The Nikon D500 is the best Nikon I’ve owned for wildlife photography. When I first read the specs for this camera it was just what I had been waiting for since SLR’s went digital. A fast, pro grade DSLR without a built in flash. Of all the Nikons I’ve previously owned, the D500 is the fastest, most ergonomically well designed camera I’ve ever used. Its perfect for working in remote environments that require long battery life and the ability to function reliably in extreme temperatures and humidity. I’ve used this camera in temperatures ranging from -20°c to 42°c and 85% humidity and it performed flawlessly. This isn’t a plug for Nikon, although it could be I’m that impressed with the camera. Shooting bearded vultures and golden eagles in Mongolia with the 300 PF VR lens was a fantastic combination that was easy to handle in terms of weight and size. The focus tracking was fast and 98% of the time it was spot on. I also think the sensor in the D500 is a bit nicer than the D810, the colour seems more organic and has a lovely quality.
Lammergeier or bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbarous), Khukh Serkh special protected area, Altai mountains, western Mongolia. Nikon D500-Nikkor 300mm f/4 PF ED VR
The great thing about the APS-C DX sensor is that you get more reach out of standard full frame lenses. A 300mm is the equivalent of a 450mm on a DX sensor and a 400mm turns into a very useful 600mm without the need for an extender. Getting extra range without the need for extra gear is a real advantage when shooting wildlife and other conservation issues in remote areas when the weight and size of your equipment is critical. The D500’s low light performance is also excellent and really worth mentioning here. I had no issues at all shooting in very dark conditions, at dusk or sunset and at high ISO’s. The images are very clean up to 6400 ISO and autofocus remains fast and accurate. Overall this is a superb camera for shooting wildlife and action and when you pair it with the 300mm PF ED F4 VR lens its an incredible 450mm package that weighs less than 2kg !
A large male argali at dawn in Khukh Serkh special protected area, Altai mountains, western Mongolia. Argali are the largest species of wild sheep in the world and are one of the snow leopards main prey species. Nikon D500, 400mm f/3.5 IF ED AI-S