Nikon d7100 review

 
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Nikon d7100 review

Nikon d7100 review

Nikon d7100 review
Nikon d7100 release date

February 2013

Introduction

Seems the Nikon d7100 camera is the best Dx format camera available today. The Nikon d7100 is a very fine camera: it is usable up to iso 6400, and in good light it makes exceptionally good images. Compare to the Nikon d7000 the difference is not huge, see in detail at the second part of the review.

Lenses used with the Nikon d7100

The following lenses was used with the Nikon d7100: Nikon 16-85 vr (the most) Nikon 14-24 f2.8, Nikon 105 mm vr macro, Nikon 18-105 vr

Technical specification

Nikon d7100 key specifications:

Sensor: 24 Mpix Toshiba
ISO range: 100-25,600 (native range 100-6400)
Weight: 765g (11 oz.)
Sensor size: 23.5×15.6mm
Picture size: 6000×4000
LCD type: fixed
LCD resolution: 1229k dots
Viewfinder size/coverage: app 0.61 / 100%
Built in flash: yes
External flash connection: yes

See more detailed specification of the Nikon d7100 here:
Nikon d7100 detailed specification

First impressions

The new Nikon d7100 feels the similar as the previous Nikon d7000. Same size and build quality, but the D7100 feels lighter. Buttons and functions are not at the same place. The biggest difference is the live view switch which was at the back part of the Nikon D7000 in upper position, on the Nikon D7100 is a little bit more below and there is a live view selector selecting between photo and video recording. During live view shooting the image can be magnified approximately 19x times in order to achive sharp focus in manual focus mode. I movie mode it is possible to make images at 16:9 aspect ration by pressing the shutter release button.

Shutter sound

The shutter has a very nice quiet sound. I like it very much. If you use an older camera like a Nikon d300 or Canon 30d, or 5d this is a huge difference in usage. The shutter sound of the Nikon d7000 is similar.

Quiet shutter mode

There is even a quiet shutter mode where we hear only two small clicks, with a little silence between them. This can be used in high shutter speed as well.

Picture quality:

The Nikon d7100 has the newest 24 Mpixel Toshiba sensor(January 2014). If this sensor would be a Full frame, this would be 54 Mpixels. What do we expect from such a dense pixeled sensor ? Noise. Fortunately this is not the case. Compare to the 16 Mpix Sony sensor, can be find in the Nikon d7000 for example this new 24 Mpixel unit has less noise. The difference is marginal, if you really see the picture in big sizes you see little less noise. But even to keep the noise at the same level when we increase resolution by 21% is a serious improvement. The camera captures colors aggressively compare to my old Canon 30D. Even at default settings colours little more saturated than as I see with my eyes. It is not a bad thing, my Canon need some boost to match what I see.
Nikon d7100 review picture quality2
Nikon d7100 review picture quality2

You have lots of resolving power here.

Resolution:

This high 24Mp resolution doesn’t forgiving with bad lenses: even the Nikon 18-105 shows it’s weekness in the 24 Mp sensor. On the other hand this 24 Mp doesn’t really needed for most of the shooters. It is very good if you are a bird shooter(like me) and have the top of the line Nikkor prime telephoto(I don’t have). I don’t really store images more than 1920 pixel.

High iso performace

The camera is quite usable up to ISO 6400 in dark situation. See the picture below.

nikon d7100 review iso 6400

nikon d7100 iso 6400

Dynamic range:

The camera has an excellent 13,6 EV dynamic range in NEF files. This is better than most of the cameras out there, some Full frame cameras included.

Diffraction:

Because of the small pixels, the camera more diffraction limited, than the cameras with bigger pixels. Perhaps only interesting if you like to use apertures like f/16 very often, for example for landscapes.

Autofocus:

The Nikon d7100 autofocuses up to -2 Ev, instead of the -1 Ev of the Nikon d7000. The autofocus is better in bad light, then the Nikon d7000 and has more focus/crosstype points 51/15 vs 39/9 on a D7000. The new Nikon d7200 autofocuses up to -3 EV light levels.

File sizes:

It perhaps sound stupid for some, but the Nikon d7100 makes disturbingly huge files. NEF files can be 35 MB, jpgs 15 MB easily. I made lots of pictures all the time, it means storages, faster computer, processing power, all costs money.

Crop mode:

The camera has a 1.3 crop mode, which is indicated in the viewfinder, but on the picture file cannot be seen. Basically works as a cropping, but good you don’t have to spend so much time in front of the computer. The picture won’t be better or will have more resolution. Simply cut the outer parts of the image, creating a telephoto effect. High frame movies also can be made only in this mode (50/60 fps). First need to select crop mode in the menu under picture area after we can change the movie frame rate to 50/60. In crop mode a photo frame rate is a little higher 7fps instead of 6 fps.

Buttons:

Many buttons for anything. The tricky one as in the Nikon d7000 at the left front side of the camera, which now can be used for selection autofocus points. My remarks: iso button would be better next to shutter release button, instead of at the left side of the back of the camera. Movie recording button are at the place suggested for iso.

Build quality:

The camera feels tiny and light and reassuring at the same time which is a very good achievement. I like that it is not heavy, if we bring the camera everywhere even in a car, the added weight I don’t like. The LCD is a fixed one, like in the Nikon d7000, but little bigger in size and resolution (just proportionally). If I want to nitpick I have some remarks: dials are sticky. If we use a camera heavily(which I do) the two dials are sticking to the hand, not in Canons I used before. This is because of the rubber used instead of hard plastic. Seems the Nikon d600 is the same. It can be changed, but wouldn’t be better made good and not changed afterwards ?

Menus:

There are many option in the menus, can be confusing sometimes, hard to check everything what the camera does, and why. The menus are logically rendered: shooting menu, playback, custom settings, retouch menu, My menu – here we can chose items we want to use the most, recent settings menu – good that the camera remembers what we done recently

Video mode:

The video of the Nikon d7100 is exceptionally good quality. But, it is a very big but, the Nikon d7100 is not like the camcorder, automatic focus not really achievable, and if you walk for example the picture jumps up and down, making the video unusable. Active mode on vr lenses can help at some extent, but this video mode is more recommended to use on a tripod. Hard to make good recording with the camera in the hand.

Nikon d7100 compare to the Nikon d7000

Build Differences compare to the Nikon d7000

On off switch not so stiff on the d7100
Light sensor and lighting of the top lcd
Program selection dial has a lock button
Video recording buttom next to shutter release button instead of the back of the camera like in the d7000, would be better to put iso here instead of video button
The Nikon d7100 is little lighter
Live view switch is now lower position and rotated arrangement with a level showing video/photo choice
The lock is now on the round controller, the live view switch on the place of the lock
Stereo mic instead of mono
Seems dof button can also assign to Fn
In camera HDR
crop mode
51/15 vs 39/9 focus point

Features missing from the Nikon d7100

Flipout LCD is missing. All newer Canons has it, video mode can be better

Picture quality differences compare to the Nikon d7000

The pictures of the two camera are more similar than different. Of course the Nikon d7100 has more pixels. With a bare eye in a monitor size is very hard to detect any significant differences.

Resolution difference

With the Nikon 16-85 vr it is very hard to see any resolution difference.

Drawbacks

Pictures (jpgs) a little soft in terms of contrast. Huge files in native resolution, especially Nef.

Recommended lenses for a Nikon d7100 camera

I recommend the following lenses for a Nikon d7100 camera for starting:
Nikon 16-85 f/3.5-5.6 vrThese lenses has more impact for the final image quality than the camera.
Nikon 35mm f/1.8
These two lenses perhaps the not so advanced users needed. The first is a general purpose lens for outside usage mostly, the second is a bright, sharp prime lens for inside usage. For enthusiasts there are several higher end prime and zoom lenses are also available for example:
Nikon 100mm f/2.8 VR, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 Vr, Nikon 70-200mm f/4 vr, Nikon 300mm f/4, Nikon 85mm f/1.8, Nikon 85mm f/1.4

There are some very good third party lenses as well:
Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, Sigma 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Tamron 150-600mm, Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8, Tamron 90mm Macro Vc, Samyang 14mm f/2.8 just to mention the most interesting ones.

Summary

The Nikon d7100 is a very good, capable camera with excellent resolution, high dynamic range and very good handling. On top of that high iso performance is also excellent. Even on absolute scale it is one of the best value camera available on the market. Highly recommended !



 Posted by at 4:34 pm