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There are speedy, sports-loving cameras. And steady landscape shooters. And video-focused cameras. And then there’s the camera that looks at all of those tasks and says, “Sure, I can do that.” With an eight fps burst mode, snappy auto-focus, 4K video, and sharp, colorful images, the Nikon D7500 is an all-around performer that can handle a number of different activities with grace.
The Nikon D7500 side-steps right in-between the budget, tilt-screen D5600 and the ten fps, sportster D500. Now the second-best option in Nikon’s APS-C line-up, the camera retails for around $1,200, body-only, while bridging the gap between the D5000 series and D500 more than any the previous option. The camera is giving some pause, however, because while the D7500 offers more speed and better video, the camera actually has a few megapixels less than the predecessor, the D7200, and trades dual SD card slots for a tilting LCD screen.
The Nikon D7200 is my main camera, used for everything from weddings and portraits to travel, so I was eager to see how the replacement stacks up — here’s where the camera hits the mark (and a few misses) in our Nikon D7500 review.
Body and Design
At first glance, the Nikon D7500 appears almost identical to the camera before it, but, there are a few noticeable and important differences. For the first time, Nikon has brought the tilting touchscreen from the D5000 series into the D7000 series. The screen is a hinge-style, which means it doesn’t face completely forward but offers a good range to make shots at difficult angles easier to capture.
The D7500 also moves from two slots to a single SD card slot, likely a sacrifice made to accommodate that tilt screen. That means there’s no option to record images to two cards at once and you may be swapping cards sooner. D7200 users will also notice a dedicated ISO button at the top of the camera and an extra function button at the front.
Size-wise, holding the D7500 is very similar to shooting with the D7200. The camera weighs 22.6 ounces and measures 5.4 by 4.1 by 2.9 inches. The camera is heavier than the most basic DSLRs (and of course most mirrorless cameras) but is smaller than the full-frame options. While the camera has a bit more heft than the D3000 or D5000 series', the camera is still comfortable to use for long periods — and the larger size makes griping the camera easier on the hands. The camera also doesn’t have that awkward imbalance that happens when you pair a lightweight camera with a heavy lens.
Some of that extra weight comes from the D7500’s weather sealing. Along with helping ward off rain, the weather sealing also gives the camera a sturdier, less plastic feel in the hands, complemented by the subtle texture on the grip.
One of the biggest advantages with going with one of Nikon’s two higher-priced APS-C DSLRs versus the two lower ones is the abundance of physical controls. Very few adjustments require digging through the menu, and the menu is well-organized when digging into it is necessary. Alongside that tilting LCD screen, the back controls include menu options, as well as shortcuts for metering, file type, and white balance, and also, live view controls and the option to lock the focus or exposure.
At the top of the camera, a second screen displays the shooting settings. Since this second screen requires less battery than the back LCD screen, it’s always easy to see the shooting options since it doesn’t go into sleep mode. Above that screen is a dedicated video button, ISO shortcut, and exposure compensation. Opposite the viewfinder and flash, a mode dial sits on top of a shooting control for adjusting burst speed, a self-timer, and mirror-lock-up (for long exposures).
At the front, a switch offers easy swaps from auto to manual focus, paired with a button shortcut for adjusting auto-focus mode. Shortcuts for bracketing, flash, and two function buttons also rest at the front of the camera.
Those controls, combined with the dual control wheels, make adjusting settings easy to do — in fact, once you’re acquainted with the camera, most of the adjustments can be done without taking your eye from the viewfinder. For example, if you press and hold that auto-focus button at the front, you can use one control wheel to switch the focus area and the other to adjust from single focus to continuous.
The abundance of physical controls makes it easy to quickly adjust the camera’s settings, and, once acquainted with all the controls, making adjustments in the dark or without pulling the camera from your face will be effortless. Those controls are a positive for experienced enthusiasts and pros, but beginners may feel a bit lost in all of the different options and be more comfortable with the simpler scheme in the 3000 and 5000 series'.
User Experience and Performance
Speed is by far the biggest improvement over the D7200, stepping up to an eight fps burst, a respectable speed for the price point. The D7500 can keep up that speed for about 40 frames before slowing, even when shooting RAW. With RAW files, after that initial burst slows, the pace slows to about two fps if you don’t give the camera a break to catch up.
Auto-focus is also snappy, with single shots at a quarter of a second apart, only a tenth of a second slower than shooting without auto-focus. Like the predecessor, the camera does a good job focusing, though performance can vary based on which lens you pair with the body.
The D7500 offers the usual slew of shooting modes DSLR users expect, including all four manual modes, auto and scene modes, as well as a collection of special effects or digital filters, like miniature, selective color, and silhouette. Flash and exposure bracketing are also included, along with interval shooting for time lapses, and multiple exposure mode.
The D7500 is both fast and easy to use. Despite a few controls switching locations, it’s a seamless transition from the D7200, with a quick re-introduction of the new controls. The touchscreen makes quick work of adjusting the focus area, and surprisingly is easy to use to access menu options as well, without fat-fingering the wrong icon. I picked up one of the first D5000 models with a tilting screen specifically for that tilt screen, but ended up being a bit disappointed at how slow the live view mode was. The speed has stepped up quite a bit from those early models. Though not quite up to the level of the optical viewfinder, the screen performance is edging closer to what you’d expect from an upper-end model, which could be why Nikon waited until now to add the tilt screen.
While the speed and performance are exactly what I was expecting (and hoping for), the connectivity presents some issues. I could not get the Bluetooth to connect to my iPhone 7, even after several tries. I didn’t have an issue with the Wi-Fi on the D7200, but the Wi-Fi on the D7500 serves as a secondary connection and you can’t just connect to the Wi-Fi if the Bluetooth isn’t working. The D7500 isn’t the first camera I’ve had trouble connecting, which makes me think there could be an iOS issue to blame, but iOS users should be forewarned that at the least the Bluetooth is a headache to get set up and at the most, may not connect at all.
The Nikon D7500 may be a few megapixels off from the D7200, but I can’t tell which photos came from which camera right off the bat, since the new camera continues the series tradition of excellent image quality for the price point.
Sharpness will vary based on the lens paired with the body, but paired with an 18-140mm VR kit lens and a number of prime and zoom lenses from my own kit, the images are sharp, with well-defined edges. That sharpness lends a high level of detail to the photos, as well.
Color is generally accurate as well, with good skin tones, though the color profiles can be adjusted in-camera to start with a look closest to the vision you have in mind.
Dropping a few megapixels helps not just with the speed, but will get the most quality at higher ISOs. I was surprised that detail didn’t start to fall off until ISO 3200, but I wouldn’t hesitate to push the ISO to 6400 in low light.
With 4K video, the video quality sees a step up, as well. Colors are bright and detail is excellent. Shooting in the AF-C mode allows for using auto-focus during video. The 4K video is limited to ten minutes, however, so you’ll need to step down the quality for longer shots or break up the shoot into segments.
The Nikon D7500 is one of the company’s best APS-C cameras, and the image quality lives up to the camera’s price point. While I haven’t had hands-on experience with them, DxO Mark scores suggests the D7500 edges out the Canon EOS 80D and Sony A6300 slightly in image quality. The megapixels may be a few less than the predecessor, but image quality is right on par with the D7200 and matches or outperforms other cameras with similar price points.
The Nikon D7500 is a solid performer that can tackle a number of different subjects with ease. The D7500 doesn’t have the speed of the D500, but offers excellent performance for a lower price and provides excellent image quality from the APS-C category, as well. The D7500 (finally) gets the tilting touchscreen from the lower-priced D5000 series.
The D7500 feels more like a sibling to the D7200 than a replacement. While the fewer megapixels will help give the newer version a boost in performance at high ISOs, side-by-side you can’t tell which image came from which camera. The D7500 has the better speed and the tilting touchscreen, while the D7200 has a slightly higher resolution and those dual SD card slots. After using both, I wish I had the D7500 because of the speed, but the difference isn’t quite enough to make me want to spend the cash to upgrade, when my D7200 is still shooting just fine.
The D7500 is an excellent addition to Nikon’s line-up, particularly for that enhanced speed and tilting touchscreen. Image quality continues to impress and the sturdy design fits right in. The Bluetooth connectivity can cause a few headaches and the D7500 lacks the dual SD card slots of the earlier version.
Listing for $1,250 body-only, the Nikon D7500 is competitively priced. There are a few Canon cameras at a similar price point with similar features, but none of them have stepped up to 4K video yet. The Canon EOS 77D has fewer megapixels, but faster performance. Nikon’s own D500 offers even faster ten fps bursts and more auto-focus points, but at a higher $1,600 price point.
The Nikon D7500 is an excellent option for advanced enthusiasts or budding pros, and can handle a variety of different shooting situations with ease, including 4K video and fast-action.