With Nikon’s full frame cameras like the D750 and D810 hogging the limelight, it is easy to forget that it still has digital SLRs aimed at intermediate and advanced users that rely on a less fancy APS-C “crop” sensor.
The D7200 is the Japanese company’s latest such camera.
It’s true “crop” sensors generally don’t offer the same low-noise backgrounds when it comes to high-speed shots, or the same flexibility for wide-angle shots. Plus, they won’t give as beautiful bokehs as a full-frame camera (here’s a guide).
But while experts with many lenses to change out might go for those features, many average consumers should be perfectly fine with an APS-C sensor. The one on the D7200 can still shoot great pictures, as I found out.
It helps too that the new camera is easy to handle, especially to Nikon users. If you have used the D600, D610 and D750, you will immediately feel at home with the D7200 as it uses a similar layout.
However, those who are used to the D300S will probably have to grab a D810 or even the D4s full frame if they want to keep the same layout.
Does the Nikon D7200 deliver? Being a Nikon user since the 2000s when the Nikon D70 was introduced, I’d say the crop sensor technology has matured greatly.
Certainly, I am happy with the shots I took with the D7200’s 24.2-megapixel sensor, when covering last month’s SEA Games.
With a burst frame rate of 6 frames per second (fps), 51 auto-focus points and predictive focus tracking, the Nikon D7200 is more than able to handle most tasks.
It also allows for direct wireless connection with my mobile phone. During the games, I could transmit images to the organisers for use immediately on social media.
One reason why some photographers still prefer a crop sensor over a full frame one is the additional reach that the lens offers.
With a crop factor of 1.5x, a lens that is meant for a maximum reach of 200mm in focal length would provide an image that is like it’s taken using a 300mm lens (200mm x 1.5). The crop sensor can allow a much further reach in a more compact package.
In the Nikon D7200, you can also get closer to an object by using the 1.3x crop mode. That would mean a much closer shot of the subject, albeit with a reduction in resolution and a necessary image crop during image capture.
Yet another advantage of using a crop sensor camera is the much higher depth of field. That means areas can be in focus, which is good for shots of a group of friends in a dim setting, for example.
In other words, I can use a Sigma 18-35mm f1.8 lens and do without a flash. This is because the lens can absorb more light with its wider aperture and yet exhibit the depth of field of a f2.8-3.5 lens. Great for group shots.
Even though full frame DSLRs are being touted as the sensor of choice for those who are particular about image quality, APS-C sized sensors can still hold their ground.
Besides Nikon, the likes of Fujifilm, Samsung and even Pentax offer cameras with no huge degradation in image quality. Some professionals have opted for lighter APS-C mirrorless cameras as well.
The D7200’s image sensor certainly delivers the goods in the pictures I shot. I only wish Nikon has included more professional controls, like those found on the D810 full-frame DSLR.
These include buttons for directly controlling ISO, white balance, metering mode and image quality, for example.
Some of these features are found on rivals’ pro-level APS-C cameras. So, Nikon will face stiff competition for the D7200, which requires you to fiddle more with the settings to get to a specific feature.
If you are already a Nikon user upgrading from the D3000 or D5000 entry-level cameras, the D7200 will bring the familiarity that you desire.
But that’s if you have no desire to go full frame or if you prefer the extra reach of the lens you already own. The D7200 costs S$1,469 for the body alone, and up to S$1,869 with a kit lens (more details at the Nikon site).