Nikon has announced a new DX-format (APS-C sensor) SLR, the D7200. This is an important upgrade of the popular D7100, with the emphasis on autofocus speed, improved connectivity, and a much bigger buffer.
The sensor is a 24.2-MP DX-format chip and as with its predecessor, it does without an optical low-pass filter, which, Nikon claims, will deliver sharper shots straight from the camera.
Removing the optical low-pass filter has become pretty standard on SLRs these days, though it's not as earth-shattering as the makers want you to believe; if your lens and focussing technique are good and you sharpen sympathetically in software, you probably won't notice a huge difference.
A rather more interesting addition to the D7200 is the sophisticated AF system. The new camera sports a Multi-CAM 3500DX II 51-point AF system, sensitive to -3EV, which has been inherited from Nikon's FX range of full-frame SLRs.
There are 15 cross-type sensors in the centre to help lock on to the subject, and one centre point is f/8 compatible, enabling more lens/teleconverter combinations.
You can shoot at up to 6 fps in DX format, and at up to 7 fps in 1.3x crop, with the camera’s buffer capturing up to 27 12-bit RAW images and up to 100 high-quality JPEGs in one high-speed burst.
This is a significant improvement from the D7100. Meanwhile a 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor is used for 3D subject tracking in AF-C (continuous) mode. ISO goes from a very respectable 100-25,600, with ISO 51,200 and 102,400 black and white modes.
The D7200 is also the first Nikon D-SLR to support NFC (Near Field Communication), which enables you to choose whether to transfer stills to a smart device via NFC or the camera’s 'Wi-Fi function1.' The movie making features have been ramped up too.
As well as being able to shoot in full HD and store over dual SD slots, a dedicated movie menu lets you store all movie settings in one place.
You can shoot with Auto ISO control in M mode in order to transition smoothly between dark and bright areas, use Zebra mode to see exactly where highlights are blown, and apply the Flat Picture Control setting for easier colour grading in post-production. It's also become easier to shoot time-lapse movies with smooth transitions, compared to the D7100.
What's the damage?
The Nikon D7200 costs £939.99 body only, or £1,119.99 with an 18-105mm VR lens. It goes on sale from 19th March. This is a keen price point, though bear in mind that you can now snap up the full-frame D610 for around £1,200 (body only).
Just bear in mind that FX-format lenses cost significantly more than their APS-C equivalents, however. The D7200 is best suited to keen enthusiast photographers who need powerful AF – wildlife and bird photographers will love it, as will sports fans.