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Nikon D7100 Review

Nikon D7100 Review
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Review / 07/24/2014
Author: Photoleet avatarPhotoleet
recommendations 1, rating 4


 

 

 

TIMELINE

 

Looking at the development of different technologies from various industries, we often wonder – what will happen when the market becomes oversaturated? Or reaches the limits of current technology in the moment when the new one is still unknown? It is an interesting phenomenon that in almost all industrial branches that aim towards dizzying progress, says that these generation breakdowns happen very rarely, or never. Whenever it seems to us that the current technology solves everything, it turns out that there is quite enough room for innovation, and more than enough, before the last cards hit the desk and companies are forced to radically change their approach.

From historical perspective, although it sounds like one of innumerous conspiracy theories, technology has always been way ahead of its contemporary time. All the things that we see and use at one moment, has been available for at least several years back. And it hasn’t been used because of two reasons – the first one is the natural ambition of big companies to earn as much as possible on new technologies, in order to cut their expenses and the degree of necessary engagement that is required for a market transition. This yields the selection of improvements we will get with each iteration, and the number of improved items never encompasses everything that companies can offer, but usually the minimum of what they have to give in order to prevent peeving and respond properly to the competition. The other reason concerns the buyers and their inertia – no matter that the market seems that it can take anything in, things are not quite so simple in practice. Taking in new things proved to be a kind of gamble through the decades of industrial revolution – tens of innovative companies have gone under, often because they couldn’t manage to tackle financial and technological needs of their buyers, but also because the buyers themselves weren't ready to change the approach to something that was common until that moment. Thus, we still see that those who rigidly stick to the rules succeed and last longer than those who want to change the world in the widest possible sense.

The camera we are presenting is not revolutionary in terms of technology used. Just the opposite, it is about reaching for maybe the cheapest option of improving the quality of photos, without the need to risk too much, because the technology used is in fact only the lack of one of them – in this case, Anti-aliasing filter that is a common element on any modern CMOS sensor is left out. Without the desire to diminish the importance of this move, we will say that this step is significantly more important for the world of photography than the mere announcement that "the D7100 doesn't possess the AA filter" implies. The thing that is natural in creating middle and large format sensors was a rarity in the world of small format DSLRs. This trend was broken by Nikon itself, by presenting the D800E model, and continued by Pentax, too, with its K5-IIs model, and Nikon D7100 is its direct opponent that also continues the trend that the AA/LP filter gradually becomes eliminated from the sensor in order to achieve better results and get the maximum out of the potential of the lens. Why just now? It is hard to tell, but if we leave out the problems that Bayer sensors carry, and that exactly these problems (moiré, the effect of jagged edges, etc) are solved by the AA filter, it could be said that faster processors were one of the main reasons, because serious resources are needed, that would be able to tackle the reduction of the aforementioned phenomena, at the moment when an optical solution is not in the game. Or at least the courage to play that card of (too)high resolution that will suppress this phenomenon on its own. The D800E was an experiment in the area. Its output is barely above 10% of the overall output of the D800 model, and the reasons are very simple – a man as an entity on average prefers to play safe that to take risks. The D800E as such, is a risk, because in case that you can't deal with the negative, you will end up forever grieving for not choosing the option that follows from completely conventional solutions, one of which is the D800. This is exactly the answer to the question “why is the D800 made in two variants, if one is obviously superior in terms of details and sharpness, and even noise?“

Regardless of the fact that this involves a substantial improvement in the conception and future idea of an average DSLR, a part of success is guaranteed by the brand itself, because the name that earns more trust, by an unwritten rule achieves a better success in the market. A real example that the story can have a happy end is the example of Foveon technology that had a lot of potential and real advantages in regard to Bayer sensors, even before the acquisition of the same named company by Sigma Corporation. Unfortunately – the mentioned company, nor Sigma, didn’t have enough capacity to carry out the technology and make a real revolution in photo industry. Sure we can't equate the story about a completely different sensor technology with a basically simple process of removing the AA filter, but it is clear what we had in mind. Will the almost “religious” aspect of respect towards the favorite company secure Nikon’s success with the D7100, is yet to be seen. We would say there is nothing to worry about, but we still have a strong desire to try all this in practice, because in case of a good response other manufacturers might take the same path, which would eventually bring only benefit to end users.

 

 

SPECIFICATIONS

 

In order to know what we are dealing with, a list of specifications will serve as an ideal gauge of technology improvements in relation to the previous camera, in this case one of the best-sellers in the class – Nikon D7000.

 

 Nikon 7100Nikon 7000
Announced February 21, 2013 September 15, 2012
Sensor 24 MP Toshiba CMOS, no AA filter, 3:2 aspect ratio;
APS-C 23.5 x 15.6mm (3.66 cm²)
Pixel density 6.58 MP/cm²;
Pixel size 3.91 µm
16 MP Sony CMOS, 3:2 aspect ratio;
APS-C 23.6 x 15.6mm (3.68/cm2)
Pixel density 4.38 MP/cm²;
Pixel size 4.78 µm
Formats RAW (NEF) and JPEG
Resolution RAW

DX: 6000 x 4000 (24 MP);

1.3x: 4800 x 3200 (15.4 MP)

4928 x 3264 (16 MP)
Resolution JPEG

DX: 6000 x 4000 (24 MP); 4496 x 3000 (13.5 MP); 2992 x 2000 (6 MP);

1.3x: 4800 x 3200 (15.4 MP);

3600 x 2400 (8.6 MP); 2400 x 1600 (3.8 MP)

4928 x 3264 (16 MP); 3696 x 2448 (9 MP);

2464 x 1632 (4 MP)

FOV (crop factor) 1.5x
Mount

Nikon F;

includes a motor in the body

Nikon F;

includes a motor in the body

Kit Lens

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO range 100 - 6400 in 1/3 or 1/2 EV increments,
extended - H1 (12800) and H2 (25600)
Processor Nikon Expeed 3 Nikon Expeed 2
A/D Convertor 14-bit
Color Space Adobe RGB, sRGB
In-body Stabilization N/A
Electronic Level System

Virtual Horizon in two axes and both orientations of the camera;

LV and OVF

Virtual Horizon in two axes and both orientations of the camera;

LV and OVF

Dust Reduction Image Sensor Cleaning;
Airflow Control System
Image Dust Off reference data (requires Capture NX2 commercial software)
Image Sensor Cleaning;
Airflow Control System
Image Dust Off reference data (requires Capture NX2 commercial software)
AF System

Nikon Multi-CAM 3500DX;

51 AF points, 15 cross-type;

Operational range -2 to +19 EV

Nikon Multi-CAM 4800DX;

39 AF points, 9 cross-type;

Operational range -1 to +19 EV

AF Modes

Single-servo AF (AF-S);

Continuous-Servo AF (AF-C);

Auto AF (AF-A)

AF Methods Single-Point AF, Dynamic-Area-9, Dynamic-Area-21, Dynamic-Area-51, 51-Point Auto-Area, 3D Tracking Single-Point AF, Dynamic-Area-9, Dynamic-Area-21, Dynamic-Area-39, 39-Point Auto-Area, 3D Tracking
AF-Assist Internal AF-assist flash strobe, external flashgun
AF Micro Adjustment For 12 lenses in ±20 increments
Internal flash Yes; GN12 at ISO 100
Wireless Flash Control Yes, Commander mode for two groups of flashes in the manual, i-TTL and Auto-aperture mode
Flashgun

Hot-Shoe, i-TTL compatible or manual flash;

Sync-speed 1/200; compensation -3 to +1 EV

Light Metering

i-TTL Hot-Shoe, Sync-speed 1/250; compensation -3 to +1 EV

Light Metering Modes 3D color matrix metering II;
Center-weighted;
Spot (~2.5% of the frame around the selected AF point)
Min Shutter Speed 30 seconds, bulb
Max Shutter Speed 1/8000 s
Drive Modes Single; Continuous Low-Speed; Continuous High-Speed; Quiet; Self-Timer 2, 5, 10 i 20s; Mirror-Up; Remote; Delayed Remote
Burst 6 fps
Shutter 150,000 actuations
Buffer 6 RAW, 33 JPEG or 5 RAW+JPEG 10 RAW, 31 JPEG or 8 RAW+JPEG
Exposure Compensation -5 to +5 EV in 1/3 EV or 1/2 EV increments
Viewfinder Optical, pentaprism, 100% frame coverage; 0.94x magnification factor; eyepoint 19.5mm;
Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark II fixed focusing screen with LCD preview
Internal Processing Active D-Lighting; HDR; Developing RAW; Vignettes, geometry and chromatic aberrations removal
Display Fixed, 3.2“ TFT-LCD, 4:3 aspect ratio, 1,228,800 pixel resolution
Live View

Yes, 100% coverage;

Image sensor metering

Live View AF

Single-Servo AF (AF-S) and Fulltime-servo AF (AF-F);

Face Priority AF; Normal Area AF; Wide Area AF

Video

Yes, H.264/MPEG-4 AVCHD/H.264;
1920 x 1080p @24/25/30 fps;

1920 x 1080i @50/60 fps;
1280 x 720p @50/60 fps;

Linear PCM stereo audio

Yes, H.264/MPEG-4 AVCHD/H.264;
1920 x 1080p @24/25/30 fps;
1280 x 720p @24/25/30 fps;

640 x 424@25/30 fps;

Linear PCM stereo audio

Remote Control Yes; MC-DC2; double IC port
Wi-Fi

Yes;

(Optional, WR-1 or WR-R10 Wireless Transmitter)

GPS
N/A;
(Optional, GP-1 receiver)
Storage Secure Digital (SD, SDHC, SDXC, UHS-I, EyeFi) Secure Digital (SD, SDHC, SDXC)
Interface Combined USB/AV-out; HDMI Type-C; Stereo 3.5mm microphone input; 3.5mm microphone output; Combined Remote/GPS connector Combined USB/AV-out; HDMI Type-C; 3.5mm microphone input; Combined Remote/GPS connector
Weather and Dust Sealing Yes
Battery Nikon EN-EL15 Li-Ion, 1900mAh Nikon EN-EL14a, 7.4V, 1030mAh
Battery Endurance (CIPA) ~950 ~1050
Grip MB-D15 for one EN-EL15 or 6 AA batteries MB-D11 for one EN-EL15 or 6 AA batteries
Body Body made of magnesium alloy and plastic;
135 x 106 x 76 mm; 765 g
Body made of magnesium alloy and plastic;
135 x 105 x 77 mm; 780 g

Technical characteristics: Nikon D7100 in comparison to the D7000

 

Naturally, on the premiere of any new camera, eyes are mainly focused on the sensor. Which is expected, as sensor is one of the main links in photography and, if we want to deal with the trend in previous couple of years – video formatting. The sensor is new. Made by Toshiba Corporation, of course, designed by Nikon’s experts. We saw it for the first time on a lower class camera, the D5200 model, with the difference that now it is expected to offer more, due to the mere fact that the D7100 is the second Nikon that represses the AA (Anti-Aliasing, i.e. Low Pass) filter from the sensor, and the difference in relation to the solution we first saw on Nikon D800E is that this time the AA filter is completely out of the camera! This is by itself the reason enough to be thrilled, and we can't wait to check the limits of the new camera! The autofocus… we can say that we had expected a similar model to the old one, but as the D5200 recently took over the famous AF with 39 points, it was unknown how Nikon would maintain the difference between the classes, without mutually jeopardizing them. The answer was the new-old solution, the AF system taken over from the D4 model, as completely appropriate to the new circumstances. There are also numerous other changes, so let's skip to the details.

 

PACKAGE

 

The package will be familiar to the connoisseurs, and you can see its content below:

 

Nikon D7100, content of the basic “body only” package

 

Content of the box depends on the package offered, and there are two options with Nikon D7100. The basic set (the one we tested) includes the body and the following elements: bayonet cover; BS-1 Hot-Shoe cover; DK-5 viewfinder cover; EN-EL15 Li-Ion battery with MH-25 charger and an AC/DC cable; AN-DC1 wide strap; USB cable for connecting to PC; the usual accompanying disk with ViewNX application for browsing and basic conversion of RAW shots, and a user manual on a CD.

The other, kit variant, comes in a somewhat bigger box, with a well known AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens.