Initially released spring 2015, the Nikon D7200 marks the official successor to the previously released D7100 and belongs to Nikons topmost DX enthusiast lineup. It’s a feature-packed camera with classic DSLR styling and a large grip that demands a firm hand aimed squarely at aspiring professionals.
During its initial launch, it created skepticism, as, on paper, it looks nearly identical to the predecessor across a broad range of capabilities. However, Nikon promises the improvements in connectivity, sensor, processing, and video create the better camera. However, does it offer enough to make it a worthy upgrade? Or are we merely repeating what we’ve seen before? Nikon aims it as a competitor to Canon’s 70D, 7D Mark II, and Sony’s a77 Mark II cameras, fierce competition.
Today, we assess the strengths, weaknesses, and address whether this camera should be a consideration in your search for a new camera.
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- What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Nikon D7200?
- Image Quality
- Video Quality
- Low Light Performance
- Focusing Performance
- Battery Performance
- Display & Viewfinder
- User Interface
- Physical Layout & Ergonomics
- Niche Features/Extras
- Video Capabilities
- Autofocus Performance
- Lacking Features
- Is this a good beginner camera?
- Is the Nikon D7200 a good camera for you?
What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Nikon D7200?
It features a 24.2MP DX sized CMOS sensor without an Optical Low Pass Filter (OLPF). While it doesn’t deliver a massive improvement in resolution over the predecessor, Nikon has refined the sensor, creating noticeably sharper images. Not only that, but pictures don’t appear to suffer from the presence of moiré, something we typically expect considering its lack of an OLPF. Interesting. Overall, the images it delivers are sharp, with superb dynamic range, and excellent color rendition.
It shoots 1080p Full HD video up to 60 fps, though at the drawback of an additional crop, more on this later. But, when shooting at 30 fps, it does so at full sensor readout with no crop. And much like image quality, the video quality its sensor produces is excellent. The footage is sharp, well-exposed, and colors are accurate.
It has zebras for exposure clipping indication, though not as customizable as the competition.
It features Auto ISO in video, which functions to smooth abrupt changes in ambient exposure by gradually adjusting the ISO to compensate for changes in light.
It delivers a clean HDMI out to external recorders.
It features a flat picture profile, which lends its footage to better post-production grading and adjustments.
Low Light Performance
It offers a native ISO from ISO 100-25,600, now expandable up Hi-2BW, the equivalent of 102,400. However, when shooting in the expandable range, it does so in Black & White only, removing the presence of chroma noise. Nonetheless, its low light performance is excellent, considering its smaller DX sized sensor. It delivers usable images up to ISO 6,400, where only minor post-production noise reduction is needed. Even as high as ISO 12,800 images are still usable, as the nature of the grain makes it relatively inconspicuous in certain scenes. Overall, it performs surprisingly better than expected.
It features the updated EXPEED 4 processor, which promises twice as much processing power over the older EXPEED 3. In this case, the added power allows the camera to deliver improved low light autofocusing. It can now focus down to – 3 EV, a significant improvement in this lineup of cameras that now enables the camera to focus in half as much light as the predecessor. The system used in the camera is the Multi-CAM 3500FX II, which has 51 total AF points, where 15 are cross-type compatible. Overall, focusing is accurate, though not particularly fast.
When manually focusing, the viewfinder display indicates whether you’re in front or behind the subject, effectively showing you how to achieve critical focus, and it’s a niche but useful feature.
While it features the same EN-EL15 battery as the predecessor, it delivers a 17% improvement in longevity. Nikon now rates the camera to provide 1,100 shots per charge, excellent for this class of camera.
Display & Viewfinder
It has a 3.2-inch wide-angle TFT monitor with a resolution of 1.23M dots. While it’s unchanged from the predecessor, it delivers excellent viewing angles and ample brightness for use outdoors.
It features an optical viewfinder with 100% coverage of the image area and a large magnification of 0.94x.
It features a secondary display, called the Info Panel, which displays current battery life, remaining pictures, and other helpful settings at a glance.
The menus are both clear and well organized. They follow the same traditional Nikon design and logical structure as many of Nikon’s other digital SLRs. Previous Nikon users will feel immediately familiar and comfortable with this camera. The menu also separates still and video-centric features, and allows users to create a custom menu for their most common settings.
Interestingly, the camera lacks a dedicated movie mode on the Mode Dial. Instead, video recording is accessible in any mode, only by pressing the movie record button.
Physical Layout & Ergonomics
Physically, it’s identical to the predecessor in design, ergonomics, and layout. It retains the large comfortable grip and robust weather sealing as well as dual control dials for immediate manual control while composing. And the camera also only weighs 675g, which is somewhat light for an upper-range DSLR.
It offers identical continuous shooting speed of up to 6 fps, further expandable to 7 fps in the 1.3x crop mode, as the predecessor. However, the updated EXPEED 4 processor increases the buffer depth dramatically. It now supplies up to 27 14-bit RAW files, instead of only 6, and a maximum of 100 JPEGs. Overall, this was a much-needed improvement and a welcomed addition that makes the camera a contender for sports or wildlife applications.
It has dual SD card slots for redundant or simultaneous recording.
It has a built-in pop-up flash.
It features a microphone input, and you can also customize the microphone sensitivity using the menus.
It has a headphone input.
It features an extensive in-camera retouching menu to manipulate photos, apply filter effects, or create multiple exposures.
It features a built-in time-lapse mode and a separate mode in the movie menu for time-lapse movies, both of which thoroughly remove the need for an external intervalometer.
It features Wi-Fi and the first Nikon DSLR to feature NFC connectivity. These features allow users to connect the camera to a smartphone device for wireless image transfer and remote control, though a bit limited in functionality.
When shooting 1080p at 60 fps, you incur an additional 1.3x crop on top of the camera’s native 1.5x DX crop. Thus, shooting in this particular frame rate reduces the field of view, making wide-angle shooting challenging. However, considering the predecessor only produced 60i video, which is the lower quality interlaced format, it’s good to see we have the higher-end progressive format whatsoever. So pros and cons there. However, do know this, when shooting in this high-quality mode, recordings are limited to 10-minute segments.
Oddly enough, 1080p 30 fps is also limited to 20 minutes, not the industry-standard 29 minutes and 59 seconds. To shoot at this industry-standard, you must first drop down into the normal quality shooting mode, losing fine resolving detail in the process, a shame.
Nikon hasn’t fixed the issue where you cant adjust the Aperture control when filming or in Live View. Only shutter and ISO adjustments are available. Instead, you first have to set the aperture in stills mode, then begin recording video. This becomes incredibly tedious and frustrating, particularly when you’re filming in changing lighting environments as you will find yourself regularly stopping recording to embark on this unnecessary process.
The expanded view is not supported while filming videos, so no punching in to check critical focus when manually focusing. Overall, this makes it quite challenging to focus manually on this camera. And sadly, the autofocus in video is incredibly weak, and it often hunts sporadically. It isn’t consistent enough to deliver confidence in the system, so manual focus is the only real option here.
The rear display is fixed and lacks touchscreen functionality. And overall, it doesn’t provide any level of versatility and flexibility in comparison to the competition in today’s market.
It lacks focus peaking, which is helpful to assess critical focusing during manual focusing.
It lacks a live histogram. Instead, you have to judge exposure by first taking a picture then reviewing it in the playback mode.
Is this a good beginner camera?
Yes. It makes for an excellent choice for enthusiasts or beginners who desire high-quality images in a more budget-conscious offering. It’s a gem in Nikon’s lineup, with the image quality of their more capable flagship cameras in a compact and affordable design that is a compelling option for a wide array of shooters. While it is mostly unchanged from the predecessor, the updates do deliver a refined camera, indeed.
Is the Nikon D7200 a good camera for you?
If you are new to the Nikon ecosystem or looking for a capable upgrade from their lower-end D3000 or D5000 series cameras, this is a worthy option. It features several key features that provide ample room for continued growth as a photographer. Namely, its dual card slots, fast shooting speeds, deep buffer, and strong stills autofocusing.
However, if you’re a current D7000 owner, namely D7100, should you upgrade? No, not necessarily. The overall differences between the two cameras are minimal, though its improvements do create the better of the two cameras. Its main upgrades come in the form of better shooting speeds and a deeper buffer. However, if these are current frustrations to you on the D7100, then an update could be a consideration. But, overall, there aren’t enough changes here to make it a wow factor camera and an obvious upgrade.
In the end, while the D7200 may only represent a few incremental updates over the predecessor, the updates do deliver a better camera overall camera. Though it lacks any real headline-grabbing features, it makes for a competent all-rounded camera that will meet the needs of a broad demographic of users. The improved buffer now makes it a capable sport, wildlife, and journalistic tool in particular. Yet, the dual SD cards, make it into an appealing option for pro’s require redundancy when shooting to avoid the dreaded failed SD card. While the camera may be a bit lackluster in today’s market, it certainly can perform and will do so admirably.
The D7200 only represents an incremental update over the predecessor. However, its updates do deliver a better camera overall camera. While it lacks any real headline-grabbing features, it makes for a competent all-rounded camera that will meet the needs of a broad demographic of users and provides ample room for continued growth. It’s a gem in Nikon’s lineup, with the image quality of their more capable flagship cameras in a compact and affordable design that is a compelling option for a wide array of shooters.