The Nikon D7500 has a very wide ISO range. In its standard range, it goes from 100 through 51,200. There are also extended settings on both ends, from Lo 0.3 to Lo 1 (Lo 1 is equivalent to ISO 32) on the slow end and from Hi 0.3 to Hi 5 (Hi 5 is equivalent to ISO 1,638,400) on the fast end.
The catch with ISO, of course, is that while the higher numbers are better for capturing subjects in very low light, they also bring the risk of degraded image quality. Firstly, there’s the problem of grainy, noisy images that is the digital equivalent to the old film grain. Secondly, as you get into the very high ISOs the sensor’s response to color degrades. So you tend to end up with images that have both noise and harsher colors. Whether that’s a problem depends entirely on what you’re shooting and the look you’re aiming for.
This is an area that the leading camera manufacturers have been improving constantly for a long time now, and the latest cameras are very impressive. The D7500 is no exception, and I’ve been very impressed with the results up to at least ISO 6400 from the D7500, 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. As you can see from the example below, once you get up into the extended range above that, particularly up around the Hi 5 setting, the images start to become much less useful for anything other than quite niche uses.
To give a sense of the D7500’s high-ISO performance, I’ve put together the shots below. And related to this, I’ve also put together a quick guide on how to change the ISO on a Nikon D7500.
How These High-ISO Examples Were Shot
There are no fancy setting settings here-deliberately so. To get a consistent exposure across the frames, I mounted in on a tripod and put it on Aperture priority setting. So the aperture remained constant, with the shutter speed adjusting to compensate for the ISO I was setting.
But there is an important aspect to note. By default, the Nikon D7500 applies noise reduction to high-ISO photos in camera. You can turn that setting off or change it’s aggressiveness, but by default it’s turned on. That in-camera noise reduction doesn’t, technically, affect RAW images as such, just JPGs. But it is applied to the JPG preview images that are embedded into the RAW files and that are the versions you see when you view the image on the back of the camera. Those are also the initial versions you’re seeing when you import the images into apps like Lightroom or PhotoMechanic. If you open a RAW file and see obvious effects of in-camera noise reduction, that’s why. To bypass that, I’ve made sure to regenerate the images below directly from the underlying RAW file. That was done in Lightroom, and I disabled Lightroom’s noise reduction and sharpening functions.
Extended High ISO
Hi 0.3 / ISO 64508
Hi 0.5 / ISO 81275
Hi 5 / ISO 1638400
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