Monday, July 10, 2017

NIKON D7200 Review- PC's First Nikon DSLR Review

NIKON D7200 Review- PC's First Nikon DSLR Review
July 2017- Carl Garrard

For no logical reason, I just haven't got around to doing a Nikon DSLR review here just yet. Regardless, I've used a few Nikon DSLR's here and there, and I'm pretty familiar with the system overall. However, as prices came down and the new D500 and D7500 were announced, I realized that Nikon still had a top performing second generation APS-C DSLR that should get some light on our website. I like to write reviews about cameras that are a great price or bang for the buck and report them to you. As I see it, there's no APS-C DSLR out there today that can give you better image quality, or a such a stacked feature set for its current market price. As camera manufacturers reach the point of diminishing returns on features for new cameras, value for the dollar continues to increase for cameras that are only one or two generations older, and still available new. So if you are like me, and buy 2nd or 3rd generation tech to save some cash (while still preserving your needs in a device), this review is for you!
Nikon D7200 Best Current Amazon Price

NIKON D7200 Review: Preview

Nikon D7200 Best Current Amazon Price

My full review will be added here as I go along here shortly, but I wanted to give a heads up to readers on a frankly rather exciting proposition- posting a full Nikon DSLR review on the blog. I've owned and used Nikon DSLR's in the past so don't worry, I'm familiar enough with the system in general to give a relatively informed review here, or I wouldn't be spending the time to do it. With that said, I'm going to list a few items that really excite me personally about the D7200 - and avoid a typical internet review format. Note that I'm also not really acknowledging the camera it replaces anywhere in this preview. Because of the sensor banding issues it's predecessor camera had, I'd not recommend it on my blog as the best value from Nikon. These days a lot more photographers are learning how to raise shadow values for their images, and nothing is worse than seeing banding in your images as you do that type of processing in raw. Banding makes ruined images, as far as I'm concerned. I personally think this point alone makes the D7200 a HUGE upgrade over the camera it replaces, as long as it performs better. And there's a few more reasons I feel that way too.



D7200 Highlights That Add Major Value
Nikon D7200 Best Current Amazon Price

  • 24mp sensor with no optical low pass (AA) filter (huge detail advantage)
  • Best DXOMark Tested in class raw dynamic range (nearing closer to 15 stops... )
  • Best DXOMark Tested in class high ISO performance
  • Best in class detail/resolution
  • Best DXOMark Tested in class APS-C sensor overall image quality
  • 100% coverage, .94x pentaprism optical viewfinder (good size for this format)
  • Excellent upgraded 51 point AF system
  • Tight, weather sealed body
  • In camera time-lapse/time-lapse movie making capability
  • Awesome battery life (may be class leading)
  • Pro Grade build quality
  • Excellent processor, speedy operation
  • Good buffer capacity 
  • Up to 7fps in crop mode
  • Super clean well organized rear panel
  • Ergonomically placed controls
  • Huge 3.2" LCD screen
  • Good video capability (for most users)
  • Dedicated AF assist lamp
  • Excellent low light -3ev focusing capability
  • Major customization options
  • WiFi-Near Field
  • Six frames per second 
  • Dual SD Card Slots
  • Overall package is a highly capable, high value- a reliable companion
For near $900 dollars new, that's quite a lot of camera for the dollar, and it's pretty easy to find them in really good shape for $750.00 used. And when you consider that's what a new entry level DSLR costs these days, that's just an amazing value. For some photographers, it's literally all you would need. Even many professionals would have no problem using a D7200 for a lot of different kind of assignments. For me personally, 24mp is plenty of resolution- never mind that your fine detail is further preserved with the exclusion of an AA (or OPLF) filter. Huge detailed prints with tons of dynamic range are at your fingertips for a relatively low investment.

I will report more shortly as I put some time behind the D7200. I've handled it already in Sedona Arizona recently, and as a result of that time with the camera, I went ahead and purchased my own D7200 to review here on Photographic-Central. I'll be using a couple really sharp lenses to show off its sensor's capability as well.


Update 7-26-2017
NIKON D7200 Review: Initial Image Quality Report
Nikon D7200 Best Current Amazon Price

Well I will get right to it. I honestly expected better quality images from the D7200's sensor, but I was not wow'ed for it's performance in the APS-C category. Overall the D7200's image quality is fine for most shooters, but if you are comparing it to other sensors on the market, it's really not all that impressive once you start shooting with it and reviewing the raw images. For readers, I'm reviewing images on a 32" LG LED color calibrated desktop monitor and using Adobe ACR to process images.

So basically I feel the D7200's sensor is noisier than I expected, at all ISO's. Also, I've read how Nikon and Toshiba have eliminated banding altogether, but I was able to reproduce horizontal banding on this sensor when raising shadow values even at base ISO. Granted, I did have to push the shadows pretty far to get the banding, but it is still there. It is indeed an improvement over the D7100 it replaces, but none the less I'd not want rely on pulling shadows much on this camera.

ISO 100, EV +5 added in ACR

100% crop (Click on image for full size, banding shows)

 There is plenty of dynamic range in the raw files, but having good test results for dynamic range is completely different than usable dynamic range. My definition of usable dynamic range boils down to how good images look after you've pulled shadows up and/or pulled highlights down in post processing. I'm not very confident in pulling up shadows at base ISO or shooting over ISO 1600 with the D7200. Base ISO looks great, but most digital cameras do look great at base ISO. Detail is great of course since there is no AA filter, and with a sharp lens, you can make some tack sharp images. If  you expose well at base ISO, I'd say the D7200 can make some very high quality images for gallery quality if you use a high quality lens.

Comparing to my "old" T2i Canon. D7200 at ISO 2000 on left, and T2i at ISO 3200 on right. I give the edge to Canon here, even with the higher ISO value. Not much difference in resolution between both sensors practically, and Canon's sensors are slightly smaller. Point being, the pixel pitch isn't that much difference in size.

Sorry I'm not more enthusiastic about the D7200 as you might have read on the net already. However I feel that today there's really no excuse for manufactures to produce cameras that have banding or show mediocre high ISO performance. Quite the contrary, I'm not going to lower my expectations just because that is all that is available for us to purchase. As a consumer, its our job to be honest and voice our expectations and let the camera companies catch up to our needs. Not the other way around.

Nikon would be better served sticking with Sony sensors instead of Toshiba, in my opinion. While the D7200 tests high at DXOMark, I'm just not blown away in real life. I'd give it an above average rating compared to other APS-C cameras available today. And only because of its lack of an AA filter.

More to follow! Stay tuned.















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