Nikon D7500 – A Few Steps Forward, A Couple Steps Back

David Haueter
Mar 30, 2018

I’ve been a Nikon shooter for almost 30 years, starting with film SLRs and moving up through the range of various digital SLRs introduced over the years. I shoot mostly cars and motorsport, so I usually prefer the DX format cameras for the added zoom capabilities provided by the smaller sensor’s crop factor. I’ve shot with a D7100 for years, so I was especially interested in the D7500 when it came out. There’s a lot to like about the D7500, from its continuous shooting speed of 8 frames per second and 51-point autofocus system to its larger buffer and high-resolution tilt LCD display.

There are two big drawbacks to the D7500 for the sports or wildlife shooter. Unlike its predecessors, there is no optional battery grip available. When shooting with a longer lens (I shot with a Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 and a 300mm f4 at Sebring), the lack of a grip makes it difficult to hold the camera comfortably, especially when shooting for hours on end. I also have large hands, so with the weight of the longer lens and having to cram my fingers into the narrow space allotted by the grip on the camera, my right hand actually got a little sore after shooting for a few hours. The lack of a battery grip with a shutter button also makes it difficult to shoot vertical shots with a long lens.

The D7500 is very capable in low-light

Another drawback to the D7500 is that Nikon decided to only offer one SD card slot, even though this camera’s predecessors have two. This may not be a big deal for many people, but for advanced amateurs and semi-pros who like to use one card for backup or use one for RAW files and one for JPEGs, it’s a deal-killer.

I’m pretty sure I know why Nikon took two critical features away from the D7500. With many specs and features that are on par with the D500 flagship DX SLR, I’m guessing Nikon is worried that consumers will simply save some money and buy the D7500 instead of a D500.  The D7500 is a great camera in many respects, but if you are really serious about your photography and use a longer and heavier lens on a routine basis, you’re better off saving your money and buying a D500 with the optional battery grip, which is probably what Nikon wants you to do. If you really want to buy a D7500 and use longer lenses or just have large hands, I recommend borrowing or renting one first to try out on your own.

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