Our last comparison will be to show the difference between the new Nikon D7100 and the full-frame Nikon D600, which we reviewed last year. Despite the price differences, seems like a lot of people are wondering which one of the two cameras to choose – the D7100, a cropped-sensor “DX” camera, or the D600, a full-frame “FX” camera. In this article, I will first go into detailed specifications of both cameras, then talk about main features that differentiate the two. Please keep in mind that this comparison is purely based on specifications.
First, let’s go over the bare specifications:
Nikon D7100 vs D600 Specification Comparison
|Camera Feature||Nikon D7100||Nikon D600|
|Sensor Resolution||24.1 Million||24.3 Million|
|Sensor Pixel Size||3.91µ||5.96µ|
|Low Pass Filter||No||Yes|
|Sensor Dust Reduction||Yes||Yes|
|Image Size||6,000 x 4,000||6,016 x 4,016|
|Image Processor||EXPEED 3||EXPEED 3|
|Built-in Flash||Yes, with flash commander mode||Yes, with flash commander mode|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/250||1/200|
|Storage Media||2x SD||2x SD|
|Continuous Shooting Speed||6 FPS, 7 FPS in 1.3x Mode||5.5 FPS|
|Buffer Size (RAW, Lossless 14-bit)||6||16|
|Buffer Size (RAW, Compressed 12-bit)||9||27|
|Max Shutter Speed||1/8000 to 30 sec||1/4000 to 30 sec|
|Shutter Durability||150,000 cycles||150,000 cycles|
|Exposure Metering Sensor||2,016-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II||2,016-pixel RGB sensor 3D Color Matrix Metering II|
|Base ISO||ISO 100||ISO 100|
|Native ISO Sensitivity||ISO 100-6,400||ISO 100-6,400|
|Boosted ISO Sensitivity||ISO 12,800-25,600||ISO 12,800-25,600|
|Autofocus System||Advanced Multi-CAM 3500DX||Multi-CAM 4800|
|Focus Points||51, 15 cross-type||39, 9 cross-type|
|AF Detection||Up to f/8||Up to f/8|
|Video Output||MOV, Compressed||MOV, Uncompressed|
|Video Maximum Resolution||1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p, 25p, 30p, 50i, 60i||1920×1080 (1080p) @ 24p, 25p, 30p|
|Audio Recording||Built-in microphone|
External stereo microphone (optional)
External stereo microphone (optional)
|LCD Size||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD||3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD|
|LCD Resolution||1,228,800 dots dots||921,000 dots|
|Bracketing||2 to 5 frames||2 to 3 frames|
|Wi-Fi Functionality||Eye-Fi Compatible, WU-1a||Eye-Fi Compatible, WU-1b|
|Battery||EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery||EN-EL15 Lithium-ion Battery|
|Battery Life||950 shots (CIPA)||900 shots (CIPA)|
|Battery Charger||MH-25 Quick Charger||MH-25 Quick Charger|
|Weather Sealed Body||Yes||Yes|
|Build||Top and Rear Magnesium Alloy||Top and Rear Magnesium Alloy|
|Weight (Body Only)||675g||760g|
|Dimensions||135.5 x 106.5 x 76mm||141 × 113 × 82mm|
|MSRP Price||$1,199 (as introduced)||$2,099 (as introduced)|
At first, it might seem like these two cameras have a lot in common. However, there are a number of differences, some of which are so big that I will spend some time talking about them detail. The first main difference between the D7100 and the D600 is obviously the sensor. The Nikon D7100 has an APS-C sized sensor, also known as “DX” in Nikon lingo, while the D600 has more than twice larger full-frame “FX” sensor. I won’t spend a lot of time discussing differences in sensor sizes here, because I have already written about it in detail before. Head on over to my Nikon DX vs FX article, give it a good read and then come back here. In short, sensor size matters! While both cameras have comparably similar resolution (24 MP), the sensor sizes are different, which means that the full-frame D600 has several advantages such as: lower noise, higher dynamic range, better colors, shallower depth of field, less diffraction and wider field of view. Larger sensor also means a larger mirror and viewfinder, which is a huge advantage that many people underestimate. If you took a DX camera and an FX camera and looked through the viewfinder of both, you would notice the difference right away. I talked about this a number of times before, but it is best to experience this yourself. I highly recommend to go to a local camera store and compare – it is hard to visualize until you actually see it. Yes, it is that much different.
Lack of a low pass filter, also known as “anti-aliasing filter”, means that the D7100 will produce sharp images and take advantage of good lenses that can resolve a lot of detail. The D600 has such a filter in place, so it is at a slight disadvantage in that regard. Although for some people, the possibility of moire showing up in images is much worse than having slightly sharper images. Again, I won’t cover the advantages and disadvantages of low-pass filters, because I covered it in detail in my “what is a low-pass filter?” and Nikon D800 vs D800E articles.
Speed-wise, both cameras are comparable at 6 (D7100) and 5.5 (D600) fps, although the D7100 can shoot at 7 fps in 1.3x crop mode. The buffer capacity difference, however, is quite big. One of the limitations of the D7100 is its very small buffer that can accommodate a maximum of 16 smallest (compressed) RAW files before the buffer fills up and the camera slows down. The D600 is better in that regard: it can fit 60% more images before slowing the camera – an important metric for sports and wildlife photographers. At the same time, the D600 has an inferior autofocus system from the D7000, with 39 autofocus points that are tightly placed around the center of the viewfinder. The Nikon D7100 is the complete opposite of the D600 in that regard – because it uses the autofocus system from high-end full-frame cameras, its 51 focus points are spread out across the frame. Take a look at the difference between the two:
I will save my commentary on the above for the next article that I am working on.
Another important difference worth noting is the maximum shutter speed – the D7100 can go all the way to 1/8000, while the D600 is limited to 1/4000. Most people won’t care about this difference, but it could make a difference for shooting very fast prime lenses in bright light. The same goes for the flash sync speed limitations – the D7100 is better at 1/250 sync speed, while the D600 is limited to 1/200. For most photographers out there, this does not make a difference, but flash gurus will prefer the 1/250 sync speed for a number of reasons. Lastly, bracketing is also limited on the D600 compared to the D7100 – the latter can do 2 to 5 frames, while the D600 can only go as far as 2 to 3 frames total.
Screen sizes on both cameras are of the same size, but the D7100 has more resolution, with its 1.2 million dots versus 921K. The D600 is slightly larger and about 85 grams heavier. Lastly, the price difference between the two is quite big – the D7100 retails for $1,199, while the D600 is at $2,099 (although its price has been around the $2K mark for a while now).
So, here comes the big question – should you get the D7100 or the D600? It is surely a tough choice and not an easy answer. The D7100 is better in features, but the D600 is better in image quality. Personally, I favor the D600 for its better image quality and large viewfinder. But it comes at a much higher cost, especially for someone that owns a number of DX lenses. So I suggest to go through your priorities and decide what is more important for you and decide whether the cost difference is worth the change or not.
The price difference used is only about 300 bucks at this point. Why buy the D7100… moving to fx is a no brainer now. Esp if you were upgrading from a d80/d90/d200 and already have FX lenses… I always shot with FX lenses, never owned a DX lens actually, b/c I went from Film to DX DSLR. I’d say the only reason to go DX at this point is if you are a beginner and plan on shooting mostly with a zoom kit. If you were already shooting 1.8 primes for example or a 2.8g zoom on the older DX, again, the FX upgrade is a no brainer. The few things the 7100 wins in are very tiny. I mean if you have to have wildlife, I suppose a dx crop factor is better, for me, dx always sucked b/c I like to shoot wide. There has never been a good 16mm or 24mm affordable dx lens that matches to a 24mm or 35mm fx to this day.
I am a wildlife and nature enthusiast… I am struck between D7100 and D600. Because being an aps c sensor d7100 will provide a 1.5x crop which will be advantageous for wildlife. However it wont provide me with the wide perspective for landscapes and nature photography ..
any advice? or is the 1.5x crop negligible?
Nasim said above that D7100 is the way to go for wildlife.
For lanscape you have the glorious Nikon 10-24mm DX and other non-Nikon offerings.
Hello Nasim Great review … But still … i don’t know what i should buy … I’m torn apart between the D7100 + the wonderful SIGMA 18-35 1.8 …. and …. the D610 + a Nikkor 50mm 1.8G that i already own …
Both combos are on the same price level … Do you have any advice ?
This article was actually really helpful. If you are a portrait photographer, the 250 sync speed is a plus, as is the 1/8000 max shutter for outdoor portraits in sunlight. Plus you get all the “pro goodies like commander mode. I don’t think I’ll pay double for a larger sensor at his time. Thanks for posting.
Dear Nasim, Finally i have gone for D7100 due to price factor. Thought in diff. of amount i can increase my lens kit. kindly suggest how can i use the best of D7100. pl advise sp. features of the same and tips too.
Thank you so much for such vital info on various part of photography. I need your advise to buy camera. i have d80 with 50mm, 18-135,70-300 & 105 macro vrII with me. i love to do life, portraits,macro and landscapes. very less in to wildlife or birding. need your clear cut opinion to buy my up gradation in next camera. should i buy d7100 or d600. pl advise.
If you want the best image quality, get the Nikon D600. The only problem is your 18-135mm lens – that one will work in DX mode, so I would recommend to upgrade it. Currently Nikon is running a great deal for cameras + lenses. If you buy the D600 with a lens, you can get a lot of $ off. Here is the deal.
Thanks Nasim for your final vote. i will go for D600. Can you suggest any specific filter to be purchased with cam? as i love to shoot life,portraits and landscapes. suggest lenses too.
I would get a wide-angle lens for the D600. Go with the Nikon 24-120mm f/4 – it is $300 off right now. I think you are set for everything else. As for filters, I would get a circular polarizer from B+W – other than that, maybe protective filters…
Great. In India, D600 is costing 2315 $ with kit lens & D7100 is 1438$. price compare is quite a high. though both falls in diff. category but price is also matters. bit confuse for d600. help me.
hi nasim is nikon d7100 with nikor 105mm afs g good option or d600 and if d600 than which lens i have less mony if iwill buy d600 kindly give me good sugestion is nikon d7100 worth buying also over d7000
I would personally go with the D600 if you photograph portraits/people/landscapes and architecture. For wildlife and sports, the D7100 is the way to go.
“For wildlife and sports, the D7100 is the way to go.”
WOW. There you said it!!!
So where does that leave:
Also, see how the D7100 beats the D800:
Martin, I said it because of the autofocus system – the D7100 has the 51 point AF system and the way I look at it, it is better to have a noisier shot that is in focus, rather than having a noiseless blurry one :)
So now we have the 51 point AF system of the D750 vs the 51 point AF of the D7100.
Given the choice between those two, Nasim, would you still take the D7100?
I think it boils down to, given the same focal length, shutter speed and ISO would a cropped FX image (and I don’t mean one shot in DX mode) best a cropped DX image? I say no because I think it’s all about getting pixels on the subject even if those pixels are noisier (just like Martin’s 2nd link shows – and I’m surprised the D800 is so poor in comparison).
I have both cameras and have to sell one.
It will be the D7100 for several reasons.
1. My second shoot likes the handling of the D600 better.
2. I have not used the D7100 to shoot long like I thought I would.
a. The hand held images at or above 400mm are mostly blurry even at high shutter speeds.
b. I do not like to carry a TriPod everywhere, especially on hikes.
3. The D600 actually focuses better in low light at 6400 ISO
a. The images are also better above 6400 and we have low light Events to do.
Hi my name is Jon and do not know if I can participate. Anyway, I’ll do it. Apologies if it is a closed forum.
My current computer is a nikon d200 + nikon 17-55 + nikon 70-200 vrI + tokina 12-24. I like the new nikon D7100. My question is this Nasim:
What about the duo nikon D7100 + nikon 17-55 mm (how well it worked on my nikon d200)?
I have read several of your articles and I like very much. Thanks for all and sorry for my horrible English. Greetings.
I am curious in general what Nasim thinks about the old 17-55. That lens is getting old, Nasim, and it is a beast. Do you think it is good enough for modern 24MP crop sensor in terms of resolving it?
DXOMark has just published their test results for the best lenses for use with a D600….they have also published similar information on the best lenses for a D800. Since no DX lenses are included on these reviews you’d need to do a bit of comparison on the DXOMark website to assess various lens purchase options. If you do a web search for “best lenses for D600 DXOMark” you should find the information quite easily.
I did have a look at the 17-55 DX on DXOMark for you to see how it scored on different cameras. There are typically three ratings that I pay more attention to on DXOMark: the overall score (shooting a low light scene), the sharpness score (how many effective MP the camera/lens combination delivers) and the mid-light score (shooting a well lit scene).
The 17-55 scored 13 overall, 5 for sharpness (41.7% efficiency), and 23 for mid-light on a D300s.
On a D7000 it scored 15 overall, 6 for sharpness (37.5% efficiency), and 27 for mid-light.
This comparison tends to indicate that the lens does perform somewhat better on a camera with a sensor with more mega-pixels….although the improvement in sharpness is less than what might be expected with the higher pixel density.
I also compared the FX 16-35 f4 on a D7000 and that lens scored 13 overall (understandable since it is an f/4 lens compared to an f/2.8) 8 for sharpness (50% efficiency) and 27 for mid-light. So, while there is an improvement in sharpness on a D7000, in terms of maximum ‘excellent’ quality print size (i.e. the overall and mid-light scores) there is not a huge reason to switch to the 16-35 f/4 from the 17-55 DX when using a crop sensor camera.
The FX 16-35 f/4 scores on the full frame D600 were: 23 overall, 14 for sharpness (58.3% efficiency), and 42 for mid-light….so the lens performs significantly better on an FX, high MP body like the D600 than it does on a crop sensor camera.
The latest information on DXOMark gives photographers some additional information to consider before making camera body or lens purchases. In many cases the most expensive lenses are not the best performing depending on the body with which they are used.
Hope this has helped a little….
Jon, if you already own the 17-55mm, it should work fine on the D7100. It is a pro level lens that has pretty good resolution, especially when stopped down to f/5.6 range. However, if you are planning on buying one, I would recommend against doing that for a couple of reasons. The whole notion of a “professional” DX lens just doesn’t sound right nowadays. Why spend so much money on a lens that you can only use on DX camera? Plus, it is clear that Nikon has no interest in further developing “pro” level glass for DX. The 17-55mm, the 12-24mm and the 10.5mm fisheye are pretty much the only “pro” DX offers from Nikon – we have not seen any pro DX lens for years now…
Thank you for your attention. I would have liked to jump into fx, but those lenses are my property. First I have to sell the lenses. And the economic effort to buy the new lenses and full frame camera is overkill for me. The question that I have is to wait for the D400 (if it ever comes to light) or buy the D7100 and continue with the lenses that I have.
Thanks and greetings to all.
The way I feel about this comparison is that
if I had a chance to swap my D7100 + D600 for a D800e, I would.