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  1. Jeremy Igo

    Nikon D7200 Review

    I recently got my hands on a Nikon D7200 and decided to give it a try while photographing the Carolina Panthers offseason practices. My primary camera body for years has been the Nikon D4, which I cannot say enough positive things about. The D4 is a work horse in every way. It has been beaten and bruised, but keeps on ticking. So, for the D7200 to pry the D4 out of my hands, it would need to really impress me. By the way, this is a real world review. I know many other camera review websites give you graphs and volumes of data. That just isn't my style. Instead, I am going to let you know how the camera performed for me, a working professional, on the field for a week. I feel that should be review enough. I paired the Nikon D7200 with the Sigma 120-300mm 2.8 telephoto zoom lens. Because of the extra reach provided by the smaller crop sensor of the D7200, the actual working focal length was 180-450 with a constant 2.8 aperture. This is probably the most ideal focal length range for football imaginable. Not only could I reach across the field while zoomed in, zooming out allowed me to catch the closer action without clumsily switching bodies or lenses. This is a huge benefit of the D7200 that full frame cameras such as the D4 cannot offer. So what about the focusing? I found the D7200 able to track professional athletes adequately, in fact, I saw little to no drop off in tracking in D7200 from the D4. There did seem to be a noticeably slower response time, which could be a problem in last second direction changes where timing is everything. But in most cases, the D7200's auto focus should perform well enough for most photographer. The frame rate of the D7200 isn't great by today's standards. At 7 frames per second it is far behind the D4 by almost half. However, I am not a machine gunner. While other photographers press and hold the shutter during throws or receptions, I try to limit myself to one or two frames. If I can anticipate and get a quality shot in two frames it slows down my work load tremendously. Of course, this takes practice, practice, and more practice. If you are a machine gunner and enjoy ripping off 30 frames for any given play, the D7200 may not be the ideal camera for you. For me, with some quick adjustment on the response time, it performed perfectly fine. The 24 megapixel images the D7200 provides are honestly much larger than I would ever need. The camera allows you to crop the images to a 1.3x within the viewfinder making the images around 18 megapixels. This is a nice feature to save a bit of space on your memory card. At 100% crop the images are almost identical to those of the D4 at lower ISO's. Speaking of ISO performance.... A few years ago the high ISO performance of the D7200 would be ground breaking. Now, with full frame cameras dominating the space, it can safely be considered average. I am comfortable shooting up to ISO 3200 with the D7200, I probably would not push beyond that for fear of noise and loss of dynamic range. The D7200 has integrated wi-fi which is really handy. I was able to successfully transfer a photo to my phone and tweet it out before any of the other photographers at practice could. Really, what more could you ask for? Conclusion The Nikon D7200 performed well enough in my trials to take a permanent spot in my camera bag. I will be using it during the NFL season day games and possibly night games as well. The extra reach it provides will save me from running on the sidelines as much and potentially missing a shot. Bottom Line: The D7200 performed well in my real world sports photography test for an entire week. If you are considering purchasing a D7200 for sports photography, go ahead and pull the trigger. You won't regret it.
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