This is an in-depth review of the Nikon D7100 DSLR that was announced on February 20, 2013, along with the Nikon WR-1 wireless remote controller. Although I have been shooting with the Nikon D7100 for about two months now, I specifically postponed the review, because I wanted to thoroughly test it and also make sure that I test at least two samples of the camera. I have been very concerned about Nikon’s latest rushed product launches with dust, oil and autofocus issues, so my intent was to examine the camera in detail and test all of its capabilities in various environments for this review.
After taking a long nap with 12-16 MP DX and FX cameras and letting Canon take the resolution throne with practically every newly announced camera, Nikon finally struck hard last year, when it announced the 36 MP full-frame Nikon D800 camera. Ever since, Nikon has been on a megapixel roll bringing one high resolution camera after another and not letting its competition come close. As of today, the whole DX line-up from entry-level to high-end cameras features 24 MP APS-C sensors, and the undisputed resolution king, the Nikon D800, still has no equivalent on the market. Looking back, Canon always had the edge over Nikon in resolution; it seemed like Nikon preferred pixel quality over quantity.
Lately, however, Canon and Nikon traded places – now Canon is slowing down, while Nikon is pushing hard for more and more pixels. Even before the D7100 came out, I knew that Nikon would go for a high resolution sensor – a given, since the previously announced D3200 and D5200 already had 24 MP sensors. But aside from that, I really did not think Nikon would have anything interesting to offer compared to the predecessor, the Nikon D7000 – a camera that was already excellent in many ways. So I had pretty low expectations for the D7100, as I did not think Nikon would bring any major innovations to the table. How wrong I was! When I read the D7100’s specifications for the first time, I was blown away.
Historically, Nikon has been using its 51-point Multi-CAM 3500 autofocus system only on high-end FX and DX DSLRs. Therefore, the only DX cameras that had this AF system were the Nikon D300/D300s, cameras specifically targeted for action and sports photography. When the D7000 came out and replaced the D90, it was clear that Nikon was moving up the semi-professional line-up by bringing in higher-end features and tougher build. At the same time, Japanese manufacturer made sure the D7000 line did not compete with the high-end D300s, because it was inferior in several aspects such as autofocus system, buffer, build (even with use of tougher materials than those of predecessors) and ergonomics. With the introduction of the D7100, Nikon once again upped the game and, by doing so, confused the heck out of many people, including myself. The “Advanced Multi-CAM 3500” autofocus system used on full-frame cameras such as Nikon D800 and D4 made its way into the D7100 – something many of us did not expect to see. Whether the D7100 replaces the D300s still remains a question, since it still falls short in some key areas like buffer capacity and ergonomics. But one thing for sure, D7100 is the best DX camera made by Nikon to date. Read on to see why.
1) Nikon D7100 Specifications
- High Resolution 24.1 MP DX-format CMOS sensor (APS-C)
- High Speed 6 frames per second (FPS) continuous shooting speed and up to 7 FPS in 1.3x crop mode
- 2,016-pixel RGB (3D Color Matrix Metering II) sensor
- Pentaprism Optical Viewfinder with approx. 100% frame coverage
- Twin SD Card Slots with SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card compatibility
- Built-in i-TTL Speedlight flash control through Wireless Commander
- Optional MB-D15 multi-power pack
- Two User Definable Settings (U1, U2) on the Mode Selector Dial
- Virtual Horizon Graphic Indicator
- Full HD 1080/60i Movie capability with full time autofocus and external stereo microphone jack
- Dynamic ISO range from 100 to 6400 expandable to 25,600 (Hi2)
- Customizable 51 point AF System with 15 cross-type sensors
- Magnesium-alloy top/rear covers and weather and dust sealing
- 150,000 cycle-rated shutter system
- 3.2″ diagonal TFT-LCD with 1,228,800 dots
- Compact EN-EL15 Battery (up to 950 shots)
- Built-in HDMI Connection
- Active D-Lighting for enhancing details in shadows and highlights
- Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait and Landscape Picture Controls
- Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up and Night Portrait Scene Modes
- Compatible with WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter for wireless operation of the camera
Detailed technical specifications for the Nikon D7100 are available at Nikonusa.com.