Nikon's New D7500 Shares Much of D500's DNA

Nikon's New D7500 Shares Much of D500's DNA

Probably the worst-kept secret on the Internet in the last few days, the Nikon D7500, was officially announced on Wednesday. There’s a lot of D500 DNA in the D7500, which is not a bad thing, since that’s Nikon’s flagship DX body, and this model sits right below in the midrange of the lineup.

While a quick glance will make it seem like the D7500 is down on megapixels compared to its direct ancestor, the D7200 (the new model has 20.9-megapixels compared to 24.2-megapixels on the old), keen eyes will spot that the sensor and Expeed 5 processor are the same as the Nikon D500, which should help noise performance and overall speed of the camera. Native ISO range has been expanded to 100-51,200, again owing to the DX sensor shared with the D500.

Also pulled from the Nikon D500: 180,000-pixel RGB metering, up from the 2,016-pixel sensor found in the D7200. This should allow for more accurate exposure and better autofocus tracking.

Burst speed is up to 8 fps for up to 50 raw frames, compared to the 6 fps for the D7200. Sports shooters, rejoice, that’s only one short of Nikon’s previous D3 full-frame flagship model not that long ago, and in this case at a $1,249.95 (body only) price compared to north of $4,000 on that older camera’s release. You can also get kit with the 18-140mm VR kit lens for $1,749.95.

While perhaps the announcement may not have been a surprise, the features thrown in for video shooters certainly are. There’s now a tilting LCD screen with touch functionality, and 4K UHD (at 30/25/24p) and 1080p Full HD video options. Unfortunately, the screen is a lower resolution model compared to the D500: 922k versus 2.4m dots.

Power aperture control makes a first appearance in the D7xxx line so you don’t have to go out of live view to change apertures, and there’s now a 4K time-lapse mode. There's a headphone jack in addition to the microphone jack, as in the previous model. No word on whether video autofocus has improved to match Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF found in many of its DSLRs.

Strobe shooters will be pleased to know that the D7500 has support for Nikon’s relatively new wireless radio flash system when paired with a WR-R10 and an SB-5000 Speedlight.

While the camera gains speed and sensor improvements trickled down from the Nikon D500, sadly it doesn’t inherit its prodigious autofocus system. It soldiers on with the 51-point AF unit from the D7200, though it gains group autofocus in this iteration. Also in the downer column is the elimination of the dual card slots found in the D7200; You’ll find just one in this model. This was arguably one of the biggest advantages over its nearest competitor, the Canon 80D (although in this generation, 4K video may be the big advantage over the 80D).

Of course, the requisite Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connections that have been making their way across Nikon’s lineup are included for functionality with the SnapBridge app.

Availability is listed for summer 2017, but retailers are already taking pre-orders.

In the meantime, you can check out the product tour here:

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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Wait...what? I was sooo excited for this release, but no dual card slot? That is one of my favorite features of my D7000 & D7100...why Nikon, why!? Hopefully the D7200 price drops now, man that's disappointing.

Nikon Canada's response on twitter as to the reason for the removal of the second card slot: "To make the D7500 as small and light as possible while making room for the new internal components, a single card slot was used."

Although it has a few "new" features, a closer examination reveals Nikon has "dumbed down" the D7xxx series with this camera, towards the D5xxx and D3xxx level. It doesn't support a battery grip, it no longer supports Ai and Ai-S lenses. It has a lower total number of shots per battery, one card slot that ONLY accepts UHS-1 cards, and no NFC, among others. It's clear Nikon wants to draw a definitive line between consumer and professional models.

Nice break down.

Yeah, it definitely seems like Nikon (and other big companies) are no longer organically omitting features. Seems like they are just trying not to cannibalize sales of the D500, which is valid, but why not just omit the 7xxx line and drop the price on the D500 a touch?

I ran out of patience waiting for this and about a month ago picked up a refurbished D500 for a little more money. I'm confident I made the right choice now.

The big selling points on this camera are the frame rate (with much larger buffer), the faster EXPEED 5 processor, the tilt/touch LCD, and 4k video. The AF system has a small update with the addition of Group AF.

While the D500 was designed as a higher end action camera for DX, the D7500 is an all around camera. It has on camera flash, good ISO performance, lighter weight, etc.

The change in battery performance is driven by CIPA standards for flash utilization and the larger reserve needed because of the bigger buffer. The buffer needs the ability to write 50 images at full power before the camera shuts down.

There are some complaints about the single SD card slot, but most amateur photographers are not using the second slot. ISO performance is very good - but we are already near theoretical limits. The lack of the battery grip bothers some, but many grip users were buying third party grips so Nikon has just stopped producing a grip and is leaving it to third parties.

I'm curious as to why the SD card is so important and how you use it today? For professional work, I use the second slot for backup on my D800E. For wildlife, I use it for overflow on my D500 but could just as easily carry a second card. Cards are large enough that it's rare to need a second card. It can be convenient to use a second slot for video or small JPEG files, but that's a small portion of the market. Having a second card is not necessary for most users, but adds $100 or more at retail to the price to every camera.

Overall, this release nicely fills an important price point with a very good camera. There are plenty of options for people who need two SD card slots, faster frame rate, grip, etc. But it's nice to keep the cost down and not include those features in this camera.

This camera is perfect for the wildlife or sports photographer who wanted a cheaper alternative to the D500. It's a good all purpose camera in the D7x00 line. It's probably not an upgrade for most D7200 owners, but its a good choice for D7100 and certainly for D7000 owners. It's well positioned for upgrades from D3x00 series and D5x00 series cameras. It's also light enough to compete with mirrorless options and is a much better action camera.