this should be done via a tripod, as you must maintain the framing/focus point during the process (impossible hand-held with the dialogue box blocking the center of the LCD; I’ve already asked Nikon support to ask the firmware team to relocate the dialogue box).

      Note that it did not state what value was saved. You can, however, go into the menu system (in the expected place) and see the value.


      • Cool; it was time to give back the cameras before I got to look at this!

      • Martin Huisman

        Thank you very much Michael 🙂

        That sounds like a very quick and easy set of operations.
        I hope they incorporate your feedback, because enjoying a camera is usually in those tiny details.

        How do you think the auto AF fine tune works? I mean; did you consider it to work accurately and as expected?
        You need lenses which needed to be calibrated of course.

        I hope you find some time to reply and thanks in advance once again.


  • akkual

    Both seems to have same problem as D750 has that the selected focus point is no longer shown on the back screen. That’s really frustraiting, because I got used to that on D700 and it’s nice to be able to preset focuspoint without looking into the viewfinder.

    • I miss this a bit too…it isn’t an issue when shooting but I certainly miss it when I am teaching. I have no way of showing students where the focus point is when projecting the info displaying onto an external monitor.

  • Andrew

    Hi Jeremy,

    Perhaps you bring the D5 to the darkest scene you can think of and pair it with a 1.4 lens 🙂

  • Allen_Wentz

    I went to a launch event yesterday, primarily to be able to actually
    handle the D5/D500. The launch presentation itself did not provide much
    value add because the presenters really have no more info than those of
    us who care have already obtained on line. But handling the D500 with
    the 16-80mm and with the 200-500mm was well worth the trip.

    My main camera is a D3 and the D500
    is the first DX body since the D2x that feels “right” to me. My hands are XL but the
    D500 still handled well. That was the very, very big deal to me: the D500
    controls and body ergonomics just felt very pro.

    The AF, viewfinder,
    Expeed 5, etc. just rocked, and the tilt-LCD is IMO huge value add that
    felt bombproof. The Nikon rep even picked the camera up by the tilt-LCD
    and shook it hard. If the D500 titl-LCD stays relatively problem-free (and I beat up on the much lighter-duty D5100 swivel-LCD pretty hard for years with no problems) I would wager that the D6 will incorporate tilt display.

    Some folks whine about no onboard flash, but personally I hate onboard flash units because they are too close to line of sight and tend to pop up inappropriately. Lack of built-in flash is a plus in my opinion.

    IMO the
    D500 is excellent enough that I preordered one.

    • AlphaTed

      The built-in flash is useless for sports and wildlife photographers which are the target audience of the D500.
      BUT, I use it as a master on some occasions, and handy for fill-flash whenever it’s needed.
      The former I can get away with, as I already have Yongnuos, but the latter will be missed.

      • Allen_Wentz

        I am going to postulate that sports and wildlife photographers will turn out to NOT be the target audience of the D500. Perhaps an early wannabe target, but not the actual purchasers of the D500.

        The D500 is just an very solid DSLR at a good price point that in various ways transcends many of the limitations of previous Nikon DX cameras and it will be bought for wide-range use just like I used the D2x for wide-range use.

    • +1 on the lack of flash = advantage. Funny thing is, I saw people on other forums completelly dissing the D500 (“I would buy it if it only would have flash”) since apparently they need a 10FPS pro camera to take family snaphots in restaurants. Some people…

      • PhilK

        It’s a significant demographic. Sony did a study a few years ago that found that something like 2/3 of all DSLR owners never took the settings off of “dummy green mode” and were worried that they would need to attend classes in order to understand why they might consider doing so…

        • Allen_Wentz

          Yes it is a significant demographic but IMO that is what the very good D5x00 series is for. The reason I like the D500 is that it is a pro body.

          • Sure, we all agree that. The question is why those people were first looking at the D500 and then saying it’s not worth buying because it doesn’t have a flash? Confusion…

          • PhilK

            I agree. But as I learned when I used to be in the camera retail business, a lot of people buy expensive cameras simply because they have the money to do so, or various other inane reasons.

            I always get a kick out of the people who post expensive photo equipment for sale on craigslist or ebay or whatever, who clearly do not know how to shoot a clear photograph, as evidenced by their horrible shots of the equipment they are selling. Even a 5-yr-old iPhone can take better shots than what I see these people uploading to those ads half the time. 😀

          • PhilK

            [Hm, I thought I replied to this already but I don’t know where it went.]

            If there’s one thing I learned when I was in the retail camera biz, it is that there are tons and tons of people who buy cameras simply because they can, or because they think their friends/family would be impressed, or all sorts of other inane things. And their criteria for what to buy often has absolutely nothing to do with the criteria that a serious shooter would have.

            It’s a good thing for companies like Leica where probably 35% of their camera production goes to wealthy people that like to impress people by carrying a camera with a red dot on it around, whether or not they ever turn it on. 😉

  • Wade Marks

    The D5/D500 are going to be fantastic cameras and real game changers for Nikon. Bravo!

    That all being said, I have a minor point to make: why didn’t Nikon implement the full touch screen experience? They built in the hardware for the touch screen. So why only make it useful when reviewing shots?

    Give us the full experience, including being able to operate the menu using the touch screen feature. This can be very useful to many people. And if you argue that most don’t want it or would use it, then fine…just allow it as an option to turn on and use for those that do.

    But you have entire generations of people coming up who primarily are used to interacting with their technology through touch screen. My guess is that eventually all cameras will use the full touch interface.

    I notice that Canon made the same mistake with their new 1DX mark ii. Perhaps others can enlighten me…but I don’t see any downside to allowing the full touch controls as an option in these cameras, when the hardware is already there.

    • AlphaTed

      That feature will be for the D5s/D510. I hope I’m wrong.
      Yes, the hardware is there, so it’s possible a firmware update can do it … if they want to.

    • It’s probably just initial steps in order to gather usability information; in any case, how much time do you spend on menus (outside of the customisable “My menu”)?

      Also, this is not baked in hardware, just firmware, so Nikon could very well extend later the touchscreen functionality should they so wish.

      • QuantalQuetzal

        For my Nikon D5200 there have been 2 minor firmware updates (I think), for my J4 none at all. I don’t really know about other models but I find it hard to believe that Nikon will ever release a firmware update with major updates like this.

        • I agree it’s unlikely, but who knows – I’m still waiting for the rumoured advanced firmware program. Real soon now…

        • PhilK

          As do I. I don’t think I can recall them ever releasing a firmware update that added significant new functionality. They are almost always just bugfixes of some kind.

          And I don’t blame them, actually. Once people got this sense that they were entitled to “new kewl stuff” on a regular basis in the form of (free of course) firmware updates, it would not be in Nikon’s best interest.

    • Allen_Wentz

      The UI of touch displays is a really tricky thing because not everything is per se better using touch. It would be very easy to screw the whole camera UI/display UI up horribly with too much touch capability. It is totally appropriate for Nikon to go slowly and conservatively in facilitating touch-display UI on DSLR cameras.

      Just my 02 after spending a decade watching retail employees learn to deal with UI issues on Point-Of-Sale systems that included touch, mouse and keyboard input capabilities. And with retail POS the users had not been preconditioned for decades to be jamming their noses up against the touch display.

    • Jan

      Everyone is different, do different jobs, works with camera in different way. But in my use – i need two hands for holding camera. And using zoom / supporting heavy lens… When working with camera, i need to hold cam+lens combo well. If touch screen is implemented i would hold my camera+lens in only one hand. Which is not comfortable and safe. For me, current solution is fine.

    • PhilK

      I’m guessing that there are liabilities that Nikon worries about, eg a glitch in the touch interface (or accidental swipe across the screen etc) resulting in deleting all the photos on the card or something.

      It would also really suck if some function was only available in the touch UI, and I had to be wearing gloves, or shooting in bright sun in the desert when the display isn’t readable, etc.

  • JoeFunny30

    If you could do some real high Ido/low light shots that would be great. I’d like to compare to my d750 and see if it beats it. Thanks!

    • Curtis

      I can tell you right now, the D5 will be a beat the D750, the D500 won’t.

    • Allen_Wentz

      It is just not that simple as to what “beats” what because there are so many different parameters to evaluate. The larger sensors of FX obviously have inherent benefits, but there are lots of other trade-offs involved. Sensor tech is one of those things that has been very sensitive to tech evolution, so newer tech is invariably better.

      It really comes down to an individual photog capturing specific imagery under specific conditions. And then of course how the resultant capture is to be post-processed and how presented.

      • JoeFunny30

        Same image, not concerned about trade offs except for low light.

        • Allen_Wentz

          What I meant was that there are always trade-offs. Autofocus capability in low light will for instance most likely be superior in a D500 over a D750. But the D750 has 16% more pixels and much larger sensor area. The D750 has wide-angle prime lens performance like the 14mm available that is not available in DX. But at the tele end the tighter DX D500 FOV plus Expeed 5 might obtain a bit more real-world reach for some kinds of pix under lowest-light conditions. Trade-offs.

          Personally I suggest taking your D750 with your most-used-in-low-light lens to a D5/D500 presentation and testing the D500/D750 cameras against each other in low light typical to your needs. If you do the test let us know what you discover.

          • JoeFunny30

            Not useless at all, appreciate the info.

  • nukunukoo

    It would be nice if they did a 4.4K internal read on the D500 to give it a better crop factor for 4K videos.

  • Curtis

    I can tell you now that the D5 will beat the D750, the D500 won’t.

    • AlphaTed

      apples, oranges, and bananas?

    • Flipper Tweenie

      I learned that you complain about anything you do.

    • mikeswitz

      Is that the smell of “classic whiner” coming from my Nikon watch?

  • guibo

    What I did learn from this video is that the new snapbridge app will not work with previous wifi cameras. So I guess we are stuck with the utterly terrible WMU app forever with no hope of an update.

    • AlphaTed

      You need bluetooth for the snapbridge, and previous models don’t have it.

      • guibo

        I understand that without Bluetooth you don’t get the full functionality, ie. constant on instant transfer and pairing.
        All I want is the app to support iPhone 6/6+ and iPad resolutions with better control over the size/format of how photos are transferred. Right now I have to transfer one by one if I want high res, when selecting multiple files it defaults to VGA, what the hell.
        Anyway, I’m sure the new app will have a slicker interface and solve my issues as well as more regular updates. By not being backwards compatible, WMU will probably be left behind.

  • JoeFunny30

    Good to know but how can you be sure? d750 real world high iso capability isn’t that much different from d610, at least in raw files. I’m expecting it to improve or at least meet tech from 2-3 years ago.

    If I could get the crop sensor af point spread then I’d sell the d750 and buy the d500 for action and a d800e for landscape. Right now the d750 is a jack of all trades.

  • LangerHans

    I AM The next recall

  • Kewlness, I’d buy it.

  • autofocus

    Nikon very expensive way ???

  • Shark2007

    How well does it focus on flying birds using an 800mm lens versus the Nikon D4?

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