Big Test

There’s plenty to get en­thu­si­as­tic about in Nikon’s cur­rent D-SLR line-up. Matthew Richards picks out the best cam­eras for more ex­pe­ri­enced pho­tog­ra­phers

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Fall­ing mid­way be­tween novice D-SLRs and heavy­weight pro op­tions, ‘en­thu­si­ast’ cam­eras com­bine rel­a­tive ease of use with so­phis­ti­cated fea­tures. But which of the five Nikons on test is best?

Nikon SLRs just keep get­ting bet­ter, and the range of cam­eras to suit en­thu­si­ast pho­tog­ra­phers is now wider than ever. It in­cludes bod­ies with ei­ther DX (APS-C) or FX (full-frame) im­age sen­sors which are ideally suited to dif­fer­ent needs and re­quire­ments. Typ­i­cally, DX bod­ies tend to be smaller and lighter than their FX coun­ter­parts, and the 1.5x fo­cal length mag­ni­fier or ‘crop fac­tor’ en­ables enor­mous tele­photo reach with­out hav­ing to use big and hefty su­pertele­photo lenses. FX bod­ies are pricier, but en­able a shal­lower depth of field, mak­ing them ideal for por­trai­ture and still-life pho­tog­ra­phy. Con­ven­tion­ally, they also en­able greater sup­pres­sion of im­age noise when shoot­ing at high ISO set­tings un­der low-light con­di­tions. All five of the cam­eras that we’ve cho­sen for this Big Test were launched within the last two years. The FX-for­mat D610, an­nounced in Oc­to­ber 2013, is the old­est. It’s a fairly mod­est re­fresh of the older D600, and is the only cam­era in the group to fea­ture an EX­PEED 3 im­age pro­ces­sor. All the oth­ers have the latest-gen­er­a­tion EX­PEED 4 pro­ces­sor and, in keep­ing with Nikon’s con­tin­ued com­mit­ment to high-end DX-for­mat cam­eras, the D7200 (launched in March of this year) is the new­est of them all.

All the cam­eras on test have a pixel count of just over 24 megapix­els, apart from the D810, which re­ally pushes the en­ve­lope at 36.3 megapix­els. Even so, there are some sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences be­tween all of these cam­eras, so let’s see how they com­pare and per­form.

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