3 July 2017
The last SLR I had was a Minolta 7000 AF, since then, I have been seduced by a range of Digitals, Compacts, and Bridge Cameras, all offering various degrees of manual and auto functions, but mainly favouring auto.
So as it is close on to 15 years since I have had an SLR, this latest Nikon d7500 is a big upgrade for me, and as such, I have re-started the learning curve.
In the box, there is everything, bar an SD card to get you going, D7500 Camera Body, the 18-1400mm VR Lens which is a good Jack-of-all-trades lens, a decent enough Strap, an eyepiece adapter for when you do self-timer shots, an EN-EL15a Li-ion Battery ... I will probably get another, a battery charger which will work on 110 to 240v, a USB cable, and a European warranty card. The 18 - 140 lens is a good everyday lens, and I will buy an additional 35 or 50mm to complement it.
I bought a SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/S 32GB card for about £20, and that so far has been fast enough for problem free operation. One comment from a friend who has an 8-year-old 7000 series was that he would miss the fact that the 7500 only has a single card slot, and has suffered card failure in the past ... he then admitted that he tends to buy cheap and cheerful, so maybe that is the route of his concern.
I'm not the best qualified to give a really technical review of this d7500 and 18 - 140mm combo, and would guess that most people spending £1,600 will read a number of Pro reviews in magazines or on-line experts. I am someone who has been a little lazy in the past, but now wants something that I can relearn what it means to go manual, and unlike my old Minolta, I can see the results immediately without having to wait for processing.
On unpacking, you are faced with a camera that has more buttons and dials than an F1 steering wheel, so the 360-page manual has been well thumbed. The menu structure is actually quite clear, and very easy to use, and initial set-up took a matter of minutes. As I have now been using the camera for a couple of weeks, the controls are falling into place, and are becoming intuitive.
Whilst it is much heavier than my mid-range Bridge camera, it is reassuringly well made, and the weather-proofing also serves to make it a grippy but comfortable camera to hold, even for long, patient wildlife shots. The only quirk I have found in Auto mode, is when wearing a baseball cap, you can fool the camera into thinking it is in low light, and the flash will try to pop up, so you may want to select the no flash option if that happens to you.
I still use Auto as the default setting, and have explored some of the other auto functions, like scene and effect, and will continue to experiment and learn whilst taking some studio shots of our products. I will also use the 4K video capability for some promos we have planned, using a tripod and external mic.
Some of the shots I have taken are the best I have ever done, the colours are vivid and crisp, especially on bright sunny days. Having said that, I have also taken some rotters, but review and delete is a speedy process.
Whilst I tend to use the eyepiece, I do like the touchscreen facility, and being able to use that to take the shot ... very useful for some tripod mounted shots. The pivot mechanism gives a decent amount of articulation and you can adjust the screen brightness to view clearly, even on a bright day.
The battery seems to last for a decent amount of time, although that will depend on how much you use the rear screen, Bluetooth, and wifi, it also charges quickly. I have installed SnapBridge and Nikon Image Space onto my phone as well as the User Manual Viewer. Image Space gives you 20GB of space if you have a registered product, and SnapBridge provides a useful Social Media interface ... it is a bit clunky, but it does work.
All in all for me, a good 9 out of 10. For someone who wants to take their learning up a peg or 2, whilst still retaining the safety blanket of Auto it is an excellent tool. The friend who has an 8-year-old 7000 series Nikon said that he will definitely consider it when he upgrades.