Nikon D500 vs Nikon D850

  • APS-C
  • 21 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 41
    Overall
  • 14
    Imaging
  • 97
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price
  • Full frame
  • 46 megapixels
  • Nikon F
  • 63
    Overall
  • 46
    Imaging
  • 85
    Features
  • 69
    Size
  • 0
    Price

Nikon D500 vs Nikon D850: a Complete Review and Comparison

Are you looking for the best camera to suit your needs? Due to a wide range of options, making a wise and weighted decision can be rather challenging. Which specs to keep in mind? What are the key pros and cons of each model? This comparison should give some helpful hints!

The goal of this overview is to provide a detailed comparison of two popular camera models from Semi-Pro DSLR category, introduced by Nikon. We are going to take a closer look at the technical and physical characteristics, features, and performance. The models we are going to assess and compare in this review are D500 and D850. The models we are going to compare in our review have different sensors. Nikon D500 features a CMOS sensor that has a resolution of 21.0 MP. Nikon D850, on the contrary, has a different BSI-CMOS sensor with 21.0 MP resolution.

Now, before we can move on to our comparison, let's take a moment to look at the key characteristics of Nikon D500 and Nikon D850.

Nikon D500 Key Features:

  • 21.0 MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • ISO 100 - 51200 (Expands to 50 - 1640000)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 10.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 4K (UHD) 30p/25p/24p, 1080/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p, 720/60p/50p
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 147 x 115 x 81 mm
  • Weight: 860 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: Yes
  • Replaced Nikon D300S. Compare

Nikon D850 Key Features:

  • 46.0 MP Full frame BSI-CMOS sensor
  • ISO 64 - 25600 (Expands to 32 - 102400)
  • Image Stabilization: No
  • 3.2″ Tilting Screen
  • ViewFinder: Yes
  • 7.0 fps Continuous Shooting
  • Video: 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
  • Built-in Wireless: Yes
  • Dimensions: 146 x 124 x 79 mm
  • Weight: 1015 g
  • Environmental Sealing: Yes
  • Built-in GPS: No
  • Replaced Nikon D810. Compare

Being a newer model, Nikon D500 substituted Nikon D300S. Be sure to check out some of our other comparisons that may also interest you:
Nikon D500 vs. D300S
Nikon D300S vs. Nikon D850

Why is Nikon D500 a better choice than Nikon D850

Continuous Shooting 10 fps vs 7 fps 3 fps faster
Weight 860 g vs 1015 g 155 g lighter

What are the key reasons to pick Nikon D850 over Nikon D500

Sensor Resolution 46.0 MP vs 21.0 MP 54.3% more pixels
Sensor Area 858.01 mm2 vs 368.95 mm2 57% larger pixel area
Battery Life 1840 shots vs 1240 shots 600 more frames with a single charge
Dxo Color Depth 26.4 vs 24 Better color depth
Dxo Dynamic Range 14.8 vs 14 Better dynamic range
Dxo Low Light Iso 2660 vs 1324 Better High ISO performance
Viewfinder Magnification 0.75 vs 0.66 0.09 better magnification

Key PROs of Nikon D500 and Nikon D850

Touch Screen Yes | Yes Easy control of camera functions
Screen Size 3.2″ | 3.2″ Large display
Screen Resolution 2,359k dots | 2,359k dots High resolution screen
Screen Type Tilting | Tilting Help viewing and changing settings easily
Viewfinder Optical (pentaprism) | Optical (pentaprism) Better framing and control
Raw Support Yes | Yes Better image quality
AutoFocus Face Detection Yes | Yes Very handy for portraits
Microphone Port Yes | Yes High quality audio recording option
Headphone Port Yes | Yes Better video control
Timelapse Recording Yes | Yes Creative shooting
Storage Slots 2 slots | 2 slots Extra Storage Slots
Bracketing Yes | Yes Useful for tough lighting conditions and HDR
Flash Sync Port Yes | Yes Port for Flash Sync
Environmental Sealing Yes | Yes Shoot at tough conditions
Battery Life 1240 shots | 1840 shots Big number of frames with a single charge

Key CONs of Nikon D500 and Nikon D850

Built-In Flash No | No No built-in flash
Image Stabilization No | No No image stabilization

Nikon D500 vs Nikon D850: Comparing Two Models By Physical Characteristics

Before heading straight to the technical characteristics of each model, let’s start with comparing their physical specs. Let’s start with looking at the physical difference of the two products. Below are images that clearly show the sizes of Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 from the front view.

Nikon D500
Nikon D850
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Now, let’s go on and see how the reviewed models are different or similar by the top view.

Nikon D500
Nikon D850
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After looking at these images, you should get a clear idea of each model’s dimensions and how they are different from each other. However, we are not going to stop there. The next characteristic worth looking at is the weight. Of course, not every photographer is concerned about the weight, for example, it wouldn't be a decisive point for those who shoot in a studio. However, it is still an important factor because if you happen to go on a long photo session or just love having the camera with you wherever you go, you want to be sure that the chosen model isn't too heavy.

Speaking of weight, Nikon D500 is a lighter option of these two, as it weights 155g less than the Nikon D850. This difference, in fact, can become a significant disadvantage for the photographers, who prefer to have their cameras with them wherever they go.

Battery values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D500 — 1240 shots
Nikon D850 — 1840 shots
Min: 390 shots
Average: 871 shots
Max: 1840 shots
Thickness values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D500 — 81 mm
Nikon D850 — 79 mm
Min: 64 mm
Average: 75 mm
Max: 86 mm
Weight values for Semi-Pro DSLR cameras:
Nikon D500 — 860 g
Nikon D850 — 1015 g
Min: 479 g
Average: 783 g
Max: 1074 g

Comparing Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 by the type of Sensor and Resolution

Sensor is, without a doubt, the most significant element of every digital camera. Its type, size, and resolution are the factors that define the quality of future shots. Thus, it is barely possible to pick a suitable camera without looking at these specs.

Are Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 any different in terms of sensor type?

In fact, that's exactly what makes these two models really different. Thus, it is a good point to consider if your are choosing between these two cameras. Nikon D500 features a 21.0 MP APS-C sized CMOS sensor . Nikon D850, in its turn, comes with a 46.0 MP Full frame sized BSI-CMOS sensor , which makes it significantly different from the first model.

Take a look below to find the comparison of Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 by the size of their sensors.

Nikon D500
Nikon D850
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One more distinctive feature of compared models is the sensor size. Nikon D850 is equipped with a sensor that is 0.4x larger than the one featured in Nikon D500. Compared to the cameras with smaller sensor area, the ones with larger sensors ensure more control on the blurry background and depth of field if you shoot in the same aperture and focal length. Thus, the first model has a significant advantage here.

For Which Fields Of Photography Are Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 Suitable?

If you are interested in photography or has made a career in this field, you should know that different types of shooting actually require different camera characteristics. While one model can produce outstanding portraits, at the same time, it can be terrible for shooting landscapes, and so on. Thus, before you purchase a specific camera, it is vital to decide, which type of shooting you do most often and consider an option that suits it the most.

This section of our comparison is devoted to the performance of Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 in different fields of photography. Here we are going to look at the five main areas and evaluate how well each of the reviewed models performs in them. This will help you choose an option that suits your needs the most depending on your interest in one or several of these fields.

Photography Type Nikon D500 Nikon D850
Portrait Photography
91%
94%
Street Photography
88%
88%
Sports Photography
99%
99%
Daily Photography
71%
68%
Landscape Photography
97%
100%

Nikon D500 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (21 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D850 for Portrait Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (46 MP)
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Face Detection Focusing

Disadvantages:

  • You might not like Nikon skintone
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D500 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large APS-C(23.5 x 15.7 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1240 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (147 x 115 x 81 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D850 for Street Photography

Advantages:

  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Large Full frame(35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Big battery life (1840 shots)

Disadvantages:

  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)
  • No Image Stabilization

Nikon D500 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (153)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (99)
  • Big battery life (1240 shots)
  • Big size (147 x 115 x 81 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (10.0 fps)

Nikon D850 for Sports Photography

Advantages:

  • Environmental Sealing
  • Fast Max Shutter Speed (1/8000s)
  • Big Number of autofocus Points (153)
  • Big Number of CrossFocus Points (99)
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2660)
  • Big battery life (1840 shots)
  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)

Disadvantages:

  • Slow Continuous Shooting (7.0 fps)

Nikon D500 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (860 g)
  • Big size (147 x 115 x 81 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D850 for Daily Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • Built-in View Finder
  • Live View
  • Wireless Connectivity
  • Video is available

Disadvantages:

  • Big weight (1015 g)
  • Big size (146 x 124 x 79 mm)
  • No Built-in Flash

Nikon D500 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large APS-C (23.5 x 15.7 mm) sensor
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.0)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support

Disadvantages:

  • Low resolution sensor (21 MP)

Nikon D850 for Landscape Photography

Advantages:

  • Large Full frame (35.9 x 23.9 mm) sensor
  • High resolution sensor (46 MP)
  • Good Dynamic Range (14.8)
  • Environmental Sealing
  • Live View
  • RAW Support
  • Nice Low Light ISO (2660)

Disadvantages:

No Significant Disadvantages

Comparison of Nikon D500 vs Nikon D850: Final Verdict

Hopefully, our detailed overview of these models has helped you consider all the main specs, pros and cons of each cameras. Maybe, after reading this comparison, some of you have already decided which option to opt for depending on your needs and preferences. However, if you are still wondering which option is a better choice, Nikon D500 or Nikon D850, below you can see what scores each of them received in five different aspects. To wrap up, we have used our unique Decision Algorithm that assesses different camera models upon 63 different factors including their price, and, if possible, DxO Mark scores. This algorithm allows us to make our verdict more consistent and objective.

What is our final verdict? Based on our comparison and the final scores of Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 here is what we can say in conclusion:

According all the factors that we considered in the process of comparing these two cameras, Nikon D850 deserves a higher Total Score than the Nikon D500. Thus, if you are choosing between these options, we would recommend you to choose the first model over the other one.

Nikon D500 vs Nikon D850 Table Of Technical Specs

For better understanding of each model’s technical characteristics, find the detailed comparison below:

Nikon D500 Nikon D850
General
Brand Nikon Nikon
Model D500 D850
Announced Jan 05, 2016 Aug 24, 2017
Body Type Mid-size SLR Mid-size SLR
Sensor
Sensor Type CMOS BSI-CMOS
Sensor Size APS-C Full frame
Sensor Dimensions 23.5 x 15.7 mm 35.9 x 23.9 mm
Sensor Area 368.95 mm2 858.01 mm2
Sensor Resolution 21.0 MP 46.0 MP
Max Image Resolution 5568 x 3712 8256 x 5504
Max Native ISO 51,200 25,600
Max Boosted ISO 1,640,000 102,400
Min Native ISO 100 64
RAW Support Yes Yes
Lens
Manual Focus Yes Yes
Lens Mount Nikon F Nikon F
Number of Lenses 287 287
Focal Length Multiplier 1.5x 1x
Macro Focus Range
AutoFocus
AF Touch Yes Yes
AF Continuous Yes Yes
AF Single Yes Yes
AF Tracking Yes Yes
AF Selective Yes Yes
AF Center Yes Yes
AF Multi Area Yes Yes
AF Live View Yes Yes
AF Face Detection Yes Yes
AF Contrast Detection Yes Yes
AF Phase Detection Yes Yes
Number of Focus Points 153 153
Number of Cross Focus Points 99 99
Screen
Screen Type Tilting Tilting
Screen Size 3.2″ 3.2″
Screen Resolution 2,359k dots 2,359k dots
Live View Yes Yes
Touch Screen Yes Yes
ViewFinder
ViewFinder Optical (pentaprism) Optical (pentaprism)
ViewFinder Resolution 0k dots 0k dots
ViewFinder Coverage 100% 100%
ViewFinder Magnification 0.66 0.75
Photography Features
Min Shutter Speed 30 s 30 s
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s 1/8000 s
Continuous Shooting 10.0 fps 7.0 fps
Shutter Priority Yes Yes
Aperture Priority Yes Yes
Manual Exposure Mode Yes Yes
Exposure Compensation Yes Yes
Custom White Balance Yes Yes
Image Stabilization No No
Built-in Flash No No
Flash Range 0 0
Flash Modes Auto, Red-eye, Slow sync, Rear curtain Front-curtain sync (normal), Rear-curtain sync, Red-eye reduction, Red-eye reduction with slow sync, Slow sync
External Flash Yes Yes
AE Bracketing Yes Yes
WB Bracketing Yes Yes
Exposure Modes
Multi-Segment Yes Yes
Average Yes Yes
Spot Yes Yes
Partial Yes Yes
AF-Area Yes Yes
Center Weighted Yes Yes
DxO Sensor Scores
DxO Sensor Score 83 100
DxO Color Depth 24.0 26.4
DxO Dynamic Range 14.0 14.8
DxO Low Light ISO 1324 2660
Video Features
Video Resolutions 4K (UHD) 30p/25p/24p, 1080/60p/50p/30p/25p/24p, 720/60p/50p 3840 x 2160 @ 30p, MOV, H.264, Linear PCM
Max Video Resolution 3840 x 2160 3840 x 2160
Video Formats MPEG-4, H.264 MPEG-4
Microphone Port Yes Yes
Headphone Port Yes Yes
Connectivity
Wireless Connectivity Yes Yes
HDMI Yes Yes
USB USB 3.0 USB 3.0
Physical
Environmental Sealing Yes Yes
Water Proof No No
Dust Proof Yes No
Shock Proof No No
Crush Proof No No
Freeze Proof No No
Weight 860 g 1015 g
Physical Dimensions 147 x 115 x 81 mm 146 x 124 x 79 mm
Battery Life 1240 shots 1840 shots
Battery Type Battery Pack Battery Pack
Battery Model EN-EL15 EN-EL15a
Other Features
Self Timer Yes Yes
Timelapse Recording Yes Yes
GPS Optional
Storage Type XQD/SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II compliant) SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II supported) + XQD
Storage Slots 2 2

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