As technology advances more traditional camera formats are progressing their feature sets to keep in check with the current norms. The Nikon D7200, the company's first DSLR with both Wi-Fi connectivity and NFC (near field communication) for smart device connectivity and sharing your shots, is one such camera.
Although it's a subtle push forward compared to the D7100 released in 2013, the D7200 is a DSLR with as full a feature set as many enthusiasts are likely to ever need. We handled one at The Photography Show in Birmingham to get a feel for the how much the category has progressed.
To summarise: the D7200 is a familiar tale, built upon the same chassis as found in the D7100, alongside a familiar 24.2-megapixel resolution - which is actually a different sensor than found in the previous D7100 model.
But where the D7200 really differs, excluding the connectivity features outlined above, is with small but notable differences. Having popped our own SD card into one of the two slots we were able to whirr off an apparent non-stop stream of shots at the six frames per second (6fps) burst rate, thanks to an improved buffer. The official limit is 100 JPEG files shot consecutively, dipping to 18 frames for 14-bit raw files - but that's a significant boost over the meagre five raw frames we were able to capture with the earlier D7100 when we reviewed that.
The same theme continues elsewhere: with the new Expeed 4 processor on board the processing engine has added bite. In numerical terms that means an extra two f-stops of sensitivity for shooting in low-light conditions (now to ISO 25,600 as standard - which sounds useful, but in real-world conditions has limited practical benefit due to image noise). We've not looked at images in depth, nor taken the camera for a spin in a multitude of situations just yet, but anticipate the resulting pictures to be similar to the D7100.
As we've seen from Expeed 4 in other Nikon cameras it's more capable of massaging big data, with movie capture seeing a notable bump forward: the D7200 can now capture Full HD (1920 x 1080) at 60fps, doubling the frame rate of the D7100 predecessor. There's also a reworked movie menu with more options, including zebra stripe focus pattering, among other controls - ranging from sound level sensitivity to crop factor (full sensor or 1.3x crop for magnification benefit), as shown in our image gallery.
Elsewhere the features sit in line with what's expect at this level of DSLR. The 3.2-inch dot LCD screen is fixed to the rear as before, so no vari-angle mechanism this time around, maintaining the 1.23m-dot resolution as before; while the viewfinder offers its 100 per cent field-of-view coverage.
Using the D7200 feels ultimately similar to the D7100, but with the second-generation Multi-CAM 3500 autofocus system on board - that means 51 AF points, the centre-most 15 of which are equally sensitive in portrait and landscape orientation - there's greater capacity in low-light situations. On paper the -3EV low-light limit betters its predecessor by 50 per cent, and while we couldn't test such a low-light scenario on the company's show stand, we've seen how well the Nikon D750 (with the full-frame equivalent autofocus system) handles. When we review the D7200 in full we'll dig into its low-light capabilities and see how it fares.
In essence it's not what you can see on the surface that defines the D7200. Although it's not a wildly different camera than the D7100 was, it's an all-round better one that pushes the series forward. Next time we'd like to see a vari-angle LCD screen for even better movie capture options though, and with Canon ranging options from the cheaper EOS 750D and 760D the competition is tougher than ever.
Available right now, the Nikon D7200 costs £939 for the body only, or £1,119 with the 18-105mm kit lens.