Nikon launches the D500 DSLR with 'smart connectivity'

The smartphone-friendly model tops Nikon's small sensor DX lineup.

Nikon's has neglected its smaller DX-sensor DSLR lineup of late, but it just changed all that in one fell swoop by launching the D500 DSLR. The 20.9-megapixel camera has "advanced smart device capability," meaning that Nikon wants it to play well with your smartphone and other gadgets. Though packing a smaller, APS-C-sized sensor than the new flagship FX-sensor D5, it has the same Expeed 5 processor and rapid 153-point AF system. That gives it a lively 10fps shooting speed, with up to 200 shots in RAW mode. The D500 has a 100-51,200 ISO range that's expandable to a ridiculous 50-1,640,000 ISO equivalent, and like the D5, there's a brand new tiltable touchscreen.

Nikon has big news for the D500 on the video front, as well. The model shoots in Ultra HD 4K (3,840 x 2,160) at up to 30 fps, or faster at 1080p. It also captures uncompressed 4K to both the HDMI port and XQD memory card simultaneously (it also supports SD cards). Other video features include auto ISO smoothing, which supposedly provides fluid exposure transitions during recording, as well as 3-axis electronic shake reduction and active D-Lighting to prevent blown-out highlights.

As for the "smart connectivity" feature, the D500 is the first camera in Nikon's lineup with the latest version of SnapBridge. The company intimated that it's focusing on connectivity to make the experience less janky than its been on most DSLRs so far. Folks just want to get photos over to their smartphone quickly, and Nikon promised that snapping and sharing would be a one-step process. To facilitate that, the new model uses Bluetooth Low Energy to communicate with your smartphone and has always-on connectivity. It also supports NFC and has built in WiFi, and faster transfer for professionals is possible via an optional wireless transmitter.

The model has a magnesium weather-sealed body like that of the full-frame D810, though it lacks a pop-up flash. It now becomes the de facto replacement for the D300s, a camera that was launched way back in 2009. It's easily Nikon's most expensive DX camera as well, running $2,000 for the body only or $3,069.95 bundled with a 16-80mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. The D500 will reach the US in March of 2016.