Before the D500 announcement, Nikon’s best DX camera for sports and wildlife photography has been the D7200. While the D7200 is a superb camera on its own, one might be wondering how and where exactly it differs when compared directly to the new Nikon D500. The quick answer to that question is enthusiast-level DSLR vs professional-level DSLR, but there is obviously a bit more than that to talk about. Let’s take a look at both cameras and see how they differ when it comes to ergonomics and specifications.
First, let’s take a quick look at the differences in camera specifications:
Nikon D500 vs Nikon D7200 Specification Comparison
|Camera Feature||Nikon D500||Nikon D7200|
|Sensor Resolution||20.9 Million||24.2 Million|
|Sensor Pixel Size||4.22µ||3.92µ|
|Low Pass Filter||No||No|
|Sensor Dust Reduction||Yes||Yes|
|Image Size||5,568 x 3,712||6,000 x 4,000|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||EXPEED 4|
|Built-in Flash||No||Yes, with flash commander mode|
|Storage Media||1x XQD, 1x SD||2x SD|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||10 FPS||6 FPS, 7 FPS in 1.3x Crop Mode|
|Buffer Size (RAW, Lossless 14-bit)||200||18|
|Continuous Shooting||20 seconds||3 seconds|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000 to 30 sec||1/8000 to 30 sec|
|Shutter Durability||200,000 cycles||150,000 cycles|
|Exposure Metering Sensor||180,000-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering III||2,016-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-51,200||ISO 100-25,600|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||ISO 102,400-1,640,000||ISO 51,200-102,400 (B&W only)|
|Autofocus System||153-point, 99 cross-type AF system||51-point, 15 cross-type AF system|
|AF Detection||Up to f/8||Up to f/8|
|AF Detection Range||-4 to +20 EV||-3 to +19 EV|
|Auto AF Fine-Tune||Yes||No|
|Video Output||MOV, MPEG-4 / H.264||MOV, MPEG-4 / H.264|
|Video Maximum Resolution||3,840×2,160 (4K) up to 30p||1920×1080 (1080p) up to 60p|
|LCD Size||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD|
|LCD Resolution||2,359,000 dots||1,228,800 dots|
|Built-in Wi-Fi / NFC||Built-in, with NFC||Built-in, with NFC|
|Battery||EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery||EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery|
|Battery Life||1,240 shots (CIPA)||1,110 shots (CIPA)|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes|
|Weight (Body Only)||760g||675g|
|Dimensions||147 x 115 x 81mm||135.5 × 106.5 × 76mm|
|MSRP Price||$1,999 (as introduced)||$1,199 (as introduced)|
First, there is obviously a difference in resolution – the Nikon D7200 has a 24.2 MP sensor, whereas the D500 has a 20.9 MP sensor. In resolution alone, the D7200 looks better. However, taking into account all the new sensor advancements we should be seeing on the newest generation 20.9 MP sensor, the D500 should produce visibly cleaner images at high ISOs when compared to the D7200. So when looking at images from the two cameras, the output from the D500 should be superior (we will post high ISO image comparisons when we get our hands on a D500). Nikon pushed base ISO by a full stop from 100-25,600 to 100-51,200, so I really hope that we will see a full stop or more of difference between these cameras. Boosted ISO on the D500 has been pushed to an insanely high level – ISO 1,640,000 to be exact. But that’s most likely a marketing gimmick: I don’t expect images to hold up anywhere close to those numbers in real life. Anything above ISO 12,800 is probably going to look like junk…
The first big difference comes in viewfinder magnification. The Nikon D500 has a very impressive 1.0x viewfinder magnification, while the D7200 is limited to 0.91x. This basically means that objects will appear visibly smaller when looking through the D7200 viewfinder and comparing it to the D500, making it easier to spot focus issues on the D500.
The two cameras also differ drastically when it comes to shooting speed. The Nikon D500 can shoot 10 fps continuously, while the D7200 can shoot up to 6 fps in full resolution. That’s a pretty big difference right there and it does not stop there – take a look at how huge the buffer size on the D500 is in comparison! Being able to squeeze 200 RAW images means that you can shoot for 20 seconds straight at 10 fps without slowing down on the D500, while the D7200 will basically bog down after only 3 seconds – and that’s shooting at much slower 6 fps.
Autofocus systems on both cameras are drastically different as well. The Nikon D500 comes with the all-new 153-point AF system (99 of which are cross-type), whereas the D7200 utilizes the older AF system with 51 focus points (15 of which are cross-type). With the brand new 180K pixel RGB sensor and a faster EXPEED 5 processor, we can expect the D500 to surpass the D7200 in terms of subject tracking and face recognition capabilities as well. With a -4 EV detection range, the D500 will be able to focus better and more precise when shooting in low-light conditions (the D7200 is limited to -3 EV). Lastly, the focus point coverage on the D500 is also superior in comparison, allowing one to use focus points close to the edge of the frame.
When it comes to storage media, the D500 comes with one XQD and one SD memory card slots. XQD is far better than SD not only in read/write speeds, but also in reliability, so it is a huge plus for the D500 and something the D7200 cannot really compete with. The D500 also has better connectivity options, thanks to the built-in Bluetooth chip.
It is also important to point out the LCD screen differences between these two cameras. Whereas the D500 comes with an articulating LCD touchscreen that has over 2 million dots, the D7200 has a standard 3.2″ LCD screen that not only has half the resolution, but also is not articulated or touch-enabled.
In terms of video shooting capabilities, the Nikon D500 can shoot up to 4K video, whereas the D7200 is limited to 1080p HD recording.
The three big advantages in favor of the D7200 are weight, size and price. The D7200 is noticeably smaller, 85 grams lighter and is significantly cheaper in comparison, even when comparing its launch MSRP price.
When it comes to ergonomics and handling, the D500 and the D7200 differ greatly – a pro-level camera vs an enthusiast-level camera. The differences start with the overall handling and design – the D500 is built just like the high-end DSLRs such as the D810, whereas the D7200 has a completely different design that incorporates a PASM dial and user-selectable settings. You can see these differences right away when looking at the two cameras from the top:
On the D500 you have direct access to ISO, image quality and white balance settings through the top left dial and a dedicated ISO button, whereas the D7200 incorporates those as secondary functions on the back of the camera. Speaking of the back layout, take a look at the differences between the two:
There are a few major differences here. First, the viewfinder pieces are very different. The D500 has a round viewfinder piece that has a built-in light block shutter, whereas the D7200 has a removable viewfinder piece only. When it comes to buttons, the D500 has an extra Function 2 button, a dedicated joystick and an AF-ON button, whereas the D7200 has none of those – instead of the AF-ON button, there is an AE-L / AF-L button that can be reprogrammed to work as an AF-ON button (must be done through the camera menu). Other differences, such as lack of built-in flash and articulating touchscreen have already been pointed out earlier in this article.
Lastly, there is also a difference of build quality. The D500 is built to be a rugged workhorse camera that can withstand a lot of abuse in the field. As a result, it has a superb build and solid weather sealing. The D7200 is also pretty tough and weather sealed, but not as good as the D500.
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The price is reducing now, the body only its almost USD1550/- here. I am thinking about buying one after reading all these positive reviews.
I appreciate the article very much but now I’m very confused about my body upgrade. I own a d5300 and use the 200-500 f5.6 VR for shooting birds, particularly small birds. But the slow focusing speed of this combo is very frustrating when the subjects are flying erratically. I was thinking upgrading to d7200 but then I came across your article and now I’m seriously confused. Will the d7200 + 200-500 be capable enough to do what I’m after? Or should I postpone my upgrade to save for d500? And how much of improvement do you think I can expect form the above mentioned combos when compared to my current combo of d5300 with 200-500? My main concern is about the AF speed and tracking subjects.
1st of all, I don’t have a D5300, nor a 200-500 lens. I have had a D5100 which I got rid of after one trip. I do currently have a D7000, D7100, D7200, & D500. And, I shoot with a 300 /F4D & a TC 1.4EII.
With that long a focal length, I would say that fast focusing on small erratically moving birds would be tough in any case. The other thing would be what mode are you using, Manual, Aperture, Shutter?
D7200 Pros in my viewpoint:
1) It has a popup flash which probably wouldn’t help in your scenario.
2) Particularly important for Aperture Mode, it has Easy ISO which the D500 does not.
3) It doesn’t require expensive upgrade to XQD technology
4) Slightly larger Mega pixels.
5) Less expensive.
6) Compared to D5???, it has better shooting controls.
D500 Pros in my viewpoint:
1) It has at least a vertically articulated monitor which might not be a help in your scenario.
2) Compared to D5???, it has better shooting controls.
3) You can setup Easy Exposure Compensation, which might be helpful if you shoot in Manual Mode.
4) In some scenarios, according to some it should focus a little faster than the D7200. Not sure about your scenario. Based on my experience, it would depend a lot on the lens, focal length, lighting, etc.
5) It will shoot with a lot faster frame rate & bigger buffer than the D7200 or D5???.
I have a couple of things to add on the D7200 vs D500 question. First – in my use it was generally good to excellent with birds, both flying and perched in a “jungle” of branches. Something else to consider that no one mentions. If you have your own copy of Photoshop CS6 it does NOT recognize the D500 NEF files. You need to either go in a different processing direction, or pay Adobe for its online version of Photoshop.
To me, the price of the D7200 is a “steal”. It is rugged, inexpensive, and in my mind is a great machine. And I feel more comfortable risking it in the rain, etc. So far it has done fine and I am impressed. My favorite lens is the 300 PF f/4 and it is a great package, with or without the 1.4x
If you are principally interested in flying birds, there certainly are benefits to the D500, with its faster multi-shot rate. But for birds, I have not heard anything really positive about the focus system. I suspect the focus system would certainly be better on sports. But Sports is not Birds…
I own the D7100-D500-D750 and for birding I use mostly the D500 .
“If you have your own copy of Photoshop CS6 it does NOT recognize the D500 NEF files. You need to either go in a different processing direction, or pay Adobe for its online version of Photoshop”
1- If you use a purchased LR6 you can process the .NEF file of the D500 and you just have to do a right-click on an image and choose using the LR rendering. I use Photoshop CS5. Probably using the free adobe Dng converter would solve your problem without using LR.
2- The D500 has a much better tracking for BIF than the D7100 or D7200 see youtube.com video from Steve Perry, comparing D7200 vs D500.
1- If you use a purchased LR6 you can process the .NEF file of the D500 and you just have to do a right-click on an image and choose and choose . I use Photoshop CS5. Probably using the free adobe Dng converter would solve your problem without using LR.
I use either manual or shutter priority. In both cases I use auto ISO with max ISO limited to 3200. My issue is with the AF mostly. No complains about picture quality. When I encounter motion blur, usualy it’s for a slow shutter speed but that is rare since the VR in 200-500 is amazing.
Something called “Auto AF fine-tune” has been mentioned as a feature of the D500, but I’ve never heard any details. How is it different from the existing AF fine-tune function found in most Nikons, where individual lenses can be fine-tuned for focus and the settings saved?
The Nikon D500 provides the option of “automatically” checking the AF adjustment against the focus directly on the view screen, and then applying that value. One Nikon guru noted this was definitely a step forward, but to try it perhaps three times for a particular lens, and use the median value.
Some folks using D7200s and other earlier bodies find the manual AF lens adjustment easy and not onerous. Others appear bewildered, or terrified about making a mistake. Personally, I find it is something I check from time to time manually, but find it something easy to do. I use a focal adjustment chart that shows on my iMac screen, and use a distance of 50x focal length. Exception is long lenses where I have a printed chart, and use a long hallway at work.
I was struck by the comparative similarity of the “grain” similarities of the D500 and D7200 up through ISO 6400. Hardly a tooth full of difference in the response. While the D500 does show better response, but still grainy, at higher ISOs, that is not something I use. I presently have both a D750 for general use and the D7200 for seabird and forest photography (almost exclusively used with the 300pf lens). The focusing does not seem much better for the D500 over the D7200 for seabirds, according to anecdotal info. So the two things where the D500 is improved over the D7200 is the higher frame rate and the greater buffer.
The price tag for the D500 is steep, even for the real improvements in continuous shooting. If you need the low light, or really need another four frames per second, or a buffer of 100 frames, then it is worth it. But for imaging related to pelagic and forest birds, the tag may be too steep.
I am awaiting a real-world test of the D500 in two regards: how well it survives nasty weather, such as Antarctic Peninsula trips, and how well the focus system works with PELAGIC BIRDS. Presently I use a D7200 for pelagic birds (with 300 PF + 1.4x) and the 6fps works okay for me. But if the D500 can “find” small targets like storm-petrels and low contrast ones like sooty shearwaters, then it would be preferred. From reviews, I see no real improvement in high ISO noise.
I don’t see the point of discussing the differences between the D500 vs D7200 , while the D7200 is a real camera and the D500 seems to be a promised camera that was supposed to available in march 2016 and later was promised for april 2016. Is anyone will wake-up the guys at Nikon to let them know we are at one day from the month of may…………….
Luc: Well, we have a couple of different ways to go on this deal. We can complain loudly about the delay, and maybe Nikon will panic a bit and push the assembly process even harder than I’m sure they already are, which will risk a drop in quality control, which in turn will most likely result in a glitch or two in the cameras when they hit the stores, which will make us complain even louder, and will obviously hurt Nikon sales overall.
Or we can be a bit more patient, while understanding that the introduction of any brand-new, cutting edge and extremely complex product, worldwide, within a certain time-line, is far from easy and is ALWAYS subject to delays.
So, there’s our two choices; ….rush it and gamble, or take the time to get it right the first time. One thing you can be absolutely sure of is that Nikon is definitely not dragging their feet, especially after their very widely publicized D5 and D500 product introductions. Another thing to consider is that a missed on-sale date raises expectations and increases criticism when the product is released exponentially. In other words, any glitches that would be seen as minor by critics if the launch was on-time, became major glitches after a delay. We’ve all seen that happen.
Sorry about the poor grammar. I hit “post comment” before proofing.
What I don’t like is giving delivery date that you can not hold….., just to have more people rushing to pre-order.
Luc; I’d be willing to bet that everyone at Nikon, from the top to the bottom, honestly believed that they could meet that delivery date when it was originally announced, and that those same people are now agonizing over the delay. What many people don’t understand is that the pre-order deposits don’t go to Nikon; they go to the dealers. And the dealers in most places must hold onto those deposits until the product is delivered, or the money is refunded, since most deposit contracts have a performance clause. If the cameras aren’t delivered to the customer within a certain time-period, the deposit must be returned, sometimes with interest.
The only value that pre-orders have for Nikon is that they can get a rough estimate regarding total initial sales. In short, nobody wins when a new product is delayed, except Nikon’s competitors, of course. There’s even a theory or two floating around that addresses that particular phenomenon; … supposedly, when the launch of a certain announced “hot item” is delayed or sold-out, a percentage of the potential buyers of that product will buy a competitors product, even if they had no intention of doing so prior to the delayed launch, simply because they have been put into – for want of a better term – a “buying frame of mind.” The less gentle term is “spending frenzy.” They have the money, … they want something that’s not available, … so they buy the next best thing.
This happens in auto sales occasionally, especially with niche market cars. Let’s say a new, very popular Widget 9000 hits the market, and practically everyone wants one. But there’s a long wait-list. So, the sales of other, similar cars spikes a bit, as the impatient Widget 9000-wanters go shopping. Weird, ain’t it?
Chuck: I see your point, but maybe I say maybe Nikon wasn’t really ready at this time to deliver on the market this camera and its spring time and as you know photographer and particularly animal photographers are planning to photograph new born animals with their mother and I am sure quite a few having waited over 7 years for a replacement of the D300s where probably ready to switch to the Canon 7D MKII . Let’s hope this camera will soon hit the market.
I have the d7000 and d7100. Before the d500 was introduced I was looking for a Nikon camera i could shoot at a higher ISO with less noise. Wasnt to thrilled about going FF because of lenses. Now a refurbished d7200 can be had for around $700. That $1300 could be used elswhere if the 7200 could provide me with what I would like to have. I just dont know. I have seen recent photos taken with the d500 but can any of you tell me how high of a useable ISO you get with the d7200?
Your experience level in photography is a lot like mine. In the Nikon line, I have owned the D80, D300, D5100, D7000, D7100, & D7200. I still have the last three. My needs however are somewhat different than yours. I shoot birds, squirrels, insects, flowers, etc. along with sports; and an occasional wedding. I haven’t had an occasion to soak a camera yet. I have used bags to keep my camera from getting wet from light rain. I shoot both the D7100 & D7200 almost every day.
One possibility you might consider is getting a Nikon refurbished D7100, and D750. As an Adorama VIP member you get a 90 day Nikon warranty & the balance of a year warranty due to being a VIP member. This way, you could have both a good DX & FX camera. Not sure the difference between the D7100 & D7200 is worth the cost difference. I have no connection with Adorama other than being a customer. Not sure if the VIP program is available in Canada.
My 0.02$ comment:
I am living near montreal and I own a D90-7000-7100-750. The D7200 is a D7100 with a better buffer (weak on the D7100 5 raws only) better AF and a few better features but its not a pro body. You wrote your D300 after using great care is still working. Knowing that I would wait a while to see if the D500 is the camera that Nikon claims it is (3000$ including taxes). If it is I would wait 6-12 months to see what the complains are, and at the same time a price drop should happen. I waited over a year to buy my D750+ 24-120 F4 for 3000$+taxes a year ago, and I don’t regret it at all, but this camera is not weatherized like your D300 with a weak buffer.