Nikon D7200 vs D5500 vs Canon 70D

May 3, 2015

D7200 camera in sunset

In this article I’ll compare the Nikon D7200 vs the D5500 and Canon EOS 70D. As of the time of writing, the D7200 is Nikon’s latest mid-range DSLR camera, the D5500 is an upper entry-level DSLR and the Canon EOS 70D is a mid-range camera as well. If you are here, you probably having trouble deciding between at least two of the three. Those are three excellent cameras, each on in its own right. I’ll start with an introduction about the D7200 and continue talking about it’s compared to the other two cameras. If you are not sure whether the D7200 is the right camera for, by the time you finish reading this comparison, you’ll have a much better idea whether to buy it or not.

Nikon D7200

On March 2 2015, Nikon has introduced the successor to the D7100 which was announced in February 2013.  The camera was designed to compete against camera like the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Sony A77 II and many of the new mirrorless cameras, including the Fuji X-T1 and Olympus OM-D E-M5 II among others. That being said, it doesn’t offer very prominent improvements over the D7100, but does improve in various areas that are important to the market segment it is aimed for, which include an improved AF system, better battery life, 60p video recording, Wi-Fi / NFC among others.

D7200 vs D7100 rear size comparison

D7200 vs D7100 rear size comparison (via camerasize.com)

On the outside, the D7200 looks identical to the D7100. The big changes are inside, not on the outside. The D7200 uses the same sensor as the D5500, this explains why we can see a marginal improvement in image quality compared to the D7100 (and I checked it on imaging resource comprometer tool). You can’t ignore the fact that it’s a better sensor.  Even at ISO6400, the image looks relatively very clean, I was very impressed when I saw that high ISO samples.

The sensor allows you to shoot up to ISO 25,600, two stops more than the native ISO range of the D7100. But it also offers ISO51200 and ISO102400, but those only availaable in monochromatic photos (Black and White). Keep in mind that the new D7200 also utilizes a new Expeed 4 image processor, whether the D7100 uses an old-generation Expeed 3 processor.

The autofocus system was also improved in this new model, the Multi-CAM 3500DX II, an improved version of the 3500DX. The new AF system is 1-stop more sensitive than the D7100 one and can focus down to -3EV. This makes the D7200 a better camera for low-light shooting. The light metering sensor is unchanged.

Nikon also added a bigger buffer to the D7200, allowing the camera to capture 100 JPEG and 18 RAW in burst mode, doubles the performance of its predecessor (18 Raw vs 6 Raw, 100 Jpeg vs 50 Jpeg).

Other features include among others: a 0.94x large and bright viewfinder, 1/8000 sec shutter speed, 6 fps burst,  1080p60 Full HD video recording (1.x image area only) with mic input, 3.2″ fixed 1228K dots display and Wi-Fi and NFC.

The Nikon D7200 was made to replace the D7100 and make it more attractive compared to other new ILC cameras which were released in 2014. The Nikon D7100 was one of the most beloved cameras by many enthusiasts, and it’s great that we can finally have an updated version of it. It improved in areas that enthusiast and pros demand most, including better AF performance, better low-light performance, image quality, battery life, connectivity and bigger buffer. The other improvements are nice to have, but are most probably less important than the ones I’ve mentioned.

So how much this beauty costs? — well, you can buy the D7200 for around $1200 (body only, price as of the time of writing 5.3.2015 via amazon.com) or ~$1500 with the 18-140mm VR lens. The D7100 costs ~$900  for the body, $300 less than the D7200 and you can buy it for approximately $1200 with the 18-140mm VR lens, again, $300 less than the D7200 with the same exact lens.

Let’s take a look how all our three cameras are priced:

  • D7200 (body): ~$1200
  • D5500 (body): ~$750
  • 70D: ~$950

The D7200 is the most expensive among the three as expected. The 70D went a few price drops since it was released in July 2nd 2015. The D5500 is the cheapest among the three, again, expected considering it’s an upper-entry level camera and has less advanced features. What features? – you’ll get to know all of that in the next section, where I’ll compared the three side by side.

D7200 vs D5500 vs 70D

Now that you are a but more familiar with the D7200 capabilities and key features, let’s take a close look and see how the D7200 is compared to the D5500 and 70D.

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Conclusion

The Nikon D7200 is an amazing camera. Between the D7700 and the D5500 I would pick the D7200 for its weather sealing and durability, AF subject tracking performance for still and low-light photography, large buffer in bursts, video audio monitoring capability, uncompressed HDMI, battery life and wireless capability. This is where the Nikon wins over the D5500. It’s the best camera of the two for low-light photography. The camera will focus better and faster and track the subject better when shooting under restricted low-light conditions. I also liked the 1.3x crop mode, which in that mode the AF points cover almost the entire frame, allowing even more accurate subject tracking performance.

That being said, beside that, the D5500 will give you the same image quality (I actually think that it’s slightly better, see my notes in the comparison table), very good AF performance, wireless connectivity, excellent battery life and high quality videos. It doesn’t have 1/8000 sec not a a viewfinder as brighter and larger as the D7200, but I think that for many enthusiasts, the D5500 offers an excellent arsenal of advanced features. It really depends whether any of the D7200 advantages appeal to you and whether you’ll actually take advantage of them in actual shooting. If would probably be better buying the D5500, save money or spent it on an extra lens or a better lens, it’s up to you.

The Canon EOS 70D is behind in terms of high ISO performance, but it has several advantages over the D7200, including better build quality,  faster AF in live view and video recording, fully articulated touchscreen display, slightly faster burst and the ability to choose video compression type. That said, The D7200 has better AF for stills when shooting via the viewfinder, better high ISO performance, higher image resolution, 1.3x crop mode, 1080p60 video recording mode, headphone input, Clean HDMI and NFC. Quite a lot of goodies which are hard to ignore, isn’t it?

For videos, for me it seems that the D7200 is the better camera, but I am not a professional videographer, and maybe some of you might prefer having the option to choose between compression types. I think that the headphone jack and uncompressed HDMI are not less important, but it’s up to you to decide.

Overall, If you want my opinion, I would pick the D7200 any day. It’s an amazing camera, super fast and responsive. Shoots amazing high-quality images, even at ISO6400 images are very usable. The AF performance is just mind blowing, I love this camera and can easily recommended it to anyone, both beginners and experienced photographers.



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