Many experts in the world of photography will tell you “It’s not about the camera, it’s about the experience of the photographer.” I believe this phrase to be slightly deceptive. Sure, if you purchased say a Nikon D5100 as your first DSLR, you may find yourself limited in the types of shots that you can take because at the time of its creation, it was an entry-level Nikon DX camera. Now compare the capability and power of the Nikon D500 and the differences in your images are like night and day. I won’t go technically in-depth to describe the various differences in this post, but I will say one thing about this (as a consumer who first purchased a D5100 and one day decided to buy Nikon’s flagship crop censor model the D500. Cameras take pictures and cars drive you from place to place. If you buy yourself a Toyota Camry, you might be able to go from point A to point B, but if you buy yourself a Corvette, you’ll probably get there much faster.
Just a Tool
While the camera itself is the tool in the photographers arsenal, you are still limited by things such as effective ISO, Megapixel count, menu customization options and presets, ability to synchronize with your mobile device through Nikon’s Snap Bridge application and take pictures without using a remote, 4K video recording capability, and so much more.
With a price tag that rests comfortable around the $2,000 mark, consumers in the market for an upgrade from an entry-level DSLR to a professional camera shouldn’t count out the D500. Though DX vs FX is commonly a topic of debate when determining what kind of camera to buy, the D500 offers much more flexibility in lens choice, and many more affordable options with lenses that are sharp from edge to center. The burst mode allows you to take a maximum of 200 shots at 10fps so as long as you have your camera in focus, you’ll never miss that decisive moment that makes photographs truly iconic.
What Owning a D500 Means for Me
This camera doesn’t make you a better photographer, but it does allow you to have a serious tool to develop in your craft in a way where you can clearly measure your progress. One thing that I’ve had to learn to adjust to is the lack of built-in popup flash (an amateur’s go-to vice). The elimination of this distraction has allowed me to focus on the numbers behind proper exposure and the cameras histogram (which is also easily viewable in the LCD viewfinder by toggling up when previewing a photograph). I’ve learned more about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed over the last three months, than I ever did the entire four years that I owned my D5100.
I plan to purchase a Nikon speed light and have been leaning heavily towards the SB-5000 since I have the WR 10 adapter and remote set, but for now, I am content to practice with the kit I currently have been using to develop which includes: a Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 EX DC OS HSM Zoom Lens, Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 85mm f/1.8G, and the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G ED.
I’m still trying to find myself as a photographer in terms of what kind of photographer I actually am, but all the practice that I put in with my D500 now will all serve to contribute to my goals of documenting the lives of my family when we move back to Japan. Stay tuned for future updates and if you want to see more in-depth posts about photography or my journey towards becoming a professional, leave it in the comments.