Nikon D500 vs D5300 vs D3300 vs Canon Rebel T6i / EOS 750D

January 22, 2016

Nikon D500 camera on a yellowish background

In this article I’ll compare the Nikon D500 versus the D5300, D3300 and Canon the Rebel T6i / EOS 750D. So how is Nikon’s new APS-C flagship stacks up against some other popular low budget DSLRs? Let’s find out! — But before we dive in deeper into each camera specs and features, let’s first meet the new Nikon D500 and go over its key features.

Nikon D500

Nikon D500

Nikon D500 (front view)

Announced on January 5, 2016, the D500 is, as of the time of writing, Nikon’s latest flagship APS-C DSLR camera. The D500 is replacing the D300s that was announced almost six years ago.  This new model employs many new advanced features that makes it an excellent upgrade for D300s owners, but also a very attractive camera for both enthusiasts and professionals looking for a highly-performing camera all-across the board.

The D500 features a brand new 20.9MP camera image sensor and employs Nikon’s latest EXPEED 5 image processor. The D500 offers a very broad ISO sensitivity range, which is expandable up to ISO 1,6308400. It uses a super accurate 180K-pixel RGB light metering sensor with updated and improved face detection function and it’s compatible with the new radio controller Advanced Wireless Lighting system.

The D500 also employs enhanced durability, including a full monocoque structure magnesium alloy rear and top chassis, while the front part is reinforces with lightweight carbon fiber. The camera has weather sealing to protect its inner parts when shooting in harsh weather environments; the same protection as the D750 provides.  he D500 shutter was tested for 200,00 actuations.

Here’s an interesting interview video by dpreview.com, interviewing with Nikon DSLR’s product manager.

One of its most desirable features is the new Multi-CAM 20K AF sensor, which was inherited from its bigger brother, the D5. The AF sensor features 153 AF points, 99 of them are cross-type. Its center AF point is sensitive down to -4EV (other points -3EV; ISO100), which makes the D500 an excellent camera for low-light photography.

The D500 looks quite similar to the D300s it replaces, but has Nikon made the hand grip deeper and made changes to the button layout. You get a second function button at the front of the camera near the lens mount and one at the back near the LCD. There is a new sub selector joystick which you can use to manually select AF points faster, an eye piece shutter level and more rubberized coating that covers the right side of the camera for improved handling. Nikon lacks a built-in flash. From what I’ve read, it was done to improve the camera’s weather sealing capability.

The D500 can shoot up to 4K resolution videos and has support for 4K time-lapse videos, Active D-Lighting when shooting in Full HD, 3-axis electronic VR, Power aperture control for smoother transitions, mic input, headphone jack and Clean HDMI to answer the demands of videogrpahers.

The camera has built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC  and SnapBridge support to make it easier than ever before to backup and share your images between smart devices. It also automates the image tagging process, and can even transfer images to a smart device while the camera is turned off. You’ll need either the Android or iOS SnapBridge app to be installed on your smartphone or tablet to take advantage of this useful functionality. There isn’t a built-in GPS, but the camera can acquire the location data from the mobile device and embed it into the image metadata. You can still use the GP-1A GPS unit with the D500 is that’s what you desire.

The camera is compatible with SD and XQD and has two card slots. When using XQD cards, you can take advantage of the 200 compressed NEF capture buffer burst with full AF and AE. Nikon also introduces the new illuminated buttons that makes it easier to operate the camera in the dark.

All in all, the D500 looks like a gem, but to enjoy this great camera you’ll have to shell out around $2000 for the body itself. That’s a very hefty price for a cropped-sensor camera, and it’s even priced higher than the D750 an D610, both are full frame DSLRs. IT can server as an excellent backup camera for pros, but newcomers will probably want to carefully consider their options. It  definitely a much more capable camera for sports and wildlife than its predecessor, and I’m pretty sure that if you belong to one of these categories than the D500 might be the perfect camera for you. The extended range that you get from the DX camera (especially with the 1.3x crop) is valuable for certain type of photography subjects. The D500 is bringing enhanced performance all across the board, especially in low-light.

That being said, we still have the much cheaper alternatives, like the Nikon D3300, Canon Rebel T6i and Nikon D5500. These are all APS-C cameras that you can buy for much less. You can spend the rest of the budget on better lenses or accessories. For many photographers, the entry-level and upper entry-level dSLRs might be the best buy.

In the next section we’ll take a closer look at the key differences between the D500 flagship and compare it against low-budget DSLR cameras and see how they all stack up. For in an in-depth comparison for the other cameras except the D500, you can check out my T6i vs 750D vs D5500 comparison article.

 D500 vs D5300 vs D3300 vs T6i / 750D

So is either one of the other entry-level DSLRs can even come close to what the impressive D500 has to offer? In this section we’ll take a closer look at the key differences between those five cameras and see how good the other cameras are compared to the Nikon’s new flagship DSLR.

D500  vs D5300, D3300 and Canon Rebel T6i / 750D

D500 vs D5300, D3300 and Canon Rebel T6i / 750D size comparison (via camerasize.com)

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Here’s a sample video taken in 4K using the Nikon D500.

Conclusion

The D500 is obviously and by far the best camera of the four. It’s larger and heavier, but that size and weight helps to stabilize heavy and long lenses, so it’s even an advantage. It’s the only camera among the three to have weather-sealing protection, illuminated buttons, 4K videos recording with electronic stabilization, an astonishing ISO range, the most advanced AF system and light metering system, fastest burst, AF fine tune feature, excellent battery life,large pentaprism viewfinder, 1/8000 sec shutter speed, 9 fps burst with amazing buffer and tons of other unique features which put it in its own league.

Non of the other camera is coming close to what the D500 has to offer, but those cameras are also in a completely different price segment. You need to ask yourself which of the D500 are really necessary and whether you can leave without them or not. The Canon Rebel T6i / EOS 750D is still a very popular camera among amateur photographers, because it can answer their demands. IT has a fast AF system, excellent Hybrid AF system if you love composing your shots via Live View or need a good AF system when shooting videos. It has a fully articulated display, wireless functionality and very good overall performance.

Compared to the entry-level Nikons, the T6i has less sensitive and fewer AF points, but all of its AF points are cross-type compared to only 9 on the Nikons. This makes the T6i a very good camera for shooting fast-moving subjects, especially when the subject is in the center of the frame. It’s more comparable to the D5500 and then D3300. It lacks the D5500 built-in GPS and has the least impressive battery life among all four cameras.

The D3300 is a camera for beginners and people on a very tight budget. Having said that, not every photographer will use the extra features that the more expensive cameras provide. Sometimes a cheap camera like the D3300 can give you all the performance and features you need to capture high-quality images in most daily situations. For some of you it might be better to spend the rest of your budget on a better lens, maybe a fast prime lens and a telephoto lens than going for the very expensive D500 and buy it with a single lens. If you already have a good lens selection that satisfy your needs or moving up from an older DX camera, the D500 is an amazing choice, and probably one of the best cropped-sensor cameras on the market right now. If you came here to see whether it’s worth the upgrade, I will say definitely yes, but not by all means. Some of you might not take advantage of its performance, and it might be a waste to spend so much on a camera body that you won’t take advantage of its features.

If you have the budget and looking for a top-of-the-line DSLR that won’t limit your creative abilities, the Nikon D500 is certainly the camera to get. It will do amazingly well in almost any lighting conditions. It’s very durable and meets the demand of outdoor photographers. It’s autofocus speed, burst speed and AF system is spot on for sports photographers and fast-action shooters.  It has excellent video and time-lapse recording capabilities that help produce extraordinary results.

Are you convinced by the D500 features, or find it too expensive and with less value compared to the other cameras? — share your opinion in the comment section below. I’ll love to hear what you think.



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