The D500 is Now Shipping

And sold out, it appears. I’ve heard of a few dealers that had an extra one for a day or two, but those all seem to get spoken for before I have a chance to post anything.

We’ve got a few rumors circulating about the early D500’s, so let’s get right to them. 

First, complaints about how long the battery lasts on first use. It appears to me that Nikon may have changed something about how fast the internal clock battery draws from the main battery. It’s always been the case—except for the D3/D4/D5-type cameras that have a user-changeable clock battery—that the internal clock battery needs to be charged from the main battery on a Nikon DSLR when you first get it, and that this makes the number of shots you get on your first use of the camera seem low.

I also hear anecdotal reports about older Nikon and third party EN-EL15s not working in the D500, but so far I haven’t been able to get a single verified report of same. So if you have a battery that won’t work in a D500, I’d like to know about it, and I want the part number markings on the battery, please (example: Li-ion 20, #20150204RB0603 is how the battery I just pulled from my camera is marked). It’s only from that set of numbers that we can tell anything about battery batches, as Nikon has been making EN-EL15s for quite some time now.

Some quick answers to common questions:

How soon will the next shipment arrive to dealers? Typically no sooner than two weeks, more likely every four weeks. 

Does the SD card impact buffer? Yes and no. If the secondary slot function is set to Overflow, generally, no, there’s no impact on the buffer performance. If the secondary slot function is set to Backup or +JPEG, then yes, the speed of the SD card will impact buffer performance.

Is the D500 sensor like the D5 sensor in low ISO performance? No. Clearly the D500 sensor is using a different method for generating DNs at low ISO values than the D5. Initial impressions are that the D500 is ISOless (or ISO invariant, if you will).

Is the D500 sensor better than the D7200 sensor in low light? Magic Eight Ball says “ask again later.” 

Do raw converters support the D500? Some, but be aware that I don’t think Adobe’s converter is fully optimized for either of the new Nikon bodies yet. Also, note that Nikon’s own View NX-i and Capture NX-D have some real performance issues with displaying thumbnails compared to the other Nikon DSLRs; even Nikon hasn’t optimized for their new cameras yet. 

Are the accessories all here yet? No. The vertical grip hasn’t shipped, to my knowledge. And the iOS version of Snapbridge you need isn’t available yet, either. As I noted in the D5 discussion, you may have to have your WR-10 updated by Nikon, too. 

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