Sunday, August 6, 2017

Nikon D7500 Review and Buyer's Guide

A little bit of old, a little bit of new. The Nikon D7500 with hte AF-D 50mm f/1.4.

The usual logic of DSLR upgrades is to wait at least two generations before upgrading if value for money is the main consideration. As such, there is an easy case to not upgrade to the Nikon D7500 if you already own a D7200. In fact, there is a solid case to still go for the older camera in 2017, as the D7500 isn't so much of an up-grade as it is a side-grade. In years past, Nikon came out with the metal-bodied semi-pro version of their serious DX bodies first, then the lighter enthusiast-grade plastic bodies later. The business sense behind this is that cameras like the D100,  D200 and D300 bring in more margin by virtue of the higher price point and the fact that users of these cameras tend to be willing to by that the start of the model life-cycle without the benefit of instant rebates or discounting. Once the sensor generation was established, the platform gets migrated to the broader D70/D80/D90 level where sales volume takes over.

That was a predictable pattern until the D7000, which split the difference between the enthusiast and semi-pro levels. While many waited (not so) patiently for the D400 (eventually to arrive as the D500), the D7xxx series became the unified face of serious enthusiast and semi-pro, and did so credibly. Even if they weren't as rugged as the D300, the D7000 and it's successors were nonetheless more capable by the sheer fact that time had moved on, and along with it the underlying technology.

During this time Nikon did everything it could to steer what used to be D300 users up to full frame; from the ill-fated D600 up to the well-rounded D750. However, there is only so much money to go around, and only so much of it that can be spent on full frame. Nikon's commercial viability depends the enthusiast/semi-pro class of DSLR's, as this is a large portion of their total sales volume.

So is the D7500 the step-down of the D500? Yes, very much so... but just as the D7000 broke the predictable 1-2 roll-out pattern, the D7500 is yet another fork in the product pathway for Nikon.