Image Quality

Our latest test scene simulates both daylight and low light shooting. Pressing the 'lighting' buttons at the top of the widget switches between the two. The daylight scene is manually white balanced to give neutral grays, but the camera is left in its Auto setting for the low-light tests. Raw files are manually corrected. We offer three different viewing sizes: 'Full', 'Print', and 'Comp', with the latter two offering 'normalized' comparisons by using matched viewing sizes. The 'Comp' option chooses the largest-available resolution common to the cameras being compared.

The Nikon D7500 is capable of very impressive image quality at all ISOs. Simply put, this camera should have no trouble achieving great-looking files even in challenging shooting environments.

Raw

For those concerned about the D7500's slightly lower resolution sensor compared to its predecessor, we bring you peace. As the D7500 captures an impressive amount of detail at low ISO on par with the D7200 (there's only around a 7% difference in linear resolution). Like its peers, the D7500 has no anti-aliasing filter but, despite its lower pixel count, aliasing is kept surprisingly well in check, compared with the competition.

The D7500 is a class leader in low light or at high ISOs, just like the its big brother the D500. Even in dark regions of a dark scene, the D7500 performs well. And while it does not surpass its predecessor, the D7200 in low light performance, the two are at least on par with one another.

JPEG

There's no surprises here, the D7500 produces pleasing JPEG color, identical to that of the D500. Typical of Nikon yellows, they are yellow, bordering on orange. And though reds (and hence Caucasian skin tones) render nicely, they aren't quite as lovely as Canon's. Greens are on the warm, yellow-ish side.

Sharpening is a bit clumsy at base ISO, leaving behind sharpening halos. And pulling out much less fine detail than its rivals. Compare the JPEGs to its own Raw files, and you'll see the large radius sharpening is smothering the very fine detail that the a6500 successfully brings out in its JPEGs. But at high ISO's, the D7500's JPEGs look superior.

Raw dynamic range

Exposure Latitude

In this test we look to see how tolerant of pushing exposure the D500's Raw files are. We've done this by exposing our scene with increasingly lower exposures, then pushed them back to the correct brightness using Adobe Camera Raw. Examining what happens in the shadows allows you to assess the exposure latitude (essentially the dynamic range) of the Raw files.

Because the changes in this test noise are primarily caused by shot noise and this is mainly determined by the amount of light the camera has had access to, the results are only directly comparable between cameras of the same sensor size. However, this will also be the case in real-world shooting if you're limited by what shutter speed you can keep steady, so this test gives you an idea of the amount of processing latitude different formats give.

The D7500 offers impressive dynamic range on par with both its big bro, the D500 and its predecessor, the D7200. A 6 stop push still gives a respectable result. Compared to competitors, the results mean files far more malleable than those from the Canon 80D. The Sony a6500 also shows a bit more chroma noise in the shadows than the D7500 as well.

ISO invariance

A camera with a very low noise floor is able to capture a large amount of dynamic range, since it add very little noise to the detail captured in the shadow regions of the image. This has an interesting implication: it minimizes the need to amplify the sensor's signal in order to keep it above that noise floor (which is what ISO amplification conventionally does). This provides an alternate way of working in situations that would traditionally demand higher ISO settings.

Here we've done something that may seem counter-intuitive: we've used the same aperture and shutter speed at different ISO settings to see how much difference there is between shooting at a particular ISO setting (and using hardware amplification) vs. digitally correcting the brightness, later. This has the advantage that all the shots should exhibit the same shot noise and any differences must have been contributed by the camera's circuitry.



Again, like the D7200 and D500 there is only a small different in noise between a native ISO 3200 shot and one that was shot at ISO 100 and pushed 5EV in processing. This suggests that the camera is adding little noise to images. This means you can often keep the ISO down and underexpose your images to protect the highlights, then pull the darker regions back up with little to no noise cost, but with several additional stops of highlight data.

Video

4K files from the D7500 look identical to the D500. which is to say, competitive. The Sony a6500 has it beat in terms of fine detail though, thanks to its oversampling of the scene. Of course the a6500 and cameras such at the Fujifilm X-T2 have the advantage of taking their video from less cropped-in regions of their sensors.