Nikon D7500 Optics

The Nikon D7500 is available kitted with the Nikkor AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR lens. Since we haven't tested this lens before, below are some basic test results. (Stay tuned for a full test.)

Kit Lens Test Results

A wide-angle 5x zoom, with decent performance.

16mm, f/8 35mm, f/8
80mm, f/8

The Nikon D7500 is available bundled with the relatively new Nikkor AF-S DX 16-80mm f/2.8-4E ED VR lens. This 5x zoom lens has a 35mm equivalent focal length of about 24-120mm thanks to the D7500's 1.5x "crop factor", offering both a wider and longer reach than typical DSLR kit lenses.

Sharpness and contrast are pretty good across most of the frame at full wide angle and f/8. There's some minor softening in the corners and some flare is noticeable in brighter areas of the building, but chromatic aberration isn't an issue because it is suppressed by the D7500's image processor (see below). Performance at a medium focal length of 35mm (52mm eq.) is excellent, with excellent sharpness and contrast across the frame. Results at full telephoto are quite good at f/8, with very good performance across most of the frame.

A slightly larger-than-average macro area with the kit lens, with good detail overall. Flash throttles down well.

Macro with 16-80mm lens
80mm, f/8
Macro with Flash
80mm, f/8

The Nikon D7500 captured a slightly larger-than-average macro area with the 16-80mm lens at 80mm (at its maximum reproduction ratio), measuring 3.51 x 2.34 inches (89 x 59 millimeters). Detail is quite good across most of the frame, with only moderate softening in the corners. (Most lenses have some softening in the corners at macro distances.) The Nikon D7500's flash throttled down well at minimum distance resulting in a well exposed image, however the lens cast a shadow at the bottom of the frame.

Geometric Distortion
Higher-than-average distortion from the 16-80mm lens.

Barrel distortion is ~1.1% at 16mm
Pincushion distortion is ~0.6% at 80mm

The Nikon 16-80mm lens produced about 1.1 percent barrel distortion at wide angle, which is higher-than-average and quite noticeable in its images. At the telephoto end pincushion distortion is lower at about 0.6 percent, but still noticeable. This is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel -- usually at wide-angle) or inward (like a pincushion -- usually at telephoto).

Chromatic Aberration and Corner Sharpness
Low to very low C.A. in JPEGs, much higher in uncorrected RAW files at wide angle. Corners are quite soft at wide-angle when wide open, but improve stopped down.

Maximum Aperture
Wide, f/3.5: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Quite soft
Wide, f/3.5: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp
Tele, f/5.6: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Soft
Tele, f/5.6: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Slightly soft

Chromatic Aberration. Chromatic aberration is low at the full wide-angle setting of the 16-80mm lens, suppressed by the D7500's image processor. (See below for crops from uncorrected RAW files.) At full telephoto, chromatic aberration is even lower and hardly detectable. (This distortion is visible as a slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.)

Corner Sharpness. The 16-80mm lens produced soft corners at full wide angle when wide-open at maximum aperture. The left corners are a little softer than the right even showing some image doubling, indicating the lens is slightly decentered. Softness didn't extend very deep into the frame from the right, though it extended moderately deep from the left. The center was however quite sharp. At full telephoto wide open, corners were much sharper than at wide angle, but the lens isn't quite as sharp across the frame as at wide angle.

Vignetting. There's some fairly mile vignetting (corner shading) visible at both wide angle and telephoto when wide open, even with default vignetting control enable as indicated by the darker corner crops.

f/8 Aperture
Wide, f/8: Upper left
C.A.: Moderately low
Softness: Soft
Wide, f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Very sharp
Tele, f/8: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Softness: Slightly soft
Tele, f/8: Center
C.A.: Very low
Softness: Fairly sharp

F8. Stopped-down to an aperture of f/8, corner performance improved dramatically at wide angle, though corners were still a bit soft compared to the center. At full telephoto, sharpness also improved across the frame, though the lens is still not tack sharp. Vignetting was negligible.

Overall, decent results for a wide-angle 5x zoom lens when stopped down.

Lens Corrections

The Nikon D7500 offers distortion correction, chromatic aberration suppression and vignetting (corner shading) correction for most modern Nikkor lenses.

Auto Distortion Control
Low geometric distortion when Auto Distortion Control is enabled.

Pincushion distortion at 16mm is < -0.05%
Pincushion distortion at 80mm is < -0.05%

The Nikon D7500 offers an Auto Distortion Control feature to reduce geometric distortion automatically with most modern Nikkor lenses. As you can see it worked quite well with the 16-80mm lens, overcorrecting barrel distortion a bit at wide angle to under -0.05% pincushion, and reducing pincushion at telephoto to about -0.05%. Note that some of the image is cropped away in the process, especially at wide angle. We also noticed sharpness drops because of the interpolation, and at wide angle, there were some noticeable interpolation artifacts as well, so it's likely better to address distortion during post processing.. Since this option is database driven, it's only available for Nikkor D, E and G-type lenses with certain optics such as Fisheye and Perspective Control lenses excepted. Auto Distortion Control is Off by default.

You can also apply Auto or Manual Distortion Control to JPEGs after the fact, in the Retouch menu. Manual mode works with images from any lens.

Chromatic Aberration Correction
Like all modern Nikon DSLRs, the D7500 automatically suppresses lateral chromatic aberration in JPEGs.

In-Camera JPEG
Uncorrected RAW
Wide, f/8: Upper left
C.A.: Low
Wide, f/8: Upper left
C.A.: High
Tele, f/8: Upper left
C.A.: Very low
Tele, f/8: Upper left
C.A.: High

As you can see, the Nikon D7500's chromatic aberration suppression was very effective at removing almost all the lateral chromatic aberration in the 16-80mm lens test shots above, leaving very small amounts of purple fringing at wide angle, and almost no fringing at telephoto. There is no option to disable it, so above we're comparing in-camera JPEGs to uncorrected RAW files on the right.

Vignette Control
The Nikon D7500 also offers Vignette Control to reduce vignetting or lens shading with Nikkor lenses. Available settings are Low, Normal, High and Off. See below for how Normal compares with Off at maximum aperture.

16mm @f/2.8 80mm @f/4
Vignette Control Normal (default) Off

Mouse over the Normal and Off links above to see the effect on the 16-80mm lens at wide angle and telephoto at the worst-case maximum apertures. As you can see, the default Normal setting compensates for much of the corner shading, but not all. We didn't try the High and Low settings.

Viewfinder Test Results

Somewhat disappointing coverage accuracy from the optical viewfinder. Excellent accuracy from the LCD in Live View mode.

60mm, Optical
60mm, Live View LCD

The Nikon D7500's optical viewfinder tested at just under 99 percent coverage with our Nikkor 60mm f/2.8 macro lens. This is a bit short of Nikon's 100% coverage claim, and there is also a slight vertical offset and tilt compared to the image sensor. In Live View mode, the Nikon D7500's LCD produced 100% coverage, which is excellent.


The images above were taken from our standardized test shots. For a collection of more pictorial photos, see our Nikon D7500 Photo Gallery .

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