Basic D500 Advice

I’ll continue to report on issues (cards, power, lenses, batteries) and other discoveries, but I decided that with a second small round of D500’s likely to show up later this month, maybe I ought to flip things around and give you some advice on what to do with a brand new D500 that’s different about this camera than you might expect from previous Nikons:

  • Use only Nikon batteries, and particularly weed out any Nikon batteries marked Li-Ion1 and set them aside. Use only official Nikon Li-Ion20 EN-EL15 batteries and you should have no issues.
  • Use only XQD cards if you want maximum performance. The slowest XQD card seems to outperform the fastest SD card in the camera. 
  • If you use SD cards, choose SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II cards marked 280MBs. I’ve not received any reported issues with these cards, and they seem to be about the fastest you can use. Avoid Lexar 1000x/2000x and Transcend UHS cards, as those seem to be causing the most complaints
  • Don’t worry about third-party lenses unless you are going to use Live View autofocus a lot. If so, you might want to double-check Third Party lens compatibility page to see if your lens has issues.
  • Make sure Airplane Mode is On if you’re not using wireless. It’s easy to leave the D500 looking for Bluetooth due to skipping a setup step.
  • If you’ve got an WR-10, put it on the camera, check firmware number, if it isn’t W3.0 send the WR-10 to Nikon for a firmware update.
  • If you’ve got an Android phone and want to use SmartBridge, make sure the phone is using 5.x or 6.0.1 (not 6.0.0). 
  • Don’t turn Flicker Reduction On (PHOTO SHOOTING menu) unless you’re shooting under lighting that uses frequency ballasts (e.g. fluorescent, halogen, mercury vapor, etc.).
  • If you’re having issues with matrix metering consistency, check your setting for CSM #B5. Likewise, if you’re seeing focusing performance inconsistencies, check CSM #A4. Having these things on when you’re not shooting humans face on can cause you difficulties.
  • If you’re having trouble figuring out how to customize a button, remember CSM #F1 is now a scrolling pictoral menu. You might have to scroll to what you want to set. 

To say that the Nikon D500 introduction was without issues would be to be in denial. I’m now seeing a pattern that suggests another issue is present: the camera intermittently won’t turn off when you turn the camera switch to Off. Instead, the camera and meter stay powered. I’ve received four separate reports of this happening so far, and it is only solved by removing the battery (be sure that the camera isn’t staying powered because it’s still writing to the buffer, though). 

BTW, If you’ve got an older EN-EL15 battery (e.g. Li-Ion1), do yourself a favor and check Nikon’s battery recall page.   

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