The abundance of features on the Nikon D500 is one of the reasons why professional photographers have such a high opinion of it. What do the developers have to say about the advanced technology supporting these features, and also about the shooting features? We find out in the Q&A. (Interviewer: Ryosuke Takahashi)
The 153 focus-point AF sensor, which covers a wide area, may seem a bit big for the body of a DX-format camera, but the developers decided that it was best to use the AF sensor the way it was, and as a result, the D500 body was designed to fit it. Thanks to this, almost the entire viewfinder image area is covered by focus points.
The 153 focus-point AF sensor on the D500.
There are many NIKKOR lenses with a maximum aperture of f/5.6, so the development team judged that this value would be sufficient. Cross sensors are employed strategically to enable fast and precise subject acquisition.
The 153 focus-point AF configuration. The red points are the cross sensors, which have higher focus precision.
The focus points outlined in bold are also compatible with lenses with maximum aperture smaller than f/5.6 but larger than f/8 (cross sensor points in red).
In order to keep unnecessary power consumption as low as possible, the priority was placed on ensuring that the shutter and mirror received the necessary current.
The lithium ion battery EN-EL15 used in the D500.
Achieving a 10 fps continuous shooting speed, recording 4K UHD movies and keeping noise to a minimum requires massive image processing capabilities. This is why large improvements have been made to the image processing engine—just like on the D5.
The EXPEED 5 image-processing engine, used on the D500.
Apart from that, EXPEED 5 has also led to improvements in various other aspects, such as in the performance of the electronic image stabilizer during movie shooting.
This was shot at ISO 51200. The noise level is astoundingly low. Thanks to the EXPEED 5 image-processing engine, image quality is better than ever, even at high ISO sensitivities.
Under this metering system, the number of zones used depends on the shooting scene.
The 180,000-pixel RGB sensor used on the D500.
According to the developers, they had decided to adopt a no-low-pass-filter construction from the very start of development, so that the flagship camera would be able to capture images of an even higher definition.
The Nikon D500 does not use an optical low-pass filter, which enables it to capture even higher-definition images.
This is probably the best method of removing moiré possible, in the absence of a moiré-detecting sensor.
An example of moiré occurring around the edges of the jacket. On the D500, moiré is suppressed during the processing of image sensor data by EXPEED 5. (Photo by: Tomohiro Fujii)
The shutter unit was newly designed for the D500.
The shutter unit of the D500 is of a new design and boasts improved durability.
Even in less extreme, more typical low light scenes, the powerful AF capability means high focal precision and reliability. This should come into good use for capturing photos during night matches and tournaments.
In settings with EV-4, you can hardly see anything with the naked eye. The autofocus function on the D500 works even under such circumstances. (Photo by: Kazuo Nakahara)
This is a convenient feature that allows you to adjust the “stickiness” of your focus. Set your parameters according to your subject’s movement characteristics.
The AF lock-on settings menu on the D500, which allows you to determine how “sticky” you want your AF tracking to be.
In this sense, the improvements in image quality on the D500 apply not only to still photography, but also to video
An example of a 4K UHD video shot on the D500, released by Nikon Asia.
Born in Aichi in 1960, Takahashi started his freelance career in 1987 after working with an advertising photo studio and a publishing house. Photographing for major magazines, he has travelled to many parts of the world from his bases in Japan and China.