Nikon D7200 Review

Nikon D7200 Review

The Nikon D7200 is considered as one of the best enthusiast DSLR’s on the market so after having used it for a few months alongside a Canon 80D I’m going to write up a quick review and give my thoughts on this Nikon DX APS-C DSLR.

Nikon D7200 key features

  • 24.2MP CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter
  • Multi-CAM 3500DX II 51-point AF system, all sensitive to -3EV
  • 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor, used for 3D subject tracking in AF-C
  • ISO 100-25,600, with ISO 51,200 and 102,400 black and white modes
  • 6 fps continuous shooting (7 fps in 1.3x crop mode) with increased buffer depth
  • 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed
  • 3.2″, 1.2M dot RGBW LCD display
  • 1080/60p video (1.3x crop only) with clean output over HDMI and Flat Picture Control
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Wi-Fi with NFC
  • Magnesium alloy weather-sealed body

 

I used to own a D7100 a couple of years ago and liked the camera a lot but had one major gripe that a camera with a 6 FPS shooting rate was basically crippled by a ridiculously small buffer effectively rendering it useless for fast action unless you were shooting jpegs.

You literally couldn’t even shoot a 1 second burst with the D7100 in Raw so I hoped that the increased buffer size would make the D7200 more useful in this respect.

Apart from the increased buffer size not a huge amount has changed on the D7200. The auto-focus has been improved slightly and there is the handy addition of both Wi-Fi and NFC. 1080 60p video has been added although only when shooting in a 1.3x crop.

 

For me this is not a video centric camera and as I don’t shoot much video I’m not really going to get in to the video side of things.

 

What I’m interested in with a DSLR like this is image quality, handling, useability and low light performance so that’s what I’m going to look at here.

Handling

Having shot the Canon 80D quite a lot lately and then more recently shooting the Nikon D7200 it reaffirms my preference for shooting Nikon DSLR bodies for 2 main reasons. The first being that the ergonomics just feel better. Secondly the sensor performance is still ahead in terms of dynamic range and ISO performance.

I prefer the slightly shallower grip of the D7200 over the 80D’s as it just feels more comfortable to hold over the course of a day.

The D7200 feels more natural in the hand and subtle things like the placement of the on/off switch being by the shutter release and therefore usable one handed and the placement of Nikon’s rear control dial feeling more natural than the Canon 80D’s thumb wheel when shooting in manual mode and wanting to quickly change aperture or shutter speed.

Nikon seems to understand how photographers work a little better than Canon.

Add to this that the D7200 has dual SD card slots, quick access to most shooting functions very good auto ISO implementation and it feels like a solid camera intended to get out of your way and let you shoot.

The one issue I do have with the D7200 is that when shooting in manual ISO you have to use the ISO button which is located to the left of the cameras screen. I would much rather have a dedicated button on the top right of the camera next to the exposure compensation button or at least be able to reassign one of the function buttons on the front of the camera to ISO which is not currently available.

I understand handling is a personal and subjective issue so if you prefer Canon that’s great but for me the Canons feel a little more uncomfortable and less user friendly. I used to shoot Canon on a 450d, 40d and the 5D mk ii was my main body for a long time and I never had any major gripes with them but then I used them purely in manual mode for slow and methodical shooting producing landscapes for galleries.

Since buying Nikons I found them to suit my style better.

Image Quality

The 24mp APS-C sensor in the Nikon D7200 performs very well even with the 18-140mm kit lens. The lack of AA filter allows for more detail in your shots and although it wont make or break a great image the added detail is welcome, especially when you pixel peep as I must admit I do sometimes. You can see individual eyelashes defined a little better than with Canon’s 80D which has an AA filter. I never found issues with moire so the added detail comes at no cost.

I may be in the minority here as many rave about the colours coming out of Canon’s cameras but I actually prefer the slightly more subdued look of Nikons Jpeg engine. However if I want to crank up the saturation contrast or sharpness you can easily do so in the picture settings menu or in post.

Overall the D7200 is still ahead of the Canon 80D for image quality both in terms of actual resolution and in particular the dynamic range offered by the sensor. When shooting high contrast scenes I noticed that the Canon would blow out highlights before the D7200.

High ISO performance is still a little better from the D7200 in comparison to the 80D although the gap has definitely been closed by the Canon in this area. For me the difference is now somewhere around 1/3 to 1/2 a stop in favour of the D7200.

ISO 3200 is very clean and for my personal tastes 6400 is the limit of what I would use.

It is all very well all these websites claiming that 6400 ISO and above is clean in good light but you generally use high ISO’s in poor light and even at ISO 5000 in poor light the images don’t always hold up to scrutiny on even modern cameras.

 

Auto Focus

I’ll keep this short and sweet. The Nikon D7200’s 3d tracking autofocus is better than the Canon 80D’s. It is faster to lock on, tracks moving subjects better and ultimately will give you a higher keeper rate even if it shoots at 1fps slower than the 80D.

If you want to see examples and a more detailed comparison check out the 80D review here

Conclusion

As I said this is just a quick review after actually buying and shooting these cameras over an extended period.

There are hundreds of Nikon D7200 reviews out there giving every minute detail so my aim here is to give a quick overview of the camera performance in the real world and let the image examples (full res files available on Flickr) do the talking.

If I was buying an enthusiast level DSLR at this price point the D7200 and 80D would be the two cameras I would be deciding between. In this case if you have no investment in either system then the Nikon D7200 is undoubtedly the better camera for stills photography.

It’s autofocus is better, the image quality is better thanks to a lack of AA filter and better dynamic range. It also has a slight lead in terms of high ISO performance. Handling is subjective but for me the Nikon wins in this area too.

If you shoot video in any serious way then the 80D would be better but that is the only area I would say it beats the D7200.

 

Final Thoughts

Having shot Fujifilm a lot over the past few years ( I still shoot the X100T) I’m particularly interested to see what they have done with the XT-2 so that will be my next move and of course putting it up against the Nikon D7200. [UPDATE] Check out my Fuji XT2 review

Since I have a young baby and lots of nieces and nephews I don’t want to miss any of those first time moments. I will be testing to see if the auto focus system can keep up with the D7200 for shooting erratically moving children as well as a whole host of other subjects. If they have cracked the auto focus (finally) and with the new 24mp X-Trans III sensor with the beautiful Fuji Jpegs that might be a replacement for my trusty Nikon D7200. The only issue I have is that the initial price seems a little high to me considering the D7200 can be bought with the 18-140mm for well under £1000. The Fuji is over 50% more at the time of release.

 

 

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