Nikon D500: The D5's 4K shooting, crop-sensor sibling - plus two new DX zooms

Written by Patrick Jong Taylor

Nikon / RedShark NewsNikon D500

Nikon keeps the CES news coming with announcement of the D500, a crop cam that bears some important similarities to the just announced D5.

Much as Pansonic did with the debut of the GH4 at the turn of 2014, Nikon is preempting the usual conventions for such announcements, NAB and IBC, by unleashing first the full-frame, 4K, low-light D5 DSLR at CES 2016. Now, Nikon is unveiling another camera that might appeal to the same segment that made the GH4 popular.

D5 vs D500 specs

The D500 has a crop 20.9 megapixel sensor (1.52x, same as all DX cameras), compared to the D5's full frame's 20.8 mp, and it's not quite the same low light performer on paper as the D5. The D5 sports a native ISO of 102,400 and an expanded ISO topping at 3.28 million. The D500 is one stop slow for both native and expanded ISO, coming in at 51,200 and 1.64 million, respectively. Also, the D5 can shoot continuous stills at 12 fps, while the D500 can only manage 10 fps.

Still, the D500 appears to hold up well, spec-wise, all things considered. The D500 comes very close in ISO performance to its big sibling. It also features the very same 153-point, 99 cross-type autofocus system as the D5, the very same processor and shoots 4K/UHD at the same frame rates as the D5 (24, 25, 30 fps). The D500 also has similar weather-proofing as the D5.

Perhaps the most important consideration is price. While the D5 will set you back $6500 for just the body, the D500 will ship for $1999.95, sans lens. Expect both cameras to be available in March of this year.

New DX normal zooms

In addition to the D500 body, Nikon is also offering the D500 bundled with a just announced AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR. The "VR" here stands for vibration reduction, which is a must for handheld shooters of stills and video. Nikon also debuted the version of the lens without vibration reduction. Both lenses will feature "fast and quiet" autofocus operation. No word on pricing yet, but the D500 bundle with the 18-55mm will retail for $3069.95, so ballpark pricing is pretty easy.

Check back as we continue our coverage of the NIkon D500 and D5.

Full press releases after the break

 

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Full Press Releases: Nikon D500 and new DX zoom lenses

Pro Pedigree, DX Agility: The New Nikon D500 Establishes a New Era of DX-Format Performance

The Highly Anticipated Resurrection of the DX-Format Flagship Gives Photographers the Best Combination of Speed, Reach and Connectivity

LAS VEGAS, NV – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the D500, a DX-format DSLR with pro-level features that gives photographers nimble handling, speed and extreme processing power in a compact and lightweight body. With amazing imaging capability, robust build quality and lightning fast performance, the D500 is sure to satisfy as the highly sought-after successor to the venerable D300S. Like its sibling the D5, the D500 benefits from Nikon’s latest technological innovations such as the totally new, blazing-fast Multi-CAM 20K 153-point AF system and 4K UHD video capture, yet adds a fun new way to share photos with Nikon SnapBridge built-in.“Nikon has answered the call from photographers to once again re-invent this camera category and offer an unmatched combination of performance and value that is hard for any photographer to resist,” said Masahiro Horie, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc. “When paired with the amazing imaging capabilities of legendary NIKKOR optics, photographers can capture intimate portraits, mind-blowing macros or action from extreme distances– the possibilities are endless.”

Pro-Level Image Quality, DX-Format Versatility

The D500 imagines the best of both worlds, offering advanced enthusiasts and pro photographers all the benefits of DX-format, such as smaller form-factor and lens crop, combined with many of the same advanced pro features found in the new Nikon D5. The new Nikon D500 features an all-new 20.9-megapixel DX-format CMOS sensor that renders images with outstanding colors and gorgeous tonality. This new sensor is coupled with Nikon’s new EXPEED 5 image processing engine, affording low noise and maximum processing power with a surprisingly small footprint and superbly balanced body.

The benefits of the DX-format are evident for long-distance applications like wildlife and sports photography, where telephoto ability is at a premium and weight reduction is welcome. With Nikon’s legendary FX or smaller-sized DX-format NIKKOR lenses, the sleek D500 is the ideal companion for wanderlust. When mated with the new AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR lens, the D500 offers a remarkable 350-750mm equivalent focal range for a lightweight, yet super-telephoto duo.

Because amazing images can happen even when the sun goes down, the D500 is capable of excellent low-light performance, with an ISO range of 100-51,200, expandable to 50-1,640,000 equivalent. From low-light cityscapes to action sports under the lights, the D500 is ready to tackle any imaging challenge.

Performance Meets Portability

Within the streamlined body of the D500 is a formidable processing powerhouse. Whether photographing sideline sports for the home team or animals in exotic destinations, a super-fast 10 frames-per-second (fps) burst speed with full AF and AE will help nail nearly any shot. This extreme speed lets users capture every fleeting moment in exceptional clarity, while a generous buffer allows for up to 79 shots (14-bit, uncompressed RAW/NEF) to be captured, so the moment won’t be missed.

To keep pace with the action, the D500 is fitted with the same AF system as the Nikon D5, the Multi-CAM 20K AF sensor module, with a separate dedicated processor for AF function. On the D500’s DX format sensor, the 153-point AF array fills the frame from side to side, letting users flawlessly track and lock-onto subjects from the edges of the viewfinder. Like the D5, the D500 utilizes the new 180K RGB Metering system and Advanced Scene Recognition System to help ensure balanced exposures and fantastic color rendition in nearly any shooting situation.

Controls and Rugged Construction Worthy of a Flagship

The D500 features an enhanced level of robust build quality, offering the same amount of rugged weather sealing as the Nikon D810. The durable body is a monocoque structure composed of magnesium alloy for the top and rear, while the front is reinforced with lightweight carbon fiber. The shutter mechanism has been tested for 200K actuations, helping to ensure maximum endurance. For further durability, the D500 excludes a pop-up flash, yet is compatible with Nikon’s newest radio frequency capable flash, the SB-5000 Speedlight (with optional WR-R10 & WR-A10)1.

It’s easy to compose and view images on the D500’s bright 3.2-inch, high resolution (2359K-dot) touchscreen LCD, which lets users interact with photos in playback, control the camera and operate menus. When mounted on a tripod or shooting from creative angles, landscape and event shooters will appreciate the reinforced tilting LCD screen, similar to that of the Nikon D750. Additionally, images are rapidly written to either a fast XQD card slot or to the additional SD card slot for maximum workflow efficiency.

Constant Connectivity with the New Nikon SnapBridge

The D500 marshals in a new way to share photos wirelessly with the new Nikon SnapBridge, making the camera’s built-in connectivity easier to use than ever before. SnapBridge allows for Bluetooth2supported connection between your camera and compatible smart device, thus making automatic upload of your images possible. Once enabled, the camera stays connected to the smart device and transfers photos, eliminating the need to re-connect devices. Those looking to share images from their travels or from the field can also tag images for transfer in camera and can password protect their connection for added security. As an added benefit, the D500’s built-in Near Field Communication (NFC)3 capability easily connects the camera to a compatible smart device with just a tap, while built-in Wi-Fi3 capability allows for faster wireless image transfer.

For those looking for an even faster transfer solution, the D500 is also compatible with the new optional WT-7A Wireless Transmitter, enabling wired or wireless transmission of files to an FTP server or computer at faster speeds.

Advanced Video Features

Just like the D5, the D500 has the ability to capture striking 4K UHD video at up to 30p (3840x2160), as well as Full HD (1080p) video at a variety of frame rates. Ready for any production, the camera sports a host of pro video features derived from the D810, including uncompressed HDMI output and Picture Controls, but adds even more great features. These pro-level creative video features include the ability to create 4K time-lapse movies in-camera, Auto ISO smoothing to provide fluid transitions in exposure during recording, and the capability to record 4K UHD video to the card and output to HDMI simultaneously. When capturing 1080p Full HD content, the camera also has a new 3-axis electronic VR feature that can be activated regardless of the lens being used. Challenging video exposures are no problem for the D500, as it also adds in Active D-Lighting to Full HD video to balance exposure values within a scene to help prevent blown-out highlights

Price and Availability

The new Nikon D500 DSLR will be available in March 2016 for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $1,999.95* for the body-only configuration. A kit will also be available, bundled with the versatile AF-S DX NIKKOR 16-80mm f/3.5-5.6 G ED VR lens, for the SRP of $3,069.95*. The MB-D17-battery pack will also be available in March 2016 for the SRP of $449.95* and will add extended battery life and facilitate vertical shooting. The WT-7A Wireless Transmitter will be available in March 2016, for the SRP of $934.95*. For more information on these new Nikon products, please visit www.nikonusa.com.

New DX normal zooms

TOKYO - Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G, two normal zoom lenses compatible with Nikon DX-format digital SLR cameras.

The AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G are 3.1x normal zoom lenses covering the 18-55mm range of focal lengths (effective angles of view equivalent to those of a lens with 27-82.5mm focal lengths in FX and 35mm [135] formats). They are the first "AF-P" lenses for Nikon digital SLR cameras, utilizing stepping motors to drive AF for fast and quiet autofocusing. In addition, they have a compact and lightweight design for which retractable barrels were adopted for excellent portability, and the use of two aspherical lens elements has resulted in superior optical performance with which various types of aberration, including distortion and spherical aberration, are effectively suppressed. The AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR is also equipped with a vibration reduction (VR) mechanism offering camera shake compensation equivalent to a 4.0-stop* (with testing in accordance with CIPA standards) increase in shutter speed.

The combination of superior AF performance and excellent agility afforded by these lenses makes them perfect for those ready to try their hand at full-scale photography with a digital SLR camera.

*At the maximum telephoto position when a digital SLR camera equipped with an APS-C size image sensor is used.

AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G primary features:

    "AF-P" lenses that achieve fast and quiet AF with adoption of a stepping motor for AF drive operation
    Compact and lightweight 3.1x 18-55mm (effective angles of view equivalent to those of a lens with 27-82.5mm focal lengths in 35mm [135] format) normal zoom lenses utilizing a retractable barrel and compatible with the Nikon DX format
    Adoption of aspherical lens elements (2) achieves superior optical performance with which various types of aberration are effectively suppressed
    Equipped with a vibration reduction (VR) mechanism offering camera shake compensation equivalent to a 4.0-stop* (with testing in accordance with CIPA standards) increase in shutter speed (AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR)

*At the maximum telephoto position when a digital SLR camera equipped with an APS-C size image sensor is used.

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