The Nikon D7200 vs Nikon D7500 Review. Which one to get in 2020?

The Nikon D7200 vs Nikon D7500 Review. Which one to get in 2020?
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Nikon launched the D7500 in 2017 as the successor for the Nikon D7200. Touting the powerful 20.9MP sensor inherited from the legendary Nikon D500, the D7500 was launched as a top tier APS-C contender for the Canon 80D. But today we want to see if purchasing the Nikon D7200 makes any sense in 2020 or should you go for the more expensive, albeit the newer D7500.

Now although the Nikon D7200 was launched in 2015, which in terms of digital cameras is like a century ago, it still remains a powerful device with near-contemporary features and excellent low light performance. Before we proceed with an in-depth look at device capability let us take a look at a feature comparison between these two heavyweights,

Nikon 7500Nikon D7200
21MP – APS-C CMOS Sensor24MP – APS-C CMOS Sensor
Multi-CAM 3500DX II 51-point AF system, all sensitive to -3EVMulti-CAM 3500DX II 51-point AF system, all sensitive to -3EV
Expeed 5Expeed 4
No Anti-aliasing (AA) filterNo Anti-aliasing (AA) filter
ISO 100 – 51200 ( expands to 50-1640000)ISO 100 – 25600 ( expands to 102400)
1/8000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, bulb, time, X2501/8000to, 30s, in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV, bulb, time, X250
Nikon F MountNikon F Mount
3.2 Tilting Screen3.2″ Fixed Type Screen
Optical (pentaprism) viewfinderOptical (pentaprism) viewfinder
8.0 fps continuous shooting6.0 fps continuous shooting
3840 x 2160 video resolution1920 x 1080 video resolution
Built-in WirelessBuilt-in Wireless
720g. 136 x 104 x 73 mm765g. 136 x 107 x 76 mm
Weather Sealed BodyWeather Sealed Body
Single UHS II SlotDual UHS I Slots

 

Some of the features shown for the D7200 can be considered quite contemporary when we look at them today and in some very important cases exceed the Nikon D7500s capabilities.  Now let us take a dive into details.

Ergonomics

Nikon D7200
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Nikon D7200 Screen
Nikon D7500
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Nikon D7500 Tilt Screen

Both the Nikon D7200 & the D7500 have almost identical dimensions and a relatively small difference in weight (D7500 being lighter). The construction is solid with a magnesium alloy shell and some weather resistance included. Any experienced or even a new user will find the handheld experience of both the cameras quite comfortable, even for prolonged periods. The button placement is logical and allows easy customization and control. The primary difference we will see between the two cameras is the screen on the D7200 is fixed and does not support touch input. The D7500 has a variable tilt screen which allows you to easily take low or high shots. What I fail to understand is that the Nikon D5300 had a full tilt screen so why did Nikon opt for this format for the D7500. Even the Nikons direct competitor, the Canon 80D has a full tilt flip-out screen.

In terms of usability, the Nikon D7500 wins over the Nikon D7200 thanks to the variable tilt touch screen.

AF System

Nikon D750 AF
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51 Points AF System

The Nikon D7200 inherited the powerful 51 AF point autofocus system from the D4s which covers around 75% of the screen horizontally and 50% vertically. The Nikon D7500 has the same AF system with only minor alterations. The AF system is highly responsive, extremely quick and snappy. This AF system is only bettered by the one present in the D500, D850 & the D5. Both systems have a very high hit rate when tracking moving subjects and can easily beat even the D810.

The low light performance is at par on both systems with the -3 EV sensitivity locking on quite quickly. Also retaining focus on fast-moving subjects is easy with both systems and it easily dissociates the background from the target and holds on to it delivering an excellent hit rate while I burned through the buffer on both systems. The D7500 has a Group-AF mode, again an inheritance from the D500, which the D7200 lacks.

Subject tracking on both systems is excellent and hit rate is well above 89% to even as high as 94%. Sharpness remains excellent with well over half the images being useable.

Keep in mind that the D7200 does not support face detect in viewfinder mode but can do so in live view mode. The D7500 does well in face detect in both modes.

However, overall in terms of AF performance, I will call this a tie between both the systems.

Frame rate & Buffer

The Nikon D7200 can go up to 6 fps as compared to an 8 fps for the D7500. Now there is a catch here. The D7200 delivers the 6 fps frame rate at Full Resolution, i.e. in 12-bit mode, not 14-bit. So you sacrifice the color data for full resolution and the extra fps in burst mode. This is something you have to know and if burst mode is an important factor then the D7200 may not be the right fit here.

The Nikon D7500 delivers a consistent 8.2 fps at 14-bit lossless. So again this may be the ideal choice if fps is a vital requirement for you. Also, the D7500 boasts a larger buffer size as compared to the D7200. The D7500s buffers runs out after 47 raw images or 100 JPEGs. The D7200s buffer tops out at 18 frames of RAW, with around 90 JPEGs before the buffers needs a cool down.

Now, this is a critical factor for sports or wildlife photography and if the only wildlife you ever encounter is a street dog or a drunk friend then it’s not really that much of a factor here.

However, we will still consider this as another win for the D7500

Battery Life

nikon battery
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Now, this is where it gets weird. The CIPA rating for the D7500 is 920 shots on the EN-EL15b battery, while the D7200 is rated at 1110 shots with the EN-EL15 battery. Both batteries are the same size, but there seems to be an implementation issue somewhere thus resulting in this discrepancy.

We have a win for the D7200.

Metering Sensor

Nikon D7500 RGB Metering sensor
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Now, this is another segment where the D7500 absolutely trounces the D7200. The D7200 has a 2160 pixel metering sensor which is just about fine but seems quite lackluster when compared to the 180k RGB sensor on the D7500. This is a massive plus if you tend to do some low light shooting. The metering biases the exposure to protect highlights, rather than exposing for mid-tones, though doesn’t necessarily expose-to-the-right at the Raw level.

Nikon Live View

The Live functionality (composing through the screen) in the D7500 is a sluggish affair. Live View only supports contrast-detect and that really is several generations behind what Canon and the others deliver. It is recommended to stick to viewfinder shooting for the best possible results on the AF front.

Auto ISO

Both cameras offer auto ISO functionality, wherein you can set the ISO upper limit and set a shutter speed threshold. This simply ensures that during shooting the camera will not exceed the ISO limit set and instead lower the shutter speed to compensate. Tripod recommended if you set the shutter speed threshold at or below 1/60th.

Image Quality

Both the Nikon D7200 & the D7500 offer exceptional image quality, and despite what may seem as a 3MP handicap that the D7500 has, the sensor is a generation newer and offers image quality at par with the best of the bunch. The color reproduction is classic Nikon and the dynamic range of the D7500 is simply excellent. The metering sensor is a masterpiece and allows excellent subject tracking via the viewfinder.

Low light performance is another strong point with both cameras and high ISO performance is good. But where both shine is the amount of detail getting captured at low ISO. This allows for easy amplification of underexposed RAW images.

Nikon D7500 Gallery

Nikon D7200 Gallery

Dynamic Range

Dynamic Range
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Dynamic Range

Nikon D7200

Nikon D7500

Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Slightly higher than average mean saturation with slightly below average hue accuracy.
Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Vibrant colors with average hue accuracy.
Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Good color with the Manual white balance setting, but overly-warm results with Auto and Incandescent settings. Average positive exposure compensation required.

Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Warm results with Auto and Incandescent white balance, though excellent color balance with Manual. Average exposure accuracy.

Outdoors, daylight
Very good results under harsh outdoor lighting.
Outdoors, daylight
Vibrant color and very good exposure outdoors, but somewhat high default contrast.
Sharpness & Detail
Sharp images but with visible edge-enhancement artifacts visible on high-contrast subjects. Mild to moderate noise suppression visible at base ISO.
Sharpness & Detail
Very crisp images, though default sharpening is a bit high and generates noticeable sharpening halos. Minor noise suppression artifacts at base ISO.
ISO & Noise Performance
Very good high ISO performance for a 24-megapixel APS-C model.
ISO & Noise Performance
Excellent high ISO performance for an APS-C sensor.
Extremes: Sunlit, dynamic range, and low light tests
Very good detail in both highlights and shadows, with good dynamic range despite high contrast. Excellent low-light performance, capable of focusing and capturing bright images in near darkness.
Extremes: Sunlit, dynamic range and low light tests
Excellent dynamic range despite the high default contrast. Very good low-light performance, capable of capturing bright images in near darkness.

Both cameras again have an impressive dynamic range. The sheer latitude delivered by both sensors for amplification of underexposed images is excellent and detail capture is second to none. The files are extremely malleable and in low light conditions, it is recommended to underexpose on these cameras when shooting raw to bring out the highlights in post-processing. Also what we see is that there is very low noise input when shooting at native ISO 3200 and between the one shot at ISO 100 and amplified by around 5 EV. This suggests that both sensors are ISO invariant, just like the one we had seen on the D750 and this is excellent as it allows exceptional flexibility when working under low light conditions and offers an alternate path to shooting at high ISO settings.

Video Quality

Let us talk about 1080p capture first.

On the D7200, video quality at 1080p remains good with the Flat picture profile allowing greater flexibility during post-processing. Understand that in live view mode you are stuck with contrast-detect and the camera constantly seems to be hunting. Moreover, the hunting isn’t smooth, but jerky, actually a testament to how quick the camera is, but it can be quite disconcerting on video.

The D7500 does decently on FHD mode with a full sensor readout, thereby ensuring no crop during recording, however, the 4K capability isn’t exactly that impressive as only the central 8 megapixels of the sensor capture video, thereby adding an additional 1.5x crop to the already available 1.3x crop. Total crop in 4K is an astounding 2.25x crop and just too damn big to be usable. Imagine a 35mm lens giving the equivalent of around 78mm field of view.

However, beyond that we can safely say that if Video, especially 4K is a priority, then I would recommend looking at the Nikon D780 or the Z6 or even the Z50.

Before we go to the one primary issue with the Nikon D7500, I want to review our findings so far.

We have identified that in terms of Ergonomics, both the D7200 & the D7500 are at Par. The same applies for the AF system and the overall image quality. Both cameras deliver excellent results at low light and high ISO and the native ISO Invariance of both the sensors is a boon.

The differences begin when we look at frame rate & buffer. The D7500 enjoys a significant advantage here and if fps is vital then, by all means, choose the D7500.

Battery life shows the D7200 at advantage, however, we have all seen that CIPA ratings and real-world usage are never in sync and I think performance should be similar for both the cameras.

On the Video front, the D7500 thoroughly trounces the D7200 with good 1080p capture performance and availability of 4K video capture. Despite that when compared to the mirrorless selection from Nikon and video performance of the Canon 80D, the Video performance of the D7500 is lackluster. If Video is your priority then steer clear of both cameras.

The one very important factor that is a major deal-breaker is the lack of the 2nd storage slot on the D7500. For professionals & event photographers, this is a must-have. Card Failure is a real threat and no event photographer can afford to take that chance. If you are looking for a capable camera for marriage or event photography then you simply cannot go wrong with the Nikon D7200. This is still a beast of a camera & delivers amazing images. The Nikon D7500 for all its capabilities is a gamble for event photographers, one which no professional would be willing to take.

So who is the Nikon D7200 for?

Event Photographers demanding excellent image quality. Any Professional looking for an excellent stills camera. Travel photography & landscapes.

Who is it not for?

Sports or wildlife photographers. People looking to use it for Video capture along with stills.

 

 

Who is the Nikon D7500 For?

 

Landscape & portrait photography. Wildlife and sports photography can be done, however, if that is your primary need then I would recommend the Nikon D500.

Who should not get the D7500?

Definitely not a fit for event photographers thanks to the lack of 2nd storage slot. Videographers also look away.

 

 

Related Links,

Nikon Z6 Long Term Review
Nikon Z50 Review
Nikon D750 Review
Nikon D780 Review
Nikon Z50 vs Z6 Differences

Also Look at,

7 Best Full Frame Cameras in 2020

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