Nikon D7500 Hands On Review

When the Nikon D7500 was first announced, I had a bit of mixed feelings. There were some amazing new specs and the promise of great image quality most of which were inherited from the D500, but Nikon had pulled some of the features that made the Nikon D7200 such an amazing new camera. While I’m still not thrilled about the lack of dual cards for example, for the most part I’m accepting the change so let’s check out this new camera, the image quality, features, and compare it to the growing competition.

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If you have ever used a Nikon DSLR, you will feel right at home. Nikon has kept the design very similar and for the most part, that’s a great thing. The camera feels like a tank with increased weather sealing and the camera is ready to handle anything from a family vacation to sports and events….almost. One of the big missing features from the older Nikon D7200 is dual card slots. These are almost a must have for any serious photographer and still a nice feature for almost everyone else. Of course, just a year ago, Nikon introduced the D500 filling the gap between consumer and professional quite effectively and it is clear that Nikon believes these more professional features are no longer needed in the D7500. And really, neither the Sony A6500 or Canon 80D offer dual card slots so Nikon is not alone. The articulating touch screen does seem more responsive and gives you access to more functions than before. I still find this mechanism annoying for video work with limited downward mobility once you add a tripod plate but it’s better than nothing. My big beef with the body lies with this mode dial which is almost impossible to turn without looking and requires pressing this unlock button before you can rotate it. Overall, it’s annoying and limits quick changes. I also have a small issue with the autofocus controller requiring too much of my attention to operate and I still wish the white balance button was placed with my shooting functions instead of with the playback controls. But the Nikon D7500 is comfortable to handle for long shoots, offers weather sealing above the competition, and great autofocus tracking when using the viewfinder.

Nikon D7500

But let’s talk quality. The Nikon D7500 has fewer pixels from the 24mp sensor in the D7200 to a new 20mp sensor from the D500 but don’t let that fool you. It offers amazing dynamic range and great low light results though the lower resolution will likely keep plenty of D7200 from picking one up. It’s not all about resolution though and overall the D7500 is one of the best quality APSC cameras on the market.

The autofocus system is unchanged though and while it is absolutely a capable system with fast and accurate results, with only 15 cross type points, it does not have the upper hand. What we do have is a new processor allowing 8fps raw bursts up to 50 shots, 4k timelapse, digital image stabilization, and an amazing new metering system especially nice for those who shoot aperture priority or auto ISO. The entire camera feels remarkably fast and with the new grip and reassuring build quality, it felt ready for anything from professional shoots to a trek through the wilderness for wildlife photography. The D7500 also uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi with Snapbridge but loses NFC. The result is a useful but slow and somewhat clunky system for transferring images that certainly has room for improvement.

Video and live view shooting are really a mixed bag for Nikon. On the plus side, they have made Canon look ignorant by offering real 4k recording with both mic and headphone ports, but there are some real limitations that need to be addressed. Nikon still uses a contrast only focus system for live view and video focusing and while it has improved slightly, it is far behind the Canon 80D and Sony A6500 in terms of speed and performance. 4k video also requires a heavy additional 1.5x crop giving it more in common with a micro 4/3 camera while the Sony A6500 oversamples yielding incredibly detailed video while using the entire sensor. Of course, Canon is still refusing to provide any 4k recording leaving them clearly at the back of the pack but with the heavy crop and lack of oversampling, the Sony A6500 has a clear edge in both quality low light performance. The result is that while Nikon does get to show 4k off as a new feature, the implementation still leaves me wanting more. Thankfully the video quality is still very good including my footage in low light up to 6400ISO, and 1080p is still there and does sample from the entire sensor.

It’s incredibly obvious that the Nikon D7500 blows away the Canon 80D in almost every area. If you rarely use live view or don’t require the best in terms of autofocus speeds while using it, the Nikon D7500 should be the top camera on your buy list and for good reason. But without dual card slots and a battery grip, the D7500 clearly is more of a consumer driven camera losing some of the advantages over the 80D and A6500 and making it difficult to justify as an update for D7200 users. If you do own a D7200 or are looking to shoot more professionally, you are likely better off upgrading to the more capable D500. Additionally, live view and video shooters will likely find more to love with the Sony A6500 and even the slightly higher priced Fuji XT-2. But if you want an amazingly fast and responsive camera with reliable performance, great ergonomics, stunning image quality, and so much more, the Nikon D7500 is ready for anything and will be for years to come.


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