Nikon D7200 Review
The D7200's movie capabilites have been given a bit of an upgrade, compared to its predecessor. The headline changes are the addition of 1080/60p/50p video and gaining the 'Flat' Picture Control setting that allows footage with broader dynamic range to be captured, to give greater flexibility during the post-production process.
The camera has also gained a dedicated menu tab for movies and the ability to retain separate values for settings such as white balance and picture style stills and movies. This makes it much more pleasant when you switch from one mode to the other: you won't accidentally find yourself shooting washed-out 'Flat' JPEGs by mistake.
Sadly the footnote to the 60p shooting is that it's only available when using the 1.3x crop region of the sensor. Furthermore, like all but the most expensive Nikon bodies, the D7200 has no motor to control aperture, so the aperture value is fixed at the moment you enter live view or video mode.
As on the D7100, the 1.3X crop appears to come from a lower resolution capture upscaled to 1920 x 1080. The difference doesn't seem as pronounced as it was with the older model, but there's still a distinct difference in resolution, which might be noticeable when inter-cutting between footage from the two crops. Still, it's nice to have a 60p option if you want the ability to capture footage for 1/2 or 2/5ths speed slow-motion playback.
The results aren't as detailed as Panasonic's more video-focused GH4, nor does it offer the impressive in-video autofocus of Canon's EOS 70D or 7D Mark II (in fact the fast, jumpy focus seems more likely to be distracting than the likes of the NX1 or GH4, which both slow down their focus in video and do their best to minimise the overshoot-and-correct nature of contrast-detection autofocus).
The D7200 offers autofocus during movie shooting, with the choice of AF-S (single) or AF-F (full time). You also get a choice of focus area modes, including an AF tracking option. The tracking option isn't nearly as good at sticking to the subject as the 3D Tracking system used for through-the-viewfinder stills focus and, again, the focus will frequently wobble in-and-out of focus if you try to use it during recording.
This compound clip shows the D7200 in a range of circumstances:
Click here to download the full clip (177 MB)
By far the biggest limitations of the D7200, though are its lack of focus peaking, which makes it difficult to use manual focus with any great precision (especially if you want to rack focus during a clip), and its inability to change aperture while in video mode. If you're using base ISO or nearing your upper acceptable ISO limit and the light is changeable, then you can't simply rely on ISO changes to adjust brightness. And, since you really don't want to have to change shutter speed, it can mean having to change aperture. Even if you're only making this change between clips, it's awkard to have to drop out of live view mode, change the aperture and then re-engage live view before you can keep shooting.
As is becoming increasingly common, the D7200's Wi-Fi experience is a slightly two-tiered affair. This is because the simplest way to connect the camera's Wi-Fi is via NFC: a protocol that Apple has built in to its most recent phones but restricted so that it doesn't allow actions such as camera pairing.
Android (with NFC)
On Android devices, the Nikon is generally pretty quick to use: swipe your smart device next to the D7200's NFC antenna and it'll launch Nikon's WMU app or ask you to install it if you've not already done so. If you're already connected to a Wi-Fi network, it'll ask you whether you want to give up your existing connection and instead connect to the camera (Whether this has any effect appears to vary, device-to-device, but we're hoping that's something that can be fixed).
Once the Wi-Fi connection is established, you'll be presented with the option to 'Take photos' or 'View photos.' The 'Take photos' option leads to a very simplistic live view mode that allows you to reposition focus and fire the shutter from your smart device. That's it. 'View photos' lets you either view the contents of the camera's memory card (which takes several minutes if you have a lot of images). If you select one of the images, you'll be given a choice of resolution you wish to download at: Original, Recommended size or VGA.
Alternatively, you can manually select a series of images from the app or select images for transfer on the camera, and these will be transfered next time you connect, without having to wait for the contents of the card to load. If you use either of these bulk transfer modes, you can only download the Recommended or VGA sized image (a choice you make in the App's preferences).
Overall it's not a particularly well-featured experience, especially in terms of live view capture, but is acceptably usable. The failure to automatically connect to the camera or give any easy way of stopping the app running in the background on some devices mean it's more work than it should be.
As with all iOS apps, you need to launch the app and manually select the camera's Wi-Fi network (via Settings). The rest of the app is broadly similar. There's an additional 'Latest Downloads' option on the View photos panel but in most other respects the behavior and options are about the same as on the Android version.
|Nikon's Wireless Mobile Utility is straightforward and easy to figure out, but fairly limited in function.|
Photos can be transferred individually or in batches, and at different resolutions - Original, Recommended, or VGA. (Original resolution is not available when doing bult transfers.)
It's also possible to select photos to transfer in-camera; photos are subsequently transferred the next time the app connects.
The app can occasionally freeze for several seconds but, for the most part it does what it's supposed to do. Just as on the Android app, iOS users get essentially no control over the camera in shooting mode and can only download full-res images one at a time. However, the process of connecting is as simple as iOS allows and it's pretty quick and straightforward to grab images off the camera.
|The Engineer by EXX|
from Steam Trains
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