... I remember that one of the camera magazines ran an article on the top speed of cameras with mechanical FP shutters. In all their tests a marked top speed of 1/1000 was usually something like 1/65o. ...
In that case, your 1/500th is probably only 1/300th. That could be a problem.
... while faster films are a lot better today than in the 70's, slower films still make the best photos.
This may no longer be necessarily true: it appears that modern faster films (say, ISO400) can actually cope much better with a wider subject brightness (contrast) range than slower (modern) films (say, ISO100). It has something to do with the mix of halide grain sizes in the emulsion.
(Due to equipment malfunction, I recently underexposed a Fuji Pro 400H film by about two and a half to three stops -developed normally, but I still got surprisingly useable (though quite dark and "moody") prints.)
"Do you feel 1/500 sec max shutter speed is a problem?"
Sometimes flash sync can be a challenge with cameras the have fp shutters.
That's the thing, focal plane shutters can be faster overall but are generally slower for sync. Leafs can only go so fast but can sync faster. High end SLRs can sync up to 1/250 or even 1/300 though so there is less advantage to the leaf now than when focal plane shutters were limited to 1/60th or 1/90th at most in X-sync.
Some late SLRs and Speedlites can do high speed sync as well.
i have 3 mf cameras - and i never shoot them beyond 1/100S
( mamiya, agfa box and holga )
and i also use a graflex slr with a roll film back on it and i only shoot that at 1/15ths
i never use fast shutter speeds, even when i probably should ...
Where I need a faster sync. shutter is when I use fill flash outdoors. If I have flash and f stop at f 7.0 but that needs a shutter of 1/400 to balance ambient, that can present a challenge with some camera bodies. I could go to a higher number f stop but usually I want to control DOF. I hate blown out backgrounds or a white sky. Doesn't look real to me.
How many feel that have a max shutter speed of 1/500 is a problem?
A long time go, I had a night football game to cover in a stadium that was notorious for its dim lights. The light level was too low to shoot available light and I could not use flash because my SLR would sync no higher than 1/60th second.
In this instance, having a maximum shutter speed of 1/500th of a second on my medium format TLR was a solution to the problem. I mounted a telephoto lens, a prism finder, and a pistol grip to my Mamiya C22 and set the shutter speed to 1/500th of a second and used a handle mounted flash to get some great shots for the newspaper.
Having a top shutter speed of 1/500th that can sync a flash is very useful under certain conditions.