Up­grades! Up­grade to a… mid-range marvel

If your en­try-level cam­era has served you well over the years, you’ve prob­a­bly out­grown it

NPhoto - - Ultimate Upgrades! -

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

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