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"Nikon D500" 5 Min Portrait: The BEST High ISO Cropped Sensor Camera I've Ever Used

On the weekend that the Nikon D500 arrived I decided to find a model to do a test shoot over at the FroFactory. Maria so happened to be in town and stood in for some “test” hi-iso shots as well a “5 Min Portrait”.

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I had a few goals with this photo shoot. One of course was to start to test and push the Nikon D500 to see what it could do. The second was to push myself to become a better video editor. The team encouraged me to film with multiple angles so I could come home and do a multi cam edit in Final Cut. I set up a Nikon D5, D750 and used a GoPro as my third angle on top of the D500. I also edited the video with a few pointers from Todd.

The Nikon D500 surprised the world when it was announced back in January of 2016, no one was expecting it. It packs some pretty amazing features and an ISO range that has not really been seen in a DX Cropped Sensor camera before. I wanted to see just how far you could actually push the ISO and that’s what I set out on this shoot.

Download sample RAW DNG Files at the following three links. RAW Sample Files #1 | RAW Sample Files #2 | RAW Sample Files #3 Each ZIP file is roughly 180 megs.

Click Here to download the FULL RES Exported JPEG Files

The two tests I ran were shooting the ISO ranges with the Nikon 24-70 2.8 VR and Nikon 70-200 2.8 VR II. Let me point out that I had issues with the 24-70 2.8 VR with it missing focus whereas with the 70-200 the images are tack freaking sharp.

ISO 51,200


I have never seen a DX Cropped Sensor camera shoot at such High ISO’s. The files hold up thought the range and are even usable at the upper most echelons. Is there noise/grain of course, did I use noise reduction, nope. I am not a fan of noise reduction. I rather see the grain then a smoothed out fake plastic looking image.


The question I keep getting asked is should I buy the D750 or the D500. The D500 surpasses the ISO range of it’s full frame sensor brother. This is not an easy decision to make as it depends on what you will be shooting. As an example a reader asked me which they should buy. After a few quesitons he told me he plans on using it to photograph his kids playing sports and for nature photography. At that point I simply said D500 because you will get more bang for your buck in terms of reach.

All and all I enjoyed doing this test shoot and 5 Min Portrait. The D500 is not a D5 so if anyone tries to tell you it’s better you might want to ask them to have their head checked. With that said you can purchase three D500’s for the price a D5.

1.6 Million ISO



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