Nikon D7500 DSLR camera review

This Nikon D7500 ($1,246.95) review is by

Nikon D7500 Review

Earlier this year we had a chance to extensively test the Nikon D7500 and see what it brings to the table and who might be the target audience for this camera.

Less than two years ago we looked at Nikon's previous most advanced member of the D7xxx series - the D7200 and how it compared to the D7100. On this review we shall look at the D7500 vs. the D7200 and try to understand the camera's true place in Nikon's lineup.

Build quality and design

The D7500 is very well built, just like the rest of Nikon’s camera line. Externally the camera is not very different than the D7200, there are some minor changes like moving the stereo mics from the top of the camera (probably to the front but we are not 100% sure), and the ISO button to the top of the camera just like the D500 (which is actually a welcome change). On the downside, Nikon did move the metering button which we don’t appreciate that much – but with limited space, something got to move we guess. The camera also has a deeper grip (nice but the D7200 also feels O.K. to us) and no DOF preview button or option to set one through the menu, if this is something that you are interested in (we never had a use for that and always assigned this button to the ISO sensitivity settings page of our camera anyway).

The biggest external change is the new screen. It is truly fantastic, as good if not better than the one on the D500 and much better than that of the Sony A6500 that we use. It has a tilt function, great viewing angles and very good viewability in bright daylight as well as a really nice touch screen which has been upgraded from the D500 to also control the camera menus.

The camera has a new eye sensor which turns off the screen when you put your eye to the viewfinder but it can be a bit annoying at times when using the monitor and your hand gets in the way but you can turn it off from the menu (here is how).

Nikon finally moved to the common micro USB from its proprietary USB connector (actually called USB Mini-B 8 Pin) on the previous D7XXX cameras. We are still waiting for manufacturers to move to USB-C as a standard, but with Nikon this will take at least another generation (Sony actually just announced the A7R III with both micro USB and USB-C ports which is the first dual USB camera in the industry as far as we know). We also want to see USB charging in DSLRs – something that many mirrorless cameras allow and might finally be an option with USB-C.

Two changes that we do not like that much are the move to a single SD card slot (UHS-I only), down from the dual SD cards of previous D7xxx series cameras and all other advanced Nikon models, as well as the choice of a different battery which gives 15% less official battery life than the D7200 (this one is called the EN-EL15a). That last cahnge is regretful, although the battery life is still very good (do note that many 3’rd party batteries don’t seem to work with this camera – same as with the D500).

Besides these two changes we noticed that the camera has no connections for a battery grip/vertical grip which all previous D7xxx models had, something which apparently got quite a bit of negative reaction from Nikon’s customer base. We also discovered that the top screen is a bit smaller than that of the D7200 but we didn’t find it to be a major drawback.

On the plus side, the camera is a bit lighter than the D7200 (nothing major, about 50 grams give or take) and has fixed metal strap holders instead of those triangular ones that make noise on most other Nikon cameras.

Testing the D7500

We ran a number of tests on the D7500 to see how it performs.

We started be testing image quality in stills compared to the D7200 and the now quite old D7100. The results are very interesting, although not entirely conclusive in our opinion. The D7200 (and the older D7100) has an advantage in terms of resolution and you can see it clearly in the images especially with the D7200. The D7200 also seems to perform more or less as well in terms of noise up to ISO 1600 but from ISO 3200 there is an advantage to the newer D7500 sensor although it isn’t huge and both cameras perform pretty well and don’t seem to break up. We would not use any of these cameras in ISO 6400 if we didn’t have to although the noise level of the D7500 at this high ISO is visibly lower than the two other cameras (the D7100 looks really horrible here).

ISO Tests - the D7100 (left), D7200 (center) and D7500 (right)

ISO 100:

ISO 1600:

ISO 3200:

ISO 6400

We also noticed that the colors of the D7500 are more in tune with the older D7100 and to our eyes seems more accurate than those of the D7200 but this might be just a glitch or something wrong in our particular set of testing (although we checked the RAW files and it looks the same).

Color test: the D7500 seems to have more accurate colors than the D7200 (but maybe there was something wrong with our test)

The second test that we have done with the camera has to do with the shooting speed and buffer. The D7500 shoots 2 frames a second faster than the D7200 at full resolution (no crop) and we did test the buffer and found it filled up after 42 RAW (14BIT) images on the D7500 and only 22 RAW images on the D7200 - certainly a big improvement.

Our short AF test with the 105mm f/2.8 lens wasn’t really conclusive but from our actual use of the camera we have seen a pretty similar speed to the older D7200 and in general different lenses can have an even bigger influence on AF performance than (relatively similar) bodies.

D7500 in the field

We had the D7500 for over a month and we used it with a number of Nikon lenses as well as the new Sigma 100-400mm lens which we recently reviewed and loved. In general, the D7500 performed well although we did run into a few “anomalies”.

The AF system for stills shooting functioned nicely most of the time, but on a few occasions and with different Nikon and 3’rd party lenses we did get some miss focuses that we don’t think should have happened (there can be many reasons for that so we shall leave that one open).

Missed focus example

The camera’s new 180k-pixel RGB metering sensor (taken from the D500) didn’t impress us and we tend to feel that in some situations the camera has been underexposing when it shouldn't.

What is certainly not open to debate is the video on this camera. While the 4K quality out of the camera is very good, the AF tracking in video is unusable by any standards with tons of hunting (just like the rest of Nikon’s current lineup). We continue to see this as Nikon’s biggest shortcoming in today’s market, one they might not be able to resolve in their DSLRs anytime soon. Bottom line – if you want usable video from this camera – MF is more or less your only choice.

The D7500 has the same 2.2x crop in 4K video as the D500 (something the new D850 finally eliminated). This is usually a bad thing because you need very wide angle lenses to shoot even at normal angles, but we did discover that for getting a bit more reach and for some macro video shots it can actually be pretty useful.

A small yet important advantage of the D7500 over the D7200 is the ability to change the aperture in both LV video mode and during actual video recording. This is something all Nikon cameras should allow (just like all Canon DSLRs do) including the D3XXX and D5XXX series cameras. Another small but nice change with the D7500 is that the Info is displayed by default on the back screen, but you can turn it off if you like from the menu – this is similar to what we had on our old Nikon D5000.

The D7500 like all new Nikon cameras has built-in wireless capabilities and includes Bluetooth 4.1. This allows for SnapBridge support, although we didn’t have a chance to really play with it to see if it improved since our original – and not too positive experience with the app we had on the D500 last year.


The D7500 is a perplexing camera in our view. It takes a few of the D500 strongest features including the sensor, processor, and screen (which is even somewhat improved) and places them in a smaller and far less expensive body, creating a very capable action/sports stills camera.

The perplexing aspect is what Nikon decided to remove from the camera. We can understand the choice to stay with the existing AF system of the D7200 which isn’t half bad (for stills), but removing the second SD card slot, the grip option and probably the biggest drawback in our view – the elimination of legacy lens support (no option for non-cup lenses on this camera) is just taking the camera too far down in our view.

Some people went as far as to say that Nikon’s choices with this camera makes it no longer worthy of the D7xxx series title and instead it should have been called "D6XXX something". We actually feel that the proper name should have been “baby D500” because this is what it is in essence (just like the D500 is basically a baby D5).

In terms of pricing – at the moment the D7500 sells for around $1250 – we expect this to go down a bit in the next few months to around $1100 which will be significantly less than the D500 that is currently selling for around $1900 (the D7200 currently sells for around $1000 mind you).

At the end of the day we will say this – if you are shooting sports/action or just want the fast frame rates and large buffer of the D500 and don’t want to spend close to $2K on that camera, the D7500 is a very decent option as long as you understand its limitations. For the rest us though, the D7200 will continue to be our recommended mid range all around APS-C DSLR for stills shooters – at least until Nikon will come up with a worthy successor.

*** Gallery: A few examples shot with the Nikon D7500 on several different lenses including the Nikon 105mm f/2.8, Nikon 10-20mm and the Sigma 100-400mm:

*** Our video review of the D7500

*** Our original article can be found here.

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here.

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  • Delmar Mineard Jr

    Nice review and pictures. Thanks. Good assessment on where it fits in the line.

  • HD10

    The rear screen of the D500 is of much higher resolution than that in the D7500.

  • Dave White

    garbage review, i have never had one focus issue with my d7500, even in tricky situations. your images are all looking to be a mess as well. what knock off lens were you using for these sports pics? they look like shit as do the color tone?
    Also the camera does need for YOU to get used to the new metering system it is very sensitive so you will not always be shooting matrix, you need to learn spot and center with this camera.. it does not blow out like the d500 that is very false.. again learn the camera!!!
    even with other riders, a wall, and cars in the background to trick focus my d7500 nails it everytime

    • Spy Black

      Although some of your criticism may be justified, some isn’t. The OOF kid on scooter is the product of the fencing behind him. AF systems love patterns like that to lock on to. I bet if you try to shoot under those conditions you’ll get the same result.

      • Dave White

        Wrong I have hundreds of pics with fencing on my d7500 at skate parks also shot with the 70-300 and 80-200
        It never locked on the fence.
        not everyone can shoot action sports this reviewer is clearly very inexperienced. The colors I’m seeing of his images are also of bad processing or a cheap low grade lens.

        • Allan

          Thanks for posting your experience with the D7500.

          But what is not acceptable is how you present your differences with the reviewers. We can have an informed, intelligent discussion about your disagreements with the reviewers, without insults and condescension.

          Some people might have had similar positive experiences with the D7500 as you have had. But they might not post here so as not appear to be agreeing with the tone of your comments.

          Your comments will have more impact and believability if presented without aspersions.

          Seriously, I would be curious to see several of your pics with skaters at skate parks with fencing. A picture is worth a thousand words.

        • Statements like ‘wrong’ won’t help you get your point across they just annoy people. Spy black was correct, af modules will tend to snap to high contrast areas or textures, so sometimes it can loose focus tracking and lock onto a back ground or another feature, af isn’t infalable.

    • Aldo

      Douche alert!

      • Dave White

        No fact alert just cause a experienced shooter makes a comment on a inexperienced persons review does not mean I’m a duche. I shoot with the d7500 almost daily. As well as my d300 d700 and Sony a6000

        • There are respectful ways to say what you said. Your audience is focussing on your character shortcomings which have completely overshadowed your excellent points.

        • karayuschij

          So you have four hands?

    • Kivi Shaps

      I also have not had any focus issues.

  • Spy Black

    There’s no mystery of what Nikon did with the D7xxx line. It’s merely been relegated to consumer status. If you need more of what you were used to in the D7xxx line, Nikon now wants you to buy a D500, and that’s that.

    • The D7200/D7100 was a fantastic option for landscape enthusiasts on a budget who also need a set-up compact enough for travel.

      I eagerly awaited the D7200 successor with improved dynamic range, a flippy screen and highlight-weighted metering to replace my D7100, but when I learned they were going to use the D500 sensor – which is compromised in DR, not to mention less MP I feel just to make it easier on the D500 buffer – I knew I wasn’t going to cut it. I’m now left with (albeit excellent) DX glass but no clear upgrade path to get the latest camera features I’d find game-changing in the field :/

      I eventually see me going over to Fuji now when my D7100 feels too left behind or dies. XT-3 or XT-4 possibly.

      • Spy Black

        Pentax has very good cameras as well. A bit limited in modern lenses, but they make great use of Sony sensors coupled with their processing engines.

        I’m not sure how much 4 losing megs will hurt in landscape photography however.

        • Thanks for the detailed response 🙂 I have toyed with the idea of the D7200 for the slightly better DR and the fixed banding issues, but I really wanted that articulated screen for getting down low and highlight priority metering (that wasn’t on the D7200 right?) as I shoot AP mostly and am always dialing in exp comp to preserve highlights. Another great addition would have been an in-built viewfinder cover (so I can ditch the roll of electrical tape). If I can pick up a second hand one and can make most of the money back selling the D7100 then I guess it’s pretty painless 🙂

          Funnily enough, I was looking at Pentax very recently… good weatherproofing and in-camera stabalisation?

    • Pippo

      Yes, my story.

  • Nelson L

    The ISO shots of the spools…is it me or…does the D7200 shots have greater detail??? If im not drunk and that’s true, im a happy guy!

    • Roger S

      I agree with you, very much so — and I haven’t opened the Bushmill’s yet, so I’m pretty sure I’m not drunk.

  • Mehdi R

    Strange, I’ve never had any focus issues with D7500. Especially 3D focusing is super accurate and way better than D7200. You won’t see any significant weight and dimensions difference between D7200 and D7500 on paper, but when you hold it in your hands you’ll be pleased with lighter and slimmer body especially deeper grip. The D7500 is fast, much much faster than D7200. And yes D7500’s out of camera images are more accurate and natural, My only complain is second card slot removal.

    D7500+Nikon 200-500mm f1/5.6

    • Naa

      Well, to be fair, a camera focuses at infinity on a moon, any camera that can’t focus on the moon has some serious issues lol.

  • I think there needs to be more detail in the review to back up some statements, like why is the metering not as good as they hoped? Matrix or spot? What scenarios? Iv never used a camera in a my life that can meter a scene how i wish it to 100% of the time, it is after all a guide, there is no such thing as a perfect exposure. But certainly some cameras tend to over or under exposure and it’s not unusual for people to permanently dial in compensation.
    Feels to me that this camera is the one the internet loves to hate, I haven’t shot with it but seems very capable on paper at least. Nikon put the 7000 line back where is probably should have been in the pro sumer, enthusiast world, the d500 if you want a pro line.The only thing that would upset me with the 7500 is the lack of a second card, but as i only use that slot on my 7100 for the occasional paid shoot and wedding, it’s not a big issue. If you make money for your shoots or cannot have the risk of loosing shots, get a d500 or d750.

  • Samuel Westknee

    no surprises here – d7200 is just flat out better than d7500 (period)

    • Kivi Shaps

      disagree. Image quality is much better.

  • HD10

    The D7500 is a continuation of the D70, D80 and D90.

    The D7000, D7100, D7200 broke from Nikon’s product design and essentially filled in but did not replace the D300 until Nikon released the D500 as the D300 replacement. The line started by the D7000 continued in the D7100 ended in the D7200. There is no more.

    Nikon has reinstated the D300 and D90 combo with the D500 and D7500. I personally welcome this.

  • Wild Treck

    I wish they would include wide angle or landscape shots. Lately Nikon reviews have been avoiding wide angles every single time in example either by pulling back on a 70-200mm or going to 24mm on an 18-50 kit lens that and or crop the edges from a prime lens image. Doesn’t make sense to cut off the people on the ends of a family reunion group shot, now does it.

  • Kivi Shaps

    Coming from a D7000, the image quality is a big jump forward. I am very impressed.

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