VIRTUAL QUICK LOOK : The Nikon D7500

 Nikon D7500 shown with available 18-140/3.5-5.6 VR lens

Nikon D7500 shown with available 18-140/3.5-5.6 VR lens

The good people at Nikon's agency sent me the press announcement on the day of, but in reading it, I discovered that the camera would not be available until mid-summer.  A local retailer is saying end of June on their preorder page.  Given that it is only mid April, I wanted to get a virtual look up as an announced but non-shipping product can create stoppage in some user's processes.  I have not shot the camera.  I have no special insight, so I am sticking to the announcement data for this virtual first look.

 Rear view

Rear view

Overview

The Nikon D7500 is the latest in the D7xxx lineup.  It has not been officially stated that it will replace the existing D7200 as that camera is still in market, but my expectation is that it will.  Nikon is not so foolish as to cause confusion by having multiple near identical cameras in the market at the same time, at least not directly.

The D7500 is a crop sensor camera with a sensor coverage of 20.9 megapixels.  It has been stated that this is the same sensor as in their flagship DX camera, the D500.  ISO range is from 100-51,200 natively with push ISO to the same 1.6M as the D500.  It is important to remember that these non-native ISOs should not be presumed to be all that good.  Indeed, I would not be inclined to try to push this known sensor past 12800 without acceptance of significant digital noise.  The camera supports video of up to 4K, but in order to deliver this, crops in on the sensor significantly, so all lenses take on a more telephoto aspect due to a magnification factor of about 1.7x

The camera shoots in JPEG, 12 bit RAW and 14 bit RAW.  Images are stored to an SDXC capable bus and single card slot.  This is a reduction of card slots from the two in the D7200.  There are arguments for and against this, the buyer must decide if this is an issue for him or herself.  Large cards are much less expensive today and rollover is less a concern as is pushing JPEGs to one card and RAWs to another.

The viewfinder is optical with 100% coverage.  The diopter adjustment range is from -2 to +1.  The camera uses the standard Nikon F mount so can use Nikon DX, Nikon FX or compatible third party lenses.  

 Standard Nikon D7xxx top deck

Standard Nikon D7xxx top deck

The shutter is an electro-mechanical focal plane shutter with a shutter speed range of 1/8000 to 30 seconds, plus Bulb mode.  The camera supports single shot, continuous low, continuous high, and self timer options.  Continuous high tops out at 8 frames per second.

Metering is of the TTL type offering Matrix, Centre Weighted, Spot and Highlight Weighted options.  Metering options are dependent upon the lens being used.  The meter effective range is from -3EV to +20EV.

Exposure modes include Full Auto, Scene, Program, Aperture Preferred, Shutter Preferred and Manual.  There are two User configurable modes.  There are 15 different Scene programs included.  Exposure compensation is available +-5EV in ½ and ⅓ EV steps.  Exposure bracketing is available in up to 9 shots in ⅓ EV steps.  Nikon provides with picture styles for JPEGs.  The Styles have no impact on RAW images but do affect the JPEG displayed on the rear LCD when shooting in RAW mode.

The AF system includes 51 AF points with 15 of those being cross-type.  AF is available as single point, dynamic  (9, 21, 51 points), 3D Tracking and Group.  Focus modes include single shot, continuous, manual, full time AF (Live View) and wide area.  AF sensitivity is from -3EV to +19EV

There is a GN12 popup flash built in.  The default flash sync speed is 1/250 but HSS is supported at up to 1/8000 with a capable flash unit.  Flash metering can be i-TTL, TTL, Slow Sync, Rear Sync, Fill Flash and AUTO FP (HSS).  The camera natively supports Nikon's Creative Lighting System.  It offers flash exposure compensation in the range of -3EV to +1EV.

White Balance offers two AUTOs, Cloudy, Daylight, Shade, 7 types of fluorescent, Tungsten, Custom, Flash  and Kelvin.

Video is supported at up to 4K UHD, with cropping effect as noted earlier.  4K fps range is 24, 25, 30.  FullHD extends the frame rate up to 60fps.  An individual movie can be up to 29m59s long and the camera will create a single movie of up to 8 4GB files.  Movies are encoded with either MOV or MP4 methods.  There is a built in stereo microphone, a separate microphone jack and a headphone jack.

 Tilting rear LCD.  Touchscreen yes. Selfie No

Tilting rear LCD.  Touchscreen yes. Selfie No

The rear LCD offers 922K dots in a 3.2 inch view.  It supports a 170 degree viewing angle and is a tilt-able screen with touch capability.

The camera is connectable via USB2 (micro), Bluetooth and WiFi.  To use the Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities, you must install the SnapBridge application on your smart device.  There is also a mini HDMI output.

The camera runs on a new EN-EL15A battery with a CIPA rating of 950 shots per charge.  The camera weighs in at 640 grams and is noted to work between 0 and 40 degrees centigrade.

Accessories

It looks like most accessories compatible with other D7xxx bodies continue to be usable.  Notable is the absence at time of announcement of a battery grip.  The camera can use the WR-R10 controller to manage Nikon's AWS flash system such as the SB-5000 speed light.

Initial Assessment

I am not surprised by anything in the announcement. It is, an incremental update to the popular and successful D7200.  The D7500 has a higher maximum shutter speed than the more expensive D750.  The sensor from the D500 is well proven and delivers excellent image quality.  The D7500 is built on a proven frame, and the control layout is easy to learn and easy to remember.  Nikon menus are some of the better ones in the market, and the learning curve, while real, is not overly steep.  The D7500 offers a nice bridge from the picture taker to photograph maker.  The automation makes grabbing a decent shot mostly effortless and the creative controls provide a platform to grow with.  While it is priced about the D5600, I think that the more powerful sensor, and better low light will warrant the difference for those who desire those things.  I also expect that the D7500 will have that same increase in physical reliability we have seen differentiating the D5xxx line from the D7xxx line in the past.  It's priced a bit higher than it's closet competitor, Canon's 80D, and I would coach Nikon to rethink this when the camera ships.  More buyers than ever are very price conscious and even a difference of $50 can push someone to the lower cost item.  This happens particularly in non-camera stores where volume exceeds customer service and product knowledge.  The camera will be available body only or in a single package with the known 18-140/3.5-5.6 zoom lens.  This lens is well-respected for being very sharp.  It is also known for minor distortions and vignetting, all of which is corrected in post-processing lens profiles such as those found in Adobe Lightroom.

I hope that Nikon announces a battery grip prior to release as failure to do so may discourage serious amateurs or pros from having a D7500 as their go to DX camera.  The reduction to a single card slot is neither here nor there, but the fact that the slot maxes out at UHS-II according to other analysts is an unfortunate gate.  I hope that this information is incorrect.  The use of USB2 as the connectivity method for computers and tethering is inexcusable in 2017.  USB3 is ubiquitous and is fully backward compatible.  USB2 has always been a questionable protocol for performance whereas USB3 is already proven.  The CIPA battery rating drops from the D7200 bu nearly 200 shots.  I expect that while the D7500 can still use the old EN-EL15 batteries, the EN-EL15a has more internal smarts, and the camera may perform poorly with clone batteries.  Personally I recommend that users NEVER run clone or refurb batteries for risk of damage, but that is a personal choice.  The price jumps over the D7200 by a few hundred dollars and I am not seeing a lot to justify the jump, especially given how strained the DSLR market is already.  Clients considering the D7200 should seriously look to see if any of the enhancements will make any difference at all, and if not, grab a D7200 as they go on sale to clear the decks for the D7500.  

I do not know, but do expect D7200s to disappear from camera store shelves shortly after the D7500 ships in bulk.  This has been happening of late, and other replaced cameras (D3300, D5500) show up in jobber lots a few months later.  While this helps Nikon clear inventory it does a severe disservice to the professional camera store and the buying community.  Whether this happens with the D7200 is to be seen.

No star review is offered at this time as I have not seen the actual camera