Nikon D7200 review: D7200 keeps up the good work

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The Good Great photo quality, solid performance and a sturdy body are the Nikon D7200's highlights.

The Bad Subpar wireless implementation and a fixed LCD display.

The Bottom Line The Nikon D7200 is a great camera for the money, as long as you don't care about an extensive feature set.

7.9 Overall
  • Design 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 8
  • Image quality 8

The Nikon D7200 makes the 2-year-old D7100 look like a terrific deal. With only minor improvements over its predecessor, the D7200 remains a great camera, but given the D7100's lower price, the D7200 is a tough sell unless you're a night owl or long burst shooter. Once the D7100 evaporates from the market -- or the price stops dropping and starts rising -- then the D7200 will seem more compelling. It's the same pattern the D7100 faced over the D7000 before it.

The D7200 body costs about $1,100 (£725, AU$1,450), compared to only about $800 (£850, AU$1,500) for the D7100.

What are the differences? Some improvements in buffering for burst shooting and improved image quality above ISO 1600 (plus two black and white high ISO modes), and time-lapse movie creation. The camera also gains wireless connectivity, but Nikon's app is one of the least capable I've seen (and as of this writing, hasn't been updated since April 2015). And while auto ISO support and a flat color profile are welcome for movies, shooting video with the camera can be a trying experience.

Image quality

The D7200's photo quality is excellent for the money, and both JPEG and raw files looks a bit better than the D7100's starting at about ISO 1600, thanks to slightly finer-grained noise. Otherwise, they're pretty similar: JPEGs display nice color rendering and exposures, plus good tonal range in the shadows but a little more clipping in the highlights than I expect.

With the default noise-reduction settings, detail starts to get quite mushy in JPEGs with ISO sensitivities beyond ISO 1600, and you see quite a bit of color noise at ISO 6400 and beyond. If you shoot raw, you can regain quite a bit of detail (in exchange for just a moderate amount of grain), making it possible to get usable results up to ISO 25600, depending upon scene content and how you're displaying the photo.

Rather than provide expanded sensitivities that would look horrendously full of noise, Nikon offers them in black-and-white mode. While you still have the decreased tonal range, they're a little more usable than color versions would be. Unfortunately, it only produces JPEGs so you can't tweak them, and there are still slight horizontal lines across the image (vertical lines, if you're shooting in portrait orientation), a common artifact in high-sensitivity photos in this class of camera.

Video looks very good as well, though it can get pretty visually noisy in low light. By default, it tends to blow out highlights just like with stills, so you should really take advantage of the flat profile.

Analysis samples

The D7200's JPEGs look very clean up through ISO 1600. The strong purple cast is caused by the camera's automatic white balance response to our LED light panels. The manual white balance works perfectly.

Lori Grunin/CNET

You can see some smearing in details at ISO 3200 from JPEG noise reduction, but in-focus areas look okay up through ISO 6400. Above that you see a lot of color noise as well as mushy details.

Lori Grunin/CNET

Nikon offers expanded ISO sensitivities in black and white. While they're more usable than they would be in color, they're still not great.

Lori Grunin/CNET

The D7200 has a decent amount of latitude in the shadows -- I increased the exposure on this by 2 stops -- but it's not terrific at preserving highlight detail.

Lori Grunin/CNET

In natural light, the camera's colors are excellent, accurate but pleasingly saturated.

Lori Grunin/CNET

I was able to improve the detail at ISO 1600 over the default JPEG settings, which smooth too much, by editing the raw.

Lori Grunin/CNET


This series has always performed well, and the D7200 continues the tradition; it's more or less identical to the D7100.

It powers on, focuses and shoots in about 0.3 second, which is quite good. I think the relatively slow lag -- time to focus and shoot, about 0.5-0.6 second -- reflects the sluggish kit lens rather than the autofocus system. However, in LIve View which uses contrast autofocus, it's still a very slow 1.4 seconds in good light, which isn't nearly as good as the Canon 70D's 0.7 second.

Time for two sequential shots, which takes focus out of the equation if the camera is smart, is a class-competitive 0.2 second, rising to only 0.6 second with flash enabled.

It matches the D7100 on JPEG continuous-shooting performance at 6.1 frames per second with continuous autofocus and autoexposure for more than 30 JPEGs. But the D7200 now can sustain a raw burst for 20 frames before slowing, up from 5 on the D7100, and at a faster overall rate of 5fps.

Autofocus is still excellent, achieving up to a 90 percent hit rate of sufficiently in-focus photos during continuous shooting, for both panning or photographing a subject moving toward you. You probably want to focus manually or fix focus when shooting video, however, since the Live View AF is easily distracted.

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