About two years have passed between the release of the Nikon D7100 and its successor, the Nikon D7200. But, despite this, the novelty has not received almost any significant improvements: there is still the same viewfinder, display and body, with the same dimensions and a similar matrix inside.
At first glance, the purchase of the D7200 does not seem very reasonable, but in fact, everything is not so simple, so today we will try to understand everything properly.
Design and management
As I said, the design of the novelty has remained the same, but this is more of an advantage, since the camera looks and feels like a very expensive tool. In terms of the quality of materials and assembly, it can even be compared with the more expensive Nikon D610 or D750.
Both the back and front handles are made of soft textured material that provides a good grip and pleasant feel. The middle finger rests just under the protrusion of the shutter button, and the index and thumb – on the shutter button itself and the rear adjustment dial, respectively. Ergonomics worked out perfectly, using the camera is a pleasure.
Also, the new D7200 took over from the D7100 and the protection of the case from dust and moisture ingress. This allows you to use the camera in bad weather, giving you a little more room to be creative.
Nikon D7200 is the type of camera that is best used with two hands, so the main controls are right on the edges, easy to reach for your thumbs. The mode dial is located on the left side of the top panel of the camera and gives you access to nine different functions, including two very useful customizable modes. Before you rotate the disk, you must hold down the lock button in the center. This design prevents accidental changes to settings.
Directly below the mode dial is another dial responsible for the drive modes. This disc is also equipped with a lock button, but it is so small that it is quite difficult to use it.
The remaining controls are generally consistent with what can be found in most Nikon DSLRs. If you have already used one of the company’s models, then even the built-in menu will seem quite familiar to you.
The Nikon D7200 has a pentaprism optical viewfinder and a 3.2-inch LCD display with a resolution of 1,228,800 dots and a viewing angle of 170 degrees. The optical viewfinder shows a bright and clear picture with 100% frame coverage, so you can be calm about the edges of the picture. On the other hand, the use of an optical viewfinder has its drawbacks, the main of which, perhaps, is the inability to look at changes in settings in real time.
When shooting subjects that need precise focus, it is best to use Live View. This mode relies on contrasting autofocus points, which, however, makes focusing slower, but the image is transmitted directly from the sensor, which means that focusing will always be accurate. The Live View activation button is located on the rear panel on the right side.
You can also use the built-in Wi-Fi and a smartphone or tablet to control the camera. This is one of the few innovations that differentiates the D7200 from its predecessor. You can use NFC to make pairing easier if your smartphone or tablet supports it.
True, in this case there will not be a large selection of settings: you can only select the focus point and release the shutter, but this is enough for group shots and self-portraits with a tripod. In addition, you can quickly send pictures to your device for quick editing and sharing on the Internet.
Performance and image quality
The new Nikon D7200 has a 24.2-megapixel sensor, its resolution has increased by 0.1 megapixel compared to the D7100. The matrix is still devoid of an anti-aliasing filter, thanks to which it is possible to achieve higher image sharpness. It is logical that the obsolete Expeed 3 image processor installed in the Nikon D7100 was replaced with a more modern Expeed 4.
JPEG images taken with the Nikon D7200 are moderately bright and contrasty, but still natural. This is true both for good lighting conditions and for bad ones, in which the pictures remain saturated.
The dynamic range is quite high. When shooting at ISO 100, it is about 12.6 stops, while even shooting at ISO 800, this value is still quite decent 10 stops.
Auto white balance works great. Even when shooting in difficult conditions, the camera works out the white balance with virtually no problems. Pictures in poor light are slightly warm, in this case it is better to use the manual white balance setting in the camera or a color scale, such as the DataColor SpyderCheckr 24.
The details in the pictures are perfectly worked out: shooting with low ISO 100-200 settings is absolutely sharp, there are no blurring. In this case, a large amount of detail will accompany your shots even when shooting at ISO 6400, although in this case a small amount of noise will still be noticeable, but the picture will still be usable.
To work with RAW images, you will need to use the bundled software or Nikon’s free Capture NX-D, as Adobe Camera Raw does not currently support this camera. Looking at the results of RAW-shooting, you immediately pay attention to the fact that when shooting in JPEG, a very aggressive noise reduction algorithm works. If that doesn’t suit you, then with RAW files you can achieve that perfect noise/detail balance that you personally prefer.
In terms of image quality when shooting in poor conditions, this camera shoots at the level of the Nikon D5500, which we have already talked about earlier. If we compare it with competitors from other companies, for example, with the Canon EOS 70D and Fuji X-T1, then the latter surpass the hero of this review in a number of ways, but none of them can boast of a 24-megapixel matrix.
Autofocus in the D7200 is incredibly fast thanks to the improved Multi-CAM 3500 II DX AF system. This system is equipped with 51 points with a choice of 9, 21 or all 51 points depending on the situation. The AF system also includes 15 cross-type points to achieve higher AF sensitivity in low light conditions.
The new image processor allowed for a larger image buffer, which was one of the biggest drawbacks of the previous model. While the Nikon D7100 was only able to take JPEGs for a couple of seconds before the buffer was full, the new Expeed 4-powered D7200 takes about 50 JPEGs in 9 seconds. When shooting in 14-bit RAW you will get about 2-3 seconds of continuous shooting, or 4-5 seconds for 12-bit RAW.
Like most other DSLRs, the Nikon D7200 never received support for 4K video recording. However, you can record Full HD 1080p video at 60 frames per second, which is still very good. The only thing is that in this mode the length of the video will be limited to twenty minutes, but this should not be a big problem.
What is more important is the presence of a port for connecting an external microphone and the function of manual exposure control. Thanks to this, you can make quite serious videos for commercial purposes.
The D7200 may not have been a breakthrough compared to the previous D7100, but Nikon has managed to improve on an already very decent camera. Individually, these improvements look small, but collectively they make a noticeable difference that is definitely worth paying extra for.
For owners of the Nikon D7100, switching to the new model depends on what they usually shoot: image quality is on par, but sports and wildlife photographers will definitely appreciate the new features of the D7200’s built-in buffer, for them the transition to the new model is quite worth it. At the same time, for the rest of the owners of the D7100, such expenses will be unreasonable.
If you are an enthusiast who already has experience with Nikon DSLRs or has a set of compatible optics available, then the new Nikon D7200 can be a great all-rounder for you.