Upgrades! Upgrade to a… mid-range marvel
If your entry-level camera has served you well over the years, you’ve probably outgrown it
One thing that the D3000 and its more recent variants are renowned for is that they bend over backwards to be beginner-friendly. Everything is made as simple as possible – there’s even an interactive ‘Guide’ shooting mode to help newcomers make their first tentative steps in D-SLR photography. By definition, however, if you’ve been using one for a few years, you’re no longer a beginner. You’re more likely to be yearning for something more sophisticated.
The next step up is a camera like the D5300, or the newer D5500, reviewed in this month’s Big Test (see page 122), but you might prefer to leapfrog those ‘upper entry-level’ bodies and go for something more advanced.
The affordable option
Nikon D7200 £880, $1100 A real cracker of a camera, this is currently as good as it gets for DX-format bodies. It’s Nikon’s newest and range-topping APS-C format model, with the very latest 24.2-megapixel image sensor and EXPEED 4 processor. It’s razor-sharp, with new and improved Multi-Cam 3500 II autofocus, taken directly from Nikon’s top-flight pro-grade cameras. This gives you no fewer than 51 individual autofocus points, 15 of which are cross-type points for resolving detail in both vertical and horizontal planes. Better still, unlike the D3300 and D5500 cameras (and their forebears) the D7200 has a built-in autofocus motor, making autofocus available on older Nikon ‘AF’ lenses, not just those that have the modern AF-S (Silentwave) in-lens actuator.
The D7200 is speedy too, with a six frames-per-second continuous drive rate, rising to seven frames per second in 1.3x crop mode. This gives you a double advantage for action sports and wildlife shooting, not only adding extra potential to the usual DX crop factor for stretching telephoto reach, but helping you to nail the defining moment with rapid-fire shooting. You can freeze the action too, thanks to the superfast 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed.
Not just for action shooting, the D7200 is an impressive low-light performer, too, stretching to ISO25600 in its native sensitivity range, and ISO102400 in expanded mode. Build quality feels a major step up from cameras like the D3300 and D5500 and, as a seasoned photographer, you’ll love the extensive custom settings menu, with which you can tailor the camera’s functions to suit exactly the way you shoot.
as a seasoned photographer, you’ll love the extensive custom settings menu, with which you can tailor the camera’ s functions to suit exactly the way you shoot
The D7200’s fast frame rate and AF system, plus the extended reach provided by the DX crop factor, make it a smart buy for sports