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Should I buy the D500? Please help me decide!


21 replies to this topic

#1
StephenJohn

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A while back, I posted here for advice on replacing my D5300 with a D7500.  I mentioned that I rely mostly on modes like "sports" (race cars, air shows, birds) and "landscape", and some "manual" shooting (rocket launches, lighted bridges at night).  I was happy with all of the D5300 results, except most of the night shots.

 

I received a lot of help here.  The discussion was mostly about the benefits of the D500 but there was also some discussion on the D750 (possibly better performance in low light and certainly better portraits) - and the excitement of going FULL FRAME.

I eventually decided to buy TWO:  A used D750 for portraits and landscapes and a new D500 (with the 16-80mm lens).  I also own DX lenses: 18-300mm f3.5-6.3G, 35mm f1.8G and an FX 80-400mm f4.5-5.6G.

I've been shooting with the D750 for a month, mostly beach birds, seeing some better color (than with the D5300).  But I am missing the extra "reach" (DX crop-factor).  I'm just about to pull the trigger and buy the D500 AND HAVING SECOND THOUGHTS.  My concern is that it doesn't offer the "sports" mode that I've used so successfully (race cars and fast moving jets).  I'm worried that I may not reach the proficiency level to find and approximate those settings -- and even if I can figure it out, the D500 doesn't allow me to save all of those settings.  That would be $2k spent for race shots that I may never be able to get. 

Can anyone with experience (D500 and race cars or jets) share advice on this?  Should I consider a lesser camera (ie: 7500) just for the sports (and some wildlife) shots and defer to the D750 for everything else?


 



#2
Merco_61

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Shooting jets, whether military aircraft or airliners is easy, just set the camera to shutter priority and use a shutter speed of 1/1000 to 1/640.

 

Shooting racing cars well is another matter. The sports mode maximises the sharpness, minimizing blur. This makes the photos sharp but bland and static. You will get better results in S mode when you have learned good panning technique. If you go out on a track day and start out at 1/640 or so and gradually start using longer exposures as you follow your subject, you will soon find your comfort zone and start capturing action on the track and not just cars.

 

You will get some blurry misses, but the ones you nail will be much better than what any robot camera can do.

 

I'd definitely go with the D500 as it is the right tool for the job, besides being very well balanced in combination with the AF-S 80-400.



#3
TBonz

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I agree...I expect the "practice" in finding the settings that work the best for you will be well worth your effort and you will be enjoying your images more than ever sooner than you expect.  Don't be afraid to experiment with different settings and try panning as Peter said.  It will be worth the effort!



#4
StephenJohn

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Thanks Nikonian and Sportz Guy.  My worry is that because I had excellent results (race cars and jets) using sports mode (the D5300), if I have any doubts with the D500 I'll end up using the D750 at the next air show.  That would mean $2k spent on the D500 for nothing.



#5
TBonz

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Use both...Both Peter and I have DX and FX bodies.  The most important thing you can do is to get comfortable with your equipment.  While each of the bodies has features that make them more desirable for a particular style of shooting, the other body is still capable of shooting the same thing.

 

It sounds like you are more worried about you having to put some learning in and not be able to rely on the camera to do the work for you.  We have both gone through that process as well - and we still do at times if we are shooting anything unfamiliar.  I enjoyed that process of learning and it is why I am still shooting this many years down the road.  I expect Peter did as well.  You have the benefit of learning with digital media so you can immediately see the results and adjust your settings with test images before you "start".  You can even use the EXIF information (ISO, aperture, shutter speed) from your current images that you like as a starting place.

 

You can get excellent results with both of those cameras if you follow some of the basic "rules" of photography and trust yourself.  If you just want program modes to pick what the camera thinks are the best exposure settings, then you won't need to put in the learning and you likely will not get the best possible results.  Some folks want the image without the effort and that is completely OK.  That is why Nikon and other manufacturers make a variety of cameras. 



#6
Merco_61

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Definitely get the D500 rather than a D7500 if the funds are available. The D7500 has AF that is not optimal for aircraft, birds in flight or motor sports, unlike the D500. The D7500 AF is better than the D5300, but the D500 AF will be better for these subjects as it will hunt less and acquire focus faster.

 

You will soon wean yourself off the comfortable shooting modes as you get used to the D500 and you will probably spend much more time in the PASM modes using the D750 as well. There is nothing wrong with using whatever aids the camera gives, but most of us find a great degree of satisfaction when taking control of as many parameters as possible performing this art/hobby.

 

Both Tom and I started out with fully manual analog cameras, so this aspect of going from previsualisation through acquisition and processing to the final print with full control is a great part of the interest *for us*. This background makes the thought of a robot camera making the decisions slightly alien.



#7
StephenJohn

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I'm not sure that folks grasp the horror of my situation - essentially a fear that while adapting to the D500 may facilitate opportunities for better image results, it will also result in failures -- and at my age, I can't afford to walk away empty handed from once a year events (airshows, races).   My immediate plan is to use the D750 exclusively in shutter priority mode for the next few weeks, especially moving targets (beach birds) and see how well I manage (and hopefully, build the confidence I need to step up to that D500). 



#8
TBonz

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Using what you just said, I will provide a thought and an example.  First, there is nothing wrong with sticking to letting the camera do the work, but there will be situations where that isn't an option if you want to get a good photo.

 

Thought - With any type of action photography, you will have failures.  Don't let those be a problem, but always work to reduce them and try to learn from them.  The most important step in that process is practicing with the camera and seeing what happens when the same shot is taken with different settings - BEFORE shooting a once a year event. Even just taking photos of cars driving by will give you some practice and examples to learn from.  There are 3 settings ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed and they are entwined together.  Do you want to stop action or show movement?  The shutter speed controls that but the faster you shoot, the wider your aperture will need to be for allowing light in and that impacts your depth of field.  Raising the ISO can make the sensor more sensitive to light but that can also introduce grain in the images.  

 

Example, shooting exclusively in shutter priority basically allows you to choose a shutter speed, but lets the camera decide the other settings.  Technically you can do the same thing by using the camera's meter and manually make those settings.  I am not suggesting you do that - just that you CAN do that.  For your old camera, it was choosing settings just as if you were set in Program or Auto but with some added information - that you wanted it to make the Sports setting adjustment.  I expect that is documented somewhere in the manual or can be determined by looking at the EXIF information on photos taken using that setting.  You can use that information when shooting Shutter Priority or Aperture Priority or Manual to give you a starting place in similar situations.  From there you can use the camera's meter and information from test photos to get you set without the sports setting.



#9
Merco_61

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I tend to shoot aircraft at ridiculously slow shutter speeds, but that is because I have to deal with propellers. There are some examples in this gallery: Rollout 2016 - Gallery - NikonForums.com
If you are interested in the shooting data, there is a button that says something about EXIF.

I have a later thread with more jet content here: Swedish Armed Forces Air Show 2018 - Cars and Machinery - NikonForums.com



#10
StephenJohn

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Those are spectacular air show shots.  I think I've managed some decent ones myself using the D5300 program modes.  So far after 2 days of shooting beach birds with the D750 in shutter priority mode, I am worried.  Here are a few examples I've achieved (D5300): 
Air Shows - Gallery - NikonForums.com



#11
Jerry_

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The D500 is a very capable camera, but does not have the scene modes. Therefore, as Tom and Peter mentioned, needs a learning curve, especially as you have started with the D5300.

While I remember that it was me who considered the D500 in the discussion on the other thread, this was after you mentioned that in the longer term you may possibly get a D6.

If you aim at getting a D6 in the medium/long term, then I would now move to a D500 rather than a D7500, but certainly not look into the D5xxx models. The reason being that - beyond the better technical features - the ergonomics is much closer. It is also the better camera for fast moving sports (car racing) or birds (in flight).

From there on you may look for better lenses with focussing on acquiring FX typed lenses (as they can also be used on DX sized sensors).

If budget is not an issue you may also look into the D850, used in DX mode it gives the same number of Megapixels than the D500 (a camera which comes with a 20MP DX sensor)

Which brings me to your question about the 21MP of the D7500.
All depends how heavily you are used to crop your pictures and what type of print you want to give them. But, considering that cropping will usually cut off a more important part of the MP than the smaller number of MP between D7500 and the D5600 I don’t see an argument here to go for the D5600, while still seeing the number of technical benefits for the D7500 (or D500)

Also, any of the D7500, D500, D850 will give you a better acces to the controls of your camera than the menu driven approach of the D5xxxx.


One of the unique features of the D500 is that it is build using the D5 focus sensor (meaning that you have an excellent FX sized focus sensor on a DX sized camera sensor, with the FX sized focus sensor covering the full picture area, whereas normally the focus sensor only covers the center part).

However, as in the meantime you have acquired a D750, there is a new aspect to consider: the aligned ergonomics between the D750 and the D7200/D7500.

The D500 will be the better tool for doing the jobs you list, no doubt here. It will also give you teh better control over the camera. But if you are going to use the D750 along a DX body, the D7200/D7500 might give you the better comfort, reducing the missed shots for not directly finding the buttons.

#12
bluzman

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However, as in the meantime you have acquired a D750, there is a new aspect to consider: the aligned ergonomics between the D750 and the D7200/D7500.

The D500 will be the better tool for doing the jobs you list, no doubt here. It will also give you teh better control over the camera. But if you are going to use the D750 along a DX body, the D7200/D7500 might give you the better comfort, reducing the missed shots for not directly finding the buttons.

I agree with Jerry's point. I own both a D750 and a D7500. Their ergonomic similarities make going back and forth between them a breeze.



#13
StephenJohn

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I agree with Jerry's point. I own both a D750 and a D7500. Their ergonomic similarities make going back and forth between them a breeze.

 

If I go the D7500 route (ergonomic similarities with D750), the next rub is that the price of the 7500 with a decent lens (16-80mm, f/2.8-4) is the same as the D500 with same lens.  It now seems that the final choice might be between the D500 with the 16-80mm lens ($2k), or I spend $1k on the D7500 and another $1k(+/-) for another lens.  Hmm...



#14
Ron

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Personal preference. Leave the D7500 on the shelf and get the D500. It's a MUCH more capable camera. Professional grade throughout. For me, it's a no brainer, especially if the prices are similar.

 

--Ron



#15
StephenJohn

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Personal preference. Leave the D7500 on the shelf and get the D500. It's a MUCH more capable camera. Professional grade throughout. For me, it's a no brainer, especially if the prices are similar.

 

--Ron

As an experiment, I've been shooting at the beach in shutter priority mode with the D750 for the past week just to see if I can achieve any hopeful results (without the fancy program modes).  I've had a couple of decent shots here and there, but 90% (or more) rejects.   That's discouraging considering my success with the D5300 and D750, often excellent, and regularly some spectacular results.   Hopefully, things will start trending better in another week or two...



#16
TBonz

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If you post an example image (or two) with your EXIF data (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) then perhaps  we can help determine where the issue is coming from.  A beach can have some pretty harsh lighting...



#17
StephenJohn

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If you post an example image (or two) with your EXIF data (shutter speed, aperture, ISO) then perhaps  we can help determine where the issue is coming from.  A beach can have some pretty harsh lighting...

 I've uploaded 6 shots to an album.  A few were poor (auto)focus, but all were dull/bland.  Previously (with 5300 or 750) same beach and light conditions would produce almost all sharp, bright images.  I could shoot 10-20 pics, almost every one a keeper, usually a few stunners.  Now, I shoot 100-200 pics and get maybe 10-20 that are fair (but dull)....
 



#18
fallout666

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since i am later to thread. and not sure what you got. but you have choice now. got D500 or Z6 or Z6 II as choice if doing sports for cheaper route. if best full frame then D5 used 



#19
Ron

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As an experiment, I've been shooting at the beach in shutter priority mode with the D750 for the past week just to see if I can achieve any hopeful results (without the fancy program modes).  I've had a couple of decent shots here and there, but 90% (or more) rejects.   That's discouraging considering my success with the D5300 and D750, often excellent, and regularly some spectacular results.   Hopefully, things will start trending better in another week or two...

 

Just a casual glance but, from the exposure info you posted with your pics, I would guess that some of your problem has to do with slow shutter speed. I'm consistently seeing shutter speeds below the focal length of your lens. Since you're using shutter priority mode you should adjust the shutter speed to at least the same numerical value as the focal length of your lens, or even more if lighting conditions permit.

 

I'm not sure if you're using Back Button Focus but, if not, you might want to give that a try. When used with AF-C mode, BBF can result in a much higher keeper rate, especially with moving targets like birds in flight. Here's a link to a nice primer on BBF including how to set it up on recent Nikon DSLR cameras.

 

Free Back Button AF Guide For Nikon

 

--Ron



#20
krag96

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I second back button focus.  I learned to love it on my D700's and made it a priority on my D750.