How To Change ISO on a Nikon D7500

A guide to changing the ISO on a Nikon D7500, including an explanation of the D7500’s Auto ISO feature.

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The Nikon D7500 has an ISO range of 100 through 51,200 in its basic settings, but there are extended settings at both ends. On the lower end, they go from Lo 0.3 to Lo 1 (Lo 1 is equivalent to ISO 32). On the faster end, there’s Hi 0.3 to Hi 5, with Hi 5 being equivalent to ISO 1,638,400.

The catch with ISO, of course, is that while the higher numbers are better for low light, they also bring the risk of noisy, grainy images. So having high numbers available doesn’t automatically translate to great low-light performance.

On the D7500, I’ve been very impressed with the results up to at least ISO 6400, and, in practice, even all the way up to an extreme setting like ISO 51,200 can result in surprisingly usable images in the right circumstances.

How Do You Change the ISO on a Nikon D7500?

There are a couple of different ways to manually change the ISO on a Nikon D7500. One is better for quick changes while shooting. The other is slower, but it has alongside it a number of other settings you can choose to control how the Auto ISO feature works.

Here’s a quick rundown of how each works.

Quick Change Method

We’ll start with the quickest and easiest. It’s a simple combination of a button and a dial. Aside from its speed, an advantage of this method is that you can do it while looking through the viewfinder and watching the camera’s light meter reading.

The button is the ISO button on the top, just behind the shutter.

Nikon D7500 Memory Card Format Shortcut

While you’re holding that button down with your right index finger, use your right thumb to rotate the dial on the back. You’ll see the ISO setting change both on the top screen and through the viewfinder (or the back screen if you’re using that).

Menu Settings Method

Another way to do it is using the menu system. Most of the time, this isn’t as convenient while shooting, but it does open up some other related options. First, though, the basic ISO setting is found under the Photo Shooting Menu (camera icon) under ISO Sensitivity Settings.

Nikon D7500 ISO Settings Change 1

When you drill down into that menu item (press the OK button or right side of the navigation dial), you’ll get more ISO-related setting. The top one, ISO Sensitivity, is the basic one to change the ISO setting.

Nikon D7500 ISO Settings Change 2

Pressing OK (or right) on that will give you the list of available ISO settings.

Nikon D7500 ISO Settings Change 3

How to Set and Use Auto ISO on the D7500

That manual setting works well, but there’s also another way to do it that, in many cases, is going to be a better option. One of the features of modern digital cameras that I find pretty indispensable now is Auto ISO. It frees up the camera to change the ISO without messing with the other two sides of the exposure triangle: shutter speed and aperture.

The D7500 has a few different settings related to Auto ISO. The most basic is turning it on or off. For that, first proceed as above, through the Photo Shooting Menu (camera icon) and ISO Sensitivity Settings. Then choose Auto ISO Sensitivity Control. That’s a simple toggle on or off.

Nikon D7500 Auto ISO 1

Auto ISO: Maximum Sensitivity

Below that is the option to set a maximum sensitivity. That imposes an upper ceiling on how high the ISO can go automatically (you can override it manually). If you want to use the full range of the camera’s ISO capabilities, you’d set this to Hi 5, which is the same as no limit. But a more useful place for this setting is in preventing the Auto ISO from using ISOs that you judge too grainy or noisy. If you’re looking for a place to start with this and are concerned about image noise, something like ISO 3200 or even ISO 6400 might be good places to start (or lower, of course, if you prefer).

Nikon D3400 ISO Setting Auto 3

Auto ISO: Minimum Shutter Speed

Another setting you can specify is the minimum shutter speed. It sets a minimum shutter speed that it will go to before Auto ISO kicks in. You use this to reduce the risk of camera shake when you’re shooting hand-held. If the shutter speed is too slow when you’re shooting by hand (as opposed to using a tripod), you risk getting camera shake that makes the image blurry. There’s no magic answer as to what is too slow. Different photographers can naturally hold the camera more still than others, and if you’re shooting in cold or breezy conditions or some other kind of movement, then it’s even harder to hold the camera perfectly still. So even if you can get tack-sharp photos at 1/30 in some conditions, you might need to crank that up to 1/125 if you’re shooting with cold hands.

Nikon D7500 Auto ISO minimum shutter speed

Another variable is the focal length of the lens you’re using. Camera shake is a more immediate problem when you’re using a telephoto lens because even the smallest movement becomes magnified. It becomes less of an issue with wide-angle lenses. So a long telephoto lens will need a faster shutter speed to be sharp than a wide-angle lens.

Auto ISO: Minimum Shutter Speed: Auto

Because of that relationship between the focal length of the lens and the effective shutter speed to keep things sharp, there’s a neat trick up the D7500’s sleeve. The Minimum Shutter Speed setting can factor in the focal length of the lens when you use the Auto setting–that’s the one I’d recommend starting with. It uses the tried and true formula of matching the speed to the focal length along the lines of if your focal length is, say, 100mm, then at least 1/100 is a good target shutter speed. It’s not foolproof every time–as I said, there are a bunch of different factors that can come into play with camera shake–but it’s a good rule of thumb.

In the Auto mode, if you’re using a zoom lens, the D7500 is smart enough to adjust this minimum shutter speed based on how much you’ve zoomed in or out. One thing it can’t do, though, is adjust it based on whether or not you have vibration reduction (VR) available and active.

And you can specify even further by pushing the trigger point faster or slower. As an example, if you’re using a 100mm lens, the default in the Auto setting would be to use 1/100 sec as the minimum shutter. But you can push that higher or lower, so that it allows shutter speeds a little higher or a little lower than the standard. You set this with a basic slider that’s accessible under the Auto setting.

Nikon D7500 Auto ISO slider

If you want to reduce the risk of camera shake or movement, you can move that right, towards the Faster end of the slider. If you’re less worried about movement but want to favor a lower ISO instead, you can move it to the left, towards the Slower side.

Auto ISO: Maximum Sensitivity with Flash

Finally, there’s an option to set a different maximum sensitivity when using a flash. Setting the shutter speed for flash is a rather complicated subject when you add high-speed sync capabilities into the mix, and that’s beyond the scope of this post, but if you’re shooting with flash, it’s worth knowing that the option is there.

Nikon D7500 Auto ISO Maximum Sensitivity with Flash

Where to Buy the Nikon D7500

You can find the Nikon D7500 at B&H Photo and Amazon.

It’s sold in a variety of configurations, from the body only to bundles with kit lenses and accessories.

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4 thoughts on “How To Change ISO on a Nikon D7500”

  1. Thanks for the response and input, David…appreciate it!

    So how much stock do you put in claims that Nikon’s VR is worth several stops? Nikon claims, “VR or image stabilization can provide 4 stops slower speed than a lens without it and still yield a tack sharp photo.”

    While I’m not necessarily inclined to buy in to Nikon’s “sales pitch”, I have seen other users make similar claims. (Of course, other reviewers of the 18-300 f/3.5-5.6 DX have brought up focus/lens breathing as an issue but in checking mine at every focal length, I find it minimal and not an issue).

    I think I’ll just stick with 1.5 x focal length for now…perhaps some experimentation may yield other results.

    Cheers,

    Reply
    • You do certainly get benefit, but I’ve not come up with a reliable way to measure precisely how many stops it gives you. And it obviously depends on the shooting conditions and focal length, etc. What it doesn’t help with, though, is motion in the subject. But overall, I’ve found that the VR does help, and newer generations of it are better than older generations of it.

      Reply
  2. Great article…appreciate your insight and expertise!

    So with the D7500 being a crop-sensor camera…does the rule for minimum shutter speed (1/focal length) apply here OR would you recommend factoring in the crop factor (1.5 in Nikon’s case) instead?

    By that I mean, for a full frame camera, if the minimum recommended handheld shutter speed for 100mm is 1/100, would it be 100mm x 1.5 crop factor = 150 on an APS-C, so a minimum shutter recommended shutter speed would be 1/150 (or whatever was near to that)?

    This gets really interesting on a tele…I have a Nikkor 18-300 lens (the newer version) and zoomed in at 300mm handheld, that would equal 450mm…so I’d need a minimum handheld shutter speed of at least that, and probably more like 1/500.

    Thanks again, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Reply
    • For a “normal” lens, I would generally use the effective focal length. For instance, with a 50mm lens on a 1.5x crop sensor, I’d aim for at least 1/60th but preferably higher. Of course, it’s only ever a guideline. Some people can hold it more still than others, and it very much depends on the shooting environment. If I’m in windy, cold conditions on a boat, I’m going to be aiming for much faster shutter speeds than if I’m in warm, calm, still conditions. A big wrinkle comes if you’re using a lens with stabilization. The early generations of those could get you an extra couple of stops; the newer ones are even better and can get you up to four or five extra stops (for camera shake, at least, but not for motion blur).

      And yes, teleconverters will change that effective focal length, so you start getting up to high minimum shutter speeds.

      And a merry Christmas to you!

      Reply

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