D500 or D810

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Dec 12, 2013
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I am looking to get a second camera for my trips to Botswana so shooting a mixture of wildlife, BIF and landscape. With all the dust I can't change lenses on the go and just super frustrating when I miss on shots because I don't have the right lens on. I am trying to decide between the D500 and the D810. The D500 seems to get amazing reviews but is it better than the D810? I currently have the old D700 that I don't think I will part with. I really love it but it just does not do well in low light. Get really bad noise if I go any higher than iso 800. But I can use it just for daytime shooting when the light is good. So what to do. Any advice would be appreciated
 
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Haven't shot with a D500, but the D810 is my primary body and replaces my D700. The D810 in DX mode produces a 15.4 mpx image while the D500 image will be 20.9. So the D500 gives you more pixels in a DX sized image. If the DX magnification effect is what you are after I suspect the D500 is the better choice.

Regarding high ISO noise - my other body is the D4 which I will shoot up to ISO 12800. I limit my D810 to ISO 6400, which was my ceiling with the D700. Now the first time I shot an ISO 6400 image with the D810 and looked at it in a 100% view I was appalled at the noise. What I came to understand is that this is a fact of life due to the very high resolution the camera provides. and that the D810 has a dual personality. In good light and low ISOs (I love it at ISO 64) it provides all the resolution and dynamic range one might want. In poor light it provides ISO performance that matches that of my D4 as long as I down sample the D810 images to match the size of those from my D4. Going from 36 mpx to 16 mpx filters out a lot of ISO noise and when I do so there is no significant difference in terms of noise.

I can't speak to the D500, but I've owned a lot of Nikon pro and prosumer bodies. The D810 is the best of the lot in my experience.
 
Joined
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Hi Yvette,

The answer is Yes. Take both they are the best pair of cameras out there. I have both, Yes it is expensive but then it is a "once in a lifetime" trip. The D500 has the reach of DX for wildlife and the speed of focus to get that fleeting shot. The D810 is no slouch in the shooting department and you can get great wildlife shots with it too. But it is slower in FPS. Being a ff camera for the wide shots and the shots where you can get close enough, it will bring back the shot.

If you can only afford one... D500 if wildlife and action is what you want to shoot. if landscape and people are more your style then get the D810.

cheers,
alexis and Georgie Beagle.
 
Joined
Apr 18, 2008
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Fairfax, Virginia
Haven't shot with a D500, but the D810 is my primary body and replaces my D700. The D810 in DX mode produces a 15.4 mpx image while the D500 image will be 20.9. So the D500 gives you more pixels in a DX sized image. If the DX magnification effect is what you are after I suspect the D500 is the better choice.

Regarding high ISO noise - my other body is the D4 which I will shoot up to ISO 12800. I limit my D810 to ISO 6400, which was my ceiling with the D700. Now the first time I shot an ISO 6400 image with the D810 and looked at it in a 100% view I was appalled at the noise. What I came to understand is that this is a fact of life due to the very high resolution the camera provides. and that the D810 has a dual personality. In good light and low ISOs (I love it at ISO 64) it provides all the resolution and dynamic range one might want. In poor light it provides ISO performance that matches that of my D4 as long as I down sample the D810 images to match the size of those from my D4. Going from 36 mpx to 16 mpx filters out a lot of ISO noise and when I do so there is no significant difference in terms of noise.

I can't speak to the D500, but I've owned a lot of Nikon pro and prosumer bodies. The D810 is the best of the lot in my experience.
Luke - Sorry for my ignorance, but how do you down sample an image? I'm using a D810 and really love the camera. However, I do find it noisy at higher ISOs.
 

Butlerkid

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I shot the D810 in South Africa at very high ISO's. If you use Great NR software, you can retain small details and still negate ugly noise. DxO Elite is the best NR s/w I've found.

Example....D810, ISO 3,200
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
 
Joined
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Luke - Sorry for my ignorance, but how do you down sample an image? I'm using a D810 and really love the camera. However, I do find it noisy at higher ISOs.
In Lightroom when you export the images you can specify the image size. So if I wanted to re-sample a D810 image to that of a D4 image I would specify under the Export "Image Resizing" tab "Resize To Fit Long Edge to 4929 pixels". In Photoshop use Image --> Image Size (set units to pixels) --> 4929 and check Resample: Bicubic Sharper
 
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Luke - Sorry for my ignorance, but how do you down sample an image? I'm using a D810 and really love the camera. However, I do find it noisy at higher ISOs.
I have no idea about D810 noise but one important point to consider is how you are viewing and another is what is the output destination.

If you are viewing in your editing app at 100% on a standard res. monitor then you are actually looking at a much magnified image warts and all.

If you would be printing to Canon or HP the required input resolution to the printer is 300 PPI or 600 PPI therefore taking 300 PPI as the desired value and you are using a regular monitor with a resolution of 100 PPI you are looking at an image that has been magnified 300% including noise - this noise may not be apparent in print.

If you have enough native resolution to print at 600 PPI then you will be viewing a 600% magnified image which can be very misleading relating to final print IQ

Unfortunately if you decide to reduce the zoom factor to 33.33% (for 300ppi) to try and assess noise and sharpness that is doomed to failure as you now are only able to see 1/3 if the pixels that you will be sending to print.

If you are only going to be web viewing then this pretty irrelevant as there will be a huge downsizing in any case.

While it is not applicable to upsampling you may want to consider down sampling by stepping maybe 10 - 20% increments and certainly no more than 50% at one time - it may prove beneficial in maintaining IQ
 
Joined
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In Lightroom when you export the images you can specify the image size. So if I wanted to re-sample a D810 image to that of a D4 image I would specify under the Export "Image Resizing" tab "Resize To Fit Long Edge to 4929 pixels". In Photoshop use Image --> Image Size (set units to pixels) --> 4929 and check Resample: Bicubic Sharper
Luke - Thanks. I'll play around with it a bit in LR and Photoshop and see how I like the results.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
209
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Texas
I shot the D810 in South Africa at very high ISO's. If you use Great NR software, you can retain small details and still negate ugly noise. DxO Elite is the best NR s/w I've found.

Example....D810, ISO 3,200
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
Stunning Shot!!! Thanks so much for the advice. I have never used any NR software before.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
209
Location
Texas
Hi Yvette,

The answer is Yes. Take both they are the best pair of cameras out there. I have both, Yes it is expensive but then it is a "once in a lifetime" trip. The D500 has the reach of DX for wildlife and the speed of focus to get that fleeting shot. The D810 is no slouch in the shooting department and you can get great wildlife shots with it too. But it is slower in FPS. Being a ff camera for the wide shots and the shots where you can get close enough, it will bring back the shot.

If you can only afford one... D500 if wildlife and action is what you want to shoot. if landscape and people are more your style then get the D810.

cheers,
alexis and Georgie Beagle.
I think you may be right :) My hubby has suggested that I try part with the D700 and get both the D500 and D810. Just a pity that I won't get very much for my D700. And I will be very sad to part with it. It has served me well :)
 
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Dec 12, 2013
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Thank you all so much for your input. It seems like they are both really good cameras and I don't think I could go wrong with either one. I once did a photographic safari and the guy who owns it always shot with the D810 and he recently bought the D500. I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the D500. But at the same time the pics he took with the D810 were also amazing. My hubby has suggested I sell the D700 and buy both :) :) Just a pity I won't get very much for the 700. It will also be sad to part with it. It has served me well :)
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
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Thom Hogan has written that the D810 is still the best all-around camera body and that was after his D500 review. I do like my D810, but if I need reach and top-notch AF then the D500 gets the nod. Shot below is from last weekend during a model aircraft meet. Look close, bet you can't tell it from the real thing. This was with the D500 and 200-500.
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I'll admit that I haven't tried the D810 for this type of shot, yet. With the D500 doing so well, and needing the reach of the DX format, I'm happy with the current set-up. For slower moving things at lower ISO's I go for the D810. For higher ISO's (above 800) it's the D500. If you can swing one of each, you'll have it covered.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2005
Messages
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Thom Hogan has written that the D810 is still the best all-around camera body, even after doing his D500 review. If you need snappy AF, higher ISO's and DX reach then the D500 is the way to go. Otherwise the D810 is the champ (though it does chew thru memory cards!)
For some of what I do, the AF speed and tracking along with the reach of DX has me happy with the D500. Shot below is with the D500 and 200-500 of a model airplane meet last weekend. Real hard to tell it isn't the real thing!
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

If you can swing both, you will have most of the bases covered. I like having choices!
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2013
Messages
209
Location
Texas
Thom Hogan has written that the D810 is still the best all-around camera body, even after doing his D500 review. If you need snappy AF, higher ISO's and DX reach then the D500 is the way to go. Otherwise the D810 is the champ (though it does chew thru memory cards!)
For some of what I do, the AF speed and tracking along with the reach of DX has me happy with the D500. Shot below is with the D500 and 200-500 of a model airplane meet last weekend. Real hard to tell it isn't the real thing!
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

If you can swing both, you will have most of the bases covered. I like having choices!
Stunning shot. I think I have decided to try and get both. It seems that everyone thinks highly of each camera so why not go for both. Just need to sell my D700 which I think will be hard to do since it is such an old model. I upgraded from the D80 to the D700 - my first ever camera, and have really loved it. But time for change :) Thank you for your advice.
 
Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
1,328
Location
Staten Island NY
Thank you all so much for your input. It seems like they are both really good cameras and I don't think I could go wrong with either one. I once did a photographic safari and the guy who owns it always shot with the D810 and he recently bought the D500. I was absolutely blown away by the quality of the D500. But at the same time the pics he took with the D810 were also amazing. My hubby has suggested I sell the D700 and buy both :) :) Just a pity I won't get very much for the 700. It will also be sad to part with it. It has served me well :)
It's not the camera that matters "most of the time", it's the 12" behind it.
 

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