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…
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.
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.