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Nikon D90 versus Nikon D7500

The Nikon D90 and the Nikon D7500 are two enthusiast cameras that were officially introduced, respectively, in August 2008 and April 2017. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are equipped with an APS-C sensor. The D90 has a resolution of 12.2 megapixel, whereas the D7500 provides 20.7 MP. Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their size, their sensors, their features, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison: Nikon D90 vs Nikon D7500

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Nikon D90 and the Nikon D7500. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter. You can also toggle the display to switch to a percentage comparison if you prefer that the measures are being expressed in relative terms (in this case, the camera on the left side – the D90 – represents the basis for the calculations across all the size and weight measures).

Compare Nikon D90 vs Nikon D7500
Compare D90 versus D7500 top
Compare D90 and D7500 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D7500 is somewhat larger (4 percent) than the Nikon D90. Moreover, the D7500 is slightly heavier (2 percent) than the D90. It is noteworthy in this context that the D7500 is splash and dust-proof, while the D90 does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. In this particular case, both cameras feature the same lens mount, so that they can use the same lenses. You can find an overview of suitable optics in the Nikon Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the D90 gets 850 shots out of its EN-EL3e battery, while the D7500 can take 950 images on a single charge of its EN-EL15a power pack.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, just select a new right or left comparator from among the camera models in the table. Alternatively, you can also move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

Camera Body Specifications
  Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
(CIPA)
Weather
Sealing
(yes/no)
Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D90» 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 703 g 850 n Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D7500« 136 mm 104 mm 73 mm 720 g 950 Y Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Canon 80D« » 139 mm 105 mm 79 mm 730 g 960 Y Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 40D« » 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Nikon D500« » 147 mm 115 mm 81 mm 860 g 1240 Y Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D7200« » 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 1110 Y Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« » 136 mm 107 mm 76 mm 765 g 950 Y Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Nikon D7000« » 132 mm 105 mm 77 mm 780 g 1050 Y Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« » 126 mm 97 mm 64 mm 536 g 500 n Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » 127 mm 104 mm 80 mm 590 g 510 n Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D60« » 126 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 500 n Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« » 124 mm 94 mm 64 mm 522 g 520 n Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« » 132 mm 103 mm 77 mm 668 g 600 n Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80

The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The two cameras under review were launched at the same price and fall into the same market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.

 

Sensor comparison: Nikon D90 vs Nikon D7500

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Further, a large sensor camera will give the photographer additional creative options when using shallow depth-of-field to isolate a subject from its background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be associated with larger, more expensive camera bodies and lenses.

Both cameras under consideration feature an APS-C sensor, but their sensors differ slightly in size. The sensor area in the D7500 is 1 percent smaller. They nevertheless have the same format factor of 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Technology-wise, the D7500 uses a more advanced image processing engine (EXPEED 5) than the D90 (EXPEED), with benefits for noise reduction, color accuracy, and processing speed.

Nikon D90 and Nikon D7500 sensor measures

Despite having a slightly smaller sensor, the D7500 offers a higher resolution of 20.7 megapixel, compared with 12.2 MP of the D90. This megapixel advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.22μm versus 5.53μm for the D90). However, it should be noted that the D7500 is much more recent (by 8 years and 7 months) than the D90, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

D90 versus D7500 MP

For many cameras, data on sensor performance has been reported by DXO Mark. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the D7500 offers substantially better image quality than the D90 (overall score 13 points higher). The advantage is based on 1.6 bits higher color depth, 1.5 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.6 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The adjacent table reports on the physical sensor characteristics and the outcomes of the DXO sensor quality tests for a sample of comparator-cameras.

Sensor Characteristics
  Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
Camera
Model
Nikon D90» APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.597773Nikon D90
Nikon D7500« APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.314.0148386Nikon D7500
Canon 80D« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p23.613.2113579Canon 80D
Canon 40D« » APS-C 10.1 3888 2592-22.111.370364Canon 40D
Nikon D500« » APS-C 20.7 5568 37124K/30p24.014.0132483Nikon D500
Nikon D7200« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.514.6133387Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« » APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/60p24.213.7125683Nikon D7100
Nikon D7000« » APS-C 16.1 4928 326410800/24p23.513.9116780Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.311.156362Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« » APS-C 12.2 4288 2848720/24p22.712.586872Nikon D5000
Nikon D60« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.511.456265Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.411.451663Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« » APS-C 10.0 3872 2592-22.111.252461Nikon D80

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. Both cameras under consideration have a sensor with sufficiently fast read-out times for moving pictures, but the D7500 provides a better video resolution than the D90. It can shoot movie footage at 4K/30p, while the D90 is limited to 720/24p.

 

Feature comparison: Nikon D90 vs Nikon D7500

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. The D90 and the D7500 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Nikon D90, the Nikon D7500, and comparable cameras. If needed, the dpreview camera hub, for example, contains further detail on the cameras' specs.

Core Features
  Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
'000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
('000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Shutter
speed
(1/sec)
Shutter
flaps
(1/sec)
Build-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Build-in
Image
Stab
Camera
Model
Nikon D90»optical Y 3.0 920 fixed n 4000 4.5 Y n Nikon D90
Nikon D7500«optical Y 3.2 922 tilting Y 8000 8.0 Y n Nikon D7500
Canon 80D« »optical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 8000 7.0 Y n Canon 80D
Canon 40D« »optical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 8000 6.5 Y n Canon 40D
Nikon D500« »optical Y 3.2 2359 tilting Y 8000 10.0 n n Nikon D500
Nikon D7200« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« »optical Y 3.2 1229 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7100
Nikon D7000« »optical Y 3.0 921 fixed n 8000 6.0 Y n Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« »optical n 3.0 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »optical n 2.7 230 full-flex n 4000 4.0 Y n Nikon D5000
Nikon D60« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« »optical n 2.5 230 fixed n 4000 3.0 Y n Nikon D80

One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The D7500 has a touchscreen, while the D90 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.

The D90 writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the D7500 uses SDXC cards.

Input-Output Connections
  Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Type
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
Camera
Model
Nikon D90»Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D90
Nikon D7500«YstereomonoYYmini2.0Y-YNikon D7500
Canon 80D« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Canon 80D
Canon 40D« »Y-----2.0---Canon 40D
Nikon D500« »YstereomonoYYmini3.0YYYNikon D500
Nikon D7200« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0YY-Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« »YstereomonoYYmini2.0---Nikon D7100
Nikon D7000« »YmonomonoY-mini2.0---Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »Ymonomono--mini2.0---Nikon D5000
Nikon D60« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« »Y-----2.0---Nikon D80

The D7500 is a recent model that features in the current product line-up of Nikon. In contrast, the D90 has been discontinued (but it can be found pre-owned on eBay). As a replacement in the same line of cameras, the D90 was succeeded by the Nikon D7000.

Review summary: Nikon D90 vs Nikon D7500

So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Nikon D90 or the Nikon D7500 – has the upper hand? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.


Reasons to prefer the Nikon D90:

  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in August 2008).


Arguments in favor of the Nikon D7500:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20.7 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 30%.
  • Better image quality: Scores substantially higher (13 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • Richer colors: Generates noticeably more natural colors (1.6 bits more color depth).
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.5 EV of extra DR).
  • Better low-light sensitivity: Can shoot in dim conditions (0.6 stops ISO advantage).
  • Better jpgs: Has a more modern image processing engine (EXPEED 5 vs EXPEED).
  • Better video: Provides higher definition movie capture (4K/30p vs 720/24p).
  • Better sound: Can connect to an external microphone for higher quality sound recording.
  • Better sound control: Has a headphone port that enables audio monitoring while recording.
  • Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 3.0") for image review and settings control.
  • More flexible LCD: Has a tilting screen for odd-angle shots in landscape orientation.
  • Fewer buttons to press: Has a touchscreen to facilitate handling and shooting adjustments.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (8000/sec vs 4000/sec) to freeze action.
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (8 vs 4.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Longer lasting: Gets more shots (950 versus 850) out of a single battery charge.
  • Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
  • Easier file upload: Has wifi build in for automatic backup or image transfer to the web.
  • Easier wireless transfer: Supports Bluetooth for image sharing without cables.
  • More modern: Reflects 8 years and 7 months of technical progress since the D90 launch.

If the number of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a guide, the D7500 is the clear winner of the contest (19 : 1 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera.

D90 01:19 D7500

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the D90 or the D7500 handle or perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased. This is where reviews by experts come in. The table below summarizes the assessments of some of the best known camera review sites (cameralabs, dpreview, ephotozine, imaging-resource, photographyblog). The full reviews are available by clicking on the site logo in the table header.

Review Scores
  Camera
Model
cameralabs dpreview ephotozine imaging-resource photographyblog Camera
Launch
(announced)
Launch
Price
(USD)
Street
Price
(USD)
Used
Price
(USD)
Camera
Model
Nikon D90»HiRecHiRec4/55/54.5/5 Aug 2008 1,299- i Nikon D90
Nikon D7500«HiRec86/1005/54.5/54.5/5 Apr 2017 1,299 i i Nikon D7500
Canon 80D« »HiRec84/1004.5/54.5/54.5/5 Feb 2016 1,199 i i Canon 80D
Canon 40D« »HiRecHiRec4.5/5rev4.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299- i Canon 40D
Nikon D500« »HiRec91/1004.5/55/55/5 Jan 2016 1,999 i i Nikon D500
Nikon D7200« »HiRec84/1004.5/54/54.5/5 Mar 2015 1,199- i Nikon D7200
Nikon D7100« »HiRec85/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Feb 2013 1,199- i Nikon D7100
Nikon D7000« »-80/1004.5/55/54.5/5 Sep 2010 1,499- i Nikon D7000
Nikon D3000« »Rec72/1004/53.5/54.5/5 Jul 2009 599- i Nikon D3000
Nikon D5000« »HiRec75/1004/55/54.5/5 Apr 2009 749- i Nikon D5000
Nikon D60« »80/100HiRec4/5rev4.5/5 Jan 2008 629- i Nikon D60
Nikon D40X« »79/100HiRec4/5rev4/5 Mar 2007 729- i Nikon D40X
Nikon D80« »RecHiRecrev4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2006 999- i Nikon D80

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparisons of ratings among very different cameras or across long time periods have little meaning. Also, please note that some of the review sites have changed their methodology and reporting over time.

 

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored. If you cannot find the camera you are interested in, please send me an email, and I will try to add information on that model to the database.

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