Nikon D7500 Review
|Full model name:||Nikon D7500|
(23.5mm x 15.7mm)
|Viewfinder:||Optical / LCD|
|Native ISO:||100 - 51,200|
|Extended ISO:||50 - 1,638,400|
|Shutter:||1/8000 - 30 seconds|
5.3 x 4.1 x 2.9 in.
(136 x 104 x 73 mm)
|Full specs:||Nikon D7500 specifications|
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Nikon D7500 Review -- First Impressions
by Jeremy Gray
Preview posted: 04/12/2017
Nikon hopes to make exceptional speed, low-light performance and video features accessible to many more photographers with the new Nikon D7500 DSLR. The D7500 borrows numerous features from the D500, including its 20.9-megapixel sensor, EXPEED 5 image processor, metering system and 4K UHD video recording capabilities, all while cutting down on size and cost.
Nikon D7500 Key Features
- Redesigned monocoque body with improved weather-sealing
- 20.9-megapixel DX CMOS image sensor
- Native ISO range of 100-51,200, expandable to 50-1,640,000
- EXPEED 5 processor
- Continuous shooting up to 8 frames per second (fps)
- Auto Picture Control
- In-camera batch RAW processing
- 4K UHD video recording up to 30p
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- SnapBridge functionality
- US$1,250 body-only price
Camera body: Smaller & lighter than the D7200 but with new features
The Nikon D7500 has a redesigned body compared to its predecessor's. Gone are the D7200's magnesium-alloy top and rear panels. The D7500's new monocoque carbon fiber composite body has a deeper grip and includes "comprehensive" weather sealing. As a result, the camera is 5% lighter than the D7200 and is also slimmer and a bit shorter. Its dimensions are 5.3 x 4.1 x 2.9 inches (135.5 x 104 x 72.5 millimeters), and it weighs 22.6 ounces (640 grams) body-only. The D7200's dimensions are 5.3 x 4.2 x 3.0 inches (135.5 x 106.5 x 76mm) with a body-only weight of 23.8 oz or 676g.
Looking at the top of the camera, there is a mode dial to the left of the built-in flash and hot shoe. The drive mode dial is underneath the locking mode dial. Speaking of the built-in flash, the flash has a guide number of 39 feet (12 meters) at ISO 100. The camera's max flash sync is 1/250s (up to 1/320s at reduced range) and flash compensation is available for -3 to +1 EV in 1/3 and 1/2 EV increments. Auto FP High-Speed Sync up to 1/8000s is supported with compatible external flash units.
Moving to the right of the built-in flash and viewfinder pentaprism, the D7500 has a slightly rearranged button layout. Like the D500, the D7500 includes all exposure controls within the reach of your right index finger, including dedicated ISO and exposure compensation buttons. There is also a dedicated movie record button on the top of the camera. Adjacent to the buttons is an informational display that can be illuminated.
The rear of the Nikon D7500 is dominated by its 3.2-inch tilting touchscreen display with about 922,000 dots of resolution. Using the touch capabilities, you can control menus, setup, playback with swiping through images, as well as being able to tap-to-focus in Live View mode. Both its touch and tilt functionality are new additions when compared to its predecessor. To the left of the display are a wide array of buttons, which are very similar to those found on the D7200. The right side of the back of the camera is similar as well, with a lockable directional pad, AE-L/AF-L button and rear command dial above a Live View button and switch. The D7500 swaps the Info button for the 'i' button, which are now on the left and right side of the display respectively.
Like its predecessor, the D7500 includes a pentaprism optical viewfinder with 100% coverage. The viewfinder has 0.94x magnification, which is a 35mm equivalent of 0.63x magnification. Eye relief is 18.5mm and there is a -2.0 to +1.0m-1 diopter adjustment.
Overall, the Nikon D7500 body has a refined design that is very similar to the D7200. We will need to wait until we get one in our hands to see how it feels in the field, but its new tilting touchscreen display and relocated ISO button should prove to be improvements for overall usability. The D7500 continues to be aimed at enthusiast photographers and looks to be rugged enough for many users.
Nikon D7500 Shooting Features
As hinted at by its name, the Nikon D7500 comes equipped with the same image sensor as last year's flagship DX camera, the Nikon D500. The sensor at the heart of the D7500 is a 20.9-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor with a focal length multiplier (or "crop factor") of about 1.5x, like other Nikon DX cameras. Distinctly, the 20.9 megapixel count is less than 24.2-megapixel sensor found in its predecessor, the D7200. This marks the first time Nikon has dipped below 24 megapixels in the D7000-series since the original 16-megapixel D7000. So why decrease megapixels? In order to improve high ISO image quality as well as burst performance.
Our Exposure test results of the D500 should be an excellent indication of the image quality performance you can expect from the D7500 given the identical image sensor. Although the dynamic range at base ISO is higher for the D7200 than the D500's sensor, dynamic range performance at higher ISOs is better with the newer 20.9-megapixel sensor.
The D7500 offers a native ISO range of 100 to 51,200, which is wider than the D7200 ISO range of 100-25,600. When you extend the ISO, the D7500 widens its lead over its predecessor. The D7500 can extend down to ISO 50 and up to a whopping ISO 1,640,000 equivalent. In contrast, the D7200 offered an extended ISO up to 51,200 and 102,400, but only in black and white modes.
Additional image sensor features include built-in sensor cleaning as well as the lack of an optical low-pass filter, which will result in sharp, although more moiré-prone, images (the D7200 also lacked an anti-aliasing filter). There is one difference between the D500 and D7500 in the imaging department: the D500 offers 14-bit or 12-bit uncompressed, lossless compressed and compressed RAW shooting in three image sizes: large, medium and small (medium and small always use 12-bit lossless compression) whereas the D7500 only offers large RAW files and doesn't include an uncompressed option.
Overall, the Nikon D7500 looks to offer very impressive imaging performance from its 20.9-megapixel DX sensor. Compared to its predecessor, it has traded in a few megapixels of resolution for a much wider ISO range and improved dynamic range at higher ISOs.
Although the image sensor is new, the autofocus system in the Nikon D7500 is not. The new DSLR utilizes the same 51-point Advanced Multi-CAM 3500 II DX system as its predecessor. The autofocus system includes 15 cross-type sensors, of which the centermost point is f/8 compatible -- ideal for working with long lenses and teleconverters. The low-light working range of the autofocus system is rated for -3 EV, which is impressive but is 1 EV higher than the D500's autofocus system.
Autofocus modes include dynamic area autofocus (9, 21 or 51 points), single-point AF, 3D-tracking and group-area autofocus. The group area autofocus is a relatively new advancement for Nikon cameras and is found in their pro-oriented models. The mode uses 5 autofocus points for tracking a subject through the frame.
Introduced in the Nikon D5 and D500 last year, Automatic AF Fine Tune comes to the D7500 as well. This feature allows the user to automatically calibrate autofocus for their lenses to help ensure that autofocus performance is accurate. Some lenses require AF micro adjustments, which has traditionally required the user to manually calibrate their lenses, but Auto AF Fine Tune is a much faster process.
Live View autofocus continues to rely on contrast-detect autofocus. The Nikon D7500 does allow the user to touch the rear display to move the autofocus point around the entire frame. Live View-exclusive autofocus modes include wide-area AF, normal-area AF, subject-tracking AF and Face-Priority AF in addition to an AF-A mode, which is a full-time servo autofocus drive mode.
Metering is another area where the D7500 borrows from the D500. The Nikon D7500 uses the same 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor found in the D500 and D5 DSLRs, whereas the D7200 utilized a 2,016-pixel RGB sensor. The more sophisticated metering sensor in the D7500 should also help with subject recognition and AF tracking.
Metering modes include matrix (3D color matrix metering III), center-weighted (75% weight to an 8mm central circle, the size can be changed by the user), spot (centered on the selected focus point when using a CPU lens, center point otherwise) and highlight-weighted metering. The D7500 also offers +/-5 EV exposure compensation and exposure bracketing up to nine frames in 1/3 or 1/2 steps. Note that the D7500 dropped the D7200's mechanical AI meter coupling lever, which means aperture-priority is no longer supported with older non-CPU AI Nikkors, though you can still use manual exposure mode. We doubt most D7500 users will care, but it is something to keep in mind if you plan to use old AI lenses.
The shutter speed range is the same in the D7500 as the D7200: 30s to 1/8000s, plus bulb and time modes. The fastest shutter speed of 1/8000s is good for shooting action or using fast lenses in bright light. A faster all-electronic shutter mode is not offered, however an electronic front-curtain shutter is now available for reduced vibrations, but only in mirror-up release mode. The shutter unit is rated for 150,000 actuations, the same as the D7200, but now includes a shutter monitor, which automatically corrects shutter speeds for improved accuracy.
Performance is an area of focus for Nikon and their new D7500 enthusiast DSLR. Paired with the new sensor is the EXPEED 5 image processor found in the D5 and D500 DSLRs. This sensor claims 30% faster performance than the D7200.
Taking a look at Nikon's specs for its new camera, the D7500 is said to offer up to 8 frames per second with full AE and AF functionality. This is over 3fps faster than the D7200 with RAW capture and over 2fps faster when shooting JPEGs. Shooting faster is great, but buffer depth is very important for sports and wildlife shooters and the D7500 aims to impress there as well. The D7500 claims a 50-frame buffer depth when shooting 14-bit RAW files and over 100 JPEG frames. Compared to its predecessor's lab results, this is 32 additional RAW files and over 44 more JPEG shots.
Clearly, continuous shooting performance is an area Nikon where wanted to step up their game for their D7000-series. The inclusion of the EXPEED 5 processor in the D7500 and its resulting performance gains over the D7200 should surely excite sports and wildlife photographers in particular. Hopefully when we receive the D7500 to run through our lab, it will be able to meet its impressive specifications.
In addition to the standard suite of exposure modes -- such as aperture and shutter priority, manual and programmed auto -- the D7500 also includes scene modes and special effects modes. There is also a multiple exposure mode, which lets you capture up to 10 images and create a composite. The D7500 lets you lighten and darken each individual frame, too, as well as save the individual frames as standalone images.
An exciting new feature for the D7500, and one which Nikon told us we should expect to see in future Nikon cameras, is Automatic Picture Control. This mode leverages the new metering sensor with its advanced scene recognition capabilities to deliver Picture Control functionality which changes on the fly depending on what you are shooting. The camera recognizes your subject and adjusts the tone curve accordingly. It will be interesting to see how well this new feature works in the real world when we get the camera out in the field. If you would like to use a traditional Picture Control, you can select from Landscape, Monochrome, Neutral, Portrait, Standard and Vivid.
Active D-Lighting returns in the D7500, offering Auto, Extra High, Normal and Low modes in addition to Active D-lighting bracketing. You can process images with Active D-Lighting after capture as well. Additional in-camera processing includes a new RAW batch processing feature.
Continuing Nikon's connectivity trends, the Nikon D7500 comes with built-in Bluetooth (4.1) in addition to Wi-Fi for full Nikon SnapBridge compatibility, but it loses NFC. Nikon SnapBridge allows users to connect their D7500 to a compatible smart device and have their images automatically downloaded to their device as they shoot, even when the camera is powered off. Nikon SnapBridge also offers remote shooting capabilities.
Video Features: Nikon D7500 is their most affordable 4K camera yet
If you thought the Nikon D7500 introduced plenty of new still image capture features, you should also be impressed with its video capabilities. Whereas the D7200 topped out at Full HD video, the D7500 can now capture 4K UHD video (3,840 x 2,160) at up to 30p.
Beyond sheer capture capabilities, the D7500 includes an array of exciting features for videographers. The camera can simultaneously record 4K UHD video to an external recorder and the internal memory card. In this usage case, the camera sends an uncompressed 4K UHD signal out to the external device via HDMI -- which has been optimized for 4K UHD video -- and a compressed video is recorded to the memory card. Further, the camera includes microphone and headphone jacks, which are critical for serious video shooters looking for the best audio recording and monitoring capabilities. The D7500 also includes zebra stripes in Live View, support for power aperture for smoother aperture changes during recording and Auto ISO functionality. For time lapse fans, the D7500 can create 4K UHD time lapse movies right in the camera.
The D7500 includes exciting features for Full HD video recording as well. Unlike its predecessor, the D7500 can record up to 1080/60p video across the full image sensor (the D7200 was limited to 1.3x crop for 1080/60p video). Additional Full HD video features include a new 3-axis electronic VR image stabilization system and Active D-Lighting video.
Video files are recorded in MOV or MP4 file format, and the maximum movie recording time is 29 minutes, 59 seconds. Each movie is recorded in up to eight individual files, each up to 4GB in total size. Video compression comes in the form of H.264-MPEG-4 advanced video coding. If you aren't using an external mic, the D7500 records stereo audio using built-in mics.
The Nikon D7500 records to SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, and unlike the D500 and D7200, the D7500 offers only a singl card slot. This camera supports UHS-I cards but does not include UHS-II support. The D7500 includes an Accessory Terminal, a Type-C HDMI port, a Hi-Speed USB 2.0 Mico-B port, a 3.5mm stereo mic jack and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. The camera is compatible with Nikon's GP-1/GP-1A GPS unit and WR-1 and WR-R10 wireless remote controllers, meaning that the camera is also fully compatible with Nikon's radio-equipped SB-5000 flash unit in addition to being able to control Nikon speedlights via line of sight with the built-in flash. The Nikon D7500 also supports Nikon's MC-DC2 remote cord and ML-L3 infrared remote.
Regarding power, the Nikon D7500 relies on an EN-EL15a lithium-ion battery, which is the same size as the one used in the D7200 but has increased mAh capacity. The battery provides up to 950 shots per charge which while excellent, is less than the D7200's 1,110 shots from its EN-EL15 battery. A dedicated MH-25a battery charger is included but in-camera charging via USB is not supported. An optional EH-5c AC Adapter is available and requires an EP-5b Power Connector. No word yet if an optional battery grip will ever be available but there isn't one listed on Nikon websites. The D7500 is not compatible with the D7200's MB-D15 battery grip.
Similarities with the Nikon D500
The Nikon D7500 shares many features with the D500, hence its model name of D7500 instead of D7300. The similarities between the D7500 and D500 (and in some cases even the flagship full-frame D5) include:
- 20.9-megapixel APS-C CMOS image sensor
- EXPEED 5 image processor
- Electronic front-curtain shutter (in mirror-up mode)
- 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor
- Tilting touchscreen display
- 4K UHD video recording at up to 30p
- Nikon SnapBridge
Compared to the Nikon D7200
Despite the interesting naming convention, the D7500 is the successor to the D7200. Nikon's newest DX DSLR includes a wide array of differences compared to its predecessor, including:
- Camera body: The D7500 body is smaller and lighter than the D7200 despite a deeper grip and comprehensive weather-sealing. Further, the D7500 includes a tilting touchscreen display whereas the D7200 had a fixed non-touchscreen display.
- Different image sensor: The D7200 relied on a 24-megapixel DX sensor, whereas the D7500 employs the same 20.9-megapixel sensor as the flagship D500 DSLR. This may be a decrease in megapixel count, but the sensor in the D7500 offers a wider ISO range than the one found in the D7200.
- New processor: The D7500 pairs its sensor with an EXPEED 5 image processor, which offers much improved continuous shooting performance compared to the D7200 (the slightly lower megapixel count also helps).
- Autofocus: While the same 51-point Advanced Multi-CAM 3500 II DX module is used, group-area autofocus mode has been added, the new exposure metering sensor and faster processor should improve AF tracking, and Auto AF Fine Tune is now supported.
- Shooting features: With in-camera batch RAW processing and the new Auto Picture Control capabilities, the D7500 offers more shooting modes than its predecessor. There's also an electronic front-curtain shutter option and a new shutter monitor.
- Video features: Whereas the D7200's video recording was capped at Full HD resolutions, the D7500 can record 4K UHD video at up to 30p. Further, the D7500 has advanced videography features such as simultaneous 4K recording to an external device and the internal memory card.
- Connectivity: Like other recent Nikon cameras, the D7500 adds Bluetooth to its Wi-Fi capability to offer full Nikon SnapBridge functionality. NFC has been dropped.
- Storage: The D7500 only gets a single SD card slot, while the D7200 had dual slots. Both cameras support UHS-I but not UHS-II types.
- Power: Despite an improved battery, CIPA battery life has dropped slightly from 1,110 to 950 shots. Unlike the D7200, a battery grip for the D7500 doesn't appear to be available.
Our Nikon D7500 outlook
It is difficult to evaluate a camera based on its specifications and press information, but the Nikon D7500 shows a lot of promise. We are excited by the inclusion of many features from the Nikon D500, including the image sensor, processor and metering sensor.
The D7500 should also please users with its new tilting touchscreen display. 4K UHD video recording is obviously an area where Nikon wants to improve its accessibility, as the D7500 is now the most affordable DSLR in their lineup to include 4K UHD video recording.
Its promised specifications showcase faster continuous shooting performance and improved buffer depth, making this Nikon's fastest camera in this price range and not much of a step down in that regard from the flagship DX camera, the D500. All in all, we are certainly looking forward to getting our hands on the Nikon D7500, and you can look forward to continued coverage of Nikon's latest enthusiast DSLR!
Nikon D7500 pricing and availability
The Nikon D7500 will be available sometime this summer in body-only and kit configurations. The body alone will cost just under US$1,250. The kit comes with the same AF-S 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens as the D7200 kit and will retail for just under US$1,750.
$889.00 (40% less)
24.35 MP (14% more)
Also has viewfinder