Review: Nikon D7500

Editor’s Note: for the Nikon D7500 review, I thought I’d try something a bit different. Our Kickstarter manager, Justin, was going on a European vacation trip. And so he asked to use the camera. Justin isn’t a photographer; and the people that may buy the Nikon D7500 are probably amateurs who would use it for fun in the same way that he did. So I commissioned Justin to write the review. And so the subheading of this review is “Chris is a very trusting friend.” This review is targeted at photographers who have no idea what they should get. As we know, there are photographers out there who simply just buy the best camera they can afford; which I’ve never found to be a winning strategy.

I came to Chris before a big vacation, and asked a simple question, “Do you have a good quality camera a total novice could use that needs a review?” Twenty minutes later, he handed me the Nikon D7500 and a Nikkor lens, set up a few features, and said, “You’ll want to keep the Fstop to about 4.5. Have fun.” Boy did I. This thing traveled with me to four countries in two weeks, and worked hard. According to some of the wonderful information I read on the Phoblographer (Meta. Cool.), Nikon released this as a “little brother” to the D500. I will fully admit, I have never used the D500, but the D7500 gave me plenty of options as is, and a great deal of power.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Solid Build
  • Incredible Battery life
  • Control Wheels and Thumb ‘Multi Selector’ changes setting quickly.
  • Touchscreen to preview images, and control finer settings
  • Wi-fi and Bluetooth integrated
  • Burst function works wonderfully
  • Much more affordable than the D500

Cons

  • Needed to remove lens to carry in small messenger bags
  • Probably overkill for anyone short of Semi-Professionals.

Equipment Used

The Nikon D7500 was used with the Nikkor 18-140mm f3.5-5.6 G ED GR lens.

Tech Specs

Taken from our news post

  • The D7500 is fast enough to keep pace with the quickest athletes or animals; capable of shooting at up to 8 frames-per-second (fps) with full AF/AE, with an expanded buffer of up to 50 RAW/NEF (14-bit lossless compressed) or 100 JPEG images.
  • Nikon’s proven 51-point AF system covers a large portion of the frame. A Group-Area AF function has been added, which is a preferred focus mode for those shooting fast action.
  • The slim, tilting 3.2” 922K-dot touchscreen LCD can be used to easily control, compose and play back, even while mounted to a tripod. The menus can also be easily navigated using the touchscreen function.
  • Like the Nikon D5 and D500, the 180K RGB Metering system is used with the Advanced Scene Recognition System to help ensure balanced exposures and fantastic color rendition in nearly any shooting situation.
  • Lightweight DX form factor allows for an agile, comfortable body with deep grip andcomprehensive weather sealing. The monocoque body is durable and approximately 5% lighter than the D7200 and 16% lighter than the D500.
  • Shoot all day and well into the night with up to approximately 950 shots per charge (CIPA standard).
  • Like the D500 and D5, the Auto AF Fine Tune feature when in Live View allows users to automatically calibrate autofocus with specific lenses if needed.
  • Through the Retouch menu, users can access an in-camera Batch Process RAW Converter that can handle multiple images to optimize workflow.
  • The camera’s pop-up flash can act as a Commander for remote Speedlights, while the camera is also optimized to function with line-of-sight using SB-500, SB-700 and SB-5000. It can even support the radio frequency control system of the SB-5000 when using the optional WR-R10 accessory.
  • New Auto Picture Control function analyzes the picture scene and automatically generates a tone curve within the camera.
  • Images can automatically be downloaded to a compatible smartphone, and the camera can also be triggered remotely using Built-in Bluetooth1 and Wi-Fi2

Ergonomics

In the hand, the D7500 feels solid. I was equally impressed and overwhelmed by my options right from the get go. I was worried I might end up pressing the wrong button while in use and the thing would become sentient and laugh at me. But as I spent time with it, I grew much more comfortable with the body. From the front, we have a sub command dial, two custom function buttons, and the lens release and autofocus switch.

From the top left, there is the knob that controls the camera, integrated below it is shot type (where the fantastic burst shot setting can be found). The touch screen pivots. The review and delete buttons, along with the hard keys running down the left hand side of the screen, make the use of the touchscreen menu quick and less painful. Lastly, on top, the on switch, movie record, and ISO button stand out.

On the right side is where the focal point selector (which does double duty as a menu navigator) and Main Command Dial are located.

It took me a shamefully long time to remember that the ISO button was there. Not because it was hidden, but because, as a novice, I didn’t even know to look for it.

Build Quality

The D7500 held up. I took it on five planes in my carry on, walked through four cities in three countries, in 103 degree Fahrenheit heat in Rome, etc. During my travels, the camera and lens were in an unpadded bag wrapped in a T-shirt. It survived traveling across the Atlantic and into Europe and kept on clicking. As far as durability does, the camera survived light rain (drizzle) in London. During this time, I kept using the camera with no shielding and it was totally fine. In my klutziness, I walked it into a doorframe at one point and the camera took a bump. It simply made a thunk but it kept on working.

Ease of Use

I will fully admit, day one with the camera, I went outside and just started pressing buttons blindly. I expected the day to be a waste and a learning experience. I turned dials and fiddled with the lens. I got close to things and I stood far away.

I wound up preferring Shutter Priority mode. Again, as a novice, I did not have enough experience to even use the ISO button (it took me three days to realize it was there). It allowed me to get the most out of the camera with the least input. Keeping to Chris’s recommendation to “Keep the F stop at about 4.5”, I let the camera do the math and metering for me. I did find that I like to push the shutter speed a little past where it recommended, giving a bit more contrast in camera.

I really wish I had had a little more experience with all of my options from day one. That leads back to one of the cons of the camera. For someone new to the scene, it can be overwhelming. The Burst function was probably the best little surprise of the entire test.

I found the viewfinder difficult to pick the exact setting for the diopter due to my vision. In real life use though, I had no problems using the camera as far as tracking the flying birds with AF continuous tracking. I do have one complaint, the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity seemed clunky. I wanted to connect my phone to the camera and have the images auto download over Bluetooth. The D7500 requires you to download a specific App for your smart device and sync through it. My tablet was too old to be supported, though my phone was able to do so. I had an issue or two with auto download. I lost one picture to the ether, and one came through like this-

I didn’t use the Nikon D7500’s Touchscreen navigation until day four when I accidentally changed the picture quality. But using it was very straightforward. The menus were easy to navigate and simple. I didn’t shoot in manual simply because I didn’t really understand how the light meter works.

Focusing

The D7500 autofocus is fantastic. In every case, the camera made up for my lack of experience and allowed me to get to the heart of the photo I wanted. I couldn’t ask for better. Also in low lighting, the autofocusing has no real trouble. I always either focus and recomposed or chose to move the autofocusing point where I wanted. With so many points though, it was often faster to just choose the point.

Image Quality

Amazing. Just amazing.

Conclusions

This is a fantastic camera. The only snag I hit was the bluetooth connectivity. There is a pet peeve in the photography community about hearing, “Wow, great shot, you must have a fantastic camera!” implying that the photographer’s skill has nothing to do with it. I would say this camera is a great one to allow a new or intermediate photographer’s skill to grow to meet the challenge of the product. I could use this thing every day for a year and still be learning. It survived a trip that my luggage did not, and gave me the opportunity to take photos I will cherish forever.

Why would I buy this? It opened the door to a hobby I never thought I would enjoy. My phone isn’t as great vs the camera, it allowed me to explore Italy, keep the memories, and showed me how and where I can grow as a photographer. If I bought it I would actually take it out with me on photography journeys and photo walks vs just using my phone. A tutorial setting of some sort could be very nice for more novice photographers (Step 1, viewfinder, step 2, this is how you focus, etc.). I think a very basic overview of automatic shooting would be incredibly helpful to a more novice photographer.