Today for pros, tomorrow for everyone. The tendency has been present in the industry for quite a while now: the latest know-how from professional cameras is slowly migrating first to semi-professional cameras and then to amateur models. This leads to the fact that the differences between the DSLRs of the last two classes are getting smaller and smaller. A prime example is the new Nikon D7200, which shares the same technology and ease of use as the semi-professional D750. It’s not much inferior to it in shooting quality, but its weight, dimensions and interchangeable optics are more attractive for photographers who are actively moving around, as well as for reporters who are always in the thick of dynamic events.
Who the Nikon D7200 is for?
Let’s start from afar. Let’s do a little analysis of the positioning of modern DSLR cameras. What kind of camera is usually called a professional camera? “The one they earn their bread with,” you say, and you’d be right. But there are many ways to do it. In capable hands, even a simple camera can become a source of income.
Top DSLRs of any major brand are designed for the harshest shooting conditions, their shutters are designed for daily “machine-gun” loads, and the controls provide quick access to all important settings. These camera housings are virtually indestructible and airtight. They are originally equipped with landscape and portrait grips, making them heavy and cumbersome.
Professionals will tell you that it’s good, because “it’s less shaky”, and the main thing – because for the respect of customers and models camera must be “big and ugly”, with a huge lens and a lot of additional attachments like flash or radio module, GPS-receiver, additional power supply, etc.p. And this is only partly a joke. But seriously – a professional camera can’t let its owner down and it has to deliver results wherever and whenever it shoots. The D4s is the flagship model in Nikon’s lineup right now.
Younger and cheaper cameras can also be almost as big, but only when it’s really necessary – with an extra battery grip and they can be made square and “scary professional” in the eyes of unsophisticated people. However, for studio settings, and to lighten the burden of the frequently moving photographer and some professional cameras make with optional battery handles. A prime example is the current D810.
long gone the time when full frame sensor was a hallmark of professionalism, now they equip semi-professional models or otherwise called, cameras for enthusiasts. Who they are? Photographers who shoot professionally, but for their own pleasure.
Most enthusiasts tend to buy a full frame camera, because a sensor the size of a 35mm frame gives great opportunities for creative experimentation by achieving a shallow depth of field DOF , the ability to shoot scenes with a large brightness difference with a large dynamic range and very low light.
Among the enthusiast cameras in Nikon’s lineup right now, the latest D750 model is the most interesting. It’s almost as advanced as the aforementioned “big sisters,” but its equipment shows signs of targeting the widest audience. Below we’ll tell you why the D750, just like the D7200, can be friendly even with those who are new to photography.
Does an enthusiast photographer always need a full frame sensor in his or her camera?? Yes, almost always, but there are exceptions and certain conditions. Let’s try to describe them to see why a “cropped” D7200 can be just as interesting to photographers as a full-frame D750. When a photographer takes landscapes and portraits in the open air, or shoots in the studio, they don’t care too much about the weight of the equipment they are using.
And, of course, then anyone would prefer a full frame camera. But if you intend to spend hours reporting on a sporting event or shooting some other interesting event for example, a historical reenactment , you will always have a camera with a lens on hand, and in a bag or backpack – other interchangeable optics, additional accessories and personal things.
And now let’s imagine that for the sake of interesting photography you have to move on foot over rough terrain or even climb mountains. You have to admit that you start to think about every hundred grams of your body. Those who haven’t thought about it just haven’t experienced it yet.
For such shooting situations, unlike the pros who have to carry their big cameras and bazooka lenses everywhere, enthusiasts have an alternative choice in the form of “cropped” DSLR cameras, t.e. equipped with APS-C sized sensors called DX by Nikon, as opposed to full-frame FX .
As a rule, they are slightly smaller and lighter than their full-frame sisters, and can work with smaller and lighter optics specifically designed to work with sensors with a smaller footprint. So here we are with our heroine, the D7200, Nikon’s latest DX-sensor camera.
The DX-sensor cropping factor is 1.5x. This means that the frames they record are the same scale as you get when shooting from the same distance with a “full-frame” lens, if its focal length is increased by one and a half times. For example, a “full frame” lens with a 50 mm FR on a “cropped” camera would be equivalent to a 75 mm.
As you can see, for those who shoot reportage, there is an opportunity to “reach” to more distant objects, using shorter focal length optics. But the cropped factor also affects the aperture, its value also increases by about 1.5 times. When shooting action shots, this provides a second advantage: as much light passes through the lens, and the DOF increases, which increases the chances of catching the desired object or its details in focus. When a photographer carries multiple interchangeable DX lenses, the weight advantage is significant compared to a full-frame kit.
The benefits to the multi-shot and mobile photographer are outlined, and they are obvious. I’ll compare the D7200 to more expensive full frame models like the D750 and D810 below to see what a photographer pays for using a smaller sensor.
Sensor – APS-C DX Nikon , 23.5 x 15.6 mm, 24.72 MP CMOS, 6000×4000 pixels
Lens – interchangeable, F mount with electrical contacts. Retro Lens Control is not supported.
Image stabilization – not in the camera, many interchangeable lenses have optical stabilization
Viewfinder glass pentaprism, 100% viewfinder.
Display Diagonal 8.1 cm. 1228 thousand. pixels, built-in
Focus – Automatic single and tracking, manual
Focus in Live View mode with 51 focus points including 15 cross-type sensors
Shutter speed range – 30 sec. – 1/8000 sec, long by hand, flash sync 1/250 sec
Shooting modes – P, A, S, M, two user settings, 16 scene modes, D-Lighting, HDR
Exposure metering – 2016-point sensor, multi-segment, center-weighted. Correction ± 5 EV
Flash – Built-in flash, I-TTL, Guide number 12, external creative lighting system can be connected.
Sensitivity – ISO 100-25600 ISO, program expansion up to 102400 B/W mode , Auto ISO with a controllable range
Photo formats – RAW 12 and 14 bit, RAW+JPG, JPG
Memory cards – All types of SD cards, two slots
Continuous shooting up to 7fps, self-timer with adjustable delay, remote shutter
Interval video recording – yes, flexibly configurable
Full HD video 1920×1080, 30 fps at cropped 1.3x — 60 fps
Interfaces – USB mini B, HDMI mini C, microphone and headphones, Wi-Fi, NFC
Power – EL-EN 15, 7 V, 1900 mAh battery
Dimensions – 135.5 x 106.5 x 76 mm
Weight 765 grams with battery and memory card
Approximate Retail Price – Approximately 64,990 Dollars case only
Design and Appearance
Even though the Nikon D7200 is a “cropped” DSLR, it is very similar to the full frame models of the 600, 700 and 800 series in its design and controls. But when you look at the back it’s easy to see who the closest full-frame relatives of the D7200 are. These are the semi-professional D610 and D750 – in addition to P/A/S/M, they also have positions on the mode dial for auto mode, scene mode, and effect filters.
Camera controls and ergonomics
The controls are well thought out and allow you to quickly make the most important settings. The front and rear wheels are traditionally used to control shutter speed and aperture mode dependent . In combination with a certain button, they allow you to quickly enter the exposure compensation, adjust the bracketing, change the white balance setting, the quality of the recorded file, ISO, type of exposure metering, D-Lighting intensity, number and position of AF points and its mode. An additional dial below the mode selector is used to quickly change the “broach” type: single shot, continuous shooting slow and fast , silent shutter, self-timer, mirror up.
The multi selector when not locked by a dedicated lever allows quick changes of the AF working point or group of points .
I should add that some buttons can be reprogrammed to the desired function. The Fn button and the aperture repeater button in the front , the AE-L/AF-L button in the back, under your thumb and the movie button on the top are among them.
For example, I used the video record button to bring up the ISO setting. Pressing it with my index finger changed the value with the back wheel. Exactly the same way the regular exposure compensation operation is performed, only with a separate button next to it. Note that it’s convenient to perform these actions directly while shooting, controlling them through the viewfinder.
Unfortunately, the Nikon D7200 is not equipped with a flip-down LCD screen, which provides comfort when shooting from non-standard positions. Another feature is the unusual for Nikonists compact right hand grip and the narrow space between it and the lens. Many photographers get used to it in a short time and find it even more graspable because of the vertical rib and the shallow notch on the side of the lens. But photographers with big fat fingers will probably spend more time gripping the camera comfortably. The small handle may not seem comfortable enough for “photographers” with long manicures.
While the D7200 is externally similar to both the D610 and D750, in terms of features and functions it is much closer to the latter: the same processor and LCD screen diagonal and number of dots , the same number of sensors in the autofocus system, and the power of the built-in flash and, finally, both cameras are powered by the same battery.
Of course, the main difference is the cropped sensor aspect ratio. Again, the 1.5x cropped factor increases the focal length and the DOF by the same factor, making the D7200 more suitable for reportage photography. The minimum shutter speed of 1/8000 s also contributes to this application. This in reportage is another advantage of the D7200 over the D750 which has a minimum of 1/4000 at. At the same time, both cameras have rough parity in terms of continuous shooting speed 6 fps vs. 6.5 .
The D7200 uses SD cards for still images and movies the new SDXC and UHS-I cards are supported . The camera is equipped with two slots that can be configured in several ways. To eliminate the situation when you run out of free space at the wrong moment, you can choose to record on the second card after the first one is full. For the cases when it is planned to shoot not so many frames but it is very important not to lose them, the backup option – parallel recording to both cards – is offered. If you want to send the results to someone for example, a client right after taking the picture, the option to record JPG versions of images on one card and RAW versions on the other is handy.
Like its bigger sisters, the Nikon D7200 is equipped with a Wi-Fi module for remote control of the camera and transferring images to mobile devices. But in contrast to them, there is also a module NFC, which greatly facilitates the docking of cameras with smartphones and tablets: just bring them with the appropriate sensor to the same on the camera.
Wireless Mobile Utility, a free app for communication between devices. Once paired with the camera, the smartphone or tablet can be turned into a remote control with a screen, which is very helpful, for example, when shooting with the self-timer, when you just put the camera on a hard surface, but it is not fixed and pressing the shutter button can move it.
The D7200 is powered by the same EN-EL15 battery used in Nikon’s professional and semi-professional DSLR models. This is very convenient, because when a photographer uses the D7200 as a second camera, for example, or takes it as the main camera on a trip, he does not have to worry about battery compatibility – all the batteries he has in stock can be used without interference.
Sensor and processor
The new sensor used in the Nikon D7200 is an improved version of the one used in its predecessor, the D7100. The new camera uses the next-generation Expeed 4 processor, the same one used in the D750 and D810. The range of ISO values is widened towards high values, but at the same time, pictures taken with ISO 51200 and 102400, designated as Hi1 and Hi2, are recorded only in black and white.
Focus and exposure metering
The Nikon D7200, like the D750, uses the Multi-CAM 3500DX II sensor for autofocus. The total number of focus sensors is 51, of which 15, those in the center of the 5×3 matrix are of the cross-type. These sensors can “cling” well to both vertical and horizontal lines of subjects, so they provide a confident and accurate focus in landscape and portrait orientations of the camera. In addition, the new sensors in the D7200 have a sensitivity of -3 EV in the D7100 was -2 EV , and this noticeably improves focusing in low light conditions in a dark room, in the woods, at dusk and at night .
In single-shot AF-S shooting, the photographer can either let the camera focus on all the dots or use the multi selector to select an individual dot. AF-C mode lets you set the number of AF points in a group: 9, 21 or 51. For groups of 9 and 21 points you can also set their position in the frame of course only within the range of the 51 sensors . Note that you can select the number and position of focus points without taking your eyes off the viewfinder by pressing the button to the left of the lens and turning the front wheel. The position of the group, as well as the individual point, can be changed using the multi selector. Such features are a great time-saver when taking pictures.
Examples of frame size ratios when using the full DX sensor area and in cropped 1.3x mode:
It’s worth mentioning that the camera has a very useful function of memorizing the position of the focus point area for horizontal and vertical orientation, which greatly saves precious moments during shooting. For example if you were shooting a landscape in landscape and used the center point or if you were doing a motocross movie and originally used the sensor to catch the motorcycles on the left side of the frame. And when shooting portraits hold the camera vertically and use the points on the face in horizontal orientation they would be on the right, of course in the classic way of holding the camera – the battery tab upwards . As soon as you change the camera position, the automation switches to the sensors that you last used in it.
As mentioned above, you can use any of the 51 sensors to keep your subject in focus, or you can choose to use groups of 9, 21 or all 51. The optimum number depends on the speed of the subject, the photographer’s ability to accompany it by turning the camera, and the number can be related to the size of the object in the frame. Ideally, the selected number of points should overlap it with a small margin. By the way, the D7200 has a 1.3x cropped mode where the 51 focus sensor covers almost the entire field of the frame. It also increases the equivalent focal length of the lens, which is often useful in sports and reportage photography.
In addition to the aforementioned subject tracking options, the D7200 of course also offers the proprietary 3D-tracking mode. It receives information about the target subject from the active sensor that the photographer points at the target at the beginning of the process. 3D mode then brings into focus those focus points that it says the subject has moved into.
The mode gets information about the movement of the target subject from the 2016-pixel RGB sensor, which is also used in the exposure metering system and iTTL flash control. 3D tracking technology uses color information of the subject. The autofocus function not only tracks your subject’s movements, but also makes predictions, which is especially useful in situations where a subject may be temporarily blocked by others.
Note that you have to be careful when using the 3D mode: if you sharply move the camera and shift the focus point, and another object of the same or similar color happens to be nearby, the tracking system may switch to it.
For exposure metering, the camera offers three classic modes: multi-segment, center-weighted, and spot metering. In the center-weighted mode setting, you can choose the size of the metering area: 6, 8, 10 or 13 mm. The D7200 has a very wide range of exposure compensation – five steps down and the same number of steps up.
It is hard to imagine shooting modern sports and event coverage without using autofocus and subject tracking. In order to take successful shots – to capture emotions or a certain expressive phase of movement of the people being filmed, an instantaneous reaction of the “man + camera” system is required.
When shooting familiar subjects and events, an experienced photographer can still rely on single AF AF-S single-frame shooting. But in situations when there may be unexpected moments for which you can not fully prepare, or when the subject moves relative to the photographer at a variable speed and to calculate its exact position at any time man simply can not eg, a soccer player during the dribbling , to help comes the continuous shooting in combination with tracking autofocus.
D7200 Series Cyclist in White
Speed Shooting: Self-Moving Snow White
The D7200 camera helps you adjust the continuous shooting parameters quite flexibly. First, it has two modes for this: low-speed CL and high-speed CH . While the latter has a clearly set speed of 6 fps 7 fps for 1.3x shooting , the former can be set to the desired value from 1 to 6 fps. Why it’s needed?
Although the D7200 compared to its predecessor has doubled the buffer from 50 to 100 frames per JPG , at maximum speed burst shooting it fills in just 17 seconds. If you know that the action to be filmed does not require such a high speed – you can lower it and thus stretch the shooting time or increase the number of filmed bursts, which is guaranteed not to “shut up” when the buffer overflow. I used UHS-I class memory cards for fast buffer release.
Despite the fact that the sensor D7200 refers to the cropped-factor DX, in terms of quality shooting it is little inferior to its full-frame relative D750. Photographers can safely set the ISO speed to auto select mode with a ceiling of 6400 if they’re going to record JPG images and then downscale them to, for instance, prepare 4K images. If the aim is to take pictures ready for Full HD screens or for RAW-converter processing, the working ISO range can be extended up to 12800.
f/3.2, 1/80, 105mm.
This image is from a RAW file after it has been processed. Despite the high ISO sensitivity, even the small print on the calendar page is perfectly legible.
The Nikon D7200 has a minimum sensitivity of 100 ISO. If the photographer has a lens with built-in VR stabilization, he or she can choose this as the minimum value and set the maximum value to 800-1600. This range is usually wide enough even for night scene shooting without using a tripod. In extreme cases, when shutter speeds are too slow, you can apply a negative exposure compensation, shortening the shutter speed accordingly.
But if you want to shoot moving lenses and fast-paced subjects, it is worth broadening the ISO setting to 12800, as mentioned above. After dowsempling reducing the resolution of the picture obtained JPG-pictures will look quite decent, and to improve the quality there are always RAW-converters, such as common from Adobe and Nikon proprietary NX.
Examples of the quality of daytime images taken at ISO 100 to 12800:
D7200 Day Photography
Examples of night scenes taken at ISO 100 to 102400:
D7200 Night Scene
High sensor resolution reduces the problem of digital noise. In general, the level of digital noise even at high ISO settings can be considered low, so of the three intensity levels of the built-in noise reduction function, LOW moderate is quite sufficient, as it has minimal effect on fine detail.
ISO 12800, f/5.6, 1/80, 105mm.
This image was taken from a RAW file after processing and converting it to 4K resolution.
The signal conversion assisted by EXPEED technology not only fights digital noise, but also offers a wide dynamic range for stills and movies. D-Lighting function showed high efficiency during test shooting, serving to expand dynamic range. It has four intensity settings, from moderate to overdrive, but it’s fine to trust the intelligence of the Exeed 4 processor and choose the “Auto” setting.
In the vast majority of typical shooting situations, this is enough to capture all the halftones in a scene. However, when shooting night scenes of intensely lit, bright buildings, I still manually selected “Overdrive” as a safety precaution.
ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/800, 36mm.
An example of D-lighting in auto mode. Without any loss of information all tones are reproduced, from the lightest ones on a pediment of a house , to the deepest shadows.
The image sensor’s high definition of 24 million pixels combined with the high quality lens is able to capture the fine details in your subject even when it only takes up a portion of the frame, highlighting only the relevant part of the scene if necessary.
ISO 100, f/5.6, 1/500, 40mm.
You can probably count all the leaves in the trees in this shot, and the detail is preserved right up to the background, even those that the photographer couldn’t see with the naked eye.
The camera was only good in color rendering. I never had to worry about white balance, even in the most difficult conditions, such as under several different colors of light. Daytime Photo does not have anything to complain about in the natural colors.
The camera can shoot Full HD video. And when using it in DX format the maximum frame rate is 30, but if you switch to cropped factor 1.3x, you can record FHD video at 50 and 60 frames per second. Quality is quite good, no complaints about colors. I would like to mention the sufficiently quick reactions of the automatic system to changes in illumination, as well as its ability to smoothly reproduce the movement of objects and change the image when the camera moves. Although there is no image stabilization in this camera, its shake when shooting handheld is well compensated for by the sheer mass of the camera body and lens.
Flicker, usually caused by sensor noise, is completely undetectable on night videos. Camera reacts smoothly to bright lights in the frame, including moving ones, focus stays in focus. Also no flickering of the lamps in the night lights.
The camera is not confused by big brightness differences in night scenes, the automatic system does not try to highlight them, adequately reproducing the available light. As in photography, the white balance function is able to respond adequately to multiple light sources with different color temperatures, leaving warm lights warm and cold lights cold.
Smooth motion, true colors
In the video shot indoors with mostly daylight you can clearly see that the camera, at 30 frames per second, is able to reproduce the camera movement, people movement and splashing in the fountain without jerking. Natural color reproduction, slightly highlighted.
The D7200 has the courage to ignore noise
The 60 fps video transmits movements very smoothly and you can also see that by “catching” the main subjects in the image of musicians, the camera keeps them in focus, without reacting to flickering in the background and even to the total blocking of the view by the people passing in front of the lens.
Autofocus always keeps an imperturbable focus
Night scene as if it were alive. The right exposure, accurately reproduced colors of night lights. The camera reacts perfectly calmly to the rapid movement of bright car headlights, the focus does not fuss and does not stray. The fact that there is no flickering of the bulbs in the night lights is also pleasing.
A wide dynamic range helps you take pictures even at night
In spite of the very big difference in brightness between the objects in the foreground and the background, the automatic system chose the exposure correctly. Both the bright fountain and the details of the architecture in the shadows in the background look believable. Color beams in water turned out very convincing, bright, with high saturation.
After getting to know the new Nikon D7200 in detail, I’ve seen for myself that it’s a very comfortable and flexible camera with great creative possibilities and high technical potential. Its use of a DX-form-factor sensor, which is smaller in size than its full-frame “congeners”, had almost no effect on the quality of images. Thanks to a wide ISO range, you can take pictures even in very complicated lighting conditions, obtaining decent results.
I’ll reiterate the quite obvious advantages of the D7200 camera as well. The smaller sensor makes the camera more suitable for reportage and sports shooting, where a rather large depth of field is an advantage, not a disadvantage. Less bulky and heavier optics for DX-sensors allows to spend less energy for shooting and active movements, and the waterproof body allows to take the camera on trips, where you have to shoot in difficult weather conditions. As a result, the Nikon D7200, almost as good as full-format cameras, has certain advantages for “reporters” and active photographers, as well as financially more attractive, both itself and produced for her optics.