DSLR

Let's Review Nikon's Latest DX-Format DSLR, D7500

Nikon released a new DX-Format DSLR camera for serious enthusiasts earlier this year (announced on April 12, 2017 to be exact). It is the latest model release in DX-Format series and comes with the 20.6 Mega Pixels on the image sensor. After releasing major updates on DX-Lineup back in 2013 with D7100, Nikon didn't offer much revolutionary features in D7200. But Nikon's latest release came with some exciting features that sits between last year released Nikon's flagship DX-Format digital SLR camera, D500, and an earlier model D7200. It carries some of the best features from D500, specially imaging quality, and the body type of D7200 making it the best DX-Format for someone who is trying to upgrade from D7200 but do not want to commit for the more expensive D500 yet. Nikon released D7500 (body only) with the price tag of $1,250 and if you want to get it with 18-140mm kit lens, it costs you around $1,750. Since it is the mix of D500 and D7200, it has the best of both bodies with some added new features. Now, let's review some of the features available on new Nikon D7500 and what are the upgrades from it's predecessor, D7200, and compromises from the flagship DSLR, D500.

Nikon D7500

Nikon D7500

Improved Sensor and Processor - D7500 uses the same imaging sensor and high-performance Nikon EXPEED 5 imaging processor that is used in D500 which is 30% faster than the EXPEED 4 processor used in the D7200. It gives D7500 a huge advantage over D7200 for many key areas like buffer speed, image quality, video capability and better ISO performance. The price is a steal if you are looking for an upgrade from other lower end DX-Format DSLR.

New Body Design - The 'carbon-fiber reinforced' body has been redesigned to make it lighter (1.6 oz. or 45g lighter than the D7200) and little smaller. Nikon introduced D7500 with the tilting screen and the touchscreen feature. Nikon D7200 had a fixed screen but D500 came with the tilting screen. However, D7500 has a fewer pixel (resolution) on the LCD screen than D7200. The D7500 has the same control layout as the D7200, with a mode dial on the top. D500 had more professional bodies style mode dial, however. Another feature that D7200 had and D7500 lacks is a dual card slot. It might be a deal breaker for some photographers, wedding photographer specially, because shooting with only one memory card is a risky job.

Nikon-D7500_Tilted_Screen.png

Performance (Frame per second and Buffer Size) - The D7500 increases the shooting speed to 8 frames-per-second continuous (up from 6 FPS in D7200). This is an excellent feature to have for sports or wildlife photographer. D7500 also comes with a buffer capacity of up-to 100 JPEG images and 50 RAW (NEF) images using high quality images and 14-bit setting with lossless compression. Buffer is a space in a camera body where it stores images before writing it to the memory card. That is why it is a very important feature to measure the shooting performance. To compare, D7200 had 18 RAW and D500 had 200-RAW buffer capacity. Also, D7500 comes with 150,000-shot shutter life.

Additional Metering Mode - In addition to already existing three metering modes (Matrix, Center-Weighted and Spot), Nikon has added a new Highlight-weighted metering mode with the adoption of 180,000-pixel RGB sensor (also used by D500) to increase the accuracy of automatically controlled functions, including AF and AE, Auto White Balance and Active D-Lighting.

Advanced Creative Lighting System - Since Nikon introduced the new technology to handle the communication between creative lighting systems, D7500 is the first DSLR which comes with the pop-up flash that talks to other external flash units using a radio signal. This is a huge upgrade from the old infrared system, which only worked within limited range and required direct line of sight between the camera and the external flash unit.

Captures 4K Video - Nikon D7500 comes with same 4K UHD/30p video recording feature found in D500. If you shoot 4K UHD, it can record up-to approximate 30 minutes. And the movie recorded with this camera is supported by smart devices so that you can view on them quickly without doing any cross platform conversion. You can also create a time lapse video within the camera and output it to an external device using an HDMI port while it is being recorded in camera memory. It also comes with an electronic vibration reduction, which helps to reduce the effect of camera shake while recording hand-held.

Let's see briefly what are the good sides and not so good sides of this DSLR camera.

Pros

1. D7500 comes with a built-in focus motor, so it works with all AF lenses (for an Autofocus purpose).

2. Weather-sealed body - Even though it is not constructed using magnesium-alloy like other more expensive pro bodies, according to Nikon, it protects against light rain even though it is not completely waterproof.

3. Deeper grip - D7500 body comes with a deeper grip and makes it easy to curl your fingers fully around the grip and feel camera body secure and comfortable in your hand.

4. D7500 comes with the support of Nikon SnapBridge system which allows you to transfer the images from the camera to the smart devices using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections.

5. Nikon D7500 comes with a new Autofocus mode called Group-area AF which uses a group of five Autofocus points in a 'diamond' shape and focuses object which is nearest to the camera within that area. This mode is a new addition to already existing 3D-tracking mode and helps to focus randomly moving subjects.

6. D7500 also comes with an impressive maximum ISO of 51,200 compared to 25,600 in D7200. It is set to perform very well in low light conditions.

Cons

1. It comes with a single card slot and may be a deal-breaker for some photographers.

2. It comes with slightly fewer pixels in the both sensor pixel (20.6 MP Vs. 24 MP on D7200) and the LCD monitor than it's predecessor, D7200, but might not be an issue to many.

3. Nikon D7500 doesn't have a built-in GPS and need to buy an extra GP-1A GPS unit if you want to track the location of your images.

4. It is powered with an EN-EL 15a rechargeable Li-ion battery which is different from older EN-EL 15 batteries used in D7200 and D500. According to Nikon, the battery can take up-to 950 shots which is slightly lower than on D7200 (takes up-to 1,100 shots) and D500 (takes up-to 1,240 shots) when fully charged.

5. And on top of lower shot counts per battery, it doesn't have an option to install an additional external battery grip like in other professional DSLR models.

In my view, if you are looking for an upgrade to your older model DSLR, Nikon D7500 might be a perfect choice for you given all the new technologies Nikon has put together into a smaller, lighter and comparatively inexpensive body.

Nikon Introduces Two New Mirror-less Cameras

This post is written by Guest Contributor, Janet Ochs Lowenbach. If you are also interested in writing a guest blog, please reach out using the form in the Contact page.

The cameras are totally new types of cameras and the imaging systems to go with them. Called the Nikon 1 series, the systems are designed to compete with the Olympus PEN and Sony NEX series models. They can be ordered, among other places, from the website of B&H photography, Amazon and other online stores. Nikon’s new 1 series cameras, the Nikon J1 and Nikon V1, are compact, mirrorless cameras that feature a new 10MP CX format (13.2 x 8.8mm / 3872 x 2592-dot), CMOS imaging sensor and a dedicated Nikon System 1 lens mount designed specifically for use with the new CX-format sensor.

Nikon V1 with Flash

Nikon V1 with Flash

The top-of-the-line 1 series Nikon is the Nikon V1, which features a svelte form factor (4.4 x 3 x 1.7" / 113 x 76 x 43.5 mm), light weight (10.4 oz / 294 g camera body only) and a choice of viewing options—a high definition, 1,4400,000-dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) that comes into play when you raise the camera to your eye, or a more traditional 3.0-inch, 920,000-dot rear-mounted LCD for those who prefer squinting at a small screen under bright, sunny skies.  It costs around $850.

Other characteristics: up to 10 frames per second (full-res), JPEG, NEF (RAW) or NEF (RAW)+JPEG stills, full HD video (1,920 x 1,080/60i, 1,920 x 1,080/30p, 1,280 x 720/60p, as well as the ability to shoot at up to 60 frames per second for slow motion playback at 24 frames per second. There’s also a Smart Photo Selector that automatically captures a high-res still while recording HD 1080p video. The new System 1 cameras also feature Nikon’s newest dual core EXPEED 3 image processor, which according to Nikon is tuned to enable the new cameras to perform as advertised, including still capture at speeds up to 60 full-res frames per second—when you simply cannot afford to miss the shot.

Nikon V1 and J1

Nikon V1 and J1

The Nikon J1 is slightly smaller, slightly lighter, and about $250 less expensive than the Nikon V1, and relies solely on a 3.0-inch (460,000-dot) LCD for composing and reviewing stills and video. But aside from the lack of an EVF, and a lower-res LCD, the Nikon J1 and V1 share all of the above mentioned attributes and performance specs. The Nikon J1 will be available in black, red, silver, white, and pink.

The ISO sensitivity range of Nikon’s System 1 cameras goes from 100 to 3200, with an extended ISO 6400 in the dark. Autofocus is also reportedly quite responsive, thanks to a new 73-point  hybrid AF system that automatically switches between phase and contrast detection as needed, and allows for full-time continuous focusing while shooting.

New Lens Mount

This new Nikon 1 lens mount, introduced on the innovative Nikon 1, V1 and J1 cameras is needed because the new cameras (being a mirrorless format) lack the bulk of the Digital SLR mirror arrangement, and so are much smaller than a full DSLR. There is also an adapter to allow the older Nikon full frame FX and also the smaller format DX lenses to be used with the new mirrorless cameras

Nikon J1 and Nikon new lenses

Nikon J1 and Nikon new lenses

Here are the characteristics of the Nikon J1 Mirrorless Digital Camera:

  • A 10-30 mm / 30-110 mm Lens (White)

  • CX-Format High-Speed AF CMOS Sensor

  • EXPEED 3 Dual Image Processor

  • Interchangeable 1 NIKKOR Lens System

  • 10 fps Continuous Shooting in AF Mode

  • 73 Point AF Array

  • 3.0" 460K-Dot Anti-Glare Color LCD

  • Full HD (1080p) Movie Record Mode

  • Motion Snapshot 1-Touch Photo Animation

  • Smart Photo Selector

  • 10-30 mm VR Lens/ 30-110 mm Lens

Nikon 1 Series equipments

Nikon 1 Series equipments

Accessories for Nikon’s System 1 cameras include an SB-N5 Speedlight, an external stereo microphone for greater audio fidelity, and the GP-N100 GPS module, each of which couple to the camera via a Multi-Accessory port located on the camera’s top deck.

To complement the new cameras, Nikon has also introduced the first 1 Nikkor lenses, starting with the 1 Nikkor VR 10–30mm/f3.5–5.6 (27–81mm equivalent), which will serve as the standard kit lens for both cameras. There will also be a 1 Nikkor 10mm f/2.8 pancake lens (27mm equivalent), a 1 Nikkor 30–110mm f/3.8–5.6 (81–297mm equivalent) and a 1 Nikkor VR 10–100mm/4.5–5.6 (27–270mm equivalent) power zoom, which is optimized for smooth, quiet video capture.

Here are some advantages and disadvantages of the new mirror less camera and the CX lens.

Advantages of the Mirrorless Format

  • Small physical, pocket-size for easy storage.

  • Small weight, easy to carry.

  • Silent operation due to lack of mirror noise, so can be used in stage shows and other events when allowed.

  • Can use DX and FX lenses if you have any of these lenses with an adaptor, the camera has a lens multiplication factor of 2.7, thus a 70-200mm lens becomes an effective 190-540mm lens. A 500mm lens becomes an effective 1350mm.

  • This camera will be a great compact movie camera for High Definition movies.

  • Greatly improved image quality from the existing range of smaller sensor Coolpix cameras.

Disadvantages of the Mirrorless Format

  • No optical viewfinder, but there is an electronic viewfinder.

  • Focusing with any action shots may not be as precise and fast as the Digital SLR range of cameras

  • Higher pixel density with smaller pixels and probably more image noise as a result.

CMOS Sensor Vs CCD Sensor

When you go shopping for a digital camera, you have to deal with lots of technical terminology and the specification about the camera. And most of the times, these terminology and specifications set the price and the quality of the camera. When you are comparing various digital cameras, even within same brand, you will notice some of the features are available in one camera model and not in another one. But before you compare different bodies based on these technical terms, I think it would be better to learn about these terminology first and I am here today to help you understand the differences between CMOS and CCD sensor type used in camera body. Whether it's a digital camera or a conventional film camera, they share same basic principle which is collecting the lights (reflecting from the subject) which travels through the lens and focus them on the digital sensor or film inside the camera body. Only the difference is that the traditional film camera uses light sensitive films to record the image whereas digital camera uses digital sensor. When you are using a film camera, you have to further process the image using chemicals to get the final image but in case of digital camera, when light hits the digital sensor, it will be converted to electrons (photons) and camera software processes them instantly inside the camera and gives the results.

The digital light sensor is divided up into many small arrays of the receptor cells. Every receptor in the array is equivalent to one pixel and it is the pixels that create an image. More pixels we have, better picture quality we get because of the wide spectrum of lights hitting on the entire sensor. One simplified way to think about the sensor used in a digital camera is to think of it as having a 2-D array of thousands or millions of tiny solar cells, each of which transforms the light from one small portion of the image into electrons. Both CMOS and CCD devices perform this task using varieties of technology.

CMOS Vs. CCD

Today, most of the digital cameras use either a CMOS image sensor or a CCD sensor. Both types of sensors accomplish the same task of capturing the light and converting it into an electrical signal.

A CMOS (Complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor) chip is a type of active pixel sensor made using the CMOS semiconductor process. Extra circuitry next to each photo sensor converts the light energy into a voltage. Additional circuitry on the chip may be included to convert the voltage into digital data.

A CCD (Charged-couple device) is an analog device. When light strikes the chip, it is held as a small electrical charge in each photo sensor. The charges are then converted into voltage one pixel at a time as they are read from the chip. Additional circuitry in the camera converts the voltage into digital information.

FOVEON F7 X3 CMOS SENSOR

FOVEON F7 X3 CMOS SENSOR

CMOS sensors are cheaper and easier to manufacture than the CCD chips and have a great battery life. Also, they can be fabricated on just about any standard silicon production line. This is one of the key reasons behind the falling prices of digital cameras recently. Generally speaking, digital cameras that use CMOS chips are usually lighter than their CCD counterparts. However, CMOS chips do have their drawbacks as they are less sensitive to the lights and more susceptible to the digital noise, whereas CCD sensors create high-quality and low-noise images. CMOS sensor traditionally consumes little power whereas CCD sensor uses more power to operate. It consumes as much as 100 times more power than an equivalent CMOS sensor. Once upon a time, digital cameras utilizing CMOS were regarded inferior in terms of the image quality, but today however, many popular digital cameras and video cameras are increasing in popularity as CMOS technology improves. For example, Foveon's new X3 image sensor, a CMOS sensor, which is capable of recording all three colors (red, green and blue) at every cell. CMOS technology allows other circuitry to be incorporated into the same chips, making them useful to a manufacturer for the use in other electronic applications.

Conclusion:  CCD sensors tend to be used in cameras that focus on high-quality images with lots of pixels and excellent light sensitivity. CMOS sensors traditionally have lower image quality, lower resolution and lower sensitivity to the lights but usually they are less expensive and have a great battery life. CMOS sensors are now improving to the point where they can compare with CCD devices in some applications.

Nikon D7000 DSLR Review

Nikon is heating up market again since September 2010 with the release of it's latest DX format DSLR camera, Nikon D7000. Nikon’s D7000 features a 16.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor, 6 fps continuous shooting and breathtaking Full 1080p HD movies with full time auto-focusing feature. In terms or video recording, Nikon D7000 has surpassed the power of Nikon's first video recording DSLR, Nikon D90. It comes with the full time autofocus shooting of HD quality video which D90 lacks. This is a great improvement for Nikon lovers who enjoy shooting HD quality video with their DSLR. According to the Nikon, Nikon D7000 falls between the Nikon D90 and Nikon D300s DSLR camera range. Here are some of the key features that D7000 carries.

1. CMOS Sensor

It has a High Resolution 16.2 MP DX-format CMOS sensor to give you large prints and tight cropping facility after the shooting. The D7000 inherits the same excellent three-inch, 921k-dot monitor as D90.

2. Camera Controls and Settings

Nikon D7000 Front View

Nikon D7000 Front View

It has a Dynamic ISO range from 100 to 6400 and expandable up to 25,600 (Hi2) which lets you shoot in near darkness and it’s Active D-Lighting feature helps you to restore the picture by enhancing the details in the shadows and the highlights. D7000 has a built-in speedlight flash that comes with an i-TTL and the Wireless Commander mode so that you can light up your subjects by controlling the wireless remote flash units. Built-in HDMI connection lets you connect your camera to the HDTV and playback with the remote controls. Optional MB-D11 multi-power pack further expands your shooting time while adding a vertical shutter-release and the control dials to the camera. The D7000 has a shutter speed range of 1/8000 to 30 seconds, with a top flash synchronization speed of 1/250 second. And just like with professional models, the shutter unit is tested for 150,000 cycles in severe conditions, proving precision and durability. Nikon has made D7000 with a ground-breaking 2,016-pixel RGB (3D Color Matrix) sensor which delivers more accurate control of light metering and optimizes the Scene Recognition System for the exposure, white balance, focus tracking and i-TTL flash control. D7000 shoots with the High Speed 6 frames per second continuous shooting up to 100 shots and helps to capture the most fleeting action. It has a highly customizable 39 point AF System which includes nine center cross-type sensors that operate with every AF NIKKOR lens so that you can focus on making great images.

3. Live View mode

Live View and Recording Button

Live View and Recording Button

The D7000 offers smooth switching from the regular shooting to the Live View shooting with the dedicated Live View switch. Large, easy-to-view 7.5 cm (3-in.) VGA wide-viewing-angle (170°), approximately 921k-dot TFT LCD monitor with the reinforced glass realizes comfortable Live View shooting. The D7000 also allows contrast-detect AF. By selecting AF-F (full-time-servo AF), the camera automatically tracks the subject continuously even if it moves during the Live View shooting. There are selectable AF-area modes according to the subject; face-priority AF, wide-area AF, normal-area AF and subject-tracking AF.

4. U1 and U2 mode

U1 and U2

U1 and U2

This is completely new feature to any of the DX format Nikon DSLR camera. U1 and U2 mode allow you to save your camera settings into the memory. These are two user definable settings right on the Mode Selector Dial which let you store most camera settings so that you can go back to them at anytime without the need for further adjustments on the menu settings. The U1 and U2 modes are easy to set. You just have to navigate through MENU >> SETUP >> Save user settings where you have to select U1 or U2  and then Save settings. Any changes you made in this mode can be permanently set by repeating the action above. In addition, it comes with nineteen other options of scene modes, such as Silhouette, High key and Low key, Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up or Night Portrait that are selectable by setting the mode dial to the SCENE mode.

5. Quiet shutter-release mode

Quiet Mode

Quiet Mode

You can reduce the sound of mirror-up and mirror-down during the shooting by selecting the "Q" on the release mode dial. This improved quiet shutter-release mode is a convenient function for scenes such as a school play or when shooting wildlife, special events which are sensitive to noise.

6. HD video

D7000 is equipped to capture Full 1080p HD Movies with the Full Time Autofocus and an external stereo microphone jack to record the cinematic-quality movies up to 20 minutes all enhanced by the Nikkor interchangeable lens quality and the versatility. You can set both the aperture and the shutter speed from the camera in movie mode, although the slowest shutter speed is limited to 1/30th second, plus exposure compensation and AE-Lock can also be set. Out of the box, the D7000 can only record mono sound via its built-in microphone with three different levels of sensitivity on offer, but stereo recording can be recorded using an optional external microphone.

7. Electronic Virtual Horizon

This feature is especially useful for landscape shooting, the virtual horizon indicated in the LCD lets you know when the camera is in level. The virtual horizon can also be displayed during the Live View shooting. This feature was available only on pro cameras like d300, D300s or D700 before D7000 was introduced.

8. Double SD card

Double SD Slot

Double SD Slot

Twin SD Card Slots with SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatibility gives you options to keep on shooting and not to worry about memory being full or separate your NEF (RAW), JPEG and movie files. Or if you want, you can also program the camera to store images in the first memory slot and store a backup copy of those images in the second memory slot which gives you peace of mind while shooting important events, wedding for example. You can do that by navigating through the Shooting option in the MENU where you can define what you want to do with the card in each slot.

Many reviewers already started claiming that the Nikon D7000 is a top line DX format camera Nikon has ever built. No wonder it's already sold out in many camera stores. As of writing this post, Nikon has tagged it's price for $1,199.95 (Body only).