Why the Nikon D7200 is not a DX Version of the D750

The Nikon D7200 starts shipping today (March 19, 2015), and like its predecessor the D7100, it should prove to be a highly capable camera. The D7200 offers a few incremental upgrades over the D7100, most importantly an increased buffer capacity, which will greatly benefit sports, wildlife, and other action shooters. (More on this in a little bit, in the Image Quality Settings section of this article.) The new model also boasts an updated version of the 51-point autofocus system, which will improve autofocusing in low light situations (down to -3EV, improved over the -2EV of the D7100). Battery life has been increased, Wi-Fi capabilities are built-in including NFC connection with Android smart devices, which allows you to touch the camera to the device to initiate a Wi-Fi connection. The D7200 also includes the new Hi BW1 and Hi BW2 ISO settings, extremely high ISO sensitivity settings which will allow very low-light shooting, but which only capture in black and white.

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Simulated view of the D7200 Viewfinder – The 51 AF Points, including the 15 centrally located cross-type points indicated in red here.

Video improvements to the D7200 include the 1080/60p Frame Rate, and the “zebra stripes” (Highlight Display Indicator) to indicate areas of overexposure. Audio recording now offers a selectable audio frequency range (the standard Wide range or the narrower Voice range). The new Nikon Flat Picture Control is also included, which is desired by videographers as it provides the greatest latitude for post-processing, by helping to retain details in both highlights and shadows. It can also be used for still images that are going to be heavily processed. Also, the Picture Control options now include the Clarity setting, the Brightness adjustment allows a wider range, and the settings allow finer 0.25 increments or Auto adjustment.

As with the D750, the D7200 offers numerous advanced options, such as the ability to capture images with different Image Areas, customize the size of the Center-Weighted Metering circle, fine tune the different metering modes, set up the dual memory card slots in various capacities (simultaneous, overflow, RAW + JPEG), specify exactly how exposure compensation is changed (Easy Exposure Compensation), and customize the controls for quick access to numerous different functions. The Autofocus Modes and AF Area Modes will allow you to set and customize the camera to best capture still subjects, and to accurately track and capture moving subjects (as explained in this post).

You can learn about all the features, functions, settings, and controls of the D7200, plus most importantly when and why to use them, with my guide Nikon D7200 Experience.

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Simulated view of the D7200 Viewfinder – Making use of the Viewfinder Grid to create a straight, level image.

Nikon D7200 vs. Nikon D750

As I teased you with the title of this post, although the D7200 is a highly capable camera, it unfortunately is not the DX version of the Nikon D750, as many had hoped. While the D7200 shares numerous features, controls, and menu options of the D750, a close look at the specs and the menus reveals that there are some important options missing, which were among the most notable advancements of the D750. This makes it easy to see what the future Nikon D7300 will include, but it is unfortunate in that the existing Nikon technology added to the D750 (and D810) will not be seen in a DX model for awhile.

The features of the D750 that were not included in the D7200 include the new Group-Area AF autofocus area mode, Highlight-Weighted Metering, Face Detection for Matrix Metering, and Power Aperture for video. With the D750, these features added the following capabilities, that photographers shooting certain types of scenes and situations are finding extremely useful:

Group-Area AF Area Mode – A group of five AF points, in a cross-shaped pattern, can all be used together to help focus on a subject, in situations where using a single AF point may not work as well, such as capturing birds in flight.

Highlight-Weighted Metering Mode – This new mode helps to prevent the overexposure of highlights in specific situations, such as a performer, singer, or dancer under bright stage lighting and against a dark background.

-Matrix Metering Face-Detection option – The Custom Setting called Matrix Metering allows you to decide if you wish for the camera to take faces into account when determining the best exposure, when working in Matrix Metering Mode. This can help you obtain proper and consistent exposures if your portrait subject or bride is moving in and out of shadows.

-The Power Aperture feature allows you to smoothly open or close the aperture during movie shooting, so that you can adjust the exposure on the fly or change the depth of field, without it being noticeable in the recording.

So while the D7200 is a highly capable and customizable camera, and the D7200 and the D750 are very different cameras due to one being a cropped-sensor DX model and one being a full-frame FX model, the D7200 could have been a truer “little brother” to the D750. But the absence of these key features with the D7200 has prevented this from being the case…until the D7300 eventually comes out.

You can learn about all the features, functions, settings, and controls of the D750, plus most importantly when and why to use them, with my guide Nikon D750 Experience.

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Simulated view of the D7200 Viewfinder – The AF Points and Grid, plus the approximate size of the Spot Metering circle and the various Center-Weighted Metering Mode options. (Spot Metering will surround the active AF Point and not necessarily be in the center.)

Image Quality Settings

To further explain the various Image Quality settings that will affect the buffer capacity of the D7200, with the highest quality 14-bit, lossless compressed RAW image quality setting, the D7200 can capture up to 18 continuous images before the buffer fills and the camera needs to pause a moment to save the files. You can increase this rate by using the 12-bit lossless compressed RAW setting (27 images), the 14-bit compressed setting (26 images), or boost it significantly by using the 12-bit compressed setting (35). If capturing Large, Fine JPEG images, you will be able to capture up to 100 continuous images.

How will these settings affect your images? The Lossless compressed setting will reduce the NEF (RAW) file size anywhere from 20-40% using a reversible method that does not affect image quality. If you desire smaller file sizes, the Compressed setting will perform a non-reversible compression resulting in 35-55% file size reduction. This will provide smaller files than Lossless compressed but Nikon claims the image quality reduction will be negligible. You will also separately select an NEF (RAW) bit depth setting of either 12-bit or 14-bit. The 14-bit setting will capture more color information but will result in larger files. The difference may be slight for many images, but the 14-bit setting will be beneficial for images containing areas of shadow, low-light images taken at high ISO settings, or for underexposed images that you wish to repair in post-processing.

 

Again, be sure to have a look at my guide Nikon D7200 Experience to learn about all the features, functions, settings, and controls of the D7200, plus most importantly when and why to use them.

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11 comments

  1. Thanks for the article.

    Basically, this camera is not the future D400 that becomes a myth. A slight change from the d7100. ;)

    When is it the high-iso (noise)?

    A+

    1. Regarding the mythical D400, I think it is already here…it’s called the D750. Yes, I realize the D750 is full frame, but that is the point. The D300 was an “affordable” pro-level camera, and to make it affordable, Nikon gave it an APS-C sensor. Well, now it can be made affordable AND full frame, and thus, the D750! :)

      (EDIT May 2016: Obviously, I was wrong, now that the D500 has been introduced!)

    2. I’m not completely agree with you. An APC-S enclosure missing at the professional level. I have a nikon d800 and nikon d300, iso level it to the picks. The nikon d750, level ergonomics has nothing do with the pro boxes. There’s no speed 1/8000, or quick sync… I’m afraid in duration for the strength of the swivel screen. I am looking for a good APC-S! So, unfortunately, I have the the d7200-oriented or go in the Red ;) For my professional use a D400 with the ergonomics of the D810, me have much more.

      1. Yes, I agree that many photographers would like to have a pro-level APS-C camera, for a variety of reasons. I’m just not sure that Nikon has the same goal or priority!

      2. I’m an enthusiast having used the D5200 for a couple of years and am ready to upgrade camera and lens. I shoot mostly birds, wildlife and flowers and I know that that scenario dictates I go the DX format or D7200. I’m not sold that’s what I want … what if I want to branch out from birding photography. Can I achieve the same cropping with the D750 and expect even better quality and detail in my photos? I already shoot in RAW and process my images with LR or PS. I am also planning on getting the 300mm, f.28 telephoto lens so really want my images to be the best they can be. As you may guess, I’ve got a little $$ to spend so would I choose the D7200 to save ~$1K? Thanks for your input.

        1. Hello, My interest lies more in helping people to learn to use their cameras, controls, autofocus system, etc, and I leave the image quality discussions and comparisons to the other review sites and forums. Have a look at DPReview and at Photography Life for good discussions and comparisons of image quality issues. http://blog.dojoklo.com/wp-admin/comment.php?action=trashcomment&c=71396&_wp_original_http_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fblog.dojoklo.com%2F2015%2F03%2F19%2Fwhy-the-nikon-d7200-is-not-a-dx-version-of-the-d750%2F&_wpnonce=12804a20d1

        2. Thanks for the informative article. I am convinced that I need to upgrade my d7000. Since the arrival of two grandsons, I have expanded my photographic pursuit from wildlife and landscape (whilst getting my exercise walking with my 4 legged best friend) to candid portrait photography. The d7000 works wonderful outdoors but sadly struggles to attain the same level of focus in-doors. Am I going to realize better results with the d750 over the d7200 with respect to low light focusing capabilities. I am sure the 750 will out perform the 7200 in general in low light, but specifically with respect to low light focus results, will it out perform the 7200? I have purged my dx lens collection and am ready to make a jump…which way should I jump?

          1. Hello there… I have owned both the D7200 and the D750. The low light focusing capabilities of the D7200 is exceptional, however, the D750’s focusing is absolutely unbelievable! You can almost focus in the dark! … Although both cameras are rated at -0.3EV, somehow the D750 seems to focus a bit better. (Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems this way.)

            Remember that the quality of your lens will also affect how well the autofocus works on either camera.

          2. I was very disappointed when I first saw the D750 at the camera store. It has some great features including -3 EV focusing sensitivity and great low light capability and it had the potential to be my dream camera. I am a dance and theater photographer and simply stated, the shutter is simply too loud!! For sports it would be great but my D810 is much, much quieter. I purchased the D7200 and it is a very good backup, albeit not a full frame, but quite capable non the less. The quiet mode is is much quieter than the D750 in quiet mode but the D810 is the quietest DSLR that I have ever used and the most versatile . I am a niche photographer and I am not a 12 frame per second sports photographer on the sidelines in a loud arena. I would go mirrorless but these emerging camera systems are not quite ready for the big leagues yet. Frustrating.

          3. I have both D750 and D7200 and just delving into your eBook on them to learn their awesome capabilities. Having a number of both DX and FX lenses I was wanting to get the best of them with these bodies and so far very impressed. I also have an EOS system 7dMKii and 5d MIii and so I’m trying to increase my awareness of both systems mostly in wildlife and action capabilities

            Really enjoy your blog and clear writing in the eBooks!

            1. Thank you! I am glad you enjoy the blog, and find the books helpful. Please spread the word about them! And let me know if you have any questions.

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