Just over a year after Nikon introduced the highly anticipated D500, the company announced an upgrade to its D7200 enthusiast-level DSLR in the form of the Nikon D7500. Nikon decided to skip the model numbers in-between and go directly to the D7500 for a good reason – the camera inherits a lot of the features of its bigger brother, so this naming convention makes sense. So in a way, the Nikon D7500 is a mini-D500. However, to make sure that the cameras do not compete with each other, Nikon not only made sure to keep some of the premium features just on the D500, but it also stripped out some of the features previously seen on the D7x00-series cameras. Let’s take a look at how the two cameras compare with each other in terms of features and specifications.
Below is a table that compares key camera specifications:
Nikon D500 vs Nikon D7500 Specification Comparison
|Camera Feature||Nikon D500||Nikon D7500|
|Sensor Resolution||20.9 Million||20.9 Million|
|Sensor Pixel Size||4.22µ||4.22µ|
|Low Pass Filter||No||No|
|Sensor Dust Reduction||Yes||Yes|
|Image Size||5,568 x 3,712||5,568 x 3,712|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 5||EXPEED 5|
|Built-in Flash||No||Yes, with flash commander mode|
|Nikon CLS Radio Flash Control||Yes||Yes|
|Storage Media||1x XQD, 1x SD||1x SD|
|SD Memory Card Support||UHS-I / UHS-II||UHS-I|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||10 FPS||8 FPS|
|Buffer Size (RAW, Lossless 14-bit)||200||50|
|Continuous Shooting Length||20 seconds||6 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||180,000-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering III|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-51,200||ISO 100-51,200|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||ISO 102,400-1,640,000||ISO 102,400-1,640,000|
|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||Yes|
|Video Output||MOV, MPEG-4 / H.264||MOV, MPEG-4 / H.264|
|Video Maximum Resolution||3,840×2,160 (4K) up to 30 fps||3,840×2,160 (4K) up to 30 fps|
|Video Recording Crop (in 35mm Equivalent)||2.25x||2.25x|
|LCD Size||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD|
|LCD Resolution||2,359,000 dots||922,000 dots|
|Built-in Wi-Fi / NFC||Built-in, with NFC||Built-in, no NFC|
|Battery Grip Accessory Option||Nikon MB-D17 Multi-Battery Power Pack||N/A|
|Battery||EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery||EN-EL15a Lithium-ion Battery|
|Battery Charger||MH-25a Quick Charger||MH-25a Quick Charger|
|Battery Life||1,240 shots (CIPA)||950 shots (CIPA)|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes|
|Camera Chassis||Magnesium Alloy||Carbon Fiber Composite|
|Weight (Body Only)||760g||640g|
|Dimensions||147 x 115 x 81mm||135.5 × 104 × 72.5mm|
|MSRP Price||$1,999 (as introduced)||$1,249 (as introduced)|
Since both cameras have exactly the same sensors, there is no difference in sensor specifications such as sensor size, pixel size and resolution. The EXPEED 5 image processor is also exactly the same on both cameras, just like the metering sensor.
However, there are some key differences between the cameras and they start with the viewfinder magnification. The Nikon D500 has a very impressive 1.0x viewfinder magnification, whereas the D7500 is limited 0.94x. Both have 100% viewfinder coverage, but the viewfinder on the D500 is going to look larger in comparison. The D500 also has two memory card slots – one super fast XQD memory card slot and one UHS-II compatible SD slot, whereas the D7500 has been reduced to a single UHS-I SD memory card slot. This is a huge differentiating factor, because you will be able to use much faster memory cards cards on the D500 and you will have an option to save important shoots to two memory cards at once in a backup configuration.
Next are the shooting speed, buffer and autofocus system differences. The Nikon D500 is a speed demon capable of shooting up to 10 fps in continuous shooting mode. With a memory buffer capable of fitting a total of 200 RAW images, you can shoot continuously for 20 seconds without any hiccups. In comparison, the Nikon D7500 is limited to 8 fps and its memory buffer is limited to a total of 50 RAW images (this has a lot to do with UHS-I SD memory card limits), which limits continuous shooting speed to 6 seconds. Still, six seconds of continuous shooting speed is quite a bit for action photography, so the D7500 definitely impresses in this regard, especially when compared to its predecessors. Autofocus is another area where the D500 comes on top. With its insanely fast and versatile 153-point AF system (99 of which are cross-type), it is a level above the older 51-point AF system (15 of which are cross-type). Although the D7500 is supposed to be faster and more accurate compared to the D7200 thanks to the faster processor and better metering system, it is not going to be able to match the versatility of the D500, especially in low light situations. Speaking of which, the D500 has an AF detection range of -4 to +20 EV, whereas the D7500 is rated to -3 to +19 EV, just like the D7200, so you can expect the D500 to yield better results in dim environments.
Similar to other professional DSLRs, the Nikon D500’s shutter is rated at 200,000 actuations, whereas the shutter on the D7500 is rated at 150,000. I would not worry about these numbers, since cameras can easily exceed their rated specifications and the shutter mechanisms on modern cameras are constructed very well to be able to keep going.
Although both cameras have tilting touch-enabled LCD screens, the one on the D500 has much more resolution – 2.36 million dots compared to 922k dots. As pointed out by John Lawson in his excellent Nikon D500 review, the resolution difference between the D500 and other cameras like the D810 is pretty big. Take a look at the following image to see the details:
Not a huge deal for me personally, but definitely makes it more enjoyable to review images on the LCD when needed.
Just like the top-of-the-line Nikon DSLRs, the D500 has illuminated buttons, whereas the D7500 has no such capability. There are obviously other ergonomic differences not covered in specifications, which are pointed out below.
Another big difference worth pointing out is the ability to use a battery pack on the D500. Unfortunately, Nikon stripped away the ability to use a battery pack starting with the D7500 (the previous-generation D7x00 were announced together with their respective battery packs), so if you have larger hands or prefer the ergonomics of a full-sized camera, you are out of luck.
The Nikon D500 does not have a built-in flash unit, whereas the D7500 does. Both cameras are capable of remotely controlling Nikon’s new radio-enabled speedlights, although to be able to drive the SB-5000 speedlight, you will need a wireless transmitter.
While both cameras are weather-sealed, the D500 is a professional-level DSLR and thus I would expect it to have better weather sealing all around the camera. However, Nikon claims that the weather sealing on the D7500 has been improved, so there might be very little difference between the two. There are also differences in construction between the two – while the chassis of the D500 is made from tough magnesium alloy, the Nikon D7500 is the first in its line to have a chassis made entirely out of carbon fiber composite material. Time will tell which one of the two will withstand abuse better, but I bet carbon fiber is going to be pretty tough to crack or break. The use of lighter material allowed Nikon to shave even more weight off the camera, making the D7500 120 grams lighter compared to the D500.
Both cameras can shoot 4K video with the same 2.25x crop (relative to full-frame). Size-wise, the D7500 is also noticeably smaller and lastly, the Nikon D500 is rated for longer battery life and it is $750 more expensive when compared to the D7500 in terms of MSRP.
As expected, when it comes to ergonomics and handling, the D500 and the D7500 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 similar to high-end DSLRs like the D810, whereas the Nikon D7500 has a completely different design that incorporates a PASM dial, scene modes and user-selectable (U1, U2) settings. You can see these differences right away when looking at the two cameras from the top view:
As you can see, the buttons near the shutter release are placed very similarly between the two cameras, which is nice. However, the big difference is on the left side of the camera – the Nikon D500 has a multi-function dial with four buttons on top, whereas the D7500 has a simpler traditional PASM dial, with a sub-dial for changing shooting modes on the bottom.
We can also see quite a few differences in the layout of the back of the cameras:
It is pretty obvious that the viewfinders are very different – the D500 has a round viewfinder with a built-in light block shutter, similar to what we see on professional Nikon DSLRs, whereas the viewfinder on the D7500 has a removable rectangular viewfinder found on enthusiast-level Nikon cameras. The number and placement of buttons on the two cameras are also different – the D500 has an extra Function 2 button to the left of the LCD and a dedicated AF-ON button, whereas the D7500 does not have an extra function button and it only has an AE-L / AF-L button on the top (the AE-L / AF-L button can be programmed to work as AF-ON via the camera menu). The big ergonomic difference is the joystick – the D500 has one (located right next to AF-ON), while the D7500 does not.