Nikon D7500 First Impressions

For many, the biggest news from Nikon this spring was the announcement of the D7500. I’ve been a big fan of the D7XXX-series (D7000, D7100, D7200) cameras for a long time now. Nikon always manages to pack a lot of great features into that small-body, budget-priced camera, so I was eager to get my hands on one and shoot it. That happened June 1st, and to cut to the chase, I think Nikon’s done it again. Now I might be biased – I’ve been teaching Nikon School for fifteen years – but read about my experiences with it, look at the photos and decide for yourself.

A few days after receiving the camera I hit the road to teach some classes in New York City, then a workshop in Russia and Estonia. That didn’t give me much time to get familiar with the D7500, but that really wasn’t a problem. Almost all the buttons, dials and menus are exactly where they’ve been for the other cameras, like the D7200. And it’s a touch lighter and smaller than the D7200. Despite that, there’s still a lot of new things.

Most obvious is the tilting LCD, which is also touch-sensitive. I’ve become a big fan of “articulated” LCDs since I started using them. I can set the camera on the ground and still frame my shot, and hold it up in the air to do the same thing. The other big change most people will notice to the body is the ISO button being added to the top of the camera, near the shutter button. It’s something Nikon had already done with higher-end cameras, and for me, a welcome change. I find that makes it easier and faster to change ISO as well as turn “Auto-ISO” on and off.







The resolution is down slightly, from 24MP in the D7200 to 21MP. But I’m totally fine with that because it uses the same sensor as the D500. Having shot that camera a lot for the past year, I’m very happy to have that same image quality now in the D7500. The ISO range is also the same, from 100 to 51,000, and I’ve comfortably shot the D500 up to around 10,000 ISO. So that means a nice boost in high-ISO performance.

While the new camera keeps the 51-point autofocus system of its predecessor, that system is a bit faster and smarter thanks to the new metering sensor. Plus, Nikon added Group AF as one of the Autofocus Area Modes, an option I’ve come to depend on when shooting sports with the more expensive cameras. Oh, and if you’re into action photography, you’ll appreciate the bump from six frames-per-second to eight.

I’m also happy they kept the same size/style battery. While the one that ships with the D7500 is a slightly newer model, I can still use all of the ones I already have for my other cameras, like the D7200, D750, D810 and D500. Same charger too.

Another welcome addition, if you use off-camera flash, is the ability to use radio-control from the camera with the SB-5000 speedlight (if you have the WR-R10 wireless remote controller). And as with most new cameras today, 4K video is an option.

Downsides? The only one I’ve found so far is the loss of the second card slot. Although honestly, I find very few people using it for anything other than overflow, which with today’s high-capacity cards almost never happens. Having a slightly smaller body at the expense of that is a trade-off I think most people would accept.

That’s enough talk about features. Take a look at the photos. I think that for many serious hobbyists, the D7500 will continue the tradition of Nikon’s D7XXX-series cameras – a great balance of power, price and performance.

The guard outside Lenin’s tomb in Red Square in Moscow wasn’t going to pose for a picture, so with his back turned to me, I crouched and clicked off a frame. When he turned to see what was going on, I got the photo I wanted, with his face in the light, just before he stepped out of my frame. Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/320 at f/8, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 lens at 25mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

No matter where you go in the world, including Red Square, you find people posing for selfies. Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, 1/640 at f/7.1, -0.3 EV, Nikkor AF Zoom 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 18mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

We visited some of the ornate subway stations in Moscow, but my favorite photo came on one of the rides between them. This couple next to me was kissing, so I just asked, with sign language, if I could take their picture. I didn’t need high ISO’s much on this trip, but when I did, the image quality help up very nicely. Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, ISO 1800, 1/60 at f/4.5, -0.3 EV, Nikkor AF Zoom 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 16mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

One of the most famous locations in Saint Petersburg is Savior on the Spilled Blood church. And where there are tourists, there are vendors. To get this photo of one of them napping, I simply flipped up the LCD screen so I could be looking down at the camera, like I was changing settings, while actually shooting photos. Doing that made me less conspicuous. Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/1250 at f/8, -2.0 EV, Nikkor VR Zoom 16-80mm f/2.8-4 lens at 52mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

Again at Savior on the Spilled Blood church, the strangest thing I saw were some people dressed as animals, charging tourists for photos with them. I guess if they do it in Times Square, why not in Saint Petersburg? For this I just crouched down and waited for them to walk through the light. Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/800 at f/8, 0.0 EV, Nikkor AF Zoom 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 15mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

There’s always lots of activity in the Palace Square in front of the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. But this group of Brazilians, doing acrobatics, were still a bit on the stranger side. Which meant good pictures! Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/1250 at f/7.1, +0.3 EV, Nikkor AF Zoom 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 15mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

Peterhof, outside Saint Petersburg, is often called “the Russian Versailles.” And it’s obvious when you get there why. It’s also crowded with tourists, so finding an angle that didn’t show them was the trick. And to get this long-exposure to blur the water, I used a ten-stop neutral density filter. Nikon D7500, Manual exposure, ISO 100, 10-seconds at f/20, 0.0 EV, Nikkor AF Zoom 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 21mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

Stopping at St. Nicholas Church in Saint Petersburg, we came upon a bride, groom and their photographer. We stayed at a respectful distance to take some photos, but then they called us over and asked us to be part of the shot. He’s holding his camera in the air to show the paparazzi around the couple! Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/1250 at f/8, +0.3 EV, Nikkor AF Zoom 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 16mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

This is Silvar RŠgastik, a chimney sweep in Tallin, Estonia, who said he enjoys the danger of being on rooftops. We don’t, so photographed him at a park above the old town. To make this I set the camera on Manual exposure, set for the sky and steeple, and then used a Nikon SB-500 Speedlight to the right, triggered by Commander Mode in the camera. Nikon D7500, Manual exposure, ISO 200, 1/250 at f/13, 0.0 EV, Nikkor AF Zoom 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 15mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

Tallinn was packed with football fans during our visit, including this Belgian man who was part of a group partying in the square before their team’s match that night against Estonia. Getting close with a wide-angle lens makes people pictures more personal. Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, ISO 200, 1/640 at f/8, 0.0 EV, Nikkor AF Zoom 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G lens at 15mm. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

The downside of being at higher latitudes in summer is late sunsets and early sunrises. It was nearly midnight before I could shoot this overview of Tallinn, Estonia, from our hotel. Nikon D7500, Aperture Priority, ISO 100, ten-seconds at f/16, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4 lens at 57mm,. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.

While I didn’t need high ISO’s for the workshop, if you want an idea of the high-ISO performance, look at this. A 100% zoom on the eye of our dog Finney, from an image shot at 10,000 ISO. Pretty amazing quality for that ISO. Nikon D7500, Aperture priority, ISO 10,000, 1/1000 at f/2.8, -1.3 EV, Nikkor AF 50mm f/1.8G lens. Photo copyright Reed Hoffmann.


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