Since I Mentioned Cheese: The Full Menu

I mentioned removing the cheese in the last entry, today I'll deal with the moving of the cheese. 

The Playback menu, delightfully, seems pretty normal to me. If you haven't been around a recent Nikon DSLR, the Auto Image Rotation menu item is now here with the Rotate Tall item, which is as it should be. Likewise, the recent cameras have the Rating and Select To Send to Smart Device on this menu, as well. Again, pretty much as it should be.

Indeed, if anything, Nikon really needs to thing about organizing the cheese more, and this menu shows it. Wouldn't it be better with the rotation options as a single item, Image Rotation, with separate sub-items for the file marker and the on-camera rotation? And wouldn't all the markings (Protect, Hide, Rating) be better as a single item, Mark Image, with separate abilities to change those markings within it?

In the Photo Shooting Menu, Flash Control is going to throw some people for a loop at first, as Nikon has redesigned this. This used to be the CSM #E3 item, and that item had four options for Flash Control Mode. The D7500 (and D500/D5) have three. You'll wonder where CMD (commander mode) went. Well, it's still there. You just have to turn Wireless Flash Options (another item further down the menu) to Optical AWL. Unfortunately, this causes a slight dissonance in the menus: if you select Manual for Flash Control Mode, then select Optical AWL, you'll see a grayed out Manual with your output amount and in Group Flash Options you'll see that TTL has been set. If you were expecting Group Flash Options to pick up your Flash Control Mode for the main flash, you'd have been wrong. 

I can see the arguments for both cases, but I really don't like dissonances. They stop me cold and make me think more carefully about what the camera is trying to do.

Next up is the new Auto Picture Control. This is really the Standard Picture Control, but the camera may adjust "hues and tones" as it sees fit. I'm still trying to come to grips with what Nikon means by that, as "tones" is not something that is set in the Picture Controls. The closest things to that we have are "contrast" and "brightness." Since I'm seeing contrast changes, I think that this is what Nikon really means: hue and contrast changes. 

What I'm seeing so far is that the D7500 tends towards a "snappier" looking JPEG in Auto than the D7500 or D500 in Standard. A little more color punch and contrast in many situations. But as with anything "auto" in the Nikon world, this is going to take a lot more testing to see what's really happening. Nikon has this habit of using either a simplistic AI based upon a database analysis they've done on images, and/or a programming technique called fuzzy logic. Neither tends to give you absolutely repeatable results in similar situations, so it can take time to figure out what the tendencies are.

I was a little surprised to find that the D7500 turned off Auto Distortion Control with the 8-15mm, but only a little. 

In the Custom Settings Menu the D7500 is mostly what you'd expect. Some might be surprised that Electronic Front-Curtain Shutter is available (requires Mirror Up), or that Store Focus Points by Orientation is present, or that 1/320s (Auto FP) is available. These are all things that have only appeared in the higher end cameras, and Nikon's penchant for cost cutting might have impacted each of those, but didn't. 

The only really big cheese item in the CSMs is the missing DOF Preview I outlined yesterday. One big cheese item that was added is the ability to program the red Movie button to WB, Metering, or Choose Image Area. Very useful and appropriate.

The SETUP menu is still the usual disorganized mess of miscellany it's been on recent Nikons. Things like the Beep Options and Slot Empty Release Lock have migrated here from the CSMs in many recent Nikons, and the D7500 carries that forward. But realistically, this is another menu that could use some hierarchy to simplify it (e.g. a single Settings option that has all four sub-options in it, a single Monitor [LCD] option with all those sub-options grouped together, a single Cleaning option, a single Connectivity option, and so on. 

The good news is that the touchscreen works with the menus, and it works very well. A single flick takes you one page (up or down depending upon flick direction) in a menu, and data entry for things like Copyright, File Naming, Image Comment, and so on, is a breeze. 

Now, to the outer cheese. 

Missing cheese includes the rear remote control detector (only a front one on the D7500). The i button switches places with the Info button, and the i button does a different set of things on the D7500 than the D7200. 

Up top the cheese moves: we get the ISO button instead of the metering button (which moves to be an overloaded zoom button on the back, or a reprogrammed red Movie button). I've already noted that the DOF Preview button is now Fn1, and the Fn button is now the Fn2 button. 

Fortunately, that's it for the cheese removal and moving. I don't think a D7200 user would have trouble adjusting to the D7500. Certainly a D500 user wouldn't have issues with the D7500 as their backup body. 

It may seem strange that I admonish cheese moving but also suggest new cheese moving at the same time (e.g. menu hierarchy improvements). It's not that moving cheese is always a bad thing, at least if it helps a user get to the functions they want to set faster and easier. But random cheese moving is very frustrating, as the changes from the CSM to SETUP menu items have been recently, especially since one thing that doesn't belong in the CSM menu (File Number Sequence) still remains. 

On the other hand, cheese moving that improves the overall handling is always welcome. Nikon's organization of the custom button assignments, for instance, was highly welcome, as was separating the still and video shooting menus so that a camera could retain still and video settings separately. 

text and images © 2019 Thom Hogan
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