What camera do you use? Our Recommendations Part IV

Nikon D7500

Probably the most frequent question we receive. In this new series, we will brave the digital frontier. After all, We suffer so you don’t have to™ is our motto and our mantra. This is Part IV of the series.

The Nikon D7500 is a DLSR camera that can do it all. This is it. This is our camera!

This is the camera for you. The optics and software are the same as the final more expensive and complicated option that will follow. You are going to take great photos with this camera.

Get one. I did. I have also owned its distant ancestor the D200, its grandfather the D7100, its father the D7200. (Nikon strangely skipped over the D7300 and D7400) All were amazing cameras for their time and this camera is the most amazing Nikon yet. Every photo on Backyard Ecosystem was shot with one of the cameras just listed.


  • Light and easy to carry
  • Easy learning curve
  • Great price for the great photos you will be getting
  • Having a good tool like this makes everything a pleasure
  • Many lens options, but you only need one (or maybe two). More on that in a moment.

Not for:

  • No real downsides
  • You have dials and buttons you need in order to make changes on the fly without taking your eye off the subject in front of you

What to buy:

Get the camera body in BLACK.

Order it with this lens if you want to go fast and light or this lens if you want to do it all. Choose one lens or the other for now. Come back and get the other one when you want to give yourself options. You won’t be carrying both at the same time. Put one on the body and go!

I recommend starting with the fast 35mm. It lets you learn the body of the camera with a lens that mimics the eye, is fast enough to arrest motion, and will capture your image in available light without a flash.

Then swap it out for the real thoroughbred, the 18-300mm. This lens is going to let you go long, go wide, and go macro. There is literally nothing else like it. You are buying a Nikon so that you can slap this lens on the body and go take photographs for a year without ever removing it. Landscapes, flowers, tiny insects, your dog, your kid, your partner, everything and anything you want to point it at, is just a twist of the wrist away.

I have had photographers who are dragging a wagon of gear behind them start drooling when I explain it to them. Meanwhile, I nonchalantly stroll along capturing everything in sight handheld. I feel bad for them as they heft their many thousand dollar lenses onto a tripod and struggle to get it pointed at something that is long gone. I am already shooting something else, and quietly snickering to myself.

You also need 2 big honking (a technical term) Memory Cards and a good lightweight camera bag or case and this filter pack.

Yes, you really do need them all.

Here are the good work habits you want to acquire to make using your camera a pleasure:

  • Put on the UV filter and forget it is there. It will save your camera from almost anything, think of it as cheap insurance. Use the polarized filter for dramatic sky contrasts and for whale watch photos. Just screw it on right over the UV filter. The case will save your camera in a rain shower, again think of it as cheap insurance. Make sure you have a light rain jacket that you can wear over the case for even better protection.
  • Download your photos at the end of each day, delete bad ones and sort the good ones into relevant folders. Run the backup to an external drive on the whole thing.
  • I like the  Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4TB drive or the Pre-formatted for a Mac Western Digital My Passport 2TB drive.
  • Now you have two copies of every photo (Update: I now back up to two drives so that I can keep my new laptop free of the thousands of photos I take in the average month.)
  • Reformat the card and recharge the battery while you are running the backup and you are ready for the next day

Happy shooting!

More on troubleshooting problems and cropping your photos for professional results in a future post.


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