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Nikon D7500 vs D7200: What’s the Difference?

If you're a landscape photographer or shoot products in the studio, if you need two SD card slots and a longer battery life, the Nikon D7200 might be the better choice for you.

D7200 vs D7500: Is It Worth the Upgrade?

Nikon’s recently announced D7500 has a peculiar mix of features from the D7200, the high-end D500, and the less expensive D5600. In some important ways it improves over its predecessor, in others it seems to be taking a step back. How much difference do these changes make, and which camera makes more sense for you? Let’s take a look.

To begin with, this chart shows the main features of both cameras, with the better features highlighted in green, though in some cases “better” is subjective.

 Nikon D7500Nikon D7200

Price (body)
Price With Kit Lens
(18-140mm VR)
Body MaterialPlastic Monocoque BodyPartial Magnesium Alloy Frame, Plastic
Dust/Weather Sealed BodyYesYes
Sensor Resolution20.9 Megapixel24.2 Megapixels
Anti-Aliasing Filter [OLP]
(Reduces sharpness, prevents moire)
ISO Range100 - 51200100 - 25600
Total AF Points5151
Cross-Type AF Points1515
AF Motor In Body
(For Using Older AF Lenses)
AF Light Level Range-3 to +19 EV-3 to +19 EV
Autofocus Fine Tuning
Shutter Speed Range1/8000th - 30 sec.
1/8000th - 30 sec.
Max Frame Rate8 fps6 fps
(7 shots in 1.3x crop mode)
Max RAW Burst
(buffer size)
50 shots 14-bit compressed18 shots 14-bit compressed
Max JPG Burst
(fine, Large)
Flash Sync Speed1/250th sec.1/250th sec.
Wireless Flash With
Built-in Commander
Nikon RADIO Wireless Flash CompatibleYESNO
Auto FP Flash Mode
(High Speed Sync)
Media Slots1 SDXC2 SDXC
Quick Access User Modes
(Saved U1, U2 programs)
LCD Size3.2"
922,000 pixels
1,228,800 pixels
LCD ArticulatedYESNO
LCD TouchscreenYESNO
BluetoothYES (v4.1)NO
Built-in WiFiYESYES
Body Weight640g (no battery)675g (no battery)
Body Size135.5 mm x 104 mm
x 72.5 mm
136 x 106.5 x 76 mm
Battery Life950 Shots
CIPA Standards
1,110 shots CIPA Standards
Viewfinder Coverage100% Frame
.94x Magnification
100% Frame
.94x Magnification
Video CodecMPEG-4 / H.264
.mov or MP4
MPEG-4 / H.264
Video Resolutions3,840 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)
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
(Reduces image area; not available for 4K resolution)
Video Length Limit29 min 59 sec.29 min 59 sec.
Headphone JackYesYes
Internal MicStereoStereo

The Body

From the front, changes don’t appear to be dramatic. The microphones have been moved from the top to either side of the lens mount, and Nikon opted for D5600-style strap loops.

While many of the features of the D7500 have been upgraded to match the D500, the body is now more like that of the less expensive D5600. Having eschewed the magnesium alloy back and top plates found in the rest of the D7000 series, the D7500’s unified frame and body are made entirely of plastics. This makes the D7500 lighter than previous models, and perhaps easier to weather-seal (sealing is very thorough on this model).

D7500 and D7200 sealing diagram
Weather sealing (in yellow) on the D7500 and D7200. Both are well sealed.

Along with the new body material are a variety of changes in design and layout, some minor (like the change in strap connectors and the location of the microphones), and some major, like the adoption of a new battery (EN-EL15a) and the loss of an SD card slot (down from 2 slots in the D7200 to just a lone slot).

Top view of Nikon D7200 and D7500 pointing out differences
Minor changes are visible on the camera tops: the dedicated metering mode button has been replaced with an ISO button, and the microphones have been moved to the front of the body. The top LCD is also smaller.

And, of course, the D7500 is the first in the series to include an articulated, touch-enabled LCD. This LCD is a case of “one step forward, one step back”, though; I had expected the D7500 to get the D500’s nice 2,359,000 pixel screen, but instead it’s been saddled with a 3.2″ 922,000 pixel LCD that has lower pixel density than the 3″ screen in the original D70001. The top LCD is also smaller.


The Sensors

Some people were surprised to discover that the D7500’s sensor has lower resolution (20.9 megapixels) than that of the 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 D7200: a full f-stop of difference. 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 D7200 at high ISO. 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. At one stop apart, they’re roughly comparable. 

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.

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.

Speed & Action Performance

The D7200 was Nikon’s best APS-C camera for shooting action until the release of the D500, and while the D7500 does not match the D500, it certainly closes the gap. The D7200 can shoot at 6 frames per second, but if you’re shooting RAW, it can only shoot 18 shots in a row (3 seconds) before the buffer is full and it needs a break to write to the SD card. The D7500 improves on both metrics, shooting at 8 frames per second for bursts of 50 frames in a row (just over 6 seconds). The D500 takes that a step further, shooting 10 frames per second for up to 200 compressed RAW shots, but only when using an XQD card.

Of course, if you’re willing to shoot JPG, then the D7200 has no problem, as it is able to shoot bursts of at least 100 shots in that format.

Nikon AF Point diagram
The Nikon D7200 and D7500 both share the same AF point layout and autofocus module.

The autofocus system in the D7500 has not been changed; it uses the same 51-point (15-cross type) system as the D7200, while the D500’s system has a total of 153 AF points. However, Nikon claims that the same system in the D7500 will perform better than it does in the D7200 because of the new processor in the camera. This seems very unlikely to be a significant difference.

How important is this difference? Journalists, action photographers, event photographers, wildlife photographers, and anyone else who needs to capture images in copious quantities very quickly might find the extra two frames per second helpful, though casual action photographers will probably not need it. Portrait, landscape, product and commercial photographers? Probably not. Similarly, very few photographer (even those who shoot action) shoot bursts of more than 10-15 frames. The ability to do so will be important for the most dedicated action photographers (who should probably be looking at the D500 anyway), but probably not many others2. You’ll know from your shooting style whether this will be important for you.


It is tempting to just say “The Nikon D7500 can shoot 4K video and the D7200 can’t” and leave it at that. While the fact is true, there are some ugly details: I’ve said this all about the Nikon D500, and I’ll say it again for the D7500.

The D7500 shoots Full HD video much as you would expect, using the full width of the frame to capture 16:9, 1920 x 1080 video. You also have the option of capturing that video from a 1.3x cropped section of the sensor (which is, of course, already 1.5x cropped compared to an FX sensor).

However, when the D7500 captures 4K video, you are forced to use a cropped section of the sensor that is even smaller than the 1.3x cropped section that is optional at 1080p. It can be seen in our graphic, below:

Nikon D500 4K video area crop
4K Recording Area: The central rectangle is the only recording area available when shooting at 4K resolution. When shooting HD and Full HD, the full width and 1.3x crop areas are available.

This may be perfectly acceptable for those who only shoot telephoto video; it provides remarkably high resolution video and a roughly 1.5x crop, making a 200mm lens perform like a 450mm lens (1.5x crop + 1.5x crop). However, for those times when you want to shoot wide angle, you’ll need to use an ultra-wide angle lens just to get close; while a 16mm lens might normally give you a full-frame 24mm lens’s field of view, you’ll need an 11mm lens to get something almost equivalent if you’re shooting 4k.

So, if you’re looking for a camera just to shoot 4K video, the D7500 is hardly ideal.

However, if you’re mostly shooting 1080p or 720p, then the D7500 has one more trick up its sleeve: digital image stabilization, which can be used in conjunction with optical image stabilization. You will lose a little bit of the frame, but the sensor has plenty of resolution to spare, so there’s no loss in resolution, and the addition of digital stabilization goes a long way towards giving you smooth, jitter-free video. Like the D500, the D7500 will have electronic aperture control while shooting video, as well as exposure smoothing capabilities when moving from dark to bright areas (using auto ISO and electronic aperture control).

The Nikon D7200, unfortunately, does not have electronic aperture control, nor digital image stabilization. It does, however, have 1.3x crop mode, like the D500, and both can output video to an external recorder.


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.

The Nikon D7200 does not support the new Nikon radio-controller (WR-R10/WR-A10) and SB-5000 flash system, which can control up to 18 speedlights. However, there are countless 3rd party radio-triggering systems already available on the market, from pro-level Pocket Wizards and the popular Yongnuo TTL models, Nissin Air 1 Commander and the Phottix Odin, so this should be only a minor consideration for most people.


The new features of the Nikon D7500 will primarily benefit photographers who shoot events and long bursts of action, particularly those who shoot them in low light with high ISO. Those photographers will get better performance with the D7500: better speed and less digital noise. This comes at the cost of slightly lower resolution. Photographers who wish to shoot 4K video and/or use a swivel screen may also find reason to choose the D7500.

However, if you normally shoot at low ISO, and if your primary interest is not fast moving action, then the D7200 will give you equally good results, and in some cases, it may give you better image quality. If you shoot with impeccable technique3 with a top quality lens set in its sharpest aperture range, the D7200’s sensor is capable of capturing more detail than the D7500’s.

You Should Buy the Nikon D7500 If…

  • you plan to shoot a lot of action like: sports, news events, weddings, wildlife
  • you plan to shoot events in a dark setting: concerts, clubs, weddings, wildlife
  • you need to shoot 4K video, especially telephoto, or digitally stabilized HD Video
  • you want to use Nikon’s SB-5000 flashes and radio trigger system
  • you want a touch-screen and/or articulated rear LCD

You Should Buy the Nikon D7200 If…

  • you shoot landscapes or other detail oriented genres at low ISOs, including: studio portraits, product images, still-life works
  • you shoot action photography but don’t need a full 10 frames per second (the D7200 is a very capable action camera)
  • you shoot long events (or spend a long time in the field) and want better battery life
  • you want to save money on the body to buy better lenses (which is what I always recommend)

If you do decide to buy either one and have found this article helpful, please support us by purchasing your camera from any of the links found in this text, or from the stores listed here: or  B&H Photo.

Buy the Nikon D7200: From | From B&H Photo | From Adorama
Buy the Nikon D7500  : From | From B&H Photo | From Adorama

Questions? Comments?

I’ve attempted to concentrate on the most important differences between these cameras in practical use for photographers who shoot RAW files, but there are other minor differences. They may or may not be relevant to the way you shoot. However, if you still have any questions about which camera you should buy, please feel free to ask me in the comments section below! I’ll answer as quickly as I can.

  1. The D7000 had a 921,000 pixel LCD, essentially the same, but it was a smaller screen at only 3.0″, making the pixel density greater
  2. When I was studying photojournalism in college in the mid 1990s, we were all still using film. Bursts of more than a few seconds could finish off an entire roll of film. Somehow, even the people who were lucky enough to be shooting Michael Jordan and Ken Griffey Jr. managed to produce amazing images with bursts of just 5 or 6 frames at a time
  3. This means shooting from a tripod, with mirror lock up, and a cable release or timer
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  • Hi Matthew,

    I have gone through your article & most comments, while I am deciding between D7200 & D7500. The focus keeps coming back at your suggestion in investing more in great lenses and less on body, but I have a doubt about D 7200’s performance in a particular use for my work. I need to capture outdoor sporting events (running specifically) under varied light conditions including night time. Will D 7500 shine above the 7200 in any way in such condition, as you pointed out better low light performance ? Or D 7200 with a wide aperture prime lens and its AF system will do as well ?

    Thank you !

    • Hello Chetan,
      The D7200 and D7500 have the same autofocus system (same AF module, same number of AF points, same low-light range), and I have not noticed any practical difference in their focus performance. The difference in low-light situations with the D7500 is supposed to be better noise handling at high ISO, but even that is a negligible difference, if you shoot RAW.

      That said, the D7500 does have some minor speed and buffer advantages over the D7200, which are both important for shooting sports. The D7500 shoots 8 frames per second while the D7200 only shoots 6.

      A wide aperture prime can be helpful, although sometimes depth of field gets too shallow for fast moving subjects, and you end up being focused on the body but the face is out of focus. I have better luck with an f/2.8 zoom, usually, but it depends on how close you are and the conditions. Good luck!
      – Matthew

    • Hi Nancy,
      Although there should be a slight advantage with the D7500 theoretically, since it has a lower resolution sensor (usually better in low light), in actual use, looking at images side by side, I don’t see any difference in image quality at all at ISO 6400. You can make a big difference by using either camera with a lens that lets in more light… like a 35mm f/1.8 or 50mm f/1.8 ($215) (or f/1.4 would be even better). So, I’d buy the D7200, and use the money you save to buy a good low-light lens.
      Good luck!
      – Matthew

    • Hi Matthew, I own a D5500 and i have invested quite a lot on lenses (Nikon 18-140, Nikon 16-80, Nikon 35mm 1.8g, Samyang 16mm, Nikon 70-300 af-s, Sigma 100-400 c and Sigma 15-600 c). Primarily i use my camera for travel and landscape photography but I have also used it for airshow, indoor and astrophotography. Although the D5500 has remarkable image quality and I love its small weight and the convenience of its touch screen, I have started to discover the limitations its body. Firstly it does’t support the AF fine tune. I want my images to be as crispy clear as my lenses can allow. I took about 2000 photos from an air show but not many were very clear when I cropped the photos. I suppose that this has to do with the AF system or AF fine tuning. Moreover as a teacher I want to be able to take indoor photos from school events and student performances. Yesterday I was little disappointed from the performance of D5500 + Nikon 16-80 because in low light conditions the photos were not very sharp (Aperture mode, 3200 iso, no flash, f/2.8-4, 1/6- 1/40 shutter speed). Only with good indoor light i was able to take sharp photos. Was this happened due to high iso or the limitation of AF system? I am thinking of selling the D5500 with its kit lens and upgrade to D7200 or D7500. I don’t use the video at all. Which of these cameras do you think that suit me? I am very confused because I would like to have all the new stuff of D7500 (better metering system, better AF, extra 2 fps, vary angle touch screen, easier AF fine tuning) with a 24mp sensor, AIs, Depth of field function and battery grip. Now I have to choose between of them. Am i going to see much difference by moving from D5500 to D7200 in low light and action photography? Is the D7500 worth the extra money? Thanks

      • Hi Nikos,

        This is tricky, and without seeing the images you’re talking about, I can only speculate. However, it sounds as though the AF fine tune is probably NOT the problem with your air-show photos (in fact, it’s rarely a significant problem at all), but if you were shooting planes at a distance, then your lens was likely at infinity or close to it, which is not where you’re likely to see fine tune problems. More likely, you’re seeing camera shake (even with fast shutter speeds and image stabilization); it’s almost impossible to get rid of with long telephotos without a tripod or monopod. However, even though your camera body doesn’t allow fine tuning, you can get the Sigma lens dock, and at least your 100-400 and 150-600 should be adjustable with it. I’ve been testing these two lenses recently, and I’m not particularly impressed with their image stabilization.

        Even with good image stabilization on a Nikon lens, it will be hard to get tack-sharp images at 1/6 – 1/40th sec, so that could have entered into it, but it’s likely that high ISO noise played a part. Unfortunately, having looking at side-by-side images from the D7200 and D7500, I don’t see a significant difference. Really, shooting in low light like that, a full frame sensor will make a big difference, but otherwise, there’s not a lot you can do except use large aperture primes to get your shutterspeed up and ISO down, or use a flash or two.

        Beyond that, I don’t think I can say much more than I’ve already said in the article above. If you think a new camera will help, I’d probably go with the D7500 for the buffer and extra 2fps. The 20 megapixel sensor will out-resolve most lenses as it is. Good luck!

  • Hi Mathew, rock solid article.
    I’ve had the D7000 since 2010 and feel need an upgrade to keep shooting architectural interiors (on tripod) and some outdoor landscape (on tripod) , outdoor sports/people (handheld)
    after reading your article its pretty clear 7200 is a smarter choice.
    i told some BH guys about my D7000 not focusing well on moving objects/people and 2 guys said that camera had some issues with focusing. have you heard that as well? thanks! JP

    • Hi JP,
      I don’t remember any particular focus problems with the D7000, but it’s been a while… I may just not be remembering. I do seeem to recall that its AF points were mostly non-cross type, which could have contributed to problems. Sounds like the D7200 is a good choice for you, at any rate :-)

      • thanks Matt! 2 lenses comparison i would appreciate your comment on . i currently have the Nikon – AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED. I want to get a newer lens with bigger aperture for indoor night shooting on tripod. what lens from tokina or sigma would you recommend?im looking at the tokina 11-20 vs tokina 11-16. 2nd one is a zoom…. Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art Lens vs the Tokina AT-X 24-70mm f/2.8 PRO FX…. if you there is another one you would recommend pls throw it in. thanks again

        • Hi JP,
          Unfortunately, I haven’t spent much time with the Tokina 11-20, though I’ve always loved the 11-16, and I understand that they’re very similar in performance. The Tokina 24-70 f/2.8 is also very nice optically, as long as you remember to correct the chromatic aberration (that’s the case with most Tokina lenses).

          My favorite lens of the bunch is the Sigma 18-35 f/1.8 ART. Beautiful image quality, good auto-focus, excellent light transmission, though it is a bit big and heavy.

  • Hi Matthew,
    Thanks for your article. I am upgrading from 3300 to D7200. I almost picked D7500 but going through your and several other articles I changed my decision, 7200 is a better fit for my needs at the price.
    My question is about lens. I have following lens – Nikon 18-55 ED and Nikon 50mm f/1.8g.
    I am trying to choose between 18-140mm and 16-80mm.
    I need a zoom lens, at the same time I don’t want to carry multiple lenses when traveling. 16-80 being more expensive, am I sacrificing too much on quality if I go with 18-140?


    • Hi Charles,

      Image quality isn’t really the root of this price difference; the 18-140 is a good, sharp lens. The 16-80 f/2.8-4 has a wider field of view at the near end of the zoom, so it’s similar to a 24mm lens on a full-frame camera, which is a big part of it. The more important part is that the maximum aperture is f/2.8, at least at the wide end of the zoom, and f/4 at the far end, while the 18-140 is a 3.5-5.6. So, when you’re zoomed in all the way, the 16-80 lets in twice as much light as the 18-140 (f/4 vs f/5.6). At the wide end, f/2.8 lets in about 67% more light than the f/3.5 of the other lens. Of course, when you’re taking a picture in low light that makes a difference, but it also means that when you’re looking through the viewfinder of the camera, it will be brighter though the 16-80, at least a little bit.

      Whichever lens you get, you’ll be finished with your 18-55, so you can sell that or trade it in. Really, it will come down to what you’ll be using the lens for. If you need the range of the 140mm, I think it’s an excellent every-day lens. If you can get away with only reaching 80mm (maybe you shoot portraits but don’t shoot outdoor sports or wildlife), then go for the 16-80.

      Good luck!

  • I have Nikon D5300 with 18-140, 35mm, 70-300 & 8mm wide angle. Mainly I shoot family and landscapes. I am thinking to upgrade at least 7200. Is it worth to upgrade to 7200 or 7500 or 500. Please advice me.

    • Hi Jorak,
      Probably not, but it depends on how you shoot. The D7200 won’t give you better image quality. It does have better flash functionality and faster shooting speeds, which can help some people, but I don’t know whether they’ll help you. For landscapes and family, I’d guess probably not. You’d probably see more improvement in your photography by purchasing a professional-level lens: perhaps a 70-200 f/2.8 (the Tamron G2 is a great one for the price) or an 85mm prime? That’s up to you. But if you can think of something that the more expensive camera bodies can do that you feel like you need, let me know :-)
      Good luck!
      – Matthew

      • Thanks for your reply Mathew. From your reply I understood that upgrading from 5300 to 7200/7500/500 I will get the same image quality except some features. According to your last line, if I upgrade to full frame like d750 what will be the impact in image quality? will it be a marginal difference or huge? (Anyway in near future I’m not going to upgrade to full frame).

        • Hello Jorak,
          Stepping up to a full-frame sensor can give you significant differences in image quality, and sometimes improvements if you’re using the right lenses. They will generally give you 2 or more f-stops worth of improvement in noise-handling for low-light shooting.

          My comment before was directed at professional-level lenses, not the camera body itself, though. Adding a better lens to a camera that you already own can dramatically improve your image quality.

  • Thanks, Matthew for your article!
    I wonder why Nikon D7200 is better than D7500 for landscapes?
    I am thinking of upgrading from my current Nikon D3100 because i want to shoot night skies, (star trails, milkyway) landscapes, wildlife.
    What do you recommend?
    Thank you so much for your time, I greatly appreciate your help!

  • Thank you for this comparison. I currently own the Nikon D5300 with the kit lens and the new 70-300 VR. I was attracted to the D7500 bundle with the 16-80 lens. I was thinking those two lenses would be everything I would ever need! I mainly shoot gardens and flowers for my magazine/newspaper articles. I also love taking photos of landscapes and butterflies/birds.

    Last year I tried the Sony a6000 with the kit lens. To be honest, I didn’t think the photos were quite as sharp as the ones taken with my Nikon. I also was a bit confounded by all the settings available. However after reading your article and the comments today, I am wondering about the Sony a6300 with the more expensive 16-70 lens. I could keep the D5300 and 70-300 lens for my butterflies and birds. What do you think? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Lynn,
      Yes, the kit lenses (particularly the 16-50mm) aren’t the sharpest. The 16-70 is certainly better, though I’m not sure the price tag is justified.

      But before getting into that, I’m curious why you are thinking about a new camera? My general advice is always to buy the least expensive camera that will meet your needs, and the best lenses you can afford… and the D5300 can do just about anything that the D7500 can do, unless you’re shooting sports. The image quality, sharpness, and colors should be just as good from the D5300. My recommendation would be to test out a true macro lens or two for your current camera body to get the truly exquisite image quality that you can only get from an ultra-sharp prime lens (Nikon’s 105mm or 60mm micro lenses are among the best made), and look into a higher quality zoom for it (I’m a fan of the Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS, but Nikon makes a great model, too). These lenses will make more difference than buying a new camera body.

      However, if you’re looking for a more compact body like the a6300 or a6500, which is understandable, the trick is to find a lens that can match the quality of the sensor. Sony’s 50mm macro lens has horribly slow focus, but good optics. Sigma’s 18-35 f/1.8 is super sharp and great in low light, but a bit bulky and the zoom range is pretty short. The 10-18 has even sharper optics than the 16-70, though it’s also not such a useful range.

      Anyway, I’m interested to hear what you think about keeping the same body, or if you’re set on a new one. :-)

  • Hi Matthew. I just came across this review and just wanted to say thanks for NOT presenting the usual hype that a lot of other camera review sites give. Your review of the D7500 seems very thorough, and I really appreciate the graphic you did demonstrating the extensive crop that occurs when shooting in 4K with the D7500 and D500. I think you just saved me a lot of money. Thanks again and plan on bookmarking your blog. (Also, shout out to toxictobasco who posted above me, since he always has something good to share when it comes to DSLR video).

  • i have not realized before that this is a blog in english, still i hope that you can get to answer my doubts, doesn’t matter in english or spanish i will appreciate very much, hugs.

  • Great comprehensive review. I’ve been torn between these 2 since I sold my D7100. However, which one will do 30 second to 2 min exposures at higher ISOs the best. Seems both have different sensors. I found that long good exposure performance is not always based on the higher rated ISO camera. Because most of those test are with fast shutter speeds. Also, those highly rated ISO cameras like the Sony A7S which do well under 20 second exposures don’t do as good as some lesser cameras when the exposure is bumped up to 2 and 3 min with ISO at 3200. So this is my concern dude. Which one will do best at high ISO and long exposures?
    Thank you.

  • I’ll just add that our local photo store was selling the 7200 with the 18 – 140mm lens for $1550 (Canadian). The 7500 is $2200 for the body alone. That’s quite a premium for most to pay. The 7200 is a pretty nice upgrade from my D80.

    • That’s a pretty good price! I had a trusty D80 for a few years, until about 2010, when the aperture control module died with no warning and it was no longer trusty. Enjoy the D7200 :-)
      – Matthew

  • Hi Matthew, great article as usual. I am thinking of upgrading from my current Nikon D5500 to either the D500 or the 7500. Since the 7500 was announced it seems like the right balance for me. I don’t think I need the pro grade body for my type of photography. I am also pretty well invested in dx lenses (Nikon 18-140, Sigma ART 18-35 1.8 and Tokina 11-20 2.8). I was thinking of adding the Nikon 16-80 2.8-3.5.

    I do have 1 question regarding the D7500. Does the D7500 have a live histogram for stills. This is a feature that my current D5500 does not have and a feature I would really like to have.

    Thanks for all you help


    • Hi Dean,

      That’s a good question. I’ve never used a live histogram (I rarely use live-view with Nikons), but I believe that you can press the info button during live-view and bring up a luminance (not RGB) histogram… I just can’t remember whether that was the D7500 or D500. I’m sure that the D7500 manual is available on the Nikon website and will clear that up for you. Good luck!

      – Matthew

  • Hello Matthew,

    Your site has been, by far, the most helpful that I have found! I am still struggling on what to purchase however, but my latest thought process is to get the D7200 (vs the D7500) and purchase a nice lens or two per your advice. We are travelling to NZ in the fall and I want to get use to the camera now. I borrowed a friends Nikon D3300 a year ago and while I got a few great pictures I struggled as quite a few were blurry (mostly wild animals) ones as well on full auto mode. I definitely want a camera that has weather sealing as I know that I will feel more comfortable using it more often instead of just letting it sit in my house :)

    I am absolutely not a pro photographer, however, I am tempted to say that a simple entry-level would be too basic. I love taking photos for my friends and their new babies and at every family event I am the one capturing all of the moments but most of all I love taking landscape and travel photography (i.e. the reason I am looking to buy a DSLR now to practice for New Zealand).

    I have read so many things on your website and LOVE your advice. With that, I would greatly appreciate your thoughts. I was leaning towards the D7500 but I am thinking I better (price wise) go for the D7200 and then just get a good lens or two. If you agree, what lens would you suggest for the NZ trip and general Colorado hiking :)?

    Or, if you think based on my thought process there is another camera, Sony, Canon, etc., I totally trust you! I will most likely never use the camera (at least for now) on full manual, but more partial here and there and quite a bit of auto. However, I love photography and the more comfortable I get, since this will be something I have for a long time, I may shift into more manual settings. I know that I have a very good eye, I just need to have more practice with full manual.

    Thank you so much for your time, I greatly appreciate your help! As for pictures, I print some 11×14 for our home but other than that and simple videos I dont need any crazy features. Just a nice camera (would love to spend less with lens + camera than $1600) that is user friendly, would be a good long term camera, and most importantly great to capture everything I discussed.

    • Hi Catherine,
      It sounds to me like you’re really on the right track with the D7200. It’s a great, solid camera and it can take some punishment when you’re out in the field, and it will give you better image quality than most of the other cameras out there today.

      That said, everyone who is getting a camera for travel should also consider a mirrorless, these days… either the Sony a6500 or perhaps the Fuji XT2. Both are significantly more compact than the Nikon, and they generally perform as well or better than SLRs, too… with a few exceptions. Unfortunately, Sony has poor lens choices for the a6500, and the Fuji ends up being pretty expensive. But they’re worth checking out.

      If you want to shoot video, check out the Canon 80D or 77D instead of a Nikon.

      If you go with the Nikon, then lens choice is going to be your hardest decision because there are so many amazing lenses available these days. Unfortunately, lens choice is a very personal decision… much of it is going to be based on personal preference and artistic taste. While traveling in Europe and Morocco last fall, I carried two lenses for the vast majority of the time: a 24-70 and a 70-200mm f/2.8, and between those, I would say that the 24-70 was used 70% of the time. For me, these lenses give me the best combination of excellent image quality, good low-light capabilities, and flexibility of perspective. However, many photographers prefer to use only prime lenses (no zooms), and would instead go with a 35mm f/1.4 and perhaps a 50mm or 24mm with a large aperture. They’re better for low light and create more dramatic background-blur for people who like these stylized photos. Others would just go with an all-in-one type zoom lens, like the 18-140 VR, which has good image quality, you never have to change your lens, and the low-light performance is not as good (though the VR helps).

      For APS-C cameras like the D7200, I happen to be a huge fan of the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 ART series lens. It’s a good combination of having a wide aperture so it’s good for low light, and the optical quality is amazing. It doesn’t have image stabilization, though, and the zoom range isn’t huge. I often carry an older Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8 OS HSM on my APS-C cameras, which is basically the same zoom range as a 24-70 f/2.8 on a full-frame, the image quality is very good, and it does have stabilization… and the price is reasonable. You’d want to compliment it with a telephoto or longer zoom lens, though.

      Part of choosing a lens is going to be deciding on what kinds of images you like and want to take, and then picking the perfect lens to achieve that goal… so it’s not uncommon to start with an all-in-one until you figure out your own particular style. 18-140 is the biggest all-in-one that I’d get (don’t go for the 18-200 or 18-270 or bigger).

      Just a passing note about shooting in manual mode: most professionals don’t do it. What most pros do is shoot in a semi-manual mode (I use aperture priority mode 95% of the time: I choose the aperture, the camera sets the shutter speed), which gives you manual control of just one element of the exposure and lets the camera control the other to give you correct exposure. The only times that I shoot full manual are in the studio with flash, and shooting indoor sports like basketball where the lighting is consistent across the court. The important thing to do is get an understanding of what aperture/shutterspeed/ISO do and how they interrelate, and then make the changes with one of them to control what you want to control. I have a quick video and an article or two about that, if you want to brush up :-)

      Good luck! If this reply has just made your choice more complicated, feel free to let me know your thought process and I might be able to help narrow it down a bit.

      – Matthew

      • Matthew! Wow, again, so helpful. I am very excited as I had not even considered mirrorless but after some quick research it looks absolutely perfect for what I had in mind for travel and keeping with me at family/friend events. Definitely a major upgrade from a point and shoot, with still having the optional lenses and capabilities (image quality wise) of a DSLR without the bulk! With that the Sony you recommended looks good especially at the pricepoint. Would that be your top pick and if so which lens or two would you recommend for just starting out for NZ landscapes?

        Once again thank you for this help. While it changed my thought process completely, it actually helped me dramatically as I had been stressing about the DSLR bulk with travel and it appears the new mirrorless cameras can have just as good image quality!

        • Yes, I think that the Sony a6500 would be a great choice… although it’s really a toss up between that and the Fuji XT2.

          The sensor in the a6500 is the same size (APS-C) and resolution (24 mp) as the D7200, with excellent color and dynamic range. So as far as the sensor is concerned, the image quality from the a6500 will be just as good as the Nikon. And the a6500 has image stabilization built into the body (instead of the lens, like Nikon and Canon), so you’ll always have stabilization, no matter what lens you use. The a6300 and older a6000 also have great image quality, but no stabilization in the body.

          However, the LENS plays just as important a role in image quality, and there aren’t so many choices for Sony (and many of their compact lenses have poor image quality, while their good lenses are big and expensive). That’s one of the reasons I like the Fuji… their lenses are almost all excellent and compact.

          Now here’s the problem: I own Nikon and Canon equipment, but I don’t own a Sony, so I’m not as familiar with their lenses. My best friend (and one of my frequent shooting partners) owns a Sony, so I’ve used the camera, but I’ve been limited to his set of lenses. Of course, I’ve used others briefly at trade shows and camera shops, but not for serious testing.

          Here are the Sony lenses that I’d look at, though:
          Sony 18-105 f/4 (sold out in a lot of places but in stock at B&H)
          Sony 35mm f/1.8
          Sony/Zeiss 17-60 f/4 . This lens would have been my top recommendation except that they seem to have some manufacturing problems… some of them have great image quality, some of them have optical flaws. It’s a bit of a lottery.

          The Fuji body is a little bigger and it’s styled more like a traditional SLR, and I prefer the layout of its controls. But its also more expensive, and doesn’t have stabilization in the body.

          Good luck!

  • I have a D7100 now. I am not happy with the focusing primarily in low contrast situations. I am looking at the 7200, 7500 and 500. I am a small woman, so lighter weight is nice. However, I shoot wildlife (not professionally, but on safaris. Doubt if I need ultra fast bursts though) but also landscapes and anything else in nature. Some street photography. Very little portrait photography. I am leaning toward 7200 or 7500 due to their similarity in function and form to the 7100. However, if the 500 had a flash I think I would grab it and hope the weight and learning curve didn’t bother me. I do have a speedlight but don’t use it for just walking around photography. I think I would miss the pop up flash. I’m not sure about missing the 2nd card slot in the 7500. B and H told me that the 7200 wasn’t different enough from the 7100 to make a difference. I’ve heard that the focusing is much better in the 7200. Would love to know what you think. After reading your comparison, I’m leaning 7200, but it just doesn’t seem like much of a step up.

    • Hi Kay,

      I’m inclined to agree with B&H on this: the D7100 and the D7200 have the same autofocus module, same number of focusing points, same number of cross-type points. The D7200 does use a faster processor, but processing power wasn’t the problem with the system in the D7100, so that doesn’t really matter.

      The only real significant difference is that the D7200 can focus in about 1EV lower light than the D7100. That’s equivalent to 1 f-stop worth of light, and it’s more likely do to a minor improvement in the AF algorithms than (and some wishful marketing) than anything else.

      As you may know, ANY camera is going to have trouble focusing in low-contrast situations, since they basically need a hard edge or line to work. However, cross-type points can be a big help (you might find my video about cross-type AF points helpful, if you’re not already familiar with them) , and using large aperture lenses can help pretty dramatically (and off-brand lenses like the excellent lenses from Sigma and Tamron can also cause issues with some camera combinations).

      I only mention all of this because I’ve used the Nikon D7100 pretty extensively and have found it to be very reliable, so I’m just wondering whether it’s a lens issue, rather than a camera one. But you may already know the answer to that.

      The D500 has 99 cross-type points compared to the D7200’s 15… so if you’re shooting with a group of points, that can really help you pull focus. But it’s a pretty big price difference, so I’d just recommend making sure that the issue you’re having is not lens-related before making the purchase (and finding that you have the same problems with it because you’re using the same lens(es).

      – Matthew

  • Hello
    i read all your commenst with interest .
    I am far from a pro… and I love taking pictures since I am a teenager….And use my Nikon D90 during holidays (a few landscapes + family pictures) and family events. I don’t use burst mode. I take my time for paysage and have tried to feel the right time when takin picture of people. I come back from long holidays with Max 300 pictures, not 3000!

    I started with borrowing my father Contax camera. 35 or 70 mm lens(so great!)
    I received my first camera (pentax SFXN) with my first zoom (35-70I was impressed but AF. It was magic and I still have that feeling.
    My actual camera is a Nikon D90 that I use with Nikon 1.8 lens.

    I would like to buy a new one (better AF, better low-light capture, and probably a bit of a whim for a new toy).

    I don’t care Video, I never had trouble with my one slot D90, I don’t need extra grip, I prefer one slot with a good grip than two slots with a less good shape of grip ..

    It seems that D7500 was made for amateurs like met..(Unless the video that I won’t use).

    BUT it cost 400 euros more than D7200…
    Is it worth choosing D7500? I really don’t know..What would you advise me?

    • Hello Viny,

      For your purposes, I’d lean towards the D7200, or even the D5500/5600. Both are great cameras, though the D7200 will be a bit larger and fit your hand more similarly to your D90. The D5600 may feel a little small and light in comparison, but the image quality is great and it’s considerably less expensive. However, if you want the heft of a bigger camera with a metal body, I’m a big fan of the D7200, and the improvement in high ISO performance of the D7500 is very modest. Unless I’m shooting indoor sports and need to stop action with a fast shutter speed (at 1/500th sec or faster), I rarely shoot at an ISO higher than 3200, and the D7200 performs just fine at ISO3200.

      Good luck!

      – Matthew

      • You will be suprised but here in Europe, D7200 will cost 800 euros and D5600 720 euros, due to nikon cash back offer…
        Light and small camera sounds great to me..but qucik access to speed, aperture and preset ar higher value to me and efinitively worth extra 80 euros.
        Question is therfore betwen between D7500…and I will go for D7200

    • I am choosing a new camera also. I currently have the D90, SB-800, several Nikkor lenses..etc. I have been looking at the D500 and D7500. My concern with the D500 is no flash. I have an sb800 but I am also a lightweight, no arm strength that is, so the weight it a concern. I couldn’t find any info on the Nikon web site what if any external flashes were compatible with the D7500. I broke down and contacted them to ask if I could use the SB-800 with the D7500. Their answer was short: NO. I wrote back and said I was disappointed, and asked for more info. I am not sure what flashes you can use with the D7500. It lists the same modes (iTTL, TTL….) and creative lighting system, has a hot foot…etc. So if you go to a D7500 just be sure it is compatible with all your other equipment that you would like to continue using.

      • Hi Beth,

        I can’t think of ANY reason why the SB800 would not be compatible with the D7500: they use the correct triggering voltage, the eTTL protocol is the same, and the D7500 supports all of the SB800’s features. I have not tested the combination myself, but I’d be very surprised if they didn’t work well together… and the comments that you mention from Nikon are either (a) ignorance of older equipment on the part of the rep or (b) an attempt to sell more flash units. I’ll see if I can get you some more solid info, though.
        – Matthew

      • Thank you, I wrote back again to Nikon asking which flashs were compatible so I will also let you know what they say. I think you are right on all counts. I will look forward to hearing what you find out. Thank you so much!

        • I wouldn’t think that it would be a problem. My SB 700 works fine with my 7200. In looking at tutorials on using single flash off camera, Matt Granger has his own channel and in at least one said that getting brand name flash units was a ripoff and he advocated using $65 knockoffs. As long as they have TTL and slave, you should be good. Others have said the same.

        • Hi Beth,
          I got some further information from Nikon today. Apparently, the only reason that they don’t list the SB800 as compatible is that it doesn’t support Nikon’s remote radio-control operation, while the D7500 does. But they are compatible for all of the functions that the SB-800 does have, as far as I can tell.
          – Matt

          • Matt,
            Thank you for your information. I am disappointed that Nikon told me that it was not compatible apparently not knowing or intentionally misleading. I copied and pasted their only response below. They never responded to my additional question about other flash units.
            I am greatly appreciative for all your help! I am going to go forward with my purchase, I will be happy to let you know how it all works out. Thank you again!

            Nikon Customer Support
            Chardonay G.

            8/1/2017 04:29 PM by Email

            Hello Ms Dwyer,

            Thank you for contacting Nikon, Unfortunately the D7500 is not compatible with the SB-800 I do apologize for the inconvenience, If you have any additional questions/concerns feel free to update me via the reply button at the bottom of this email.

            Kindest Regards,

  • You forget one very big difference. The 2,000 pixel metering sensor in the D7200 has been replaced by the full 180,000 pixel metering sensor from the D500. That means D500 levels of autofocus tracking! Sure, there are fewer focus points for the camera to choose from, but the experience is still going to be far closer to the D500 than the D7200.

    This is probably the most significant change, at least for those who shoot any moving subjects, especially sports but also moving animals, children at play, etc, and I think it should be mentioned in this article.

  • Should I purchase a Canon EOS 80D or should I wait and purchase the Nikon D7500? And could you please state the reasons which would hepl me choose one.
    I need a camera for still photography mainly but also for casual videography.

    • For still photography, they’re both excellent cameras. The 80D will have slightly higher resolution than the D7500, but the D7500 may have slightly better noise handling at high ISO and maybe better dynamic range.

      For video, the Canon 80D and its dual-pixel AF system has a big advantage over the Nikon for autofocus while shooting video. The Canon is fast and smooth, the Nikon is slow and hunts a lot. You can use the touch-screen on the 80D to smoothly shift focus between two points in the frame, which is nice, too. Nikon is still catching up when it comes to video AF. However, if you’re willing to manually focus for video, or just be patient with the AF (and not try to catch action or movement), the video quality is OK, and the D7500 finally allows you to change aperture while shooting. I’d still go with the Canon 80D, unless you really want to shoot cropped 4K video.

      Alternatively, if you get a camera like the Sony a6500, you get to use the full sensor for 4K video, you get great autofocus, you get stabilization in the camera body, and you get a great image sensor for still photography. It’s worth considering.

  • This article just enforced my decision to stay with the D7200, which I just purchased a couple of weeks ago. Upgrading from a D3300 and a massive upgrade at that!!! Thank you and excellent article!


  • Thanks, probably the best comparison I’ve read to date. Much better than the side by side spec comparison which doesn’t tell the whole story.

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