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First Corporate Event with the Nikon D500

I’ve had the new Nikon D500 for a couple weeks now. It’s been fun putting it through its paces on a battery of personal projects to make sure it was good to go for paid assignments. (I NEVER shoot an assignment for a client with a new piece of equipment without testing it thoroughly first.) Here are a few images from my very first outing with the D500 with ISO ranges from 800 to 12,800:  In the end, I was very pleased with the performance and the results from this little camera!!!

Here are a few shots from this event using the D500. If you’d like to see the full spectrum of images, and compare how it stacked up against the D4, check out this post:  I doubt you’d be able to spot any difference without some serious pixel peeping at 100% enlargement.

I knew that photographing in the Gold Ballroom at the Francis Marion Hotel was going to be a great challenge for this little crop-sensor camera. It’s a very dim conference room. Most of these shots were done at ISO ranges of 1600-3200…yet were completely usable! There is definitely a stop or so difference between this camera and the legendary D4 in terms of noise at these higher ISO settings. But that’s pretty impressive considering the D4 is a 16MP FX camera, and the D500 is a 21MP DX camera!

My kit for the last decade or so has usually comprised two identical full-frame flagship cameras, and one crop-sensor camera. I like shooting with two identical cameras with different focal lengths to make sure I never miss a moment. But I also like having a third camera that has a different set of “skills”, which I often use as a remote camera or a telephoto camera. Ever since the days of the D3/D300 combo, I’ve tried mixing in the D7100, D7200, and D810 as my third camera body. But none of them truly resonated with me. Now I feel like my third camera body has that magic mojo again!!!

For this event, I started out with a D4 + 70-200 f2.8, D4 + 24-70 f2.8, and D500 + 14-24 f2.8. For corporate events, I find the 14-24 is just TOO wide. I’ve often wished Nikon had a 16-35 f2.8 like Canon does. I do have Nikon’s 16-35 f4 VR as well. But it just isn’t as sharp, or as fast as the legendary 14-24. By mounting the 14-24 on the D500 crop-sensor body, I effectively make it a 21-36mm…which is a much more useful range for general event coverage.

Since this was a relatively small event, the D4 + 70-200 combo gave me PLENTY of telephoto power. But in the larger corporate events I shoot, I’m often yearning for more reach to get a tight crop of the speaker, for example. This is where the real benefit of the D500 comes in! Switching the 70-200 to the D500 gave me an effective focal length of 105-300 f2.8!!! Plus, the 14-24 goes back on the D4, allowing me to have those super-wide shots if I want them.

I haven’t even mentioned the phenomenal new focusing system in the D500, the super clean files, the spot-on white balance, the wicked fast processing engine, the whisper quiet shutter sound, the cranking 10fps, and the speed of the XQD cards. In the end, I was VERY pleased with the Nikon D500. It is definitely here to stay! Eventually I’ll probably replace the D4 bodies with D5 bodies. I think the D5/D500 combo will be a formidable setup indeed!!!