Nikon D7500 review – a traditional DSLR as quick as light

The Nikon D7500 can be characterized quite quickly and unambiguously: it is a truly traditional DSLR camera packed with modern technology. Its speed is amazing, as well as its ability to work at higher ISO values ​​- making it an interesting choice for action-oriented (and advanced) photographers.

Nikon D7500
Nikon D7500 on an official photo.

You might be confused by the word “traditional” DSLR in one of the previous sentences – yet is is hard to come up with a better definition of what actually NIkon D7500 stands for: it is just simply one of the most advanced and most sophisticated “old fashioned” cameras with APS-C chip.

It will be loved among traditional photographers because of an unprecedented number of different settings, relatively compact body and some really great parameters, including speed of 8 fps and advanced memory cache.

This model is a follow-up to its predecessor, the Nikon D7200 (from 2015). There is a big gap in the numerical range – after 7200 we are getting 7500. Well, Nikon wants us to know that the leap forward is so dramatic that also the number has to be dramatically higher.

And is this leap forward really so huge? Yes and no.

No, because – despite all this progress – it’s just “just” another of the top DSLR capable of shot with great image quality (yet as good as many other much cheaper competitors).

And yes, at the same time the leap forward is really huge – especially to those able to appreciate is speed.

Fool moon
Fool moon as shot by Nikon D7500 with a 70-300mm lens (cropped).

Nikon D7500 and lighting speed

Speed ​​is really the most important thing to point out on this camera. The Nikon D7500 can shoot at the speed of up to 8 frames per second, which is really impressive. It can really change into “a machine gun” producing action shots with extraordinary ease…

Nikon D7500 speed
Nikon D7500 can deliver amazing sequences in lighting speed…

The camera is able to handle up to 100 frames in JPG or 50 in raw, all in just one shot. And yes, it really works great – I did not experience what is quite normal with pretty much any cheaper models: that the system is simply not able to store more photos in a row and “freezes” for a while until it saves the previous photos on the card… It could really be annoying…

Many can argue that competitors from the same category (notably Canon 80D) offer almost the same – 7 frames per second. Yes, it is true – but still: the experience of amazing speed and the smoothness really impressed me a lot.

Of course, we should also note the 51-point AF system – it works really reliably, just like other key parameters including exposure metering which is handled by e special exposure sensor, a separate “chip” with a 180,000 pixels.

Nikon D7500 test
Yes, the AF system works just great – full resolution photo.

We could spend a lot of time describing all the technological advantages of Nikon D7500, but one line is enough: in fact, is is a more affordable version of the amazing flagship Nikon D500 (both camera share a 20.9 megapixel sensor).

How to shoot with ISO 1 640 000?

When the first informations about D500 and D7500 were released, experienced photographers welcomed the “surprising” resolution of 20.9 megapixels as the beginning of the end of the “megapixel races” – eg. endless attempts of companies to persuade customers that more pixels means better photos. But that’s not the way it works – chips with 24 MPs sometimes have a bit more noise than we would like to see…

The relatively low resolution of Nikon D7500 is a key for achieving of of the most visible and defining feature of the camera: its amazing results in high ISO values. It can operate up to ISO 1,640,000 (yes! more than one and a half million). In indeed sounds like science fiction.

Well, let’s just say right away – the huge ISO is just an advertising slogan. Photos shot at these values ​​are really terrible, as you can see on the test picture. I was bit disappointed, but Nikon calls this value H5 which actually might be taking as a warning. Since nothing above H2 is normally worth mentioning when using other cameras and even H1 means “hey, you can shoot, but you might not like the results!”

Nikon D7500 ISO test
Nikon D7500 and ISO 1.640.000… Well… Original unedited photo.

While playing with the wild ISO values, however, one piece of information should not be lost or overlooked: yes, Nikon D7500’s overall performance at low light levels is really great, or excellent.

From what I have seen recently, I can think of only full frame Canon D5 mark IV matching the results, but It’s a fairly unfair comparison (bigger chip means always less troubles with noise). So well done, Nikon!

The last ISO is 51,200 (you have to use Hi1 etc after it) so as usually, one step lower (25,600) means last value for really good results – the noise is really tolerable at this level.

Nikon D7500 test
Nikon D7500 can deliver nice landscape shots, but many other camera can do just the same. Original unedited photo.

But at the same time, if we look at everything from the other side, the results on H3 (409,600) are actually surprisingly good – recently (about 10-15 years ago) we were glad that the films or slides do not have much noise on ISO 400… And now we can get decent results when shooting on ISO 400 000! Amazing…

Combined with speed, these impressive results are crucial for those who want to have great camera for shooting sport – or generally anything requiring working on moving subjects in low light. For them, Nikon D7500 has definitely a lot to offer.

Nikon D7500 and endless menus

The already mentioned “traditional look and feel” means that Nikon D7500 offers almost infinite number of different settings – both in menus and on the screen, as well as in buttons and rollers. Almost everything can be moved to function keys, reorganized, fine-tuned, adjusted.

Endless menu offers possibility to set many parameters that nobody will ever use since they make not much sense in real life. That’s, by the way, the reason why I am generally warning beginners that if they start with this camera, I can guarantee they will be lost and desperate.

Nikon D7500 test
Missing dedicated exposure compensation roller is a big fail of Nikon D7500… Original unedited photo.

Do all this buttons and rollers make Nikon D7500 a great camera to use and operate? Not necessarily…

I personally cannot accept that a camera in this high-end category does not have a dedicated exposure compensation roller – which is extremely important and can be nowadays found on much cheaper Canon models…

Why do I have to push the +/i button and use an universal roller? It is just hard to understand (yes, it can be fixed via menu, but I still consider it to be a big fail). Sure, I guess I can get used to it, but it belongs to the relatively fundamental shortcomings of this machine.

Nikon D7500 test
Image quality is really great, as expected… Original unedited photo.

The other is the absence of GPS – probably, it have some technical reason, but it is hard to understand for me why any cheap smart phone have it, and you cannot find it here… And no, I do not want to pair my iPhone with and expensive camera and tag the location of photos with some complicated external apps…

What is the target group for Nikon D7500

This brings us to a pretty important question about whom is this camera for.

One point of view is simple – when we concentrate on the most important feature (eg. image quality) it might be actually hard to find many reasons for paying extra money and not staying with, say, Nikon D5600…

Nikon D7500 review
Nikon D7500 belongs among the top APS-C cameras. Original unedited photo.

The problem of reviews in the last year of two is quite simple. Is is increasingly hard to point to any significant differences in the image quality as such. Because (when focusing only on image quality, not speed, durability etc) all APS-C cameras give us more or less same results. Yes, you cannot spot a difference between a tourist photos of a downtown Prague made with Nikon D3400 and D7500 (yes, that’s true, I can show you if you want!).

Which is a fact that might be hard for many high-end camera gear fans to accepts – but it is simply the case. Yes, I expected the Nikon D7500 to be somewhat miraculous, but after the four days I played with it, I did not see any magic. Yes, the photos look great, but there are many other and much cheaper APS-C cameras capable of the same, or nearly the same.

This explains why I generally talk people away from buying that category of cameras (Nikon D7xxx, Canon D70, D80). Yes, they are great, but at the same time, they have very limited advantages (especially in the hands of beginners) over cheaper and lighter competitors.

I got many mails and comments from Nikon fans about that opinion which did not make me change my mind, but at least I know well the argumentation of the them.

They say: 1. It’s a great advanced camera 2. The Nikon D7xxx series can use older types of lenses 3. It has better controls (the front side roller etc). 4. Traditional photographers love cameras like this.

I have no problem to understand and partly respect these views – the only thing I’m really trying to fight with is the idea that ​”I was told in the shop I should buy a good camera right away, since it does better pictures than the cheaper ones”.

No, the photos will not be better – nearly any DSLR can to the same job and many of the competitors will be much cheaper and lighter.

Nikon D7500 review
The build-in flash works nice and can deliver good results even in sunny weather. Original unedited photo.

At the same time, as I already mentioned: there are still some niches of photographers which might find Nikon D7500 fantastic. For those who need a camera able to deliver shots from a very quick action, it is hard to think about a better option, this is just a great choice. Plus, yes, the great results with high ISO even make the case for an action camera even stronger.

So yes, Nikon is undoubtedly right: Nikon D7500 is simply a technological breakthrough for ambitious enthusiasts.

Nikon D7500 – Summary in two sentences

The Nikon D7500 is without any doubts one of the most advanced APS-C cameras on the current market. Amazing speed and performance at higher ISO levels makes it a great choice for sport and generally action oriented photographers.

Photos from test of Nikon D7500

Nikon D7500

Nikon D7500
76.4

picture quality

8/10

    usefulness for photographers

    8/10

      quality of camera body

      8/10

        adjustability

        8/10

          price

          7/10

            Pros

            • great speed (8 frames per second, 100 JPGs in one shot)
            • excellent AF system
            • very good image quality

            Cons

            • Strong competition from cheaper cameras (Nikon, Canon)
            • overcomplicated menus and settings, sometimes hard to use
            • no GPS

            2 Comments

            1. Christian Koch

              Thanks for this review Jan.
              Little detail you might be willing to correct, the camera name besides final score is NIKON D7500, not CANON D7500 🙂
              KR
              Christian

              • Dear Christian, thank you so much! What a Freudian slip I made… It might get unnoticed for a long time… Best, Jan

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