As the title implies, I have a new Nikon D500. Now with upwards of 5000 images, I can report that this is a groundbreaking camera for wildlife and bird photography. I had read reviews that the D500 was incredible and took those with a grain of salt but once in my hands, I was astonished that those claims were accurate. Clearly the camera can produce exceptional images in a wide variety of conditions and it does lock onto birds in flight far better than previous cameras that I have used such as the Nikon D3300, D7100,D7o,D300 and yes, even the D750.
I can also report that the images produced have a very pleasing look to them compared to the ones from the other camera bodies. Colors are richer, contrast seems better and most importantly, shadows are definitely cleaner. I can fairly reliably take a backlight shot of a bird and in Lightroom use the exposure or shadows slider to recover clean detail from images that heretofore would be a mess.
Now, I must also say that the camera does have some misses too. I had hoped for the auto AF Fine tuning feature to work as advertised but sadly, it does not. Repeating the procedure rarely gives the same result and the results vary so much that I don’t use it. Also, while the noise levels in the high ISO images are far better than with other cameras, they aren’t so low as to make the images competitive with lower ISO. So don’t expect to take spectacular photos of wildlife deep in forest shadow. You will get a image and uncropped, it may be useable for social media but not for demanding uses. I suspect only the Nikon D5 could surpass this performance. That said, I have taken shots at ISO 21800 that are as clean as ISO 2800 in my now dead Nikon D7100.
I do like the 10 FPS very much and it has been a bit of a challenge to let the camera do its thing as a bird takes flight because the number of shots just explodes. I notice now that in a sequence, I don’t see much variation in slow moving animals which makes many redundant. However, for birds in flight, WOW! Taking sharp images of Barn Swallows in flight is a snap even with a clunky screw drive Nikon 300mm prime.
All in all, this camera is revolutionary and with a firmware update to fix the AF Fine Tuning, I would call it darn near perfect.