DSLR Announcement: The Nikon D7100 – Evolution, or Revolution?
The Nikon D7100 is here. A 24 megapixel DX 1.5x crop sensor DSLR in the advanced amateur class, AKA the “prosumer” class. It is supposed to be the clear replacement of the Nikon D7000, however the D7100 has one major change that could give many photographers a reason to do a double-take. It has no low pass filter, also known as an anti-aliasing filter. Standard. No D7100 / D7100E model options, just a D7100 without an AA filter. Is this a huge leap forward? Or a huge mistake? Only time will tell, but for now it sure seems pretty incredible!
(Click HERE to view more sample images)
Specifications and Comments
- 24 megapixel CMOS sensor (6,000 x 4,0000 pixels) with no OLPF / AA filter
Matthew’s Comment: I’m torn. On the one hand, as a portrait and wedding photographer I am dreading the reports of horrible moire on grooms’ suits and brides’ dresses. On the other hand, the landscape hobbyist inside me is shouting “forget fabrics and other nasty stuff, this camera is meant to be taken out into nature and used to create gorgeous high-resolution nature photographs!” I guess I will have to wait and see just how bad the moire can be. Nikon wouldn’t decide to completely forego an AA filter if they hadn’t thought it through very carefully.
- 51 point AF, adapted from the flagship series autofocus
Matthew’s Comment: A Nikon tradition – letting flagship autofocus trickle-down into the advanced amateur camera bodies. This is one thing I have always appreciated, and now Nikon has taken it a step further by going all the way to their “prosumer” body. This is however a huge indication that the Nikon D-XXX line is never again going to contain a crop-sensor DX member, and all future DX crop sensor cameras will be 4-digit series cameras. However that’s a whole other article, which I shall write post-haste.
- ISO 100-6400 native, with ISO 50 as LO-1, and ISO 12800 and 25600 as HI-1 and HI-2
Matthew’s Comment: My main question will be, …does this mean that it matches the Nikon D700, a (former) full-frame low-light champion? If so, I’ll definitely buy one!
- 6 Frames Per Second (FPS) with 7 FPS in 1.3x crop mode (for 2x total crop)
Matthew’s Comment: An interesting work-around for Nikon’s continued lack of an mRAW mode. 15 megapixels is a nice manageable file size for the times when you don’t need to print huge images. Also, the 6-7 FPS is nice for sports, although prefer Nikon’s older method of going all the way to 8 FPS when using a battery grip on the D300 / D700 series…
- 1.3x crop mode for a total 2x crop
Matthew’s Comment: In case you missed it as part of the last spec, yes: the Nikon D7100 which is a 1.5x crop sensor DSLR, offers an additional 1.3x crop mode, which turns out to be a total 2x crop if you’re counting from the original full-frame sensor size. Just like the last flagship DX camera body from Nikon, the D2X and D2Xs! Basically, in the viewfinder, this equates to a slight crop around the edge of the viewfinder, one that results in the image area being entirely blanketed with focus points. One thing I wish that Nikon would bring back though is, the greyed-out viewfinder crop box which to my knowledge only ever appeared on the D2Xs. Why they did away with this feature, I will never understand.
- Spot White Balance
Matthew’s Comment: Say what? Spot WB? Tell me more! Apparently, in Live view you can pin-point a Custom WB measurement from a single spot, just like spot metering. This sounds awesome, but I’ll wait to see how it works out in real life…
- 3.2″ 1,229 pixel LCD display
- Improved customization and controls, very similar to the D600
Matthew’s Comment: Actually, there is one improvement that I am VERY excited about: The “OK” button can be customized to 1-click 100% zooming during image playback, a feature which both the D7000 and D600 have lacked, much to my dismay.
- 100% coverage optical viewfinder, 0.94x magnification, newly designed OLED info display
- Magnesium alloy construction, weather sealing to match the D300s series bodies
- Built-in HDR mode
Matthew’s Comment: Don’t get too excited. I see no indication that this HDR mode is any different from the current HDR mode on recent Nikon DSLRs, which only creates JPG frames unlike Canon’s HDR mode which can also save RAW frames. I hope I am wrong though! Either way, Nikon only captures two single frames while Canon allows all sorts of bracketing modes… ;-)
- Pop-up flash that can be a wireless commander of current Nikon generation hotshoe flashes
Matthew’s Comment: I’ve always enjoyed this, and the pop-up flash plus an SB700 / SB800 / SB900 has saved my skin on quite a few occasions when I needed quick access to off-camera flash.
- 1/250 sec. flash sync speed, 1/8000 max shutter speed, no PC sync port.
Matthew’s Comment: So basically, the D7100 (like the D7000 and the D300s series) is better than the D600, but not entirely as good as the D300s series used to be. (The D300s had a PC sync port)
- Dual SD card slots, full SDHC / SDXC comaptibility
- 1080p video at 30p, 60i/50i in 1.3x crop mode, 25/24p, 720p video at 60-24p
Matthew’s Comment: Yeah, it’s not true 60 FPS, but overall 60i is still an improvement over most previous cameras. Considering the price of the camera and who it is aimed at, I consider this a “borderline acceptable” improvement.
- AI-S manual focus lens compatibility
Matthew’s Comment: I always appreciate this on my full-frame cameras, since it allows me to use old manual focus wide angle lenses for landscapes such as 17mm, 20mm and 24mm lenses. However on a crop sensor DSLR such as this, I imagine that the more common use for AI-S lenses will be for videography since manual focus lenses are also popular for that.
- 950-shot battery life
Matthew’s Comment: I usually wouldn’t even list this specification, but I noticed that the battery used is the same as the D7000, (EN-EL15 yet the battery life has dropped from the D7000′s 1050 shot battery life. Bummer!
- $1,196 price tag body-only, $1,599 with the 18-105mm kit lens
The Nikon D7100 is expected to ship on March 21st, in less than 1 month!
There will also be a new WR-1 wireless remote control transceiver, which will sell for $549, and is compatible with some of Nikon’s previous wireless connectivity devices.
Pre-Order the WR-1 b clicking here:
www.Amazon.com, www.BHPhotoVideo.com, www.Adorama.com
What’s Missing on the D7100?
Not much. With flagship AF, weather sealing, and all sorts of other features, it’s hard to come up with anything else for Nikon to cram into such an affordable package! What will people most likely be bummed that the D7100 does not have? Off the top of my head, I’d have to say built-in wifi and GPS are going to be what people miss. How much will it be missed? That’s a good question. Currently, only one other DSLR in the Nikon/Canon market offers both features built-in, and that is the Canon 6D- a $2,100 MSRP full-frame body that has far fewer features and power in some other respects, compared to the D7100. So in other words, the playing field is wide open on this one. Personally, I think that any GPS-savvy adventurer will be perfectly happy to just use a stand-alone GPS logger if the D7100 is the perfect camera for them, and any wifi-savvy photographer will have plenty of external devices that can help, from Eye-Fi SD cards to wifi adapters.
Would I have loved to see wifi and GPS in the D7100? Yes, but not if it had added another $100-200 onto the price tag. $1200 is already pushing it for a camera in this class if you are approaching such a camera from the perspective of the D7000 let alone the likes of the D5200, the next camera series down on the food chain…
Also, I would have loved to see a PC sync port, especially if this is indeed the end of the line for the D300s / D300 / D200 / D100. But again, that is another discussion for another article, which I shall publish shortly.
All in all, the D7100 seems to be a significant leap forward from the D7000. A bigger leap forward than the D7000 was from the D90? Probably, for all manner of photographers from landscapes to portraits to sports action. Definitely, in my opinion, “an upgrade, not just an update”. We’ll be excited to get our hands on a review model here at SLR Lounge, and we’ll keep you informed of our observations and opinions.
Until next time, keep on clicking!