Nikon has taken much of the technology in the D500 and put it in a camera for enthusiast photographers. Find out more in our hands on Nikon D7500 review
30 second Nikon D7500 review…
The Nikon D7500 is an APS-C format DSLR that uses the same 20.9 million pixel sensor and Expeed 5 processing engine as the Nikon D500. It sits above the D7200 and below the D500 in the Nikon DSLR line-up.
Nikon has given the D7500 an enticing specification that includes 8fps (frame per second) shooting with autofocusing and metering, a top native sensitivity setting of ISO 51,200 and a 51-point AF system. There are also seals to keep out dust and moisture, a tilting screen that’s touch-sensitive and a full complement of button and dial controls along with SnapBridge technology for easy remote control and image sharing via a paired smartphone.
We’ve still to shoot with a full production sample of the D7500 but it seems like the camera that many Nikon enthusiast have been hoping for.
|Camera Name||Nikon D7500|
|Date announced||12th April 2017|
|Price at launch||£1,299.99 body only, £1,599.99 with the AF-S DX 18-140 f/3.5-5.6G ED VR|
|Sensor size||APS-C (23.5 x 15.7mm)|
|Effective pixel count||20.9 million (5568 x 3712)|
|Viewfinder||Optical with pentaprism 100% coverage|
|Sensitivity range||ISO 100-102,400 expandable to ISO 50-1,640,000|
|Reflex AF system||51-point with 15 cross-type|
|Live View AF system||Contrast detection|
|Monitor||3.2-inch TFT LCD with 922,000 dots|
|Max shooting rate||8fps|
|Max video resolution||4K (3840 x 2160)|
|Dimensions||135.5 x 104 x 72.5 mm/5.4 x 4.1 x 2.9 in|
|Weight||640g body only|
While the Nikon D7XXX line of DSLRs has been very popular it’s never felt quite enough for ‘hardcore’ enthusiast photographers. The Nikon D500 on the other hand has everything they could hope for plus a bit more, but it’s a professional-level model with a price to match. Now the gap between the two has been filled with the Nikon D7500. It’s worth pointing out at this stage that the D7200 is set to continue in the range, with the D7200 being a more affordable option and the D7500 being the ‘sister model to the D500’.
Perhaps most importantly, the Nikon D7500 has the same 20.9Mp sensor as the D500. This is paired with the same Expeed 5 processing engine and together they deliver a native sensitivity range of ISO 100-51,200 with expansion settings going all the way up to ISO 1,640,000 (Hi5).
There’s also a maximum continuous shooting rate of 8fps which can be maintained for up to 50 full-resolution uncompressed raw files or 100 Large Fine jpegs. Images are saved to a SD/SDHC/SDXC card in the single UHS-I complaint port.
This high shooting rate is accompanied by full autofocusing and exposure metering and with a 51-point AF system the D7500 looks an attractive proposition for anyone interested in shooting sport. In addition to Single-point AF, 9-, 21-, or 51-point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking and auto-area AF, Nikon has added Group-area AF mode to help with tracking small subjects against distracting backgrounds.
Hands-on Nikon D7500 Review: Exposure metering
Exposure metering is handled by the 180,000-pixel RGB sensor which also informs the white balance, scene recognition and focusing system. A Highlight-weighted metering option is available when it’s crucial to retain the highlights in a scene – that could prove useful for anyone shooting a wedding.
As usual, Nikon’s Picture Control Styles are on hand (Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, Landscape, Flat), with Flat being designed to generate low-contrast video that’s better for grading. There’s also a new Auto setting which uses information from the 180,000-pixel RGB metering sensor to tailor colours, contrast and brightness to suit the scene.
Hands-on Nikon D7500 Review: Video
As well as stills the D7500 is capable of shooting 4K/UHD (3840x2160) video at up to 30/25p and it can be recorded in clips lasting up to 29mins 59seconds. It’s also possible to shoot Full HD (1920x1080) footage at up to 50/60p for half-time slow motion playback.
Hands-on Nikon D7500 Review: Touch-screen
Although Nikon has had touch-screen capability on some of its DSLRs for a while it hasn’t really embraced the technology. With the D7500D it’s a little different and as well as being able to set the AF point in live view and video mode, you can navigate the menu and make settings selections.
The 3.2-inch 922,000-dot screen is remarkably slim and is mounted on a tilting bracket to enable it to be angled up or down for easier viewing when shooting above or below head-height. I was encouraged to hold the camera by the screen so I can confirm that the bracket is pretty durable.
Hands-on Nikon D7500 Review: SnapBridge
Like the D500, the D7500 has Nikon’s SnapBridge technology. As the camera has Wi-Fi connectively built-in, it’s possible to use the smartphone SnapBridge app to control the camera remotely as well as transfer images automatically.
I’ve yet to use the D7500’s SnapBridge system but I’m told the remote control is limited to setting AF point, tripping the shutter and setting exposure.
Hands-on Nikon D7500 Review: Build and Handling
Nikon has used a carbon fibre monocoque construction for the D7500. That means its body-shell is made from one piece of material to make it stronger and lighter. It feels a bit tougher than the D7200 but perhaps not quite so rugged as the D500, although there are weatherproof seals to keep moisture out.
The D7500 has a relatively slim body but a prominent grip, so there’s a deep holding point, that feels nice and secure.
Anyone who has used a Nikon D500 or D7200 or a regular basis will find some similarities and differences with the control layout of the D7500. For instance, like the D7200, there’s a mode dial on the left of the top-plate while on the right the button layout resembles the D500 with the video record, ISO and exposure compensation controls sitting behind the shutter release.
The mode dial has a central locking button that needs to be pressed before you can rotate the dial to your chosen setting. It would be nice if this was the type of lock that can be left unlocked, but it doesn’t seem too fiddly after just a few minutes use.
Beneath the mode dial is the drive mode dial, allowing you to switch quickly between single advance and continuous (low or high) or quiet mode (single and continuous).
On the back of the camera, the right side is relatively uncluttered giving you room for your thumb. There’s the familiar control dial just above the natural resting place for your thumb and an AE-L/AF-L (auto exposure lock and autofocus lock) button just to the left. Near the middle is a lockable navigation pad with central OK button, while at the bottom is the live view control with a switch to swap between stills and video mode. Nearby there’s the familiar ‘i’ button to reveal key settings for adjustment.
Over to the left of the main screen five buttons give access to the menu, white balance, image quality and metering options, with the button button labeled ‘Info’ and providing a route to viewing a selection of settings. These buttons also enable you to zoom in and out of images in playback mode.
Up above, sit the playback and delete buttons.
There are no radical departures and everything seems in a logical place. The biggest difference is with the touch-screen capability which allows you to make selections in the menu with a tap and set AF point, or trip the shutter in live view. It’s very responsive and it makes using the camera that little bit more intuitive.
I’ve only used a pre-production sample of the D7500 in an artificially lit office with low contrast but the 100% field of view pentaprism viewfinder is nice and bright. The rear screen also displays a good level of detail, but I’ll have to wait until I can use it outside in bright light before I can comment on its susceptibility to reflections and ghosting. With 922,000 dots it lacks the detail resolution of the D500’s screen, but I’ve yet to see the two alongside to compare the difference in use.
Hands-on Nikon D7500 Review: Performance
As I mentioned earlier, so far I’ve only been able to use a pre-production D7500 and I haven’t been able to take away or publish any images that I shot with it.
However, as the D7500 shares the same sensor and processing engine as the D500 we can be reasonably confident of its capabilities.
We found that at low sensitivity settings the D500 captures lots of detail and it manages to maintain that detail well up to about ISO 6400. Noise continues to be controlled well up to the top standard sensitivity setting, ISO 51,200, even though coloured speckling becomes visible at 100% on-screen at around ISO 12,800.
As with the D7550, above ISO 51,200 there are five expansion settings. At the first, which is equivalent to ISO 102,400, the D500 does pretty well. However, going above this value introduces some banding so I wouldn’t recommend using it. Checking images on the main screen of the D7500 revealed lots of chroma noise (coloured speckling), a magenta cast and some banding in images I shot at Hi4 and Hi5 (ISO 1,640,000). It may improve before the camera comes to market, but I suspect that the uppermost sensitivity values are suited for those occasions when you just need an image and don’t need to worry about its aesthetic quality – perhaps for evidence gathering.
Recent Nikon DSLRs have had capable automatic white balance and metering systems and I expect the 180,000 pixel RGB sensor in the D7500 will ensure it performs in a similar fashion, but we’ll test both thoroughly to be sure.
Nikon’s 51-point autofocus system also has a good reputation and I’ve used it successfully in low light conditions when shooting moving subjects on many occasions. The addition of Group-area AF mode has proved beneficial in other Nikon DSLRs and I look forward to giving the whole system a thorough test in the not too distant future.
In video and review mode the D7500 uses contrast detection focusing and while I’m told it has been improved (made faster) in comparison with previous systems, it hunted in the low contrast conditions of the meeting room where I was able to use the pre-production sample. It will be interesting to use it more but with no ability to limit focusing speed in video, I expect manual focusing to be the order of the day for serious video work.
Hands-on Nikon D7500 Review: Early verdict
I’ve yet to shoot properly with the Nikon D7500 or examine any images, but I’ve got a good feeling about it. I think it’s the DSLR that many Nikon enthusiasts have been hoping for. The D500 is great, but as a pro-level camera its price puts it out of reach for many. The fact that the D7500 has many of the same components, specifically those that determine image quality, makes it very attractive. Add in the fact that it can shoot at 8fps for up to 50 uncompressed raw files with full focusing and it’s sure to win many fans.