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Nikon D500 vs D850 Comparison

Storage & Battery

Nikon D500

Nikon D500 camera image

Nikon D850

Nikon D850
Nikon D500
Nikon D850
Refers to the year this camera was officially made available for sale.
Announcement Date
Refers to the date the manufacturer publicly announced the upcoming release and general specs of this camera.
January 06, 2016
August 23, 2017
Camera Type
Camera Size
Camera Weight

The Nikon D850 outshines the Nikon D500 with a score of 82/100, a 7-point lead over the D500’s 75/100. Both cameras are DSLRs and were released within a year of each other, with the D500 in 2016 and the D850 in 2017. They share similar dimensions, but the D850 is slightly heavier at 1005g compared to the D500’s 860g.

The D850’s higher score reflects its superior performance and features, justifying its launch price of $3300, which is $1300 more than the D500. However, the D500 still holds its own as a more budget-friendly option with a solid score and performance.

Considering their respective scores and specifications, the Nikon D850 stands as the better camera, while the Nikon D500 remains a reliable and more affordable choice.

Nikon D500 vs D850 Overview and Optics

The Nikon D850 outperforms the Nikon D500 in optics, scoring 79/100 compared to the D500’s 69/100. Both cameras share several specifications, including a CMOS sensor, the Expeed 5 processor, Nikon F lens mount, and lack of image stabilization. Despite these similarities, the D850 excels in certain aspects, making it the superior choice in terms of optics.

The D850 has a higher resolution with 45.7 megapixels, compared to the D500’s 20.9 megapixels. This allows the D850 to capture more detail and produce higher quality images. Additionally, the D850 features a full-frame sensor, whereas the D500 has an APS-C sensor. The full-frame sensor contributes to improved image quality, better low-light performance, and increased dynamic range. Furthermore, the D850 boasts a DXOMARK sensor score of 100, surpassing the D500’s score of 84, which highlights the D850’s superior sensor performance.

On the other hand, the D500 has a faster shooting speed of 10 frames per second, compared to the D850’s 7 frames per second. This makes the D500 more suitable for action photography, where capturing fast-moving subjects is crucial.

Taking these factors into consideration, the Nikon D850 proves to be the better camera in terms of optics due to its higher resolution, full-frame sensor, and superior DXOMARK sensor score. However, the Nikon D500 may still be a viable choice for those who prioritize shooting speed, such as sports or wildlife photographers.

The higher the number of megapixels, the more detail the cameras sensor can capture.
20.9 MP
45.7 MP
Image Resolution
Image resolution is measured in pixels and megapixels, width by height. The higher the number, the higher its resolution.
5568 x 3712 px
8256 x 5504 px
Sensor Type
The camera sensor captures light and records the image. Sensors vary in physical size, the number of pixels, and quality.
Sensor Size
The sensor size contributes to the overall quality as well as the dynamic and tonal range a camera can capture. As a rule of thumb, the more surface there is to read the light, the more information it will capture.
15.7 x 23.5 mm
23.9 x 35.9 mm
Sensor Format
Refers to the most commonly used sensor sizes.
Full Frame
Frame Rate
The number of sequential frames per second the camera can write to the memory card when shooting in burst or continuous mode.
10 fps
7 fps
Lens Mount
The lens mount will tell you what type of lens range you can fit onto the camera body. Often the same camera company will have different lens ranges for different cameras.
Nikon F DX
Nikon F FX
Image Processor
The image processor in the camera converts the information collected on the sensor for digital storage on the memory card.
Expeed 5
Expeed 5
Aspect Ratio
The aspect ratio refers to the proportional difference between width and height. The most popular aspect ratios are 3:2 and 4:3.
Minimum ISO (Native)
Refers to the lowest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Lower ISO are less sensitive to light but make a cleaner image.
Maximum ISO (Native)
Refers to the highest native (or 'base') ISO setting. Higher ISO is necessary for low-light situations or night photography, but higher ISOs often introduce grain or noise.
Minimum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Maximum ISO (Expanded)
Expanded (or extended) ISO is a digitally enhanced feature available on some cameras. It allows you to push beyond the native ISO range if necessary.
Minimum Shutter Speed
The minimum shutter speed will tell you the longest exposure your camera can take without using an external accessory.
30 s
30 s
Maximum Shutter Speed
The maximum shutter speed tells you the length inside 1 second the camera will capture. These can sometimes be extended with accessories such as extra external batteries.
1/ 8000 s
1/ 8000 s
Autofocus Points
Autofocus points show where the camera is focusing graphically as squares or brackets in Live View or on an electronic viewfinder. These points are also used for light meter readings.
In-body Stabilization
In-body Stabilization means the camera has a certain technology embedded that counteracts camera shake.
Viewfinder Type
The viewfinder type is either electronic or optical. Electronic viewfinders will have a small screen in the viewfinder. Optical viewfinders will use prisms and mirrors to look through the lens.
Optical (pentaprism)
Optical (pentaprism)

Nikon D500 vs D850 Video Performance

The Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 both have a video score of 70/100, indicating that they share similar video capabilities. These cameras have several common specifications, such as a max video resolution of 4K, max video dimensions of 3840 x 2160, and a max video frame rate of 30fps. Additionally, both cameras have built-in time-lapse functionality.

Despite their equal scores, the Nikon D500 offers some advantages over the D850. The D500 is known for its fast autofocus performance during video recording, which is essential for capturing moving subjects. Furthermore, the D500 is more compact and lightweight compared to the D850, making it a more portable option for videographers who need to travel with their gear.

Conversely, the Nikon D850 also has its strengths when it comes to video capabilities. The D850 features a higher-resolution sensor (45.7MP) compared to the D500 (20.9MP), which allows for more detailed video footage. Additionally, the D850 has a better dynamic range, which results in improved video quality in challenging lighting situations.

While both cameras excel in terms of video performance, the choice between the Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 ultimately depends on individual preferences and requirements. The D500 is suitable for those who prioritize fast autofocus and portability, while the D850 is ideal for those who value high-resolution video and dynamic range.

Indicates if this camera is capable of recording video.
Max Video Resolution
The best resolution this camera can capture video in. Modern cameras can capture up to 8K video.
Max Video Dimensions
Video resolution measured by the greatest number of pixels possible in each frame, width by height. A higher resolution means more detail or clarity in your video.
3840 x 2160 px
3840 x 2160 px
Max Video Frame Rate
How many frames per second your video will capture. Most cameras have options for multiple frame rates, depending on the resolution you shoot in. For a general video, 24p or 30p is the standard, but more serious filmmakers may need a higher frame rate for creative effect.
30 p
30 p
Time-Lapse Built In
A built in time-lapse mode will allow continuous shooting throughout a prolonged period of time to be compressed into a sped up video.
Video File Format
Different cameras can record in various video file formats. The File format you record in can impact how you edit and use the files.

Nikon D500 vs D850 Features and Benefits

The Nikon D500 and Nikon D850 both receive a feature score of 87/100, indicating that they are equally matched regarding their features. They share several specifications, including a 3.2-inch screen size, 2,359,000-dot screen resolution, touchscreen capabilities, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth connectivity. Neither camera has GPS functionality.

The Nikon D500 outshines the D850 in one aspect: it has a flip screen. This feature provides flexibility for shooting from different angles and is especially useful for capturing images and videos in challenging positions. The flip screen can also offer protection to the screen when not in use, as it can be turned inward.

On the other hand, the Nikon D850 does not have any specific features that make it superior to the D500. The absence of a flip screen could be a disadvantage for some users, but it may not be a significant concern for others who do not require that functionality.

Considering the features of both cameras, it is clear that the Nikon D500 has a slight edge due to the presence of a flip screen. This advantage may make it more appealing for users who value this feature. However, since both cameras have the same feature score and share several specifications, the choice between the two cameras ultimately depends on the individual preferences and requirements of the user.

Built-in Flash
A built-in flash will often be positioned right above the lens. This will automatically pop up when you activate it.
External Flash
External flashes are often connected through a hot shoe at the top of a camera, or a cable at the side of the camera.
GPS features in a camera will include location metadata to each of your photographs.
Weather Sealing
Weather sealing capabilities will give you more confidence when shooting in unfavourable conditions.
Screen Type
Touch Screen
Touchscreen allows you to change camera settings and access menus with a swipe of your finger, instead of using buttons.
Screen Size
Screen Resolution
Screen dots indicate the resolution of the LCD screen by including each sub pixel.
2,359,000 dots
2,359,000 dots
Flip Screen
A flip screen (or articulating screen) is a second screen which can flip out from the side or top of the camera. This rotating screen allows you more freedom to take photos at different angles.
Live View
Live View feature allows you to see a continuous live video of what is being seen through your lens.
Bluetooth capabilities allow you wireless control of your camera with other external devices.

Nikon D500 vs D850 Storage and Battery

The Nikon D850 outperforms the Nikon D500 in storage and battery, scoring 84/100 compared to the D500’s 79/100. Both cameras possess two memory card slots and accept SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II compatible) and XQD cards. However, the D850 surpasses the D500 in battery life, providing 1840 shots per charge as opposed to the D500’s 1240 shots.

The D850’s advantage lies in its battery type, the EN-EL15a, which offers longer-lasting power than the D500’s EN-EL15 battery. Despite this difference, neither camera supports USB charging. While the D850 has a clear edge in battery life, the D500 still offers a decent number of shots per charge.

Considering the storage and battery aspect, the Nikon D850 proves to be a better choice thanks to its longer battery life, while the Nikon D500 remains a suitable option for those who don’t require extensive shooting capacity.

Storage and Battery
Storage and Battery
Memory Card
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible), XQD
SD / SDHC / SDXC (UHS-II compatible), XQD
Dual Memory Card Slots
Battery Type
Battery Life
Approximately how long this cameras battery will last measured by how many photographs you will be able to take.
1,240 shots
1,840 shots
USB Charging
Sensor scores tested by DXOMARK
Overall Score
DXOMARK overall sensor score.
Portrait (Color Depth)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Portrait score in our camera sensor reviews defines color depth performance and its unit is a number of bits. A color depth of 22 bits is excellent; differences below 1 bit are barely noticeable.'
24.1 bits
26.4 bits
Landscape (Dynamic Range)
As described by DXOMARK 'The Landscape score in our camera sensor tests defines the maximum dynamic range of the camera sensor and its unit is an exposure value (EV). A value of 12 EV is excellent with differences below 0.5 EV usually not noticeable.'
14 EVs
14.8 EVs
Sports (Low-Light ISO)
Described by DXOMARK as 'The maximal value of ISO sensitivity needed to reach a given value of Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR). The greater the value, the better'

Alternatives to the Nikon D500 and D850

Nikon D500 vs D850 Comparison image.

Are you still undecided about which camera is right for you? Have a look at these popular comparisons that feature the Nikon D500 or the Nikon D850:

User Scores
B&H photo video
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