Does the D5600 outperform the D500? I have a D500 with a 20.9mp sensor and a D5600 with a 24.2mp sensor. Does that mean that the D5600 has better resolution or are there other factors involved?
From what I have read, this is how it works. The bigger the sensor size, the bigger the individual micro-lenses will be for a given number of pixels. Bigger micro-lenses capture signal better than smaller ones but not always – because it also depends on signal processing.
More pixels is more critical, and the more megapixels the better because they can resolve more detail.
There are 15% more megapixels in the D5600 compared to the D500. But signal is a function of length, not of area -so 6000 vs 5568 pixels on the long side is an increase of just 8%.
Some tests show some APS-C sensors with a better signal than full-frame, and that’s a whopping 50% jump on the long side. So, does the D5600 outperform the D500? I don’t think 8% would be noticeable in the real world, so the answer is no it doesn’t.
Other Factors In the D5600 vs D500 Decision
Whether the image quality of the D5600 (affiliate link) is marginally better than that of the D500 is less important to me than the fact that the D500 (affiliate link) has a much bigger viewfinder, with better focus point illumination. And the focus tracking and frame rate of the D500 is superior to that of the D5600, which is important if you want to shoot fast-moving action.
Then there’s the ease of changing ISO on the D500 and of changing from Auto ISO to a fixed ISO with the press of a button and the spin of the front dial.
And the D5600 only shoots compressed NEF, which means that you have less room to play with highlights in high-contrast images. Whether that is a factor in the real world depends on whether you are going to be shooting in bright, contrasty light.
On the other side of the equation there is the light weight of the D5600. That is a benefit if you are using shorter lenses, but a disadvantage if you are shooting with a long telephoto that will upset the balance of the body and lens.
That said, for general shooting, the D5600 is a fine camera that produces great images.