It’s been a while since Nikon made any substantive changes to this enthusiast-focused series of dSLRs. The D7100 was the last major update, and that was in 2013; the subsequentpretty much rested on the ‘s laurels. But with the D7500, the every-other-year pendulum swings back to deliver some notable enhancements, many of which are inherited from last year’s — hence the model number jump.
The pricing remains similar. Nikon plans to sell it body-only for $1,250 or with the veteran 18-140mm lens for $1,750. (I don’t yet have prices for other regions, but those directly convert to roughly £1,000 and AU$1,670 for the body and £1,400 and AU$2,335 for the kit.) The camera’s supposed to ship this summer.
- Sensor and image processor. The D7500 incorporates the same sensor and Expeed 5 imaging processor as the D500. That allows for the same increase in the expanded ISO sensitivity range to ISO 1,640,000. However, the native sensitivity range — the top of which is usually as high as you want to go for decent-quality low-light photography — only increases by a stop over the D7200 to ISO 51200.
- Metering system. I think metering systems are the unsung heroes of dSLRs. Modern ones do more than determine exposure; they bolster the speed and accuracy of the autofocus system. The D7500 gets the metering system of the D500, Nikon’s 180,000-pixel RGB 3D Color Matrix Metering III.
- Performance. The D7500 increases to 8 frames-per-second continuous shooting speed, with an improved buffer of up to 50 raw frames. So while Nikon didn’t update the autofocus system, I’m hoping the new metering system will allow it to focus fast enough to work with the higher frame rate. It did add group-area autofocus to the AF-area options, which is great. And though Nikon’s touting the 950-shot battery life, that’s actually a drop from the D7200’s 1,100-shot rating.
- Design and features. The body has been redesigned slightly to make it a little smaller and lighter. Plus, I have been asking for a tilting or articulated display on this series for years, and woo hoo! But it looks like the sacrifice was two of my favorite features: it has only one card slot (the D7200 has two) and Nikon moved the metering button to the set on the left side of the LCD from the top of the camera where it was faster and easier to access. It also exchanges Bluetooth for NFC for a persistent low-power connection to mobile devices. Sadly, Nikon’s SnapBridge app still rates less than 3 stars on both the Apple and Google app stores.
- Video. 4K UHD/30p recording comes to a lower Nikon price point, with capabilities similar to that of the D500. I’m not crazy about Nikon’s Live View autofocus, though, and with the exception of the added ability to calibrate AF for individual lenses, it’s unchanged. But Nikon has incorporated power aperture control, which allows the camera to adjust exposure more smoothly for less jarring transitions, from its higher-end cameras. The D7500 also supports in-camera time-lapse movies.
With the exception of the moved metering button and dropped card slot, these are definitely welcome changes, and there’s really no dSLRs to compete with its price/performance balance. Most competing dSLR and mirrorless models, with the huge exception of the, are significantly more expensive.
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