It reminded me of the introduction of the Nikon F6 so many years ago. The F6 was launched long after the mass market (both pros and hobbyists) voted with their pocketbooks and abandoned film for the siren song of digital imaging. The camera came with a premium price and though I was hanging out with dozens of working professionals at the time I never met a single soul who splashed out cash to buy an F6. And I've never seen one in the field. Why? Because as great and perfect and proficient as the F6 might have been every person who may have been part of the market for that camera had already moved on...
In 2016 the D500 will appeal to diehard DSLR fans and cheap (or poor) sports photographers. But it's really not a significant, new product. It's more of a tweaked old style product. A D7200 that shoots more quickly. Or, a D300 that has a much better sensor and shoots more quickly. It's still big, heavy, kind of a dog to shoot video with, and embarrassingly bereft of a state-of-the-art electronic viewfinder.
Not everyone wants to change away from camera styles and form factors to which they have grown accustomed. Not everyone who is even modestly invested in Nikon's system will be anxious to switch to something else. And that's great. But it hardly makes more of the same an interesting choice for "camera of the year."
I think the honor should go to something brand new and different. I'd nominate the Hasselblad mirrorless medium format camera because it's new and different; and when they get the firmware sorted out it may also be a really good image maker. If that's not your cup of tea I'd be happy to nominate the Sony RX10 iii which is just now starting to get its due from reviewers who are taking a second look. The combination of a miraculous lens and truly great video at an "affordable" price point is eternally tempting.
For sheer performance and usability my personal nomination for my camera of the year has to be the little Sony a6300. If those bastards at Sony had just seen fit to put in a headphone jack I would be tempted to call this camera near perfect. It's small and light, has a great sensor and great performance, shoots fast, focuses well and does very, very good, 4K video right in camera. Yes, the a6500 came out this year as well but it's nothing more than an iteration, at a higher price, of an already well sorted camera. I find the touchscreen to be an "anti-feature" but I'll admit that the in body I.S. would be worthwhile. I'll stick with the a6300 as my recommendation because it's a proven commodity and makes me smile when I use it.
The Nikon D500 is resting on the legacy of the past. It's the camera that most of us grew up with but photography is changing quickly and the power and performance of a good shooting tool no longer has to weigh a ton and cost too much.
Yes, with cameras like the Fuji XT-2 and the Olympus EM-1 mk ii, and the Pentax K-1 in the mix I was surprised to read about DPReview's choice. In fact, I kept looking for the "this article sponsored by Nikon" disclaimer somewhere near the post but I could never find it....