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NIKON D7200 Review: Should You Buy this Camera?

Nikon D7200 Review

Design - 85%
Build - 83%
Handling - 85%
Performance - 84%
Image Quality - 87%

85%

Overall Score

An excellent image quality, low-light performance with convenient built-in Wi-Fi and NFC

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Nikon D7200 Performance

Key Features

  • 2MP CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter
  • Magnesium alloy weather-sealed body
  • 2-inch 1.2 million dots RGBW LCD display, 3:2 aspect ratio
  • Multi-CAM 3500DX II 51-point AF system with EV-3 sensitivity
  • EXPEED 4 image processor
  • ISO sensitivity of ISO 100-25,600, expands to 102400 (black and white modes only)
  • 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor
  • Viewfinder with 100% frame coverage and 0.94x magnification
  • 6fps continuous shooting (7fps in 1.3x crop mode)
  • 1080/60p video with clean output over HDMI and Flat Picture Control
  • 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC

Introduction

Nikon D7200 comes as a successor to the company’s one of the best selling DSLRs D7100. The camera is not exactly a great upgrade as compared to its predecessor, but it adds some useful features. These features include a larger buffer, an improved AF performance in low light, Wi-Fi with NFC, 60p video, and an enhanced battery life.
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Design, Build, and Handling

The design is very similar as compared to its predecessor. This mid-sized DSLR has a weather-sealed body with a magnesium alloy chassis. There are three dedicated buttons for AF assist lamp, DOF preview, and customizable Fn on the front of the camera. On the top left (front), there are two buttons for Flash and Bracketing. These are accompanied by a switch for AF/MF in the bottom left.

Nikon D7200 Display

Just like Nikon’s standard layout, most of the buttons are positioned on the left side of the LCD. On the right, rests the buttons for the directional controller, live view/video, and a rear control dial. Most of the controls are easily accessible except for the playback button which is there in the no man’s land. We would have been much happy if the company had changed its grip, which is too small to handle.

 

Nikon D7200 Controls

 

On the top, the mode dial (with a locking mechanism) sits on the left. The switch for drive mode selection is placed under the mode dial. The hotshoe sits in the middle with stereo microphones above it. On the right, there is an LCD info display that can be backlit. Above the LCD info display, there is also a metering button, exposure compensation button, and video recording buttons.

While both the cameras D7100 and D7200 have the same 24MP sensors, D7200 has an extra 100K pixel. Though there is a similarity in the physical appearance of the sensors but the complete lack of banding suggests an updated version of the Toshiba sensor.

The pop-up flash of the camera has a guide number of 12m/39ft at ISO 100. You can use this flash as a master to control and assist one or more wireless flashes in 2 groups. The hotshoe is an only option to use the external flash. The camera has an x-sync speed of 1/250 sec and has a support for Auto FP high-speed sync when you use it with the compatible Speedlights.

Nikon D7200 Design

The camera’s optical viewfinder is same as its predecessor with 100% frame coverage and a magnification of 0.94x. The camera does not support face detection when you are shooting through the viewfinder. However, the option is available in live-view. There is an eight-way directional pad that can be used for a variety of things, the most important thing being the focus point selection. You can disable the directional pad via the lock switch that surrounds it. The OK button in the middle is designed to provide a 100% view of the focus point after you take a shot.

Coming to the connections, the camera is loaded with I/O ports, all of these ports are kept under rubberised covers. The ports include a USB 2.0, mic input, mini HDMI, headphone out and a remote shutter release. The camera has a support for dual SD card slots, both support UHS-I speeds. The camera uses EN-EL15 lithium-ion battery.

Performance and Image Quality

Nikon D7200 sports a 24MP APS-C image sensor and has no AA (anti-aliasing) filter that is designed to provide a bit more detail from the sensor. Considering the price range, the image quality of D7200 is excellent. Both the Raw and JPEG files came out to be a bit better as compared to that of D7100. The camera shows pretty nice color rendition, exposures, and tonal range in the shadows.

The default noise-reduction setting is quite decent. This setting offers a good balance between noise repression and detail retention. However, to keep the levels of noise down, you need to sacrifice some low-contrast texture. The details get a bit mushier in JPEGs when shooting at ISO 1600. D7200 seems to make a decent progress over its predecessor when it comes to the high ISO performance. The camera features Nikon’s latest generation JPEG engine that has a ‘Clarity’ setting option emphasizing on more fine detail. There is one thing that needs a special mention is the absence of banding issues. This issue plagued the Nikon D7100 to a considerable extent.

Nikon D7200 Review

 

The Nikon D7200 sports an updated 51-point cross type AF system that works down to -3EV providing a wide coverage and high density. This may not sound to be a huge upgrade but the system continues to perform well in a very low-lit situation. The camera’s phase-detect module has a snappy focus that can track along the depth-axis (z-axis) quite quickly and reliably, even when you are capturing in continuous shooting mode.

The camera’s focus subject tracking works pretty well. The camera uses a 2016-pixel color-aware metering sensor that cleverly understands the subject it is supposed to be following. The initial red flash means that the shutter button has been halfway pressed to identify a target. Even if there are multiple subjects in a particular scene, the camera usually remains on target. The continuous 6fps shooting works decently. However, the screen blacks out completely at times making the camera difficult to track the subject accurately.

Just like the other DSLRs in this class, the live view is not the highlight of D7200. Most of the DSLRs in this range have lenses that are not designed to detect contrast. The lens needs to have small and light focus elements with a motor designed to change the directions quickly. Due to the absence of any on-sensor phase detection system, Nikon D7200’s live view performance is bound to suffer. This not at all means the results are not usable, but the quality of the images is not that good as compared to the images shot through the viewfinder.

The details get a bit mushier in JPEGs when shooting at ISO 1600. The camera exhibits a bit of color noise at ISO 6400 and above. Shooting Raw makes it possible to regain some amount of detail. The results up to ISO 25600 are usable but strictly depend on how you display the image.

Nikon offers the expanded sensitivities in black-and-white mode. Images shot with the expanded ISO are a bit more usable than the color versions of the images would be. However, you only get the JPEGs so you don’t have an option to tweak them. You may notice slight horizontal lines across the image and vertical lines if you are shooting in portrait mode. This is the most common artifact present in the high ISO photos in this class of camera.

Nikon D7200 Specs

 

Coming to the video, there is a slight upgrade as compared to its predecessor. The camera is capable of recording 1080/60p/50p and gains a ‘Flat Picture Control’ setting. This feature gives you a footage with a much broad dynamic range that gives more flexibility during the post-production process.

There is a menu tab for movies and the camera gains the ability to retain separate figures for settings such as picture style stills, white balance, and movies. The camera includes a support for zebra-striping and Auto ISO function in movie mode. Like most of the Nikon DSLRs, the camera has no option to control the aperture manually. The aperture value is fixed when you shoot via the live view or video mode.

The video quality is not as detailed as compared to its market counterparts like Panasonic GH4 or Canon 7D Mark II. The camera offers two choice for selecting autofocus (AF-S, Single, and AF-F, Full time) when shooting movies. You have an AF tracking option which is not as good as compared to the 3D tracking system used for viewfinder shots. When you use the AF tracking option, the focus frequently wobbles in-and-out of the focus areas during the recording.

Nikon D7200 Wi-Fi

 

The D7200 is Nikon’s first DSLR with built-in Wi-Fi wireless networking and NFC for easy pairing with devices. The camera includes a number of connectivity options. The HDMI port lets you for a simultaneous live view display and supports uncompressed Full HD output with external devices.

The camera ships with the same EN-EL15 lithium-ion rechargeable battery with a battery life of 1,110 shots (CIPA rated). You can extend the battery life with the MB-D15 portrait/battery grip which accepts either six AA batteries or one EN-EL15 battery. You have an option to choose which battery to use first.

Should You Buy the Nikon D7200 Camera?

Nikon D7200 is priced at $996.95 (body only) and $1296.95 (with 18-140mm VR lens). As we have mentioned earlier in the article that the camera isn’t a huge upgrade over its predecessor. But there are a few welcome additions that include an improved autofocus system, 60p video, support for Wi-Fi with NFC, a better battery to name a few.

Considering the price range, you will get more compact, lightweight and equally capable mirrorless rivals that may be similarly appealing. Having said that, Nikon D7200 is class-leading, when it comes to the image quality and autofocus system. If you are looking for a camera to shoot stills, then Nikon D7200 is a good bet.

Pros

  • Impressive AF subject tracking through the viewfinder
  • Wide AF area with 51-point coverage
  • Improved low-light performance
  • Good JPEGs and Raw dynamic range
  • Spot metering linked to AF point
  • Inclusion of Auto ISO feature
  • Flat Picture Control
  • Interval shooting, Exposure smoothing, and Time-lapse features
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with NFC
  • Improved battery life

Cons

  • Controlling aperture is not possible in movie or live view mode
  • 6fps Raw available in 12-bit only
  • Average movie autofocus
  • Slow live view autofocus
  • No representation of aperture in live view mode
  • Limited Wi-Fi app

 

About Richard Smith

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