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Gear & Apps

The Faults of The Nikon D7500 | A Nail That Sticks Out Gets Hammered

By Kishore Sawh on April 13th 2017

The critical points I’m about to make are both opinionated and empirical in nature, and I would be remiss not to be clear here that being disadvantaged in one area doesn’t negate privilege in another – the D7500 is, on paper, a powerful camera with a brilliant feature set at a great price.

Now that the obligatory politesse is out of the way…

It’s a D500 in drag is what it is – according to the spec sheet anyway. It reads like one, it looks a bit like it (if you squint), but you just know that under the skirt it’s a different story. And it’s precisely because it’s so similar and got so much going for it that the problems appear so jarring, because let’s be clear, they’re not minute. This isn’t a matter of omitting a pop-up flash, or a loss of 2 FPS, it’s deeper, and insidious.

A Single Card Slot

The camera itself is as all good new cameras are, a bit of a multi-hyphenate, seemingly blending the world of video and speedy stills in one which is no easy feat. We can understand why Nikon did this because, well, it’s what we asked for. But we ask for everything, all the time, and we know we won’t get it all. Perfection is a moving target that’s always at the mercy of progress. So sure we want a better and deeper grip, but when you have a camera that’s aimed at pro-sumers and transitioning enthusiasts, that slimmer profile cannot come at the expense of a card slot. Period.

A dual card slot in a higher-end body on a DSLR is, for lack of a less platitudinal word, a given. Shooters want both slots for a variety of reasons ranging from organization to overflow, and ultimately to safety – and safety isn’t something we toy with. Throw a rock in a room of DSLR-toters and you’re bound to hit 9 of 10 who use dual slots for back-up; so why then, in a camera positioned as it is in the line-up would that be neglected? An oversight? Classic afterthought? Then consider the camera it replaces was endowed with dual slots and it’s just all the more perplexing.

Mirrorless cameras have more of an excuse as space is a more valuable commodity in tiny bodies, but if an X-Pro 2 can do it Nikon could’ve here, which leads one down a path of thought that Nikon simply removed it to help segregate the line-up, a rather Canon-esque move. A blunder. And if you’re thinking, “Well, if they’ve cut corners there, where else have the accountants and strategists been making merry by removing things?” allow me…

[REWIND: NIKON ANNOUNCES THE NEW NIKON D7500 | A BABY D500?]

No Battery Grip

So if you decide to lift up the D7500’s skirt you’ll notice there is no grip contact on its bottom. Therefore, unless there’s some revolutionary grip en route that works through wifi, the D7500 will be forever without one. Why would this be? Someone buying this camera is probably precisely the type to want to use a battery grip, no doubt. I mean, can we get used to shooting in portrait orientation without a vertical grip? Sure, like you can get used to asthma. But, why would you want to?

No AI Indexing

While there are other glaring omissions like the removal of the alloy top and rear plates, the removal of NFC, the lower res LCD, and of course, the rather curious decision to use USB-2, this case of the missing Ai indexing tab is somewhat of a first. Unless my memory fails me, there hasn’t been a Nikon in this price bracket (over $1k) that doesn’t have this feature. So why now?

This actually is significant because it means that some older but brilliant Nikon glass can’t be used with this camera (with metering), and furthermore, this probably makes the D7500 the first Nikon over $1,000 that will not let you use some current production Nikon lenses like some older-designed but still currently-made

AI-S lenses. In 2017. In a high-end DX body…

While users will able to mount the lenses on the camera (and it has its own focus motor), any NON-CPU lenses must be used in full manual. What this means is you get no metering information, no sweet-nothings whispered between camera and lens, and therefore, you are relegated to using the lenses like it was 1960, whereas with the D7200 and all other Nikons in this price bracket, you can use NON-CPU lenses in Aperture Priority or Shutter Priority because you’ve got metering (Click the link below to see how).

It’s an utter shame because some of Nikon’s older glass are some of its best, or at the very least still beautiful, and I personally use old lenses from the 80s all the time. It’s yet another curious omission. Very curious.

HOW TO USE OLD LEGACY LENSES ON YOUR MODERN NIKON DSLR

All of this together makes the D7500 seem somewhat within a hair’s breadth of a parody. It’s like it isn’t sure what it is, or where it fits. Like some sort of lab creation where the engineers just threw random parts together without considering it as a whole. And who is this for? Because it seems the odd man out, more a back-cover blurb than a headline; like it sits in the Nikon family the way Rob does in the Kardashians…

But, maybe this isn’t entirely fair. Maybe the D500, being the piece of wish-fulfillment that it is makes this just look that much stranger. But, as I said, a nail that sticks out gets hammered.

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About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mati Medeiros

    Hi,

    I think Nikon D7500 is a masterpiece camera, 

    One Slot!? 

    A lot of professional Cameras only have one slot, (canon 5d y 6d for example). I used Nikon cameras flr

    25 years and started digital era with D90,

    After my F90x, I never had a problem with memory cards, maybe just lucky, but I think the more important think about the cards is formatted before using every time.

    No vertical grip?

    I think the idea of this camera is to be something light, ideal for people need to travel and use large lenses, 

    And why you need to upgrade? 

    Just for the quality of the image, and the amazing results in low light conditions, something very important for the events and astro photography, 

    I don’t know about the video, If I need video, for sure I’m go for Canon.

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  2. Jørgen Garp

    Stick to my D7100 with Ai indexing and 2 slots.
    I have four of the kind which suddenly will be more or less of no value with D7500. 105mm f/2,5, 135mm F/2,8, 80-200mm f/4, 75-150mm f/3,5 (E)

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  3. George Malczynski

    TBH Kishore this article feels like your really reaching. I enjoy the majority of your articles, but in this one the idea that the D7xxx series is no longer Nikon’s top end APSC camera seems to have slipped past you.

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  4. Julien Miscischia

    You can also stop reading spec sheets and go out and shoot ;) Gear doesn’t matter. And on paper, this camera seems very good. 

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      Until a card fails, and you lose hundreds of photo’s. Happened to me once on a Sandisk card, and I was glad I had dual slots!

      If gear doesn’t matter then there is no such thing as a “Pro camera” as others have claimed below. The only thing not “pro” about the d7200 for a wedding photog was the semi composite body and apsc sensor. The D7K series was the gateway camera for many into paid photography.

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  5. David Rankin

    that’s a very harsh criticism of a camera which is not designed for professionals. If this was a pro camera your comments would be totally justified . But they’re not

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  6. Stephen Jennings

    Here’s what bothers me about Nikon in general – and frankly, most camera manufacturers .. why is this camera needed? Why is the D7xxx line needed? If it was the flagship model, and now it’s not, and it’s close enough to the flagship but a few options purposefully left out.. why bother making it? Same with the D3xxx and D5xxx line, there’s so many tiny steps up to the “pro” models (which is technically only supposed to be the D810 and D5.. but really, how many of us “pros” are using the “enthusiast” d750? That’s what I thought. Most of us.) They don’t need this many camera models.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      I know far more full time wedding photographers using the d750 than the d810, with a select few using a d5. 

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  7. Jeff Jones

    Do not say for certain that there can be no battery grip for this camera.  Look back at the D80 and D200 cameras (as well as the older Coolpix like the 5700) and the option for the battery pack was to have a removable battery door. The grip had a protrusion that went up into the camera where the battery usually went and all of the electronics were mounted on the tip of the battery grip.  In practice this would actually help seal the camera a bit better by not having exposed contacts on the outside of the body.

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  8. Jesse Gage

    An advantage of not having an ai metering tab is you can use pre ai lenses. I’ve used a pre ai 50 F2 on a D3100 for years.

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  9. Dave Lyons

    I might think some of this has to do with all the comments about the d7200 being as good as the d500 without some of the features. But it’s funny how the Nikon community is upset and the canon community is drooling. If canon released a 90D with only adding a 50 shot raw buffer and af spot metering the canon crowd would crap themselves and declare it camera of the universe forever. We gotta remember it’s not the dx flagship anymore.

    “A dual card slot in a higher-end body on a DSLR is, for lack of a less platitudinal word, an given.”

    “Throw a rock in a room of DSLR-toters and you’re bound to hit 9 of 10 who use dual slots for back-up; so why then, in a camera positioned as it is in the line-up would that be neglected?”

    Canons in this category only have have 1 slot and they seem to sell ok. It is weird, I agree there but better that than say af spot metering.

    “Therefore, unless there’s some revolutionary grip en route”

    Or it could be the older type that goes thru the battery compartment. I can’t imagine they won’t have one, it’s just speculation right now.

    “But, maybe this isn’t entirely fair.”

    No it’s not but it still sucks. But maybe the facts are that they’ve been giving us too much for our money or these new sensors are costing more. I’m on my 2nd d7000 now but don’t use it much since going full frame and love that camera.

    Also, comparing it to it’s direct canon counterpart the 80D… it’s still a better deal, the canon has more mp but i’d rather have the nikon sensor, so the only real canon win here is video focusing which i could care less about. But even with only 1 sd slot the new buffer is ridiculous. Not to mention af spot metering and how we take it for granted, go to a canon forum and see how they feel about that lol.

    http://www.cameracomparisonreview.com/2017/04/12/nikon-d7500-vs-canon-80d/

    Luckily, If you need those additional features there’s a model for you ;)

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  10. Timothy Going

    When I was upgrading from my D90 at the beginning of my paid work, I looked at my budget and had to decide between the D7200, or a jump to the Canon line. I bought the Nikon and used the D7200 for many a wedding when I started out, and it still backs up my D610 sometimes. Why? For all the reasons you mentioned! All three of those reasons made me decide to choose it over the Canon equivalent at the time, and it’s what kept me in the Nikon family when I was tempted to switch sides. This whole thing seems crazy, to basically dumb down the next generation of a camera model… 

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  11. Kyle Stauffer

    Some of these features are the reason my first camera was a Nikon D7000. That camera was a no-brainier to me compared to Canon as I felt I wasn’t sacrificing important features and getting so much more bang for my buck.. This is unfortunate!

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Totally understandable. The D700, D7100 and 7200 were all nicely stacked, truly capable cameras. This, leaves so many gaps.

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    • Alexander Joseph

      This was meant to be a general comment but on my phone I can’t seem to figure it out, whoops: The way you talk about “drag” and “lifting up skirts” is completely offensive, but aside from that…you talk about “removing” NFC, and lower res LCD and USB 2, but you’re comparing this to the wrong camera. It is NOT a D500-lite, whether you want it to be or not – it is an upgrade to the D7200, which did not have NFC, or higher res LCD, or USB 3. None of it was “removed,” it just wasn’t added. The only thing I’ll give you is the ai tab, and maybe dual card slots, but as other others have said the latter is debatable. Also about the battery grip and people interested in this camera being “probably precisely the type to want to use a battery grip” – really?? Not D810, or D500, D750, etc users? People interested in those are less “precisely” the type to be interested in a battery grip? I won’t disagree that it’s disappointing, but your word choice, in general, leaves much to be desired. 

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