Nikon D7200 Technical Info

by Mike Tomkins

Sensor

The Nikon D7200 digital SLR is, just as was its predecessor, based around an APS-C sized CMOS image sensor. (That's DX-format in Nikon parlance.) Effective resolution is 24.2-megapixels, and total resolution is 24.72-megapixels. Both figures are just fractionally higher than for the D7100, but we're assured that it's the exact same sensor. It seems that there are just very slight differences to sensor masking that cause these variations on the spec sheet. Note that image dimensions -- a maximum of 6,000 x 4,000 pixels -- are unchanged.

Just as in the earlier camera, the Nikon D7200 forgoes an optical low-pass filter, maximizing resolution at the risk of moiré and false-color artifacts.

To combat the effects of dust on the image sensor, Nikon has included its sensor cleaning function, which uses piezoelectric vibration at four different frequencies to shake dust from the sensor cover glass, just as done in the D7000 and D7100.

Processor

Output from the Nikon D7200's image sensor is handled by a proprietary Nikon EXPEED 4-series image processor, said to be completely unique to this camera.

Performance

Although that processor is new, performance -- at least in terms of burst-capture rate -- is unimproved. According to our lab testing, the Nikon D7200 is capable of 5.8 frames-per-second capture at its full DX-format resolution in JPEG format, although this falls to 4.9 frames per second if shooting in raw format. Nikon further claims a seven fps rate with a 1.3x crop in addition to that already inherent in an APS-C sensored camera, although we didn't time this ourselves.

But while the maximum APS-C burst rate is unchanged, buffer depths have hugely improved, according to our lab tests. That's likely down to an increase in buffer memory, although its possible the faster processor could have also improved card writing performance to some degree. Whichever is the biggest contributor to the improvement is of little import, though -- the big news is that you'll get around three times as many shots before the camera slows down, buffer filled.

The D7200's buffer depths now allow for 18 frames in 14-bit lossless compressed raw format, or 56 JPEG-compressed frames. (Our hard-to-compress target yields a much lower figure than Nikon's claim of 100 JPEG-compressed frames here.) By contrast, we measured the D7100 as capable of just five lossless 14-bit raw frames or 12 JPEG-compressed frames in a burst.

Sensitivity

Given that it retains its predecessor's image sensor, there's no surprise that the Nikon D7200's sensitivity still ranges from ISO 100 to ISO 25,600 equivalents, exactly the same range offered by the D7100. What's new, though, is that the entire range is now available by default, where in the earlier D7000 and D7100, you had to enable ISO sensitivity expansion to access anything above ISO 6400-equivalent.

Of course, you can also opt for Auto ISO control if you prefer -- and while in the past this was only for still imaging, it now also applies to movie capture. The Nikon D7200 also has the ability to shoot at ISO 51,200 or 102,400 equivalents, so long as you don't mind shooting in black-and-white only.

Optics

The Nikon D7200 provides a Nikon F-mount with autofocus coupling and contacts. That means it will autofocus with older "screw-drive" AF lenses, as well as with AF-S lenses that have their own focusing motor. The D7200's viewfinder also includes an electronic rangefinder indicator to determine focus status and even adjustment direction to assist manual focusing.

The Nikon D7200's lens mount includes an AI aperture ring connector, a little metal vane located just outside the lens mount flange (at about 1 o'clock), that interfaces with old AI Nikkor manual focus lenses. This engages with the aperture ring on AI-style Nikkor lenses, and lets the D7200 support aperture-priority metering mode and provide manual-exposure metering with them.

So, as you'd expect, the D7200 is compatible with almost every F-mount lens made since 1977, although some lens types will have a few limitations.

Autofocus

The Nikon D7200's autofocus system is based around that featured in the D7100, but with tweaks for improved low-light performance. Where previously, the D7100 was rated as good down to -2EV, Nikon says the D7200 will manage to focus all the way down to -3EV thanks to its tweaked Multi-CAM 3500II DX autofocus module.

As with the earlier Multi-CAM 3500DX, this new AF module features an array of 51 autofocus points, with 45 of these in a 9 x 5 grid, spanned on each side by a column of three points. The center-most three columns of five points are all cross-types, sensitive to detail on both horizontal and vertical axes. One single point at the very center of the array can operate all the way down to f/8, which is great for teleconverter fans.

As in the D7000 and D7100, the Nikon D7200's autofocus sensor works in concert with the 3D Color Matrix Metering II sensor, allowing better focus tracking since this color information allows subjects to be better identified.

You can opt to shoot either in focus-priority (the shutter won't release until a lock is achieved), or release-priority (the shutter releases as soon as possible, irrespective of focus lock). And Autofocus Fine Tuning is still available, allowing you to compensate for lenses that front- or back-focus.

Viewfinder

The Nikon D7200's optical viewfinder is identical to that in the D7100, right down to the Organic LED display used for on-demand notifications in the viewfinder.

Just as in the earlier camera, the Nikon D7200 has 0.94x magnification, a 19.5mm eyepoint, and a ~100% manufacturer-rated viewfinder coverage. The diopter adjustment range is also unchanged, at -2 to +1m-1.

LCD monitor

Beneath the optical viewfinder, the Nikon D7200 retains the same LCD panel featured in its predecessor. With a 3.2-inch diagonal and 4:3 aspect ratio, the air gapless-type LCD monitor has a four-dot-per-pixel RGBW design, allowing better outdoor visibility compared to a standard RGB LCD, and lower power consumption indoors. Pixel resolution is unchanged, at 640 x 480 (307,200 pixels). If you prefer to look at the dot count instead, resolution is around 1,228,800 dots.

Metering

As we mentioned previously, the Nikon D7200 supports the company's 3D Color Matrix Metering II system, as did both of its predecessors. The system relies on an RGB metering sensor with a resolution of 2,016 pixels. The metering sensor ties into not only autofocus, but also the D7200's Scene Recognition System, and so helps optimize focus, exposure, flash control, and white balance variables.

As well as Matrix metering, the Nikon D7200 provides center weighted and spot modes. Just as in the earlier cameras, working range for the metering system is from 0 to 20 EV for matrix and center-weighted metering, or 2 to 20 EV for spot metering (ISO 100, f/1.4 lens, 68°F / 20°C).

Exposure

The Nikon D7200's exposure mode options include Auto, Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, Manual, Flash Off, and Scene, as well as two User modes, and an Effects mode. Scene mode choices include portrait, landscape, child, sports, close-up, night portrait, night landscape, party/indoor, beach/snow, sunset, dusk/dawn, pet portrait, candlelight, blossom, autumn colors, and food. Effects mode choices include silhouette, high key, low key, night vision, color sketch, miniature effect, and selective color. The two User positions are used to store and quickly recall camera setups for later use.

Just as in the D7100, available shutter speeds in the Nikon D7200 range from 1/8,000 to 30 seconds in 1/3 or 1/2EV steps, plus a bulb position for longer exposures. The Nikon D7100's shutter mechanism still has a rated lifetime of some 150,000 cycles.

Exposure compensation is available within a +/-5.0 EV range, in 1/3 or 1/2 EV steps. The Nikon D7200 also offers exposure bracketing, but it's much more capable than in the past. As well as the D7100's two or three frame bracketing with a step size of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, or 1EV, the D7200 can bracket five, seven or nine frames, and allows step sizes of 2 and even 3EV between frames.

Flash

Of course, the Nikon D7200 still includes both a built-in, automatic-popup flash strobe, and an ISO 518 intelligent hot shoe for external strobes. Just like its predecessor, there's no built-in PC sync connector. Flash X-sync is at 1/250 second, but can be increased to 1/320 second at the expense of flash range.

The built-in flash is unchanged from that in the earlier cameras, with 16mm coverage, and a guide number of 12 meters / 39 feet at ISO 100, 68°F / 20°C. It pops up automatically only in Auto and Scene modes; for other modes it deploys manually as requested. -3 to +1 EV of flash exposure compensation is available, and the Nikon D7100 also offers two to five frame flash exposure bracketing, with a step size between exposures of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1, 2, or 3 EV.

The Nikon D7200 retains in-camera support for Nikon's Creative Lighting System and Advanced Wireless Lighting with the built-in strobe, and with compatible external strobes, as well as Auto FP high-speed sync and modeling illumination support for all Creative Lighting System-compatible strobes except the SB-400.

Creative

Of course, the Nikon D7200 includes the typical features you'd expect on a modern Nikon DSLR: a multi-shot HDR function, Nikon's optional Active D-Lighting function (Auto or four strength presets), and its Picture Controls function. The latter applies to both stills and movies, and now offers seven presets. The earlier Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, and Landscape picture controls are now joined by the Flat picture control seen on some of Nikon's other recent DSLRs, which lends itself towards color-grading post-capture.

Also new is a Clarity adjustment function, which mirrors the similarly-named control in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. And if you like to shoot time-lapse photography, you'll be pleased to see that the Nikon D7200's 9,999-frame interval timer function now includes exposure smoothing functionality, helping to reduce flicker in your final time-lapse clip.

Movie capture

In terms of its movie-capture feature set, the Nikon D7100 was already a pretty capable camera. Although it lacked full-sensor readout, it was capable of shooting Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixel) movies at 24, 25 or 30 frames per second, or at 50 / 60 interlaced fields per second with a 1.3x focal length crop beyond that inherent in an APS-C camera. It also included a built-in stereo microphone, a 3.5mm stereo mic jack for external microphones, and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack for audio levels monitoring. Levels could be adjusted within a 20-step range, and movies were saved with MPEG-4 AVC / H.264 compression and are limited to a maximum length of 29 minutes, 59 seconds. (Or, depending on the quality setting, a shorter limit of 20 minutes.)

The Nikon D7200 builds on this with several key tweaks. Most notably, the 1.3x crop mode now allows progressive-scan 50 / 60 frames per second capture, rather than the interlaced capture of the earlier camera, though it's limited to only 10 minutes of continuous recording at the highest quality setting. There's also a zebra-striping function to help confirm correct exposure, and it's now possible to shoot movies in Manual exposure mode using automatic ISO sensitivity control.

Wireless connectivity

Where its predecessor relied on proprietary Secure Digital cards or external accessories to provide wireless networking capability, the Nikon D7200 includes both Wi-Fi wireless networking and Near-Field Communications support for easy pairing with Android devices -- a first for a Nikon DSLR. Branded as Nikon Snapbridge, the system will help make light work of getting your images onto an Android or iOS smartphone or tablet.

Wired connectivity

The Nikon D7200 also includes a generous range of wired connectivity, with USB 2.0 High Speed data, Type-C Mini HDMI high-definition video, microphone, headphone, and GPS / wired remote / wireless remote connectors. The HDMI port allows for a simultaneous live view display, and supports uncompressed Full HD output for capture with an external device. It also supports the Consumer Electronics Control standard, for remote control of playback functions from an attached high-def TV's remote. The accessory port, meanwhile, is compatible with the GP-1 and GP-1A GPS receivers, and the MC-DC2 remote cord.

The D7200 is also compatible with Nikon's WR-R10 and WR-T10 radio remotes, which have a range of about 197 feet. Or you can control the camera from a really long way away -- up to 394 feet, or more if you daisy chain remotes -- using the 2.4 GHz WR-1 transceiver. The latter also allows for all sorts of multi-camera configs using a variety of channels and groups, trigger delays, and so forth. It even lets you change some camera settings remotely.

Storage

The Nikon D7200 stores images in dual Secure Digital card slots, as did its predecessor. Compatible cards include both the higher-capacity SDHC / SDXC types, and the higher-speed UHS-I cards.

Power

The Nikon D7200 draws its power from the same EN-EL15 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack as did the D7100, but its battery life is noticeably better, to CIPA testing standards. Where the D7100 was rated as good for 950 shots on a charge, the Nikon D7200 should manage 1,110 shots on a charge.

You can supplement battery life with the MB-D15 portrait / battery grip. This accepts either one EN-EL15 or six AA batteries, and supplements the pack mounted in-camera. (You can choose which will be drained first -- the internal pack, or the external batteries.) And external power is catered for with an EH-5b AC Adapter coupled to an EP-5B Power Connector.



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