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.