A few years back I moved to FX sensor sized camera bodies, mostly because I felt the DX sized sensors were not as capable as the FX models were. Since that day, I never gave too much thought about those DX cameras and carried a mis-conception around with me until recently. What I came to realize is that regardless of sensor size each camera has its own capabilities that can enhance your photography.
Last year when I started to research "crop" sensor camera bodies and their capabilities I quickly realized my previous mistake about thinking DX sensors are less capable - they are not and nothing could be further from the truth.. After looking at many fine mirrorless and crop offerings, the choices were plentiful but in the end I opted to stay with Nikon and purchased a V3 for the ease of use and compactness, once I began using the V3 with different Nikkor 1 lens that set me to consider a Nikon DX camera body as well to compliment my FX & CX systems. Being mostly a wildlife photographer I was in need of more reach with good focus and low light performance; My research concluded it would be a Nikon D7200, Nikon's Top Crop as they say.
The D7200 represents the continued improvement of an excellent DX platform and for me was the right choice to address the following requirements:
Being a long time photographer it does not take long to realize you have a good camera in your hands; the D7200 is an excellent all around shooter providing me everything mentioned in my requirements.
- Light Weight
- Fast accurate focus
- Time Lapse
- Good Low Light Performance
- Good FPS
- Great image quality
- Sensor with at least 20mp
- Uses my current Nikkor Glass Collection
Why a DX body when I already have a FX body that can be set to "crop" mode? First the D7200 is a native 24mp DX and also has an additional crop settings making a 600mm appear as a 1170mm using the D7200's 1.3 crop setting. Secondly, I feel the D7200 has superior focus ability over my FX body in lower light - this is important when photographing birds in trees or general wildlife photography as well.
Not on the Morning Commuter
My morning commuter!
What I like about the D7200: Most every! Settings I need are normally one button push away with easy access; for settings I use frequently - I set up quick access using a function button. I also enjoy the splendid colors and image quality this camera delivers right out of the camera. Images are rich, accurate and vibrant, without any enhancements. The low light capability is very good with amazing focusing speed and accuracy, details in dark/shadow areas are retained and makes life easier in post production if you need to boost shadows, the D7200 can pull out subtle details from those shadow areas. Long Battery life, I can stay out a full day and still have plenty of power. Dual memory card with options to save or backup photos between the two.
What I do NOT like about the D7200: Believe me when I say this; there is nothing I don't like about the D7200 camera. Other reviews mention comparisons and this camera is not enough to consider as a upgrade from a D7100 etc. First - making comparison to other cameras one needs to consider the FULL picture. Upgrading is sometimes a difficult decision, other times it makes sense. For me, I am not upgrading but adding a second DX camera body to my mix - easy choice since I don't need to contemplate subtle differences between two choices. Even If I did - I normally have a reason to be "looking" and if what I currently have is not working for me - I upgrade. In the pas there were two cameras that touched my senses - the D70 and the D700 & this D7200 is in the same class - it is a wonderful camera.
Out In the Field: Durability seems on par with Nikon's top camera, and with the D7200 being much lighter it should hold up for years of heavy use. Using the camera in a light mist / rain I had no moister issues with an attached "pro" lens after several hours of use. Only issue I had was keeping the front element free of water droplets.
An Eagle watches over the area.
Compatibility: Nikon is known for maintaining a high level of compatibility, and this D7200 is no different. However, those older D lens with the mechanical couplings will require - manual focus - but they still mount and work.
Driving Factor For This Purchase: I love being out doors taking photographs and while my FX system is great I was looking at ways to extend my primary interest of birding by increasing my focal length while retaining image quality. The D7200's awesome 24mp low light sensor, lighting fast focusing ability, and an additional 1.3 crop mode all made sense, and I am very happy with this camera body and look forward to using it year round. Will it replace my FX - certainly not. I like my FX for most the same reasons as this new camera - but the FX has "wide" lenses with magnificent landscape capabilities. Together - these two cameras will give me the tools to be better.
My Recommendation: If you love photography and already have a Nikon DX system - this is a very worthy camera body for ANYONE wishing to acquire better focus and overall image quality, regardless of which Nikon DX camera body you currently own. Other reviewers say it is not worth the upgrade - I say they don't know what they are talking about.
Now that the D500 is out the decisions may be a bit harder and it boils down to this. The D7200 is exceptional and in many ways comparable to the D500. If you don't need the bell and whistles and 3 more FPS shooting and have a limited budget the D7200 is it. If your trying to or are sports, wildlife or a serious enthusiast and can afford the extra expense the D500 is where you want to be.
Using both the D500 and D7200 I can tell you I do enjoy the D500'S touch screen for reviewing my photos. Focus acquisition is better on the D500 due to more focus points, but the D7200 holds it own The D7200 has a built in flash great for use in commander mode if you like firing off camera flashes or use as needed in those situations, on the D500 I have to carry a SU-800 and separate flash to get the same results. What I am getting to is the D7200 is the best DX under $1,400 - period.
Not on the Morning Commuter
My morning commuter!
One of Nikons best DSLR's at a very reasonable price - with the money you save invest in a good lens. This camera is a great DX body with some impressive images.
- Tokina AT-X 11~20mm f/2.8 Pro DX
- Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
- Nikkor 300mm f/4 PF ED VR
- Sigma 120-300mm F2.8 DG OS HSM Sport
- Nikkor 400mm f/2.8 ED FL VR
- Nikkor 600mm f/4 FL ED VR
- R1C1 Wireless Close-up system
- TC-14E III
- TC-17 II