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Nikon D5600 vs D7500: Which Should You Buy?

How are they different? For most photographers, the Nikon D5600 will be more than sufficient, but certain photographers will benefit from the speed and advanced features of the D7500.

The Nikon D7500 has some upgrades and some unusual changes from its predecessor, and not all of them are for the better. On the other hand, the D5600, which now has a higher resolution sensor and rear LCD than the D7500, remains an excellent camera that is only slightly hampered by a limited feature set. As a result, deciding which camera is “better” is not as simple as it once was. In fact, for some photographers, the older D7200 will offer the best of both worlds, while they’re still available. My general advice is always this: buy the least expensive camera that will meet your needs, and buy the best lenses that you can afford. Below, I’ll cover the differences between these cameras and explain which types of photographers will find the different features useful.

Nikon D5600 vs D7500: What’s the Difference?

To begin with, let’s take a look at the most significant specs for the D5600 and the new D7500.

 Nikon D5600Nikon D7500
Price (body)
$596.95$1,146.95
Price With Kit Lens
(18-140mm VR)
$896.95$1,446.95
Body MaterialPlastic Monocoque BodyPlastic Monocoque Body
Dust/Weather Sealed BodyNoneYES
Sensor Resolution24.220.9 Megapixel
Anti-Aliasing Filter [OLP]
(Reduces sharpness, prevents moire)
NONO
ISO Range100-25600100 - 51200
Total AF Points3951
Cross-Type AF Points915
AF Motor In Body
(For Using Older AF Lenses)
NOYES
AF Light Level Range-1 to +19 EV-3 to +19 EV
Autofocus Fine Tuning
Adjustments
NOYES
Shutter Speed Range1/4000th - 30 sec.
+bulb
1/8000th - 30 sec.
+bulb
Max Frame Rate5 fps8 fps
Max RAW Burst
(buffer size)
6 shots, compressed 14-bit50 shots 14-bit compressed
Max JPG Burst
(fine, Large)
100100
Flash Sync Speed1/200th sec.1/250th sec.
Wireless Flash With
Built-in Commander
NOYES
Nikon RADIO Wireless Flash CompatibleNOYES
Auto FP Flash Mode
(High Speed Sync)
NOYES
Media Slots1 SDXC1 SDXC
Quick Access User Modes
(Saved U1, U2 programs)
NOYES
LCD Size3.2"
1,036,800 pixels
3.2"
922,000 pixels
LCD ArticulatedYESYES
LCD TouchscreenYESYES
BluetoothYESYES
Built-in WiFiYESYES
Body Weight420g (no battery)
470 (with battery)
640g (no battery)
720g (with battery)
Body Size124 x 97 x 70 mm135.5 mm x 104 mm
x 72.5 mm
Battery Life820 shots
CIPA Standards
950 Shots
CIPA Standards
Viewfinder Coverage95% Frame
.82x Magnification
100% Frame
.94x Magnification
Video CodecMPEG-4 / H.264
.mov
MPEG-4 / H.264
.mov or MP4
Video Resolutions1920 x 1080 (60p, 60i, 50i, 30, 25, 24 fps)
1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps)
3,840 x 2,160 (4K: 30, 25, 24 fps)
1920 x 1080 (60, 50, 30, 25, 24 fps)
1280 x 720 (60, 50 fps)
640 x 424 (30, 25 fps)
Digital Stabilization
for Video
NOYES
(Reduces image area; not available for 4K resolution)
Headphone JackNOYES
Microphone JackYESYES
Internal MicStereoStereo

Body & Build Quality

In the past, the biggest difference in build between the D5000 and D7000 lines was the heavier magnesium-alloy construction of the D7000s. However, with the D7500, Nikon has dropped the metal construction in favor of a unified plastic frame and body, much like that found in the D5600. For specifics take a look at our D7500 vs D7200 comparison. The most important difference now is that the D7500 is weather sealed while the D5600 is not.

Image Courtesy Nikon
Weather sealing is one of the major differences between the two camera bodies: the D7500 has it, and the D5600 doesn’t.

Along with the D7500’s smaller, lighter body, Nikon has also adopted a new battery, the EN-EL15a. The D7500’s estimated battery life has dropped to only 950 shots (down from 1100 in the D7200), which is a significant but not dramatic advantage over the 820 of the D5600.

With the differences in battery and body size, the walk-around weight1 of the D5600 is about 65% the weight of the D7500, which is also significant. Whether this is an advantage or disadvantage depends on your photographic needs; some photographers (especially those with larger hands) prefer a larger camera with some ‘heft’ to it, while others prefer something more lightweight and easy to carry around, especially travelers and hikers. Needless to say, those who work in harsh conditions will also prefer the D7500’s weather sealing, as long as they also have a weather sealed lens.

Nikon D5600 and D7500 LCD screensImages Courtesy Nikon
The Nikon D5600’s LCD has a wider range of motion available, but must be swung out to the side to be tilted.

The D7500 is the first of its line to have an articulated LCD, but its movement is somewhat limited. It can tilt up or down, but it can not be flipped out to the side to face forward, a useful feature for vloggers or those who take selfies. Both cameras now have touch screens, but at 922,000 pixels, the LCD on the D7500 has the lowest resolution since the D5100 announced in 2011 (luckily it did not drop down to the 230,000 pixel range found in the D3000 models). It’s 10% lower than the D5600, and is especially disappointing considering last year’s D500 has an LCD with over 2,000,000 pixels.

The viewfinder of the D5600 uses a pentamirror while the D7500 uses a pentaprism to reflect the light coming in from the lens to your eye. Pentaprisms offer better transmission of light, but are heavier. The D7500 does have a top LCD panel to help you set and keep track of your settings, which you’ll miss in the D5600 if you’re used to having it. If you’re not, you’ll probably get used to pulling up the same information on the rear LCD instead.

The Sensors

You may be surprised to discover that the D7500’s sensor has lower resolution (20.9 megapixels) than that of the D5600 and older D7200 (24.3 megapixels). There are a few reasons why Nikon made this choice. (Click Headings to Expand)

Low-Light Performance

First, and most importantly, is Nikon’s concentration on high-ISO performance with the D7500. More pixels on a sensor means smaller pixels. Smaller pixels collect less light, but the sensor’s electronics still generate background noise. This results in a worse signal to noise ratio (like a quiet voice talking in the car over the road noise), and thus, more digital noise in the image that results, especially at high ISOs (where the sensor tries to get by with even less light). The D7500 has fewer ‘pixels’ on its sensor, so they’re larger.

As a result, the D7500 has a top native ISO of 51200, compared to the 25600 of the D5600: a full f-stop of difference. However, we’ve found that the D500 (which has the same sensor as the D7500) does not quite have a full f-stop of improvement in quality over the D5600 at high ISO, it’s more like 2/3rds of a stop. At ISO6400, the D7200’s noise is slightly better controlled (finer and smoother) than the D500’s is at ISO12800, though the difference is minimal, and the D500 has better contrast in the comparison.

Shooting Action
Second, Nikon wanted to improve high-speed shooting performance to compete with cameras like the Canon 7D Mark II, which can shoot 10 frames per second. These frame rates produces a lot of data for any camera to deal with. At higher resolutions, cameras produce larger files, which are harder to move quickly through the data pipeline to storage on the SD card. A lower resolution sensor’s smaller files are easier for the camera to deal with at high speeds. These smaller files make it possible for the D7500 to shoot 8fps and get the data stored onto an SD card, and more shots can be stored in the camera’s buffer for extended burst shooting.

Expeed 5 processor
Nikon’s Expeed 5 processor is found in the D7500
Minor Difference in Resolution

And finally, for most photographers, the difference in resolution between 21 and 24 megapixels just isn’t very significant in real-world use. Remember that most of us use computer monitors that are no larger than 4K resolution (about 8 megapixels), but the vast majority use full HD (1080p is just 2 megapixels), and very few photographers print these days. And if you’re resizing an image from 21 megapixels down to 10% of its original size, all of the fine differences in detail will be thrown out anyway.

But if you do print? Then you’ll have to print LARGE to be able to see these differences… probably 16 x 24 inches or perhaps larger, and the differences even then will be minor. And that’s assuming that you are able to capture a difference to begin with. Only the sharpest lenses have high enough resolution to make a difference, and even then, only when shot from a tripod at the lens’ sharpest apertures, with no vibrations from the wind, ground, shutter, etc. A full frame sensor with the same pixel density of the D7500’s 20.9 megapixel sensor would hold 46.5 megapixels, and Nikon has already admitted that not many lenses can meet the demands of the D810’s 36 megapixel sensor.

Who will benefit from the higher resolution of the D7200? Landscape photographers often shoot in a manner that could make use of it, and so do some commercial/studio photographers and fine-art photographers. But journalists, event photographers, sports photographers, and hobbyists generally do not.

Auto-Focus Systems

Although the Nikon D5600 has a very capable autofocus system for casual, every-day use and action shots in decent light, its 39-points (9 cross-type) lag behind the D7500’s 51 points (15 cross-type) and cameras like Canon’s Rebel T7i and 77D (45 cross-type points, including one dual-cross type), both of which also have fast, accurate autofocus while shooting video or using live-view due to their dual-pixel CMOS sensors. Unfortunately, no Nikon cameras have an equivalent feature for this, so video shooters are much better off with Canon or Sony… if they want to use AF. (Don’t know what cross-type points are? Watch our quick video explanation.)

The total number of AF points in the D7500’s AF system are not so important as the fact that all of the 15 central points are cross-type, which makes them much more likely to lock on to a subject and pull focus. Equally important for many photographers, especially wildlife photographers, is the fact that the D7500’s AF system will work at very low light levels: -3 EVs, with compatible lenses. That’s about the amount of light you’d get from a full-moon, which is about 1/4 of the that the D5600 needs to focus.

Photographers who frequently shoot indoor events in low light and wildlife photographers who shoot at dusk and beyond will appreciate the D7500’s AF system. Most photographers, though, will find that the D5600’s system is perfect for casual use, as well as portraits, landscape work, and travel.

Speed

The differences between the D7500 and D5600 are most apparent when it comes to speed. The D7500 has a top shutter speed that is one full f-stop faster than the D5600’s (ie, 1/8000th vs 1/4000th), but the D7500 can also shoot at 8 frames per second, significantly faster than the D5600 at 5 frames per second. Even more dramatically, the D7500 can shoot 50 RAW shots in a row before the buffer is filled, while the D5600 can only shoot 6 RAW shots in a row before bogging down.

However, if you shoot JPG, both cameras are can shoot for about as long as anyone would need: at least 100 full-size JPGs in a row. Many pro sports photographers do shoot JPG, but some like the flexibility of shooting RAW for pulling out more detail, especially in low light.

The D5600’s Downfall: Flash

Flash has been a concern for all of the members of the D5000 line, and the D5600 is no exception. For some reason2, Nikon decided to withhold high-speed-sync (Auto FP Flash, henceforth AFP) and commander functionality with the built-in flash. External flash control may not be a big deal; many of us prefer to use radio-units (Pocket Wizard, Phottix, etc) anyway… though the built-in IR system can be very useful with Nikon’s Creative Lighting System (CLS). Hot-shoe mounted flashes with commander-mode capabilities (such as the SB500, SB700, SB5000) can be used on the D5600 and D7500 to control CLS slave flashes.

Lack of HSS/AFP, however, is a serious problem for portrait (and some action) photographers. Imagine this situation: you’re shooting a portrait outside on a sunny evening in the golden hour light, and you want to use a large aperture to blur the background…  f/2 or f/1.4, for example. Even at ISO 100, this will push your shutter speed beyond 1/1000ths of a second, which is much higher than the camera’s 1/200th sec. maximum sync speed. So, if you want to use a flash to soften the shadows or create a catch-light in the eyes of your subject, forget it: the flash will not sync. The same is true if you want to use flash for sports and a high shutter speed, and while you can purchase external command modules or radio transmitters for off-camera-flashes, there’s nothing you can buy to work around the lack of AFP. You’d need to buy the D7500 instead.

Images Courtesy Nikon
The WRR10 Flash controller connects to a side port of the camera… where you’d normally hold it. Most radio flash controllers connect to the flash hotshoe.

In some instances, a neutral density filter can be used to bring the shutter speed down within the range of the D5600’s sync speed. There are several problems with the method, though: the image through your viewfinder will become much darker, making it hard to frame your shot and making it hard for your camera’s AF system to pull focus, and you lose flash power. If you’re shooting with a telephoto lens, shutter speeds at the camera’s sync speed might not be safe for hand-holding, and they’ll always be too slow for sports or fast action if you’re balancing flash and ambient light.

All the Little Things

There are a few other assorted differences that deserve mention here, but they’re mostly the same differences that we saw between the D5000 and D7000. First, the D5600 does not have an autofocus motor built into the camera body, so it will not be compatible with the full range of (old school) Nikon lenses, while the D7500 does posses the motor. And speaking of “focus”, the D7500 is capable of micro focus adjustments to correct for front or back-focus problems on lenses, while the D5600 is not.

Additionally, the D7200 has two User Preset positions on its mode dial (U1 and U2), allowing photographers to store commonly used groups of settings for quick access later. I’ve never found this necessary, but some photographers find them very useful, and they’re not available on the D5600.

Overhead view of Nikon D5600 and D7500.Matthew Gore | Light And Matter
The D7500 has U1 and U2 settings on the main dial for quick access to custom user modes. The D7500 also has a top LCD panel.

Finally, if you are interested in video, the D7500 has a headphone jack for monitoring audio while you shoot. The jack is absent in the D5600. Both cameras can shoot video at up to 1080p 60fps, but the D7500 also can shoot cropped 4K video. When shooting 4K, the camera records only from the center of the sensor at an equivalent 1.5x crop of the already 1.5x cropped sensor, so while shooting 4K, a 200mm lens gives you the angle of view of a 450mm lens. This does make shooting wide angle very difficult, however.

Images Courtesy Nikon
On the left side of the body, the D7500 has a headphone jack along with its microphone jack and other connectors.

Which Should You Buy?

The Nikon D5600 and D5500 are great cameras, and I’d recommend them for the vast majority of photographers, with the exception of those who need superior flash capabilities. For those of you who focus on action and events, the D7500 has some significant advantages and is the best way to go. The D7200 is less expensive than the D7500 and occupies a great middle ground, with high resolution and fast speeds, but not quite matching the low-light capabilities of the D7500. If you think the D7200 might be a good option for you, check out our comparison of the D7200 and D7500.

To summarize, you should buy the D5500 or D5600 if you:

  • want a great, all-around camera
  • want the highest resolution sensor for landscapes or other detail critical work
  • shoot primarily with natural light (or manual flash)
  • need a front-facing LCD screen for vlogging or selfies
  • really care about the weight of your camera
  • want to save money to buy the best lenses possible! At Amazon, the current price for the D5600 body is currently: $596.95

Buy the D7500 if you:

  • shoot in low light
  • shoot lots of action, especially in long bursts
  • use flash for action or fill, and need high-speed sync
  • use Nikon’s CLS and want to use the built-in command module
  • shoot macro (or other focus critical work) and need to make micro adjustments to your lenses
  • shoot a lot of video and want a simple headphone jack on your camera or 4K resolution
  • don’t need to worry about spending a little more. At Amazon, the price is currently: $1,146.95

For the sake of simplicity I’ve tried to focus on only the differences that, in my experience, will actually be important. There are, of course, numerous differences between the two cameras, though, and some features may be more important to particular photographers. If you think that I’ve left out something important, please feel free to let me know.

Please Comment!

If you have additional questions or comments, please let me know, below. I’ll do what I can to answer questions and clear up any confusion.

black friday at B&H

  1. This includes the weight of the body, the battery, and the memory cards. It doesn’t include a lens.
  2. Undoubtedly this was purely a marketing decision to separate to separate the D5000 and D7000 lines, since high-speed-sync requires special functionality for flash units but NOT for camera bodies.
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47 Comments

  • Hi Matthew,
    Thanks a lot for all your articles and responses!! I currently have a D5100 but I’m considering to upgrade to a D5600 or D7200.
    I’d like to start learning about astrophotography (e.g. milky way shoots) so I just want to make sure my decision takes that into account. Would you say that the D7200 will work better than the d5600 in that sense? Should I consider even the D7500 due to the higher ISO range? I just don’t want to buy a body that won’t allow me to learn and shoot that kind of photos.
    I have some budget constrains so I don’t mind waiting some time after upgradeing my camara to buy a good lens for this purpose.
    However I will appreciate if you can suggest a few options for buying this type of lens.

    Thanks in advance for your help!

    • Hello Javier,

      The D5600 and D7200 both will be great for astrophotography. The difference in high ISO performance in the D7500 is negligible… not worth the extra money if that’s what you’d be choosing it for. My general advice is to buy the least expensive camera and buy the best lenses you can afford. Any sort of f/1.4 lens would be ideal for astrophotography, or if you want something a little more flexible, Sigma’s 18-35mm f/1.8. Sigma’s 20mm f/1.4 is also a good option. If you can live with something less wide, a 24 or 35mm f/1.4. Good luck!

  • Thank you for the great article. Very informative! I am looking for a replacement for my old Nikon d40x. I most take pictures of family and during travel. Most of the time my old Nikon with the 18-200mm lens worked fine, especially for travel. But now that I need to occasionally take pictures of my daughter riding horses I want a faster camera and possibly a faster lens. I was doing to get a 7500 and use the lens I have. But now I am not sure if I should get the 6500 and use the money saved toward a better lens. One thing I read everywhere is that 7500 performs much better in low light condition. What is exactly low-light? Sometimes horse riding occurs in an indoor arena with artifical lights or big opening on the sides letting in natural light. Will that be considered low light condition? Also will 7500’s better AF and 3 extra fps make a big difference in the situation above? What kind of lens would be able to compensate for the slightly lower performance of the 5600? If I need a lens that costs $2500 to make the 5600 perform as good as the 7500 in the setting I mentioned it wouldn’t make sense to save $600 to get the cheaper camera. ☺ Thank you in advance for your input!

  • I am told that files created in the D7500 are not compatible with Photoshop. Is that true? If so what are my options?
    Thank you for your professional advice.

    • As of July 19, 2017, Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom added support for the Nikon D7500. If you were using PhotoShop, the D7500 RAW files would open in Adobe Camera RAW. Of course, Photoshop can open JPG files from any camera. There are plenty of other options, though. On1 Photo Raw and CaptureOne are a couple more good options.

      – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for the great article and responses to all the questions! I’m wondering what you think is the best camera/lens for shooting artwork which will be then enlarged to giclee prints of at least 24×36…and as large as 40 x 60 inches. I’m thinking the D5600 with the 40mm prime is good, and I will stitch 2-4 shots if necessary. Obviously resolution is my main concern since I’ll be getting large prints from a print shop. My artwork is all watercolors on paper (no texture), and the size of the originals range from 8×10 to 22×30. I shoot outside (on a tripod) in shade or on grey days at this point. Any help with this would be much appreciated!!

    • Hi Karen,

      With copy work, it’s really technique that is the most important… but to make your life easier (especially when you’re combining multiple shots), you’ll want a lens with low distortion (and of course, sharp). I find that a short macro lens works the best… something like a 40mm macro would be great, but I prefer a 60mm because it increases the working distance a little, which makes the setup a little more tolerant of your copy stand being off-square. You can decide based on how big your art pieces are. The D5600 would be great, but the D5500 would be too, if you want to save a little money.

      But as I say, the technique is paramount. Of course you’ll use a tripod and a flat stand for the art that is exactly perpendicular to the camera’s sensor, and you’ll want to move the print when taking multiple shots, not the camera. Set the camera to ISO 100, use a remote release or self timer for every shot, and set the aperture on the lens to about f/8, (but not past f/11). If you’re taking multiple shots of a print and stitching them together, I’d use manual exposure to make sure that the exposure doesn’t change between shots, which will make processing a little easier. Of course, shoot RAW. And the thing that will probably make your life easiest is to use a color-checker like this one so that you automatically get accurate color. Also, you’ll want to focus your camera using live-view rather than autofocus through the viewfinder (which can give you front or back-focus problems). You probably already know all of that, but I thought it was worth repeating just in case :-)

      – Matthew

      • Hi Matthew,
        Just wanted to thank you for these great ideas. I got the camera from Beach Camera (delivered in 1 day!) and went with the 40mm for now.
        I didn’t realize the importance of using LiveView for focus…and your other ideas are very helpful as well! ( I happened to finally install the Spyder color checker recently…a real necessity, I now realize).
        I shot some photos in RAW, but Photoshop Elements couldn’t open them since apparently Nikon saved them as NEF files. I converted the photos to JPG individually in the camera, but there must be an easier way…and a way that doesn’t reduce the resolution when converting to JPG.
        It’s a really great camera so far though!! Thank you again.

        • Hi Karen,

          Glad things are working out!

          Yes, NEF is the Nikon RAW format, and it is definitely what you should be shooting… though you can also set the camera to shoot JPG. Photoshop elements can open NEF files (with Camera RAW), but if you’re using an older version, your particular camera might not be supported.

          It may be time to switch to the Adobe Photographer’s Creative Cloud plan ($10/month, forever, with Full Photoshop and Lightroom ), or Affinity Photo ($40, total) or something like On1 Photo RAW. I use all three :-)

          – Matthew

  • Dear Matthew,
    Thank you for your excellent and honest review and comments.
    My Nikon D5100 & Lens became too expensive to repair about four months ago and I have been searching for a replacement. When I enter our local camera store, the salesmen groan and become over powered with the urge to dust or take inventory or answer the phone that didn’t ring. I think they all run to the back of the store and draw straws to determine who will finally get stuck with me and my endless questions and “what-ifs”.
    After reading your comments I will probably purchase the D7500 even though it is probably more camera than I need. Your comment on the 18-300 f/3.5-6.3 lens (“ ….more zoom range that you try to pack into a single lens, so you end up with mediocre quality optics at best”) will now send me back to my camera store.
    What sort of performance will my old Nikon DX AF-S Nikkor 55-300mm 1:4.5-5.6G ED lens produce with the D7500. Which other telephoto zoom lenses do you recommend to complement the 18-140mm?
    I consider myself an amateur. As for subjects, in the summer months subjects are mostly wildlife, birds, scenery, flowers, bugs, golf, ranch life (horses, sheep, cows, & dogs). In the winter mostly photograph people at a variety of activities, e.g. dancing, bowling, parties, golf, plays, etc.
    Thank you again for your advice.
    Linda

    • Hi Linda,

      As you’ve probably already heard me say, that 18-140 is a great lens for most common situations, but it’s not the perfect lens for anything. I love it for keeping on my camera most of the time, and switching on a different lens when I have something specific in mind.

      Your 55-300 is a pretty good lens for the range. It’s a little on the soft side at 300mm, especially in the corners, but it’s really quite good from about 55-200mm, and not bad at 300… so it’s worth keeping around.

      But if you want the perfect lens in addition, you’ll have to have a pretty specific goal in mind. If you just want a sharper zoom lens that will let in more light, then there are f/2.8 zoom options. If you want a good portrait lens, then there are 50, 85, and 105mm options. If you want an ultra-wide angle, there are other options. So, I’m afraid that I can’t be of much help without narrowing down the field a bit more. For most of the things you mention, the 18-140 will be great, though anything in dim light will benefit from a larger aperture (somewhere between f/1.4 and f/2.8). Sigma makes a couple of really cool lenses… the 18-35 f/1.8 and the 50-100 f/1.8 that are really nice and sharp and let in tons of light (the 50-100 is great for low light events and perfect for portraits), but they’re going to be big and heavy (and expensive) compared to typical consumer lenses.

      Good luck!
      – Matthew

      • Hi Matthew!
        Thank you for your prompt & detailed answer to my question. I now have a list of lenses to research. I am looking forward to “Light and Matter”. Thanks again! Linda

  • Hello Matthew, your article is quite useful. May i ask whats the best for shooting street shots and travel timelapse videos. Im a small person though i try not to bring as bulky as possible but im thinking about the quality i can get, what is better?

    • Hi Nat,

      The D7500 is going to be the better camera for most things; the question is, is it a big enough difference to warrant the extra cost and weight?

      So, here are the ways in which the D7500 is better: its autofocus system is better (more cross-type AF points, more AF points total, better low-light focusing), and its frame rate is a faster if you’re shooting action. It’s weather sealed (sometimes helpful in street photography).

      The AF system on the D5600 is pretty good, though… this won’t be a huge difference, but it might come into play if you’re shooting at night or in the evening, or indoors in poor light. I doubt the frame rate will be an issue… few people need more than 5 fps for street work.

      As you know, the D5600 is smaller, lighter, and less expensive. It also has a higher resolution sensor. The high-ISO difference between the two cameras is minimal, and when shooting at low ISO, the image quality will be at least as good on the D5600 as the D7500 (if you shoot raw files).

      For timelapse video, it depends on how you shoot. If you mean shooting still photographs and combining them into videos, then they’ll both be excellent… and that’s how you’ll get the best quality (since you can shoot raw, make 4K videos, get the best colors and dynamic range, etc). If you want to use functionality in the camera that automatically outputs to a video file, then generally the D7500 has the better video capture, but I can’t really help you here, since I don’t shoot like that and don’t really recommend it.

      So: it will come down to how much you’re concerned about the focusing system of the camera you choose. I’d probably opt for the D5600 and a good f/1.4 or f/1.8 lens for low light situations, but I’ll leave that up to you :-)

  • Hi Mathew, my name is Mace and I have a few questions if you have the time to respond. It may seem obvious, but I am wondering if the full frame FX buys enough of an advantage over the DX, I currently have, less than full frame, to justify the cost difference. I have already purchased a D7500 from Costco/with 2 nice lenses F/3.5-5, AFP DX NIKKOR 70-300mm full frame, AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm . I was contemplating returning it to Costco with the idea of getting a full frame Nikon. Which Nikon would you recommend as best for overall,/general photography allowing for the most flexibility. This next purchase, will take it’s place along side my COOLPIX995. When I purchased the 995, I had a tight budget and couldn’t afford the DSLR I wanted, with all of the flexibility provided by the extensive suite of NIKOR lenses available. Many years ago, while on active duty with the USN, I was stationed in Norway and the scenery there is amazing, so bought a Nikon F2S Phatomic and several lenses..I used the 55mm F1.2 as my main lens and the zoom lenses I had for special, when needed the longer focal length was needed. I had to sell that system many years ago and regretted it, as I couldn’t afford to replace it until now. I have been getting by with the COOLPIX until I could afford the Nikon of my dreams. In light of the new cameras available now, maybe it’s good I waited, So, this will likely be the last camera I purchase, as I’m nearly 70years old now but I’m hoping to get another 20 years out of this old body and my new Nikon. I guess I am asking for a recommendation as to whether I should return the Nikon D7500 and pursue a full frame camera or do you think what I have is enough camera for my needs. I am not a professional photographer, by any means, however I do like the high tech hardware. I spent most of my working years as a network engineer for a couple firms, Honeywell Bull Worldwide Information Systems and others, as well as a local university. Currently I am a support consultant/engineer for a local ISP but will likely do some photography for weddings for my grand children etc…. I know that it is not easy give advice, seeing we don’t really know each other

    Any feedback will be appreciated thanks.

    Sincerely,

    Mace

    • Hello Mace,

      For common, every-day shooting, an APS-C (DX) camera will be about as good as a full-frame camera for most things, assuming that your lens is of equivalent quality and using an equivalent setting (a smaller sensor will decrease your angle of view from the same lens, so you’ll need to be further away from the subject for similar framing through the viewfinder, and that extra distance will increase your depth of field… so if you love taking portraits with a very shallow depth of field, you’ll need to use a larger aperture with a DX camera).

      That said, when you’re pushing the limits of the sensor’s capabilities (generally in low light, but also with resolution to some degree) full-frame can offer a significant advantage. I find that the difference in noise-handling is worth about 2 extra stops with an FX camera, so where I’d feel comfortable shooting at ISO 3200 with a DX camera in low light, I’d get similar quality at ISO 12800 with an FX… though it depends on the specific models of each. So, if you expect to shoot in low light pretty frequently (and not use a flash or tripod), you might want to think about an FX.

      You can make up for a lot of that difference by getting a lens that lets in more light, especially if it has image stabilization (though that will only help with camera shake, of course, not subject movement). A good f/1.4 lens makes a big difference. For DX cameras, there are now some remarkable f/1.8 zoom lenses… the first of their type… Simga’s 18-35mm f/1.8 and 50-100 f/1.8, also great options (only for DX) if you shoot in low light a lot.

      As you’ve probably already heard me say a dozen times in these comments, I always recommend buying the least expensive camera that will meet your needs, and the best lenses that you can afford… that’s where you’ll see the biggest difference in your images. So, it will depend on your interests in shooting :-) Good luck!

    • Hey Mace, was going through the comments and saw yours. Honestly speaking, I am inspired by your enthusiasm at your age, and I wish you all the luck for your years to come. I hope I am as enthusiastic as you are when I am your age.

      Cheers,
      Vedant

  • Great comparison. I’m looking for a camera for my wife and I… Her necessity is automatic syncing to the cloud of some sort for access on her phone, pc, cvs photo printing etc. I have a sony nex5 which has wifi and syncing but its not very clean.

    I started my search on consumerreports which pointed me to the D7200. I went to nikon and learned about their snapbrdige app and nikon image space which makes the syncing very easy. Some of the snapbridge compatible cameras even come with unlimited cloud storage (reduces images to 2mb).

    Only issue is the 7200 is not a snapbridge camera. the D5600 and the D7500 are.

    The camera is for purely personal use, but i’m a tech geek and love better hardware…will probably go with the 7500 unless its too heavy for my wife

    Do you have any reviews on the best image/cloud sharing offerings that come with cameras? or third parties?

    • Hi Ethan,

      Until recently, I’ve only ever done cloud backup from my computer, not directly from the camera, so I can’t tell you my experience with Snapbridge for that. I have used several means of automatically transferring images to my computer (wirelessly), and my computer backs up all of my files to cloud storage. For me, the best option has been Amazon. With Amazon Prime, you get free unlimited photo storage for all JPG and RAW files, and since I’m a Prime member anyway, it’s essentially free. The browsing and sharing capabilities of Prime Photos is good, and of course, you can always use it to print photos and find other ways to give your money to Amazon.

      My new Sony camera can transfer images to my computer via WiFi directly, but in my older Canons and Nikons, I had to use an Eye-Fi card, which would move photos to my tablet/phone or computer whenever they were in range. They’re generally not necessary with modern cameras now, since most have built-in WiFi, but Eye-Fi cards are still on the market, in case you want to buy a camera that doesn’t have native support for wireless transfers. (They were purchased by Toshiba and are now called “Flash Air”, though reviews for the new cards are not great)

      Good luck!

  • Hello Matthew,

    Excellent article. I currently have the Nikon D5600 and been in the market for the sharpest wide angle lens for an APS-C body. I currently have the Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 and the new Nikon 10-20mm, but at the wide end they leave more to be desired. I’m wondering if there’s possibly a prime lens worth looking at or a sharp wide angle lens with a low amount of chromatic aberration. I’ve considered upgrading to a different camera body, however upgrading to a higher quality glass might do the trick.

    • Hi Patrick,

      Chromatic aberration is a common problem with wide angle lenses; usually it’s easiest to get familiar with correcting it in post-processing than to get a lens that doesn’t show any. Sigma’s 18-35 f/1.8 is really nice and sharp but even that will still show some CA in high contrast situations.

      Otherwise, you might want to try some of the Sigma ART or Zeiss prime lenses. They’re going to be expensive, but they’re wonderfully sharp.

  • HI

    I’m an amateur aviation photographer who currently uses a D3300 with AF-P 70-300 dx lens. In your opinion which Nikon dx camera would be a better upgrade for aircraft in flight?

    • I don’t do much in the way of aviation photography, but I do quite a bit of bird photography, and I suspect that there would be a some crossover :-) For most of the same reasons that I’ve mentioned above, I’d recommend the D7500 for anything where you’re shooing sports and action: it’s faster (shutter speed, frames per second, etc) and it has an excellent autofocus system. The D5600 is not at all shabby, either, but it’s not the action-oriented camera that the D7500 is.

      Of course, part of getting the job done is having the right lens: a fast focusing lens with good reach can make all the difference, and without one, a great camera might only get mediocre results.

      – Matthew

    • Hey Tom,

      I don’t recommend any of the all-in-one zooms, but especially the 18-300 range. Though they are convenient, the image quality suffers significantly the more zoom range that you try to pack into a single lens, so you end up with mediocre quality optics at best, and sometimes much worse in parts of the zoom range. Settling for mediocre image quality defeats the purpose of buying a serious camera like a DSLR, in my opinion. Instead, I’d recommend going for an 18-140mm VR. It’s a manageable enough zoom range that the image quality is pretty strong throughout the range, and it still covers most shooting situations.

      However, if you need more zoom and want to go with an 18-200 or 18-300, then no… I don’t think it’s too heavy for the body. The balance may take a little getting used to, but that’s about it… there’s certainly no structural concern. If you don’t mind a little extra weight, then adding a battery grip to the camera body is always a good way to balance that out.

      – Matthew

      • Thanks much for your prompt response. I’ve been using an 18-200 on a d200 for many years so am used to the weight. Good to know there are no structural issues. Bad to know the image quality is not great.
        Thanks again,
        Tom

  • Exactly what I needed to read. I had D90 for the longest time and recently sold it in preparation for an upgrade. Hard to let it go, it’s served me very well! Thank you for the detailed, well thought out review of both. It’s helped make my decision firm.

  • Hi, very good article! I need your opinion in this regard. I have a Nikon D5600 with an AF-S DX 35mm 1.8G. As I really like to shoot with Primes, I am looking forward to buy AF-S 50mm 1.8G & 85mm 1.8G. But I am wondering about the benefit of an FX Lens on the DX camera. As for DX there are not much Primes, apart from a 40mm Micro from Nikon. Should I go for them or not!?

    • Hello :-)
      When using the FX prime lenses, you get the benefit of using the sharpest part of the lens (the center of the lens), since the quality of any lens is always the worst at the borders of the frame… so with and APS-C sensor, you get to use the sweet spot. You also hardly get any vignetting, which is nice. They are a bit bigger than necessary for a DX camera, but none of the ones you mention are huge. Of course, the drawback is that they’ll all have a much tighter angle of view, so the 35mm will be more like a 50mm.

      • Hi, Mathew thanks for the reply! So there is no problem going for these FX Primes(50 1.8 & 85 1.8), instead of 16-85/16-80 right!? And why the comparison of focal lengths with a Full Frame for these lenses. It’s a bit confusing. A 50mm is 50mm and 85 is 85 on a DX right!?

        • Actually, the ‘effective’ focal length of the lens changes depending on whether you’re using an FX sensor or DX sensor. A DX will give you a narrower angle of view (since the sensor is smaller, it doesn’t capture the full width that the lens can give you), so the angle of view will appear to be that of a longer lens.

          So, to get the ‘effective’ focal length of a prime lens, you multiply it by 1.5 for a Nikon DX (1.6 for a Canon APS-C, since they use a slightly smaller sensor).

          Thus, a 35mm lens becomes a 52.5mm lens, effectively. An 85mm lens becomes a 127.5mm lens.

          This means that if you want a traditional 35mm angle of view, then you’ll need to buy a 24mm lens.

          – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew,

    I read this article AFTER I bought the D5600 for my wife yesterday.

    Surprisingly I went to buy the D7500 but the shopowner advised: if she isn’t a photographer of sportevents or a multiflash type: buy the D5600.

    Nice to read you advise the same.

    The D5600 has another pro: the grip!
    Where the D7500 has a button in the grip which is distrubingly pushed when you don’t want it to be pushed, the D5600 has a robust firm grip without any buttons.

    Thanks for your article, I enjoyed reading it.

  • Thank you for the very informative review!

    I’m actually contemplating on an upgrade from a Nikon D60. I usually take photos of kids (preschool teacher) and mostly indoor stuff. I travel once in a while, though. I’m still not quite sure between the two though as I heard from somewhere that an upgrade should be vertical and not horizontal. With the D5600 coming from the same “family” as my D60, would it still be a reasonable upgrade or should I bump up to the D7500? To add, I don’t plan on buying lenses in the very near future as I’m still set with the pair I currently have. Thanks again!

    • Hi Jones,
      Ultimately, the D7500 is a better camera for people who need its features… but most people don’t. The D5600 will be a pretty dramatic upgrade from the D60, despite being similarly placed. I actually think of the D60 as being similar to the D3000 line, whereas the D80/D90 were in line with the D5000, and the D300 in line with the D7000 line, so you don’t need to think of it as a horizontal upgrade :-) Both the D5600 and D7500 will give you great image quality. The D7500 is better in low light on paper, but they’re virtually identical for practical purposes. Unless you can think of something that the D7500 can do that you’ll use, I’d go with the D5600… but if you have the money to spend, the D7500 is the better machine.
      Good luck!
      – Matthew

      • Oh yes I forgot to mention that budget is a big consideration. Again, thanks for the prompt and extensive reply! You definitely placed things into perspective and these are very helpful. :)

  • I am trying to find out if the SB 800 is compatible with the new D7500. I like all the features of the 7500, but would like to be able to use my old flash, I know how to use it and don’t want to buy another, as I have my eyes on a new lens too. I do use it for fill flash shooting outdoors. The D7500 is not on the list posted on Nikons website for any flash. I think they just haven’t updated the list.

  • Hi Mathew,

    I enjoyed the review and found it very informative. I would like to ask a slightly unrelated question. I was originally contemplating between the D5600 and D7200. I understand the d7500 is out but is out of my price range. I would like to know which would be better to buy between the d7200 and Canon 80d?

    Many thanks

    O

    • Both are excellent cameras, and both have their strengths. The Canon 80D has a better autofocus system for live-view and video, and its autofocus system for through-the-viewfinder shooting has more cross-type points, making it more effective when you’re shooting off-center subjects. However, the D7200 has a sensor capable of capturing finer detail, since it has no anti-aliasing filter, and its sensor has a little better dynamic range and low-light performance.

      Some people will tell you one camera is better than the other, vehemently in fact, but it really just depends on your needs as a photographer. I’d probably lean towards the D7200.

      • Hi Mathew,

        Thanks for replying, it was really helpful. I managed to get a hands on trial run with both before purchase and as you say the 80d is a great camera for reasons mentioned above but the Nikon fit the bill for me.

        Many thanks,

        O

  • Matthew, this is an amazing review: Informative, educational.
    Dare I say entertaining?
    Can’t- wait-’til-the-next-screen engaging.
    Thanks a bunch.

  • Good article. Been on the fence playing the waiting game. Want to buy a Nikon for all round use. Would like to use for real estate listings but also for just general pictures nothing special. Figure if I am going to spend the money I don’t want to regret what I buy. Prices had come down and I am closer to getting off that waiting fence. My back ground is novice. I know just enough to make the wrong choice. I keep looking at the D5300 to the D7200 and the D750. I figure it will be one of those.

    • Hi Gee,
      Luckily, there’s hardly any wrong choice these days… every camera on the market is capable of making some amazing photographs in the hands of a good photographer. The D750 is a great camera if you want to take the step up to full-frame, though it’s also going to be a step up in size, weight, and cost (especially for the lenses). If I were buying an APS-C Nikon today, I’d almost certainly buy the D7200… it seems perfect for just about everything that I do, and I don’t think I’d have much use for the extra buffer space or 4K video. I might enjoy the extra couple of frames per second when shooting sports, though.
      – Matthew

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