News & New Products
Making news in this issue are Profoto’s latest off-camera TTL flash system, Nikon’s new D-SLR optimised for astrophotography, Sony’s new line-up of FE mount lenses, and much more. As always, we also publish a calendar of the important imaging events happening locally and overseas over the coming months.
Nikon continues its very active D-SLR program, announcing the introduction of a new enthusiast-level model called the D7200. It’s the ninth new Nikon D-SLR to arrive in just under a year and is a ‘DX’ format model. Along with the new entry-level D5500 announced earlier in the year which is also a ‘DX’ format, this would seem to put paid to rumours – at least for the time being – that the company was planning to abandon ‘APS-C’ size sensors in its D-SLRs.
The D7200 inherits quite a lot from the existing D7100, but also has some important upgrades, most notably to the autofocusing system, but it also gets WiFi with the convenience of NFC connectivity, 1080/50p video recording, an intervalometer (enabling time lapse video recording), an increased buffer memory, and a 1.3x image crop option primarily to give some ‘free’ extra telephoto power (by giving a 2.8x magnification factor in total). The latter feature is interesting in that it’s undoubtedly been included to counter one of the key selling points of the Micro Four Thirds format mirrorless cameras with their 2.0x focal length magnification.
The D7200 has pretty much the same weather-sealed magnesium alloy/ polycarbonate bodyshell as the D7100 with dual SD memory card slots, a builtin flash and a fixed 8.1 cm LCD monitor screen with a resolution of 1.229 mega dots. On the inside, the ‘APS-C’ CMOS sensor has the same total pixel count of 24.72 million, but a slightly different effective count of 24.2 million. As is now quite common across the Nikon D-SLR range, the sensor lacks an optical lowpass filter (LPF) in order to optimise its resolution. Even with the 1.3x, the pixel count is still 15.9 million. It’s now mated with Nikon’s latest-generation ‘Expeed 4’ processor which enables, among other things, the 50 fps Full HD shooting with progressive scan. The maximum continuous shooting speed is 6.0 fps (7.0 fps with the 1.3x crop) with the extended buffer enabling a burst of up to 100 optimum-quality JPEGs, 27 12-bit RAW frames or 12 with 14-bit RAW capture. The sensor’s native sensitivity range is expanded to ISO 100 to 25,600 with the choice of two higher settings (i.e. ISO 51,200 and 102,400), but for B&W capture only.
The AF system is upgraded to Nikon’s Multi-CAM 3500 II module which employs 51 measuring points, 15 of them being cross-type arrays. Low light sensitivity is extended down to -3.0 EV (at ISO 100). Exposure control is based on a 2016-pixel RGB-sensitive sensor with the choice of multi-zone, centred-weighted average and spot measurements. As on all Nikon’s higher-end D-SLRs, the bias circle for the centre-weighted metering can be adjusted in diameter. The main choice of ‘PASM’ exposure control modes is supplemented with 16 subject programs, and the D7200 also provides a choice of seven ‘Special Effects’ settings. Other exposure-related features include auto bracketing over sequences of up to nine frames, a compensation range of up to +/-5.0 EV, a shutter speed range of 30-1/8000 second (with flash sync up to 1/250 second) and Nikon’s ‘Active D-Lighting’ processing for dynamic range expansion. Auto bracketing for the ADL and white balance are also available.
Video is captured in the MOV format using MPEG 4 AVC/H .264 compression and with stereo sound. It should be noted at 1080/50p shooting is only available with the 1.3x crop. The built-in microphones are supplemented by a stereo audio input for connecting an external pick-up. Audio levels can be adjusted manually over a useful 20-step range. There’s also a stereo audio output for connecting headphones for monitoring sound. Also as on Nikon’s higher-end models, there’s now an additional Flat ‘Picture Control’ preset specifically for use with video recording. An uncompressed video feed is available via the HDMI connection, and a zebra-pattern generator is provided to warn of overexposure.