Roughly two years have elapsed between the introduction of the Nikon D7100 and the arrival of its successor, and on the surface the new D7200 seems more like an incremental update than a major overhaul.
The D7200 is built around a sensor with a resolution of 24.2 million pixels, a tiny increase on the D7100's 24.1 million pixels, and the body is identical, with the same weight and dimensions, and the same viewfinder.
In common with its predecessor, the D7200 has no anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor, an innovation designed to produce sharper images and better rendering of fine detail. Anti-aliasing filters are used to prevent moiré, or interference effects, when photographing fine textures or patterns, but at the time of the D7100's launch, Nikon claimed that the high pixel density of its sensor would make it unlikely to suffer from any moire patterning and we've not seen any reports from users suggesting it's a problem.
There are some significant improvements over the D7100, however, the first of which is the upgrading of the camera's internal processor from the Expeed 3 to the newer and more powerful Expeed 4. The frame rate remains the same as the D7100 – 6fps at full resolution, or 7fps when using the 1.3x crop mode – but the faster processor delivers improved buffering capacity, which was one of the biggest let-downs in the previous model.
Nikon claims the D7200 is capable of capturing 100 JPEGs in a burst or 27 RAW files, although it should be noted that these figure relate to smaller 12-bit NEF files, and not the 14-bit files favoured by those looking for maximum image quality.
Aside from increasing the frame rate, the 1.3x crop mode has a couple of other useful applications. It extends the reach of your lenses if you need to get closer to a subject, such as when shooting sports or wildlife, and with 24 million pixels of resolution, there's plenty of scope for cropping in on subjects while still being able to produce large, high quality prints. Secondly, it means that the 51 autofocus points cover the whole of the frame, rather than being grouped around the centre.
Speaking of autofocus, in what is a first for a DX format (APS-C) camera, the D7200 is capable of focusing at down to -3EV, thanks to the improved Multi-CAM 3500-II 51-point autofocusing system inherited from full-frame models higher up the Nikon range.
The autofocus module has 15 cross-type sensors, and one central sensor which is sensitive down to f/8. This makes the autofocus system usable with telephoto lenses and teleconverter combinations where the maximum available aperture is f/8 – the lens's maximum aperture falls when you use a teleconverter.
Another improvement is in the camera's sensitivity range. The D7200 has a native range of ISO 100-25600, up from the D7100's native top end of ISO 6400. There are also Hi BW1 and Hi BW2 expansion settings, which take you up to a whopping ISO 102400 (equivalent); however, these two options are only available in JPEG mode and produce monochrome images.
The D7200 comes with Picture Control 2.0, which we've already seen in other Nikon cameras such as the D750 and the D5500. That means that there are seven different Picture Controls, including the new Flat mode, which produces images with reduced contrast and maximum dynamic range – videographers are more likely to use this than photographers, as it makes grading and enhancing footage easier.
Speaking of video, the D7200 shoots full HD 1080p footage at 30/25p, and you can also shoot at 60p/50p when using the 1.3x crop mode. The camera is also compatible with a new Nikon ME-W1 wireless mic, which it is claimed can capture sound up to 50 metres away. Video footage can be saved to one of the D7200's dual SD card slots, or you can transfer it via HDMI to an external recorder.
The D7200 introduces both Wi-Fi and NFC (Near Field Communication) connectivity within the body itself, both of which are becoming more prevalent on D-SLRs. While it's not the first Nikon to feature Wi-Fi (the D5500 and D750 also have it), it is the first to include NFC, which should make connecting to an Android phone or device even quicker (though more on this later).
Nikon has also managed to improve the already impressive battery life, which is increased from 950 shots (CIPA standard) to 1,100 shots - or 80 minutes of video recording.
Another thing that stays the same is the 3.2-inch, 1229k-dot LCD screen, which is fixed and not touch-sensitive, and they eye-level pentaprism optical viewfinder, which offers 100% coverage.
As it stands, the D7200 competes most closely with the Canon EOS 70D. Higher still in the Canon APS-C range is the EOS 7D Mark II, but to date Nikon has yet to replace the D300S, which once sat at the top of its own APS-C format line-up.