Nikon D7100 vs D300s

A lot of questions from our readers about differences between the D7100 and the D300s are rolling in, so I decided to do a separate article that compares the specifications of the two cameras. It has now been over three years since Nikon announced the D300s. Since then, both Nikon D7000 and D7100 have been announced with impressive specifications that top the D300s in a number of ways. In this Nikon D7100 vs D300s comparison, I will first go into detailed specifications, then talk about main features that differentiate the two cameras. Please keep in mind that this comparison is purely based on specifications.

Nikon D7100 compared to D300s

First, let’s go over the bare specifications:

Nikon D7100 vs D300s Specification Comparison

Camera FeatureNikon D7100Nikon D300s
Sensor Resolution24.1 Million12.3 Million
Sensor TypeCMOSCMOS
Sensor Size23.5×15.6mm23.6×15.8mm
Sensor Pixel Size3.9µ5.5µ
Low Pass FilterNoYes
Sensor Dust ReductionYesYes
Image Size6,000 x 4,0004,288 x 2,848
Image ProcessorEXPEED 3EXPEED
Viewfinder TypePentaprismPentaprism
Viewfinder Coverage100%100%
Built-in FlashYes, with flash commander modeYes, with flash commander mode
Storage Media2x SD1x CF, 1x SD
Continuous Shooting Speed6 FPS, 7 FPS in 1.3x Mode7 FPS, 8 FPS with grip
Buffer Size (RAW, Lossless 14-bit)630
Buffer Size (RAW, Compressed 12-bit)945
Max Shutter Speed1/8000 to 30 sec1/8000 to 30 sec
Shutter Durability150,000 cycles150,000 cycles
Exposure Metering Sensor2,016-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II1,005-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II
Base ISOISO 100ISO 200
Native ISO SensitivityISO 100-6,400ISO 200-3,400
Boosted ISO SensitivityISO 12,800-25,600ISO 6,400
Autofocus SystemAdvanced Multi-CAM 3500DXMulti-CAM 3500DX
Focus Points51, 15 cross-type51, 15 cross-type
AF DetectionUp to f/8Up to f/5.6
Video CapabilityYesYes
Video OutputMOV, CompressedAVI, Compressed
Video Maximum Resolution1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p, 25p, 30p, 50i, 60i1280×720 (720p) @ 24p
Audio RecordingBuilt-in microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)
Built-in microphone
External stereo microphone (optional)
LCD Size3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD3.0″ diagonal TFT-LCD
LCD Resolution1,228,800 dots dots921,000 dots
HDR SupportYesNo
Bracketing2 to 5 frames2 to 9 frames
Built-in GPSNoNo
Wi-Fi FunctionalityEye-Fi Compatible, WU-1aEye-Fi Compatible
BatteryEN-EL15 Lithium-ion BatteryEN-EL3e Lithium-ion Battery
Battery Life950 shots (CIPA)950 shots (CIPA)
Battery ChargerMH-25 Quick ChargerMH-18a Quick Charger
Weather Sealed BodyYesYes
BuildTop and Rear Magnesium AlloyFull Magnesium Alloy
USB Version2.02.0
Weight (Body Only)675g840g
Dimensions135.5 x 106.5 x 76mm147 × 114 × 74mm
MSRP Price$1,199 (as introduced)$1,799 (as introduced)

As you can see, there is a lot of catching up to do for the D300s here. The D7100 has much more resolution – 24.1 MP versus 12.3 MP on the D300s. That alone presents bigger cropping opportunities for the D7100, which also happens to have a 1.3x crop mode that creates 15 MP images, more than D300s’ native resolution. The base ISO of the D7100 starts at 100, which as we have seen from the D7000, has superb dynamic range. And it goes all the way to ISO 6400 natively, while the D300s is maxed out at ISO 3200. Boosted, the D7100 can jump up to ISO 12,800 and the D300s hard stops at ISO 6,400. From what we know from the D5200, the new 24.1 MP sensor delivers superb image quality with excellent dynamic range that far surpasses the D300s, so you can assume that the D7100 will have the same quality images.

Lack of an optical low pass filter, also known as “anti-aliasing filter”, also means that the D7100 can deliver sharper images straight out of the camera. The EXPEED 3 image processor is much faster than the original EXPEED processor, which means that the D7100 can handle more image and video throughput (more on video features below). Storage type is obviously different between the two cameras – the D7100 has dual SD card slots, while the D300s has one CF and one SD card slots (like the D800/D800s). Metering is also more advanced on the D7100 – 2,016 pixel RGB sensor versus 1,005 pixel RGB sensor on the D300s. With a more advanced autofocus system, better metering sensor and faster image processor, the D7100 will track subjects better and potentially acquire focus better and more accurately. On top of that, for those that like to use teleconverters, the D7100 will maintain autofocus at f/8, while the D300s cannot handle it beyond f/5.6.

Movie features are obviously very different between the two cameras. The Nikon D7100 can do 1080p video at 30p (max) and 1080i at 60i (max), while the Nikon D300s is limited to mere 720p at 24p. The screen size and resolution are also different – the D7100 has a bigger 3.2 inch screen with 1.2 million dots (3 inch 921K on the D300s). Being a newer camera, the D7100 obviously has a lot more camera options and in-camera processing features (HDR, etc). Lastly, the D7100 is both smaller and lighter than the D300s.

Where the D300s tops off the D7100 is in better camera build (full magnesium alloy vs partial), faster base speed (7 fps vs 6 fps and can go up to 8 fps with the grip), much bigger buffer (keep in mind that the RAW images are also much smaller) and bigger bracketing range. Other than these, the D7100 has a lot more to offer, as you can see from the comparison above.


Support Photography Life!

We constantly work hard on adding unique content, gear reviews and up-to-date photography news, in addition to continuously expanding the site with new sections and useful content. However, we need your continuous support to deliver the best content and allow our website to expand its reach. If you would like to help us out, please consider purchasing gear from our links to our trusted partners like B&H Photo Video and Adorama. It won't cost you anything, but it will help us pay our contributors, hosting and other expenses to run this website. In addition, if you feel like we do a good job, you can pledge one-time or monthly. We do not run any advertising at Photography Life to keep it clean for your viewing pleasure, so your support is extremely important for us to keep it that way.

Please see the Support Us page for our partner links and a donation form. Also, don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Scott

    For me, buffer size and frame rate are the two big disappointments of the D7100, things that may be deal-breakers for many sport and wildlife shooters and the reason I would not upgrade.

    • 55
      ) Brent

      Those desiring a pro camera will have to wait for the forthcoming (this summer or fall) D400. There are a number of reasons why it will be delayed, the biggest one being pushing 24 MP pictures through the system at 8-10fps, something the D4 doesn’t do. The D7100 is NOT the D300s replacement. Wait for the D400. For me, the D7100 is the perfect upgrade from my D90; when or if I need to is up to me.

      • 56
        ) Jonathan

        Brent, you seem convinced that the D400 is going to come… why so certain, I’ve read on numerous sites that the D7100 is Nikon’s DX flagship and that the niche between the D7100 and the D600 is too small to warrant another model from Nikon, especially if its only an improved buffer etc… thanks

        • Thom Hogan just recently commented on the possible D400 – I think this created some excitement in the net. He might have more insights than we have but I am also positive that there will be a D400.

          regards, Sören

        • 65
          ) Tom Brand

          Hi,
          The niche between D7100 and D600 ist too small – that’s right. But for me, the D7100 and D600 are at the same “level” (just different cameras)
          But the difference between D7100/D600 and D800 ist big enough for another camera!!

          At the moment nikon does not offer a fast, professional, affordable allround-camera. It need not to be a D400 – it could also be a D800x

    • 81
      ) samir sinha

      I am not sure why, but Nikon engineers seem to have lost their collective touch in the digital era. With the film cameras Nikon would invariably deliver cutting edge features in all their models across categories. What is the use of having a camera with such features (D7100), if it slows down after the fourth or fifth RAW exposure. Its like designing a car with state-of-the-art features but with a top speed of 20 mph !!!

      • 82
        ) Luc Poirier

        Hi Samir

        My 2 cents comment:
        Only one answer comes to my mind, is to sell a D7200 later on. I understand that pushing 24 megapixels at a rate of 7-10fps for over a 100 shots, is not an easy task to do, with the actual technology nobody seems to be able to do it now. Why don’t they use “ssd drives” built in camera for storage purpose with a limited ram capacity to achieve it.

  2. 7100 looks good to me. The only things that I would keep my 300s for would be the bigger buffer and 1 FPS more for my birding,what would you do,which would you go with?

    • 33
      ) Andrew

      I do believe that the D7100 buffer will hold 30 (same as D300s) in 1.3x crop mode. (Read it somewhere but can’t remember). So for sports and wildlife, you get the extra 1.3x zoom, 3 MP more headroom than the D300s and better tracking/AF. You do potentially lose the 1fps though, however if you didn’t like having a grip, then the burst is the same.

  3. 7100 looks good to me. The only reasons I would keep my 300s for is a bigger buffer and 1 FPS more for my birding which is the only thing I use my 300s for. I use my D700 for everything else.

  4. The D7100 doesn make it for me – no 10pin connector and no buffer, no pro build quality. There is no point in having 24Mp with nice high iso performance when the buffer is full and you miss most of the action.
    I am still waiting for a D400 to complement my D3. If Nikon doesnt deliver that camera Ill have to go for a D800. There is a market for a 7D kind of Nikon camera, but Nikon seems to think the D600 is enough … .
    Still hoping for a D400 24Mp 8fps/ 40 in buffer in a D700 body … .

    • 27
      ) Tom Brand

      absolutely agree!!

      My D300s was stolen – and I’m still waitin’ for the D400!
      Hello Nikon: I want a fast camera and professional quality and I do not need 34MPix!

      • Sorry for your loss Tom ,I lost D700 + 14-24 and know the feeling :)
        Nikon answered to you in ” D4″ or keep waiting … this fall maybe ? :)
        cheers!

    • 54
      ) Adam

      I have been waiting for the D400 for about 2 years now. I agree with everything you stated!

    • 59
      ) Bruce Randall

      That would be the D300s minus 12MP.

  5. 5
    ) Ak

    A rather dumb question, what does ISO stands for?

    Sorry for asking something totally irrelevant to the article..

    • Hello, Ak. Don’t worry, we have a lot of beginner-related articles which will help you understand these terms. Refer to our “Tips for Beginners” section to find your answers. You should read our “Understanding ISO” first, seeing as that is an answer to your question.

      Good luck!

      P.S. In case you wonder what the actual term means, it’s “International Organization for Standardization” (or, to be completely precise, “International Standardization Organization”). In photography, it is seen as sensor/film sensitivity to light.

      • 32
        ) AK

        Oh, I was actually referring to the latter part Roman.. I thought there would be a different full form for it as I still don’t completely understand what this augmentation has to do with camera.. Thanks though :)

    • 84
      ) Mark

      ISO is roughly the same as “ASA” is with film, which referred to film “speed”. The “higher” the ASA, the “faster” the film. Benefit of digital is you can change ISO as many times as you want to. With film, the entire roll had to be shot at the same ASA setting.

  6. 7
    ) DavidL

    Hi guys,

    Im a D7000 user and love reading about new gear, especially an upgrade of gear that I have. I’m not considering changing, if I was I would go to full frame but I have a couple of questions about the comparison specs.

    First, exactly what does a low pass filter do and how will not having one effect this camera?

    And second, what does the different aperture numbers mean with the AF detection?

    Cheers DL.

    • 31
      ) Erichf

      My understanding of the low pass filter is that it was used primarily to address issues that resulted in moire patterns. These happen when you have parallel lines in an image and the sensor can’t resolve the lines exactly and you get an interference pattern appearing. It was something that printing industry used to grapple with as well. I believe the low-pass filter softened the image just slightly so that it would eliminate the moire patterns. Now that the sensor has so many megapixels, the assertion is that you won’t get moire patterns forming any more so you don’t need the low pass filter and will therefore get ever-so-slightly sharper images.

  7. 8
    ) John Richardson

    Hummm…..For as much as I love my D800, I still grab the D300s for several reasons. It is in my opinion still a very solid camera, although now, behind the times. Upgrade some of the internals to the level of the 7100 PLUS the bennies of the D300s’ buffer dual cards, solid build, etc. and yeah, I would go for it as a good sports wildlife backup*.

    * BUT as long as my current D300s does the job, even with a massive upgrade on the horizon, there is still no earthly reason for me to regulate a perfectly good camera to #3 spot. I do not do weddings, nor rely on it, or the D800 for anything other than a fun hobby that I do not plan nor have the desire to make money with. That being said…that IR conversion thing is still in the back of my head and maybe the old D300s might have a new future…one can never tell, it is kinda like buying multiple camera bags yes?

  8. 9
    ) Dave L

    As a D300 (and former D100) owner, I’m disappointed in the 7100 and I feel Nikon has left us with several less than fulfilling upgrade paths to the 7100, D600 or D800. This is frustrating because I think they’ve misread their D300 base and they’ve produced all three camera with an underwhelming balance of features from a D300 viewpoint. I would have paid $1,700 for D400 or $2,700 for a different D800 but they aren’t making those cameras. I’m trilled that image quality is great so I’m not worried Canon is moving ahead. So why am I not thrilled with any of their recent offerings?

    7100 – Adds “expected” baseline features but, I agree it lacks everything mentioned in article – very disappointing
    D600 – great sensor but features too entry level for what many D300 users were expecting. It lacks many of the better D800 features that I would have paid more for (ex. $2,700 for 51 point AF, better body, etc…).
    D800 – great features but the files are too big for most purposes and its too slow for photographing amateur (my kids) sports.

    I’ll go D600 and I know image quality will be great but I can’t believe they aren’t producing a camera I can feel really good about and would have purchased (spending even more money!). D300 had a great balance of features for its time. I wish the feature set of new cameras could match the image quality on this generation of offerings.

    • 28
      ) Rudi

      Hi Dave, I totally agree with you. It seems to be Nikon has a problem in differentiating their camera line since a body like the D300s is rather perfect. What do we really miss? More resolution? Why not. But you should have any purposes for it. And don’t forget: More pixels are limiting the smallest aperture withou having unsharpe picture by diffraction. I you like shooting photos with a large dof, you won’t be happy with a high resolution. Less noise? Of course :-)! The more the better! A larger sensor? That would be a different camera! What else? … Any ideas?

  9. Sir;

    On the above chart, you have Native ISO for the D300S with 3,400 as the highest value. Shouldn’t that be 3,200?

    As for other features, the main negative is the buffer size. For a walk-around camera, would be fine. For sports and other action, too limiting, especially as I almost always shoot in 14-bit NEF.

  10. 11
    ) Mustafa

    Dear Nasim,
    Recently I move from, D7000 to D700; I prefered a second hand D700 over a brand new D600.
    I love my D700 for it’s build qaulity, auto-focus performance and low-light capability. Yes, D700 is older, but for me not only it works great, but also feels just right.

    To my supprise, after D700, I started to appreciate D300 much more, If there was D400 DX, 16MP, with great autofocus and low light capabilities, I would have very little desire to move to FX.. D7100 is not that camera.

    Please Nikon, Hear us… Give us Pro-Level D400 DX; The just right camera.

    Mustafa

    • ” 16MP, with great autofocus and low light capabilities ” … and not considering D4 or D3s then …
      Nikon has cameras to sell and will not compromise on their current action flagship D4 :)
      D700 has very good low light capability (same D3 sensor) and for faster shooting get a grip :)

      and last but not least …Aaameen ! :)

      cheers!

      • 42
        ) Mustafa

        I think it would not compromise at all, I assume most D4 owners would consider a pro-level DX at least as a backup. FX is not the only format. Pro-level is not same as Full frame. There are always options, and should be..

        I am not a pro, my priorities are different and I cannot justify a D4. Even if I could, I’d probably use for sports and wildlife only; I use canon G10 for underwater photography; I love it.

    • 83
      ) James

      I just came back from a weekend shooting big 5 wildlife in South Africa with my D800 and D300 D300 using my 300mm f4 with TC 1.4 and D800 with 70-200f2.8 with TC 2. Out of frustration with the slow shutter speed (with battery grip) and many missed shots, I shot 80% with my D300 including a series of 2 lions chasing a wild pig …auto focus worked 100% and shots are stunning, on two other instances I missed the action shot because the D800 was slow. When the light started to fade thevD800 low light capability came through. Now I am at the point selling the D800 and buy a D3 or even a D700. I don’t need 36 mp but what Els can Nikon offer me? I need a 16 or 18 mp with 8 frames + and a buffer of 30+ in FX or DX. Nikon has nothing in this category that can compete with Canon 7D and their new upgrade, I have great glas, above plus a 400f2.8 and 16- 35 f4 and 50f 1.4.

      The D7100 is not an option for me. No pro body that can stand the work of nature and wildlife, no buffer, slow shutter rate, low light is not better than D700. Nikon, you better wake up or you will start to lose big time. I am on the verge to go to Canon.

  11. 12
    ) Steven P

    In your article you reflected that the 7100 had better AF. From the specs it appears that they have the same system, save that it is good to f8 on the D7100 as opposed to f5.6.
    In my comment to your other thread, I think that there is room for a D400 or the D9000 series, whatever Nikon decided to name it.

  12. 13
    ) Michael

    I agree with Mustafa. The 7100 is just not enough of a difference to abandon my 7000 and 300S. In fact with every new iteration of Nikon DX cameras I appreciate the 300S more and more. Matching the camera to one’s specific needs often produces a different result than simply going for the “latest and greatest”. At least that’s the case for me.

  13. 14
    ) Colin Scott

    Great summation, Nasim.

    On paper, the 7100 is the winner. But, the last paragraph is the killer. These attributes together with the pro-style layout of the controls give the 300s the edge for me.

    This is only my preference. The 7100 is sure to be a winner but, if I was in the market for a mid-range prosumer or high end consumer camera (or whatever they call it), the 7000 looks to be a steal right now and it takes great images (in the right hands).

    Older models don’t become worse just because something “better” comes along.

  14. 15
    ) Art

    Thanks to all the great folks at Photography Life for providing us with all the info on the new Nikon D7100, your efforts are greatly appreciated.

    Just thought I would share my views on the camera specs. IMHO the new Nikon D7100 is only a modest upgrade to the D7000 and is certainly not a replacement for the D300s in just reveiwing the specs.

    The only improvements that I would consider upgrades from the D7000 are , flash exposure compensation i.e custom setting e4 which allows for easier control of exposure compensation when using flash and exposure bracketing now allows for 5 frames instead of three which is useful for HDR.
    Disclaimer: I do not shoot video so really could careless if one camera is better than the other.

    The higher resolution is usless for me since I do not mega crop my photos and 12MP makes wonderful 19″ prints. Also with the higher resolution you had better be using decent lenses to take advantage of the high resolution sensor. The 18-105 kit lenes did OK on the D7000 but when used on the D7100 I am sure it is not going to be that great. None of Nikons prerelease pictures use the kit lens and there is a good reason for that.
    The crop mode may increase your frame rate but the buffer is so small it really does not matter. When using my wife’s D7000 that small buffer has cost me shots with wildlife and also with sports shooting, so a small buffer is a deal breaker for me.
    51 point auto focus really doesn’t matter to me since I perfer to use the center AF point and the AF-ON button for 99% of my shooting.

    As for a D300s replacement this camera does not cut it for me. Shooting wildlife and sports is really the only reason for me to shoot DX so again the small buffer rules the D7100 out.
    No AF ON button, this button is very import to me since for 99% of my shots I only use the center focus point with AF-ON button. Yes you can program the AF-AE lock button to perform this function but then It makes it difficult to lock exposure if I am using spot metering.
    Also I very rarely shoot above 400 ISO so the increased ISO range really does not impress me. At base ISO I can not really tell the the difference between my D7000 and my D300s anyway and i really do not expect the D7100 to be any better but you never know.
    As for the lack of a “anti-aliasing filter” I really do not not think it is going to make big difference either way, I also own a D800e and when I compare pictures to my friends D800 it is really hard to tell the difference between the two unless you really go down to the pixel level, and since I rarely print above above 19″ in DX , I can live without this feature.
    The big advantage I see that the D7100 has over the D300s is its higher dynamic range which can be a great advantage in some cases for me. But all the years shooting slide film have taught me live with a small dynamic range. Also I am really lucky that I also shoot full frame so for those cases where I need a camera with a high dynamic range I can always switch cameras.
    If this is going to be Nikons flagship DX DSLR I am disappointed. Also who ever heard of a Nikon flagship DSLR having scene modes!
    But a friend of mine just preordered the camera and is going to let me use for a couple of weeks in exchange for the use of my 200 – 400 f4 and my D3X for his Africa trip. Once I get it out in the field I just might be impressed with it but I am not holding my breath being my favorite DX camera is still my old and trusty D2xs which is only 12MP and really can not shoot above 400 ISO.

    So unless my field test proves otherwise I am not planning on replacing my wife’s D7000 or my D300s/D2xs, I see no real reason to upgrade as I feel that the new camera will not inprove my photography. Also I do feel that there is market for a high end DX DSLR and I would be willing to spend up to $2000 on it if it met my needs.

    Regards
    Art

    • 18
      ) Chris Weller

      +1

  15. 16
    ) Luc Poirier

    Hi Nasim
    I own a D7000 and a D90. Looking at the noise produce by the D5200 compared to the D7000 at Dpreview.com, stop me to buy the D7100. The only bad thing about the D7000, is the inaccuracy of its AF, sometimes telling me wrongly it found the focus in “single point” focusing in “AF-A mode” while in fact it focuses 2 feet backward. If the camera has not notify me it has found the focus, I would have tried to switch to manual focus. I know that because it happenned to me again at a party last week where I missed a very important shot of 2 peoples standing still while I took the shot at f1.8 1/125 sec with the 35 mm G at about 8-10 feet away . The only camera I need is a D7000 that autofocus in single point perfectly. The new D7100 with its 51 points/15 cross types AF will it do that ? if yes I will probably change my mind and get one.
    PS: I checked the focus accuracy outdoor with a target card at all apertures and they are all fine. Its in low light that it gives me inacurate readings, specially under tungsten light. My “AF tune fine tune” is set at “0″ for that 35 mm 1.g G DX lens.

  16. 17
    ) Chris Weller

    The Buffer size tells the whole story. There cannot be a “top of the line” DX camera with a buffer that won’t let you shoot raw files from more than 1-1.5 seconds, it’s absurd.

    Look at those numbers the buffer in a five year old camera is over 5x the size of the D7100. Even accounting for the larger file sizes it’s dumb. I just hope this means that there will be a D400. If Canon releases a competent 7d Mark II with 8-10 fps and a decent buffer it’s going to be a real problem for all the hobbyist wildlife/sports shooters to stick with Nikon or go with them to start. Not as much as issue for the pros who likely have the $$ to spend on high end FX body and glass. Everyone else needs the value and reach that DX provides.

    Canon has the right idea there a $2,100 high end DX camera is a giant hole in the Nikon line-up.

  17. 19
    ) nixi

    the d90 worked well for me
    but the auto focus of d7000
    has me crying
    even today.

    Can’t wait to dump it

    but this time around I won’t buy in haste

    need the assurance that
    the af of 7100 is indeed
    better than 300s

    else I am gonna wait patiently
    for d400/500/8000

    or succumb to buy a heavier d800 wit lower fps
    which is a compromise for my shooting needs
    despite the better af system.

    • 45
      ) Adnan Khan

      LOL :)

      AF of D7000 was the major upgrade in fact :)
      I had or have no trouble at all ,your sample must be bad or your firmware got corrupted by not formatting the card after having a trip to PC :)
      You can also fine tune AF :)
      Your dream camera might not have all your wants :)
      D7100′s AF is just like D800 and D4 but with the advantage of more area covered due to DX :)
      Or you can wait ….

      (nice poem btw)

      cheers!

  18. 20
    ) Manuel

    Nice article….Although I love my 300s and still use it as my backup camera to my 600. It just cannot compete with the newer cameras that are currently out in terms of speed and picture quality.

  19. 21
    ) Derek Gaston

    For everyone worrying about buffer size I wonder how many of those 15MP 1.3x crop jpegs the 7100 can buffer. I suspect a LOT… And I also suspect that the image quality from those jpegs will be MUCH higher than the IQ out of a D300s (even in RAW!)… especially at higher ISO (indeed, very especially at higher ISOs than the D300s is capable of!).

  20. 22
    ) Hugh Maaskant

    So much for the specs – 7100 looks nice but …
    * misses the PRO body build/handling/ergonomics – a.o. the AF-ON button, ISO setting on the top, etc. etc.
    * has too low frame rate
    I’ll stick to my trusty D300 until either a real D700 (preferred) or a D300 successor comes along.

    • Good idea :) a successor for D300 can come but no room for D700 both D600 and D800 are out :)

  21. Sir, a question about the buffer size listed above. On the Nikon website, plus on those of Adorama and B&H Photo, they all say the D7100 can shoot “6 fps up to 100 shots” (B&H adds “at Full Resolution”) while Adorama and Nikon say “continuously for up to 100 shots”. Based on that, it would seem the buffer should be able to handle more NEF shots than the values listed above. I am therefore curious as to the source of the NEF buffer values listed above, and wondered if you could please provide? I checked DPReview, and while there are comments about the buffer size, their preview does not even mention it.

    Thank you,
    WEJ

  22. First of all, thanks to Mr. Mansurov for his wonderful website and the time he is spending on it. This article is no exception, clear and informative. What puzzles me in the comments is the widespread concern about buffer size of the new D7100. There must be more wildlife shooters then I ever imagined. Being myself a portrait and wedding photographer since 1974 ( almost 40 years! ) I would be more interested in image quality than mechanical tricks. If you sell your work, it has to please your client. And 24 MP is just perfect for any size print they will ask you. Believe me, it is way better than 12 MP. No pro build ? I do weddings with 2-3 cameras so I don’t switch lenses and always have a backup. and so do my assistants. In studio I even use the D3200! With strobe lighting and good glass you can’t really tell the difference. Useful life of a camera body is less than 2 years. Then something better comes along. What’s the use of spending large sums for bodies built like a tank if you don’t go to war? D600′s are needed for wideangle lenses ( 14-24 ), DX for anything else. And D7100′s are cheaper than D600′s.

    • As usual “horses for courses” or as the saying goes. Did some tests with the D3200: nice little camera but there is no way to do serious sports photography with such a camera. Same with kids and fast action shootings. These Photo genres rely on very good AFS performance, calibrated lens profiles for full open AF precision and large buffer and here “mechanical tricks” make THE difference if you want perfect focus and strong background blur (as bad as this sounds). So again all depends on the application – and thats why we have the full range of DSLR bodies avail. (D300s follow-on gap). The D7100 has its position thats for sure but its not a D300s and I guess the D400 is just behind the horizon – there is an obvious specification gap in the lineup and Nikon will fix that. And I iterate bodies on 4 years – much better imo .

      Just my2cents,
      Regards Sören

      • Such gorgeous photographs on your website ! Not my genre, but I recognize beauty when I see it. And I can understand why D400, if and whenever it will appear, can be a good camera for you. In studio work, I don’t need blazing fast AF, I need pixels. At times I use old reliable AIs lenses, and with hundreds of joules from strobes, focus is not the main concern. I’ll share with you a little secret: at weddings I borrow a D3 or D3s just to “look” professional to some clients who seem to care about “iron” more than “images”. And of course I don’t use the 12MP images. About the life-cycle of cameras, after 2 years or less they still have resale value. Later they don’t, in my opinion.
        Thanks for your reply and compliments again for your work.
        Elio

  23. One option I would like to see for perfect sports camera: A square sensor. You would not have to rotate the camera to change from landscape to portrait. A little off topic, perhaps, however since others have expressed what they would like, thought I would add.

    WEJ

    • 30
      ) Bruce Randall

      Excellent idea William! How come noone else has ever mentioned this? I would love that.

    • William ,it’s available and is called Mamiya 6 :)
      cheers!

  24. 34
    ) Grimbot

    Hi Nasim,

    There was an interesting quote on the web attributed to Nikon Europe stating: “I can assure you that the D7100 is not positioned to replace the D300s as Nikon’s flagship DX-format camera – such is the information received from Nikon Japan on the matter.”

    Perhaps a D400 is still on the table for 2013….larger buffer size? 1080 video @ 60 fps? Additional bracketing up to 9 shots? 36 mp APX sensor?

    As you have pointed out the D7100 is clearly superior to the D300s and does move the bar with the D7000 but it is lacking some key performance attributes.

  25. 35
    ) Brent

    Hi Nasim.

    Now that the D7100 is out, would you advise based on technical improvements alone (iso, noise, pixel resolution, etc.) people to upgrade from the D90?

    Thanks,
    Brent

    • Brent,
      If you don’t have a buffer complaint like many “machine gunners” here then go blindly for D7100 from D90 as you missed the great D7000 :)
      In electronics one year is even old ,so many models coming every month from different companies but with least decent size DX sensor it will be a HUGE upgrade for you.
      D7100 has everything double apart from size only, compared to D90 :)
      For IQ compare your D90 pics with D5200′s.

      cheers!

    • 43
      ) Mustafa

      A quote from Thom Hogan.. “D90 You’ve got a fine camera, keep it. ”

      http://www.bythom.com/upgradepath.htm

      • 44
        ) Adnan Khan

        And why does Mr. Hogan not shoot with D90 himself ?
        Oh let me see he is a “Pro” … ;)
        I know him since he started reviewing cameras on internet and could not answer a question about “dynamic focus” on F100 :)
        He is a seasoned PG and I respect him ,but I’m sick of those people who shoot with latest models and advise others to keep old relics.
        There is a guy on YouTube who claims to have written a book on PG ,shoots mostly Nikon D700 but when client demanded larger files he bought a Canon 5D M2 also but was downplaying D800 and telling everyone not to buy it (must be pissed off that as he bought the 5D2 after 2 months D800 was announced ) LOL

        DSLRs or any other digital camera is an electronic item and if one can upgrade they SHOULD!

        I don’t need F6 as my F100 is nearly same and my FE and FM3a can go on forever ,same is the case with MF and LF film cameras.

        If one has financial means IMO every 4 yr a digital camera should be upgraded and this for general shooting ,even though my first tiny digital cam. 2 MP Fuji still captures images :)

        For general people who just want to have a DSLR any latest model according to their needs and budget is available.

        Pros know what to buy and when to buy ,they are excluded in this :)

        Once one gets into digital swamp then one has to face digital rot too!
        I have 2 FM3a bodies and was offered more than double the price I bought it for :) , on other hand D3x will be around $500 … in time :)
        I only entered in digital as nobody is developing slide film anymore in my area.
        On other hand I have changed 6 digital cameras with 3 computers :)

        It’s simple, whatever you can afford go for it :) .. even D90 :)

        On this site there are many very valuable articles for people who want to learn PG not just reviews and very few people share this info.
        ===========================

        People who are mostly asking questions about PG in comments should check out the articles on PG here.

        cheers!

      • 46
        ) Brent

        Thanks for the sound advice, Thom. I have no intentions of upgrading at this point in time. My D90 has served me well since I upgraded from the D70 in 2009. There is really nothing that it can’t do that would justify buying another camera body, grip, etc.

        • 47
          ) Luc Poirier

          Hi Brent
          What amazed me in all theses discussions is how much value people place on the camera they own or would like to buy, as if it was only the camera that was making the final result. Over the years I have seen pics taken with Point and shoot (Canon G) cameras that were better than pics taken from high end DSlrs. The difference was mostly coming from the knowledge or lack of it of its owners specially in post-processing. I have seen so many photographers who have a total lack of kmowledge about photography or post-processing and that always complain that their camera is not as good as they would like it to be. If your not working in low-light and not doing wildlife photography or need large enlargements a D90 is a great tool to work with. For me spending money on training is a much better value than on equipment. Thanks to Nasim for training people to learn the trade. I specially like it columns on post-processing (photoshop and LR). I strongly think learning theses two tools and the basic of photography is much more important than trying to buy the latest camera. As you probably know, photoshop can take a great deal of time to master. To terminate I also own a D90 and a D7000 and I love both they can do better than where my skill is today.

          • 48
            ) Colin Scott

            A very good point, Luc.

            I have a D300s and my wife a Coolpix P7000 (which got some poor reviews as I recall). If we are out together, I leave the landscapes to her because she had the better eye for that and I mainly keep to birding.

            I have seen stunning photos taken by a pro using the D7000 and a 300f4.

            It’s knowing how to use what you’ve got that brings home the bacon. I think that is what Thom Hogan is saying. Sites like this one and ByThom help us improve.

            • 50
              ) Luc Poirier

              Thanks Colin for your comment.
              Another proof for the unbelievers: I invite all to have a look at the work done by Francis Toussaint at Pbase.com with over 11 millions hits, many of the pics using a Canon eos D60 with many pics taken ten years ago . An old camera such as this Canon of 2002 with 6 megapixels, is the proof that its not the camera that make the difference in picture quality, but talent and knowledge . You will look at true professionnal work, without using the finest camera of today. You can spend hours looking at its work.

              http://www.pbase.com/francist

              http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneosd60/24
              Have a good day

  26. 49
    ) ertan

    No need for D400, because D7100 has most properties that you would want to see in D400 (and definitely better than D300s in most areas).
    Oh, and you don’t need D7100 because D5200 takes the same pictures, has very slightly inferior AF capability, it’s even much cheaper and has an articulating LCD and it’s even smaller and lighter! Forget D7100, get D5200.
    But… There is D3200 which takes the same pictures, just lagging behind in some areas which do not matter to most and guess what: D3200 is dirt cheap and it’s even smaller and lighter!
    See the logic?

    • 51
      ) Colin Scott

      Point take, Ertan.

      I have a 300s and would argue that I don’t NEED a replacement at all. We all WANT more than we have and, for me, that would not be the 7100 because I value the build and controls of the 300s above the higher pixel count etc.

      If I had to buy one or the other now, I would go for a used 300s because it suits my requirements, and wait hopefully for the mythical 400.

  27. 52
    ) MB

    It seams to me that Nikon have left just enough room for D400 to be possible.
    Crippled buffer on D7100, not pro body, missing connectors, more fps, better metering sensor …
    Also price difference between D7100 and D600 (although I would’ve called D600 D9000 just make it clear it is a consumer product) makes room D400 to fit nicely in the current lineup.
    Of course Nikon may have totally different plans and I am absolutely wrong, but It is nice to have a hope ;)

  28. 53
    ) AP

    I think the Nikon D7100 could become my first DSLR. As a practical matter, however, I really don’t need 24 megapixel images. I can’t imagine needing to reproduce an image large enough to need 24 megapixels.

    My question… does image quality degrade if you don’t shoot at a digital camera’s highest resolution?

    I’m not talking about the quality issue of how big you can reproduce an image before you see pixelization. I’m talking about the sharpness, dynamic range, noise and other characteristics of the sensor. For example, if I were to compare two images from the D7100 on a 27″ display — one image shot at 24.1 MP (the “L” large setting) and another at 13.5 MP (the “M” medium setting) — would I see any difference in overall quality.

    I’ve read so many good things about the D7100 sensor. I wanted to find out if those qualities are lost if you don’t shoot at the 24 MP setting.

    • No ,you are just getting a smaller size picture from a good sensor ,I shoot JPGs in small basic mode for family shots and get great looking results.
      You can shoot in Medium RAW.

      cheers!

      • 63
        ) ap

        Thanks for your reply. It confirms a conversation I had with someone at Adorama. They put it this way… when you shoot at a lower resolution, the sensor is capturing the image exactly the same way as if you were shooting at full resolution, but the camera simply downsamples that image to a smaller size. In other words, the sensor doesn’t “shut off” half the pixels or anything like that. It takes a full-res image and downsamples it.

        • You are welcome :)
          and ,yes what they said ,I agree with that :)
          cheers!

  29. 58
    ) Audi

    So, here’s my question: I have an antiquated D300 (not a D300s), what camera should I upgrade to?

    I need a new camera because mine is outdated. However, I don’t want to go to a full frame because I have too many good lenses that I don’t want to have to replace. And I like the way that the D300 is laid out with all the settings readily available.

    I mostly shoot weddings, portraits, and then for fun – vacation pics. Not really into sports.

    • D800 for weddings and serious stuff.
      get a PnS which has manual controls from Canon or Fuji for fun n vacation :)

      cheers!

    • I would like to know what lenses you have ?

      • 66
        ) Audi

        I have all Nikon lenses: 50mm 1.8, 24-70mm 2.8, 18-200 mm, 85 mm 2.8, 12 mm fisheye (I think it’s 12), 70-200 mm…I think that’s it.

        Thanks.

        • Well, except 18-200 all are FX lenses , i assume that 85 is 1.8 (typo) and all you need is a D800 body.
          The 18-200 can be used in DX mode giving 16MP.
          Seeing your work ,you should upgrade to D800 or at least D600 you don’t know what you are missing :) ,all of your lenses will shine on full frame as they are full frame lenses ,so let them run at full speed :)

          cheers!

          • 68
            ) Audi

            Well, great, Adnan! Just another temptation at spending even more money! I am embarrassed to say I didn’t know that my lenses are FX lenses. I’ve taken a break from photography for almost about six months and am ready to get shooting again.

            Thanks for the advice.

            Audi

            Oh, your photography is amazing!!

            • If you can spare $1900 in these hard times on a D600 ,you will be rewarded with great features and superb ISO performance.

              Thanks! and you are most welcome :)
              cheers!

  30. 69
    ) mahaveer

    i am a learner photgrapher. i would like to purchase a camera. i like nikon. in these three cameras which is better- d7000, d7100, d300s. suggest me better lens with this also.

    • 70
      ) I. M. Jain

      7000 and 7100 are newer and have better color
      And more megapixel for tighter crops and down sampling

      But both lack the accuracy of autofocus
      That’s there in d300s

      Personally speaking I am waiting for
      D300s replacement whatever it may be christened

      But that’s becos I need a dx cam for reasons.

      If one has the will to spend
      D600 which is a full frame fxcam is a great place to start
      If one wishes to build on lenses here on

      To my mind it doesn’t make sense on spending money on dx lenses any more
      Unless and until one is sure to use it on sub dslr cams that will wipe out the dx range in the next decade or so

      • 71
        ) Jonathan

        nope, the D7100 is using an upgraded version the D300S’ AF module, I have the D300s and D7100 and the AF of the D7100 is better (faster) in low light and identical in good light to the D300S. IQ of the D7100 is better across all iso’s compared to D300S. D300s has full magnesium body but the D7100 is very solid, I was surprised, but a fair but lighter. doubt there will be a 400, there just isn’t space for it in the price lineup of Nikon, but maybe they surprise us…

      • 71
        ) Jonathan

        nope, the D7100 is using an upgraded version the D300S’ AF module, I have the D300s and D7100 and the AF of the D7100 is better (faster) in low light and identical in good light to the D300S. IQ of the D7100 is better across all iso’s compared to D300S. D300s has full magnesium body but the D7100 is very solid, I was surprised, but a fair but lighter. doubt there will be a 400, there just isn’t space for it in the price lineup of Nikon, but maybe they surprise us…

        • 74
          ) Jain

          In order to protect my source
          I won’t respond any more on the subject

          Parting words

          There is a definite ploy to get ppl to spend more
          Inadequacies / niggling irritants are added to bodies at every price point
          To push ppl to spend and upgrade to the next level,

          The speed of autofocus has and will improve even more so
          However accuracy / spot on focusing is a different ball game
          And u have to pay top dollars to get it

    • mahaveer,
      Read this article and decide which type of photography you are interested in :
      http://photographylife.com/which-nikon-dslr-to-buy-first

  31. 75
    ) Jain

    In order to protect my source
    I won’t respond any more on the subject

    Parting words

    There is a definite ploy to get ppl to spend more
    Inadequacies / niggling irritants are added to bodies at every price point
    To push ppl to spend and upgrade to the next level,

    The speed of autofocus has and will improve even more so
    However accuracy / spot on focusing is a different ball game
    And u have to pay top dollars to get it ( eg – fps aside d4 is more accurate than d800)

    300s replacement is working it’s way as u read
    U can thank me later on for the insider info

    Have a fab day

  32. 76
    ) Jonathan

    if u r right about the D400 Jain, that’s awesome news indeed!

  33. 80
    ) Will Speak

    I’m using a D300 with a AFS300 F4 and tc14 for wildlife which is a fantastic combination but am eyeing the 24mp sensor on the D7100 with envy. The idea of being able to crop 50% and still have a 12mp image to work from is tempting but the limited buffer puts me off. I don’t doubt that in many cases I’d be able to work round it but there are times when the burst depth of the D300 is invaluable.
    If Nikon do build a D400, and I hope they do, I’m sure they’ll sell a shed load of them to wildlife photographers.

  34. 85
    ) Levis

    24 MP is useless unless you wanna print carrier-sized photos or if you’re a cropper. Metering in 300s is more accurate, and its controls are far better for pro use. As said, the 300s is a much sturdier camera, and it will endure all the heavy-duty work that professinal photographers bestow uppon their cameras. If you need a tool, get a 300s. If you want a good camera but dont need to take 3000 pictures per week, get the 7100. If wou want 24 MP for cropping, well, you dont need a DSLR, save your money and buy a bridge camera with 50x zoom, or just learn how to compose your photos and become a real photographer.
    If you want video, buy an iPhone.

Leave a Comment

*