Camera Review: Nikon’s D7500
October 30, 2017
When we reviewed Nikon’s D500 in December of 2016, we saw plenty to praise in this high-end APS-C camera. The D7500 looks to bring many of the praise-worthy characteristics of the D500 into a less expensive package. What’s not to love?
The D7500 features the same 20.9-megapixel image sensor with no optical low-pass filter and a native ISO range of 100-51,200 (expandable to a whopping ISO 1,640,000) as found in the D500.
It parts company with the D500 when it comes to AF points. Where the D500 was jammed with 153 of them, the D7500 has a 51-point autofocusing system with 15 cross-type sensors. The D7500 is also a tad slower than the speedy D500, offering a burst mode of 8 fps in continuous AF for up to 50 RAW images or 100 JPEGs. You do get some new tech, however, such as a new metering sensor. There’s also a new Auto Picture Control function, which analyzes a scene and automatically generates a tone curve within the camera.
The D7500 records 4K movies (3840 x 2160) at 30p and full HD movies at 60p. You can also create 4K time-lapse videos in camera.
You’ll find Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi for image transfers and remote control.
The weather-sealed D7500 will look very familiar to Nikon shooters. It’s durably built and comfortable to shoot with. There’s a 3.2-inch touch display that can tilt out from the body of the camera. It’s responsive and very easy to read even under harsh sun.
At 22 ounces it weighs about the same as Canon’s 80D and is an ounce lighter than Nikon’s own D7200.
The D7500 hails from the same lineage as the D500, so we weren’t surprised by its results. JPEG image quality is excellent and RAW images are very flexible in post, allowing you to recover a fair amount of details in the shadows and highlights.
You can push the D7500 into some very high ISO territory but above 12,800 you’ll be beating back noise and above the native range noise is very difficult to remove without sacrificing details. At the top of the camera’s ISO scale, images turn pink.
The video quality is also excellent, though you do have to cope with a 1.5x crop of the sensor when you start recording video. Autofocusing in video isn’t as responsive as Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF but you can refocus using the touchscreen, which is a nice option. You’ll also get clean HDMI out, and mic and headphone jacks
for audio connections.
At 8 fps, the D7500 clocks in a shade faster than the Canon 80D. We found the autofocusing system to be very accurate when tracking subjects moving across the frame and toward the camera. It’s also better-than-average in low light conditions. While it’s not quite as speedy as the D500 (which clocks in at 10 fps and has an even better AF system), the D7500 was still up to the task of freezing the action during a Little League game.
Battery life clocks in at 950 shots per charge, on par with the 80D and comfortably ahead of any mirrorless alternative. Using Bluetooth/SnapBridge, we enjoyed a steady stream of 2-megapixel images from the D7500 to our smartphone for quick sharing—a feature we think more camera makers should embrace.
In the universe of comparable DSLRs, the D7500 offers 4K recording, which Canon’s 80D inexplicably doesn’t, but it lacks the 80D’s flip-out LCD or the smooth autofocusing in video. The Pentax KP also lacks 4K, but offers comparable low light performance with an excellent in-camera image stabilization system. The D7500 has the KP beat when it comes to speed and autofocusing, however.
On balance, we think the D7500 makes a compelling bid for Nikon shooters who don’t necessarily want to stretch and spend an extra $800 on the D500.
PROS: 4K video recording; SnapBridge mobile image transfers; excellent image quality; weather-sealed build; responsive autofocusing.
CONS: 4K video gets cropped; video AF lags competition.