Nikon D500 Review & Underwater Housings

Nikon D500 Review & Underwater Housings

Nikon D500 Review & Underwater Housings

After shooting with the Nikon D500 in the pool for several hours, I can say that the high-speed shooting capability of this camera truly puts it in a class of its own. No longer having to worry about missing the best composition of a sequence, my mind races towards the new possibilities of 10 frames per second, shooting with ease at ISO 12500, 25000 and higher, and highly accurate auto-focus. Don't walk, run towards this camera!



Resource Links     |      Sample Pool Photos     |     Sample Underwater Photos

Sample Underwater Video     |     Underwater Housing Options     |     Recommended Lenses


D500 Resource Links:

Click here for BWP D500 Blog articles with topside & nature photos demostrating shooting at ISO 50,000, auto-focus tests, high-speed shooting tests and more.

Click here for UWPG D500 Info Page with full specs, comparisons to other Nikon dSLRs


Nikon D500 Sample Pool Photos

Auto-focus worked great in the pool, and we did not experience any "hunting" of the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, or out of focus shots. Focus mode was set to AF-C, "Auto", which used a large area of focus points. And of course, shooting at 10 frames per second was mandatory, as it made shooting so much fun. 

D500, F11, 1/250th, ISO 100. Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens at 14mm. Photo taken by 5-year old Ryan Gietler, using an Aquatica D500 housing

F10, 1/250th, ISO 100, shot at 10 frames per second. The high-speed shooting capability of this camera is truly amazing, and is what sets it apart from other cameras. This moment only lasted for 1/10th of a second.

F10, 1/250th, ISO 100. Even 1-year old babies are happy to be around the D500 underwater.

F10, 1/250th, ISO 160. This dog just hit the water, and only shooting at 10 frames per second were we able to get this shot. Again, the high-speed shooting and auto-focus capabilities of this camera shine through.

F10, 1/250th, ISO 160. We capture a photo of one of the world's youngest underwater photographer, Ryan Gietler, in action, after switching from an Aquatica to a Sea & Sea housing.

5-year old Ryan Gietler uses the Aqautica D500 housing with ease, even reviewing images he took, while underwater. Both the Nauticam and Aquatica housings are out, and are excellent quality.

Nikon D500 underwater photo sunball
The D500 demonstrates great dynamic range. F14, 1/320th, ISO 100

Sample Underwater Videos:


Nikon D500 4K UHD Video, 30fps

Nikon D500 1080p HD video, 60fps


We took underwater video in both 4K 30fps mode, and 1080p 60fps mode, of some fast-moving action sequences. We turned the D-Lighting setting from off to normal. The videos looks great, and we'll be posting here later this week. We were pleasantly surprised at how well the video worked right out of the box, without having to adjust hardly any settings Another nice feature is that the video settings are separate from the still camera settings, so you can change your still or video settings and they won't effect the other. We turned on the movie D-lighting feature to normal, set the video to a small aperture, a fast shutter speed, AUTO-ISO mode and then let the video record! Short 4K clips were possible even with slower memory cards. With even a mid-range speed SD card, longer 4K clips were not a problem.

Nikon D500 Video Modes

There are two main modes you will be choosing from 4K UHD 30fps, or 1080p HD 60fps. 

Nikon D500 Video Crop Factors

The Nikon D500 is a 1.5x crop sensor camera.  When you shoot on video there would be an additional crop factor is applied,  if you measure the crop horizonally. 

  • High Definition (1080p mode) - Additional 1.3x Crop is applied
  • UHD (4K mode) - Additional 1.45x Crop is applied

Video Crop Factors

  • 1080p mode -   1.3x relative to the D500 sensor
  • 1080p mode -   1.95x relative to a full-frame sensor
  • 4K mode - 1.45x relative to the D500 sensor size
  • 4K mode - 2.175x relative to a full-frame sensor size

When we were shooting video underwater, we were using the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens, which worked out nicely.

Underwater Housing Options:

(In-Stock) - $3,500

The new Nauticam NA-D500 housing offers improved control placement, a new included flash triggering system (with optional TTL upgrade), optional vacuum check system, and a smaller size & weight. We've used this housing and it is very easy to install the camera, change ports and use the controls.

Click here to purchase Nauticam NA-D500 Housing and view recommended lenses, ports and accessories

(Available late July or early August) - $3,599.95


The long wait will be over as Sea & Sea will be releasing this awesome housing this end of July.  MDX-D500 has redesigned levers for ergonomics, and glow-in the dark luminescent buttons to increase visibility while shooting in low light conditions. It is compatible with the optional internal Optical YS TTL Converter, and the optional Vivid leak detection / vacuum check system.

Click here to purchase Sea & Sea MDX-D500 D500 Housing and view recommended lenses, ports and accessories

(Available very early August) -  $3,195

Aquatica improved controls layout for easy shooting photos and videos.  Ergonomics is state of the art. Vacuum and moisture detection sensor are already included with the housing. The fiber optic versions includes a built-in flash trigger, and you can optionally get a TTL converter. Also compatible with the Aquatica vacuum check or Vivid Leak Detection / Vacuum check system

Click here to purchase Aquatica D500 Housing and view recommended lenses, ports and accessories

(Available this mid August) -  $1,596.95 for new 200DL version

The Ikelite D500 housing is made from lightweight yet durable polycarbonate material. This also includes zoom gear, TTL circuitry for Ikelite strobes and bulkhead connection for electronic sync cords, and is compatible with the Vivid Leak Detection / Vacuum Check System.

Click here to purchase Ikelite D500 Housing and view recommended lenses, ports and accessories


Nikon D500 Recommended Lenses

  • Tokina 10-17mm fisheye lens - for almost all your wide-angle needs
  • Nikon 10-24mm lens - good choice if you want 1 lens for shooting wide-angle underwater and topside
  • Sigma 10-20mm lens - 2nd choice to the Nikon 10-24mm lens
  • Sigma 17-70mm OS HSM lens - good mid-range lens
  • Nikon 18-200mm lens - good travel lens for topside
  • Nikon 50mm F1.8 lens - small, inexpensive lens for ultra-high quality people & baby photos
  • Nikon 60mm macro lens - very good all-around macro lens, and great choice for newer underwater photographers
  • Nikon 105mm VR macro lens - great choice for supermacro, small fish, shy subjects, experienced macro photographers. Can be difficult to use at first.
  • Nikon 80-400mm VR lens - excellent choice for wildlife, safaris, birds
  • Nikon 200-400mm F4 VR lens - high end choice for widlife, birds
  • Nikon 300mm F2.8 or F4 lens - both are solid, very sharp prime lens choices for low-light action shots



A look at the underwater photo & video capabilities of the D500, along with lenses & housings