A Worthy Upgrade To Nikon D7100

Nikon D7100 From My Own Review
I decided to take the plunge and upgrade to Nikon D7100. The color renditions are very accurate, also. I would say to anyone still considering this camera just buy it. You will not regret it at all. Just be sure you take the time to setup the camera the way you prefer it before you rush out and start taking pictures. I upgraded from the D7000, which is a great camera in its own right. This one blows it away in all aspects from low light shots to portraits or landscapes and everything in between. It is a little bit lighter than the D7000 and it feels great in my hands. I have not used the video yet so I can't comment on that part. The 1.3x crop is more useful than I expected. It is wonderful for sports shots for the extra length it provides on your lenses.

NEW 24.1 MEGAPIXEL SENSOR, 1.3x CROP MODE, NO AA FILTER
Although I didn't really care about having more megapixels, there are advantages. The most obvious is cropping and the 1.3x crop mode is a nice feature if you are into bird & wildlife photography. The crop mode delivers an in camera crop that essentially discards pixels around the outer perimeter of the image (instead of a 6000x4000 DX image, the camera captures a cropped 4800x3200 image). Because the resulting cropped files are smaller (about 16 megapixel) the cameras gets a slight boost in frame rate to 7 fps. There are focusing advantages as well, since all 51 focus points cover almost the entire frame of the image. Nikon has worked wonders with the 24.1 megapixel sensor, delivering amazing resolution detail while keeping noise in check. The noise that appears in higher ISO images has a grain quality that's more pleasing to my eye than previous Nikon cameras I have owned (YMMV). The removal of the AA filter is icing on the cake, placing this camera in the company of the D800E (which merely canceled its AA filter - the D7100 deletes it altogether). The new crop mode, combined with enhanced sharpness, were key selling points to me. After extensive use of the D7100, I'm happy to report that the camera is SHARP. I was never 100% pleased with the sharpness of images coming out of my D7000, but this new camera is amazing in that department. Whether this performance is the result of the deletion of the AA filter, I do not know - but I know the camera is sharp.

NEW WEATHER-SEALED BODY
The camera feels great in my hands, solid and substantial without being a brick. The body is now fully weather sealed (reportedly to the standard of the D800) and the button layout changes are logical and well thought out. I like the new "i" button - it's a cinch to change key camera settings, especially toggling the image area between DX and 1.3x crop modes. Nikon has tweaked the ergonomics nicely, with the larger thumb rest and raised "OK" button control pad. The LCD screen is 3.2", larger, brighter, and higher resolution than the D7000 screen. ALL of these changes are subtle but significant improvements. Note also that pressing the "OK" button during shot review zooms to a 100% review of the image at the focus point, allowing you to pixel peep on the fly - a great feature that will become essential once you start using it.

51 AUTOFOCUS POINTS
The AF is improved as well, with a whopping 51 AF points (that extend edge-to-edge in 1.3x crop mode). The camera focuses quickly and (for the most part) accurately.

COLOR
I'm liking the color captured by the D7100 better than that of the D5100. It's warmer and more organic to my eye.

VIDEO UPGRADES
I shoot a lot of video, so I'm happy about the new frame rates (including 60P). The new location of the movie record button, next to the shutter release, makes sense. I'm particularly happy that we now have a headphone jack on the camera. Sure, we don't always use the in camera audio, but it is nice to be able to monitor it now if necessary. The camera LCD display now sports audio level indicators, too.

POSSIBLE WEAKNESSES
The sharp 24 megapixels demand better lenses and better technique to get the results you want - is that a weakness? In other words, the ceiling of performance is higher with the D7100, but you will need the lens and technique to take advantage of it.

The buffer could be larger - this will be the Achilles Heel for some bird shooters. By limiting the buffer, Nikon has left the door open for a true D300 replacement to slot above this camera in the lineup. For me, the many considerable upsides of the D7100 outweigh the buffer issue.

I'm not a big fan of the new locking control dial (I never had problems with the old dial) but it works fine - it just slows down operation a bit, and I worry that it may break. Just a minor quibble: the shutter sound is different, perhaps a little louder, than the D7000 shutter.

CONCLUSION
Brilliant camera. Nikon has dialed up the D7000 in every area you would expect, and a few you would not expect. The D7000 is an outstanding camera, but the D7100 offers improvements across the board. Better weather-sealed body, better ergonomics, more resolution, better color, more AF points, no AA filter, a 1.3X crop mode, a headphone jack, 60P frame rate, on screen audio levels.
A Worthy Upgrade To Nikon D7100 | Victoria Knight | 5