Nikon's D7XXX series serves as their "prosumer" line of Nikon APS-C cameras, intended for use by enthusiasts as a step up from the smaller D5XXX series, yet not as advanced or as pricey as the D500 or their full-frame DSLR offerings. The camera series features dual control dials (for adjusting aperture and shutter speed) and has more advanced features than any of the company's consumer models.
The D7200 was released in 2015, as an upgrade from the previous D7100 model; the D7500, introduced in 2017, serves as the D7200's replacement and shares technology with the Nikon D500.
The design differences between the two cameras appear minor, but under the hood, the D7500 has been totally redesigned, with a monocoque body and a much deeper finger cutout for the grip. The D7500 has also shaved off a few grams of weight, and is probably around 1% smaller overall. Whether it was because of user feedback or internal review, Nikon designers decided to move around some of the control features -- swapping the position of the "i" and info buttons, as well as the position of the live view controller, for example.
Perhaps the most noteworthy change in the D7500 is the rear LCD screen, which can now be tilted and also offers touchscreen functionality. Both cameras offer a resolution of 307,200 pixels, but the D7500 uses 3 colors per pixel (RGB), instead of the 4 colors per pixel on the D7200 (RGBW).
Both cameras use the same pop-up flash: offering a guide number of 12 and a standard flash sync speed of 1/250s, as well as built-in commander support for wireless remote flash. For image storage, both models use SD cards, supporting SD, SDHC and SDXC cards (up to UHS-I). However, the D7500, sadly, gives up the secondary card slot of the D7200.
Both the D7200 and the D7500 use an APS-C format sensor, however as a rarity in the industry, the D7500 actually uses a sensor with less megapixels than the D7200. In an industry which has been consumed with bigger / faster / better iterations, it's refreshing to see design choices being made that actually respond to the actual needs of the consumer (rather than the perceived needs). While a 24-megapixel sensor will allow you to make a 2-foot by 3-foot right out of the camera, it's a relatively rare need.
The result of using less pixels to make up the sensor is that each individual pixel is slightly larger (4.22 microns rather than 3.92 microns), which makes a noticeable difference when it comes to shooting in low-light conditions; larger photosites are more efficient when it comes to turning light into data. Also, the sensor of the D7500 is the same that's used in the D500, meaning that Nikon can use the same sensor across multiple bodies for manufacturing efficiency. The D7500 offers a native ISO range of 100 - 51,200 which is expandable to a whopping 50 - 1,638,400 while the D7200 offers an ISO range of 100 - 25,600 which could be boosted to 102,400 only when shooting black and white JPEGs.
The D7500 is unquestionably a much more advanced camera: it shoots faster, for longer, and produces better images. In terms of raw numbers, the D7500 has a shooting speed of just over 8 frames per second; the D7200 has a shooting speed of just under 6 frames per second when shooting JPEG, and around 5 frames per second when shooting 14-bit RAW. The D7500 has no such limitations. The D7200 has a buffer depth of 18 RAW images or 56 JPEG images until its buffer must clear; for the D7500, that depth is 47 RAW images or 100 JPEG images. These figures represent shooting with 14-bit, lossless-compressed RAW images; numbers are slightly higher if you use lossy compressed or 12-bit RAW.
The autofocus module has not changed, however: both cameras sport the Multi-CAM 3500II DX, which offers 51 focus points (15 cross-type sensors; center point is f/8 compatible). Multiple focusing modes are possible, including Single-point autofocus, 9, 21, or 51-point dynamic area autofocus, 3D-tracking, and auto-area autofocus, but the D7500 adds group-area mode. One major design note of change: the D7500 abandons the support for AI (automatic indexing) lenses, meaning the camera will no longer provide metering or support aperture priority mode for older lenses that don’t have a chip inside them.
Both cameras offer a very good number of shots per full battery, although the D7200 provides slightly more. The D7200 offers 1,100 shots, while the D7500 offers 950 shots. It’s also worth noting that no connections exist on the D7500 for a battery grip attachment to employ a second battery, while the D7200 has the MB-D15 available for this purpose.
Nikon has elected to go without an Optical Low-Pass Filter in both cameras, which has been used traditionally to soften the image slightly and reduce the incidence of moiré. The tradeoff is to produce sharper images, especially when the camera is used at its lower ISO settings. As ISO is increased, this sharpness is hampered by increased noise, so generally, this advantage is only present when you use an ISO speed less than ISO 1,600.
Otherwise, both cameras offer excellent images with excellent options for fine-tuning sharpening, clarity, contrast, saturation, brightness and hue, with the D7500 adding an Auto Picture Control option. Neither the D7200 nor the D7500 offer a fully uncompressed RAW mode.
Because the D7500 has slightly fewer megapixels than the D7200, its image files are slightly smaller. Here's a summary of the file sizes produced by the cameras:
|Nikon D7200||Nikon D7500|
|Lossless compressed 14-bit RAW||28.0 MB||25.5 MB|
|Lossless compressed 12-bit RAW||22.2 MB||20.5 MB|
|Compressed 14-bit RAW||25.4 MB||21.5 MB|
|Compressed 12-bit RAW||20.6 MB||17.5 MB|
|JPEG Fine/Large||12.7 MB||10.4 MB|
Both cameras offer a variety of connectivity options for transferring data, video and audio. Both cameras feature built-in Wi-Fi; the D7500 uses Nikon's SnapBridge technology that adds Bluetooth Low Energy for an always-on connection. The D7200, however, does not have SnapBridge / Bluetooth, but offers NFC connectivity in addition to Wi-Fi. For wired connections, both offer USB 2.0 and both have HDMI video out in the form of a Type C mini-HDMI port (of great interest to movie makers will be that the HDMI output is clean and uncompressed from both cameras).
Neither offer a built-in GPS, but you can add GPS support: Both cameras are compatible with Nikon's GP-1/GP-1A GPS unit, as well as WR-1 and WR-R10 wireless remote controllers. The D7500 drops the rear-facing infrared sensor for use with the ML-L3 infrared remote control.
Both cameras can shoot Full HD video at up to 60 frames per second, and both are limited to a maximum shooting time of 29 minutes and 59 seconds, though the D7200 is limited to 10 or 20 minutes at higher frame rates or quality. The Nikon D7500 adds 4K video recording to its bag of tricks, with the ability to shoot at up to 30 frames per second. As well, the camera is able to record 4K video to both its own internal memory card as well as send out the uncompressed video stream through the HDMI port. To shoot 1080p60 or 1080p50 HD video on the D7200, you were presented with a 1.3x crop factor; to get a full-width image, you were limited to 30p or slower. This is no longer the case with the D7500, but a 1.3x crop option exists. To shoot 4K video on the D7500, you are presented with a 1.5x crop factor.
Both cameras use the PCM codec to encode audio during movie capture, can accept external microphones, and offer a headphone jack to monitor audio.
Other enhancements over the D7200 include a more sophisticated 180k-pixel metering sensor which allows for face detection and better object recognition/tracking when using the optical viewfinder, and Auto AF Fine Tune to make calibrating autofocus to your lenses easier.
As it is being replaced by the D7500, the D7200 is slightly less expensive at just under $1,000 body-only, while the list price for a new D7500 is around $1,250.
The D7500 is the fourth iteration in the D7XXX series, holding the line as Nikon's top model for the enthusiast photographer -- the only step up after this camera in the DX-sensor category is the pro-oriented D500, which is significantly more expensive ($1,900-2,000); or, you can venture into an FX-sensor body, where the entry camera for that category is the Nikon D610 ($1,500).
The D7200 is still a very capable camera, and some would argue that the additional features available in the D7500 are overshadowed by the features that have been abandoned by the D7500. The loss of support for AI/AIS lenses, the loss of a second SD card slot and the reduction from 24 megapixels to 21 megapixels might be too much of a compromise for some, in exchange for the addition of the tilting LCD screen and 4K video. As well, the lack of a battery grip could also be a deal-breaker.
Rugged, weather-sealed body; Great ergonomics and loads of controls; Accurate optical viewfinder; Excellent image quality; Decent burst speed; Swift autofocus; Generous buffer depths; Superb battery life
Mixes plastic and magnesium-alloy panels on exterior; LCD monitor can't be tilted or swiveled; Presents a steep learning curve; No focus peaking in live view; Video mode feels a bit of an afterthought; New Wi-Fi features are rough around the edges