Nikon D500 vs Canon 7D Mark II vs Canon 6D

Nikon D500 DSLR camera

In this article I’ll compare the new Nikon D500 DX camera versus two Canon DSLRs, the first is the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, an APS-C camera and the second is an affordable Canon Full Frame DSLR, the EOS 6D. So how well the D500 compete against those two  popular Canon cameras, let’s find out.

We’ll start with a short introduction about the Nikon D500, see what’s new and than move on toe the comparison.

Nikon D500

For me the Nikon D500 came as a big surprise. More than six years has past since Nikon released the D300s, and I’m sure that some of you already thought that Nikon is going to ditch its DX format; Nikon has proven us wrong.  The D500 body SRP price stands on $1999.95, certainly not cheap and costs twice more than the D300s, which is already discontinued by Nikon.

There are more affordable alternatives, like the D7200, but the D500 new features just can’t be easily ignored, nor they should. The D500 poses a big threat to some of Canon’s most popular APS-C cameras, including the 7D Mark II and I won’t hesitate too much to say, even the 6D; which is a full frame camera.

Nikon made some fundamental changes from the D300s, including improving the camera design, grip and button placement. It isn’t a small camera, but ergonomics is not less important. Especially if you plan to use long or heavy lenses and use it with external accessories.  The D500 is a professional-grade APS-C camera. It’s packs some innovative, new and advanced technologies that make it unique in the cropped-sensor DSLR landscape.

The D500 enjoys a brand new 20.9-megapixel DX sensor and Nikon’s latest EXPEED 5 image processor. The new processor was designed to support the fast 10 fps burst speed, 4K video recording and has improved noise reduction function that will make your high-ISO images look cleaner than ever before. Speaking of which, the D500 can shoot between ISO 100-51,200, but that ISO can be expanded to a whopping ISO 1,640,000 (and no, I wasn’t wrong with the total of zeroes). This is a ridiculous sensitivity, which is super useful for low-light photography.

The D500 is also equipped with the same new Multi-CAM 20K autofocus system as the new D5. It has 153 AF points including 99 cross-type points which covers almost the entire horizontal space of the frame. You still have the 1.3x crop factor, but in this mode the camera utilizes AF points. To backup that performance, the D500 is also compatible with the new XQD memory card technology, which provides faster read/write speeds, but it works with regular SD cards as well. The AF system works in very light conditions, down to -4EV. It’s the perfect camera to use with your fast zoom and prime lenses that you already own.

Videogrpahers will also love the new D500 due to the following features:

  • 3.2-inch 2359K-dots tilting RGBW (improved outdoor visibility) touchscreen LCD display with 3-axis hinge mechanical arm
  • Shoots 4K resolution videos at 30 frames per second
  • The higher ISO range is a very welcomed feature
  • Mic input
  • 1.3x crop mode (for better range)
  • Uncompressed HDMI output
  • Picture controls
  • 4K time-lapse movies in-camera
  • Auto ISO smoothing (for more fluid transitions in exposure during recording)
  • 3-axis electronic VR stabilization (regardless of the lens being used)
  • Active D-Lighting in Full HD videos (helps prevent blow-out highlights)
  • You can attach an optional battery grip to prolong shooting time
  • Weather-sealing (same as the D810) and rugged construction
  • Headphone jack (for audio monitoring, on the left side)
  • Grab individual 4K frames from the 4K video or time-lapse in-camera
  • Can record directly to an external device without a time limit

The D500 was designed to be an excellent stills camera, but it also offers the video feature that videographers are looking for.

The D500 lacks a pop-up flash. From what I’ve read on, the pop-up flash was removed to enhance durability, but it s compatible with Nikon’s newest radio frequency flash, the SB-5000 Speedlight (with optional WR-R10 & WR-A10).

The camera has Wi-Fi/ NFC and Bluetooth connectivity and it’s now easier to share your photos using Nikon SnapBridge built-in. The SnapBridge technology creates a constant connectivity with your smart device (e.g. smartphone, tablet, etc.), even when the camera is turned off. The SnapBridge allows tagging images with credit information and logo, add GPS location data and sync the clock of the camera — very useful technology. The Bluetooth was added because it consume less power, so it’s another option added that will have less impact on the battery life.

This is certainly one of Nikon’s most versatile cameras. A pro-grade shooter not just that suited for many type of shooting styles, including wildlife and sports photography. It has a very large buffer than can capture up to 79 shots of 14-bit RAW files. It features a new 180K RGB Metering System and Advanced Scene Recognition System to make sure that exposure it spot on, no matter what the situation is.

As you can see, there is plenty of reasons to get excited about the new Nikon D500.

Nikon D500 vs Canon 7D Mark II and 6D

OK, now that I’ve got you excited about the D500, you probably want to know how it stands up against the Canon EOS 7D MKII which was announced on September 15, 2014 and the EOS 6D, which was announced on September 17,2012. In this section we’ll take a closer look at the key features and specs and learn to understand the key differences between those three cameras.

The D500 is a well-worthy upgrade from the D7000 series. It inherits some of the features from its bigger brother, the D5. Oh, you probably want to know why the D500 isn’t called D400? Well, according to a dpreview interview I saw on YouTube from CES 2016, they wanted to match the number to the D5 and it seems for them like a more appropriate name.

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The Nikon D500 certainly put itself as the most favorable choice even against the Canon EOS 6D due to its very advanced AF system, broader ISO range, better LCD, relatively very large viewfinder with very wide FOV, 1/8000 sec shutter speed, faster burst, 4K video and timelapse recording, 1.3x crop mode, headphone jack, better wireless connectivity features, XQD support, very large buffer, next-gen sensor and excellent battery life. Is all that worth getting over the advanced 6D full frame?

Some will certainly find the D500 the best camera of the three. It certainly look much more attractive than what the 7D Mark II has to offer for stills, but even without phase-detection for videos and the ability to choose video compression, many enthusiast will find D500 video features to be even better day-to-day use. You might even get better looking videos due to the electronic stabilization, touch-screen operation, Active D-Lighting for video and the flicker reduction function that works for movies as well; oh, and the tilting LCD is also a very useful feature.  By the way, the Electronic Vibration Reduction reduce the effects of camera shake in horizontal, vertical and rotational directions.

The D500 is better than the Canon EOS 7D Mark II in many aspects and the D500 costs only $500 than the 7D Mark II (as of the time of writing). I’m sure that some of you are already scratching their heads and wondering whether it’s time to move to Nikon camp.  I’m sure that Canon will come up with its replacements for the 7D Mark II and 6D which will also be not less attractive. But for now, Nikon has the upper hand, at least for the enthusiast photographer. The D500 was worth the wait, and it certainly the most attractive enthusiast DSLR camera on the market right now, but it is quite expensive.

This means that not everyone will hurry to put their money on this attractive camera. some enthusiast photographers might prefer investing in additional lenses than paying a premium price for an APS-C camera. Some will be convinced that it’s better to invest in a full frame camera if you already planning to shell around $2000 on a camera body. But I think it is an excellent companion to your full frame camera, at least for those who can afford it.

What’s your opinion, would you go with the 7D Mark II, 6D or grab this new and shiny D500?