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Nikon D7100 DSLR Review

Nikon D7100 DSLR Review - The Nikon D7100 is Nikon's latest DX sensor Digital SLR, and features a 24.1 megapixel APS-C sensor with AA filter removed for ultra sharp images. Find out how it performs in our review.

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Category : Digital SLRs
Product : Nikon D7100
Price : £768
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Features
Handling
Performance
Verdict
Specification

Nikon D7100 Dslr (4)

The Nikon D7100 is the long awaited update to the D7000, although it doesn't replace the D7000, it simply sits next to it. The Nikon D7100 has a new 24.1 megapixel APS-C DX sized sensor without the optical low pass filter (OLPF or AA Filter) - this should enabled sharp detailed images, and the camera offers 6fps continuous shooting, 51 focus points, and a number of other improves to make it the best DX camera to date, according to Nikon.

Nikon D7100 Features

Nikon D7100 Dslr (2)
The new 24.1 megapixel DX sensor enables high speed shooting at 6fps shooting at full resolution, with a quicker 7fps continuous shooting mode at 1.3x crop giving 15.4 megapixel images. The camera sports dual SD card slots that are UHS-I 104 compatible, and on the back is a new 3.2 inch screen with 1,229k dots, featuring a 1000:1 contrast ratio. 

Nikon D7100 Dslr (9)
The D7100 features an updated 'i' button that gives quick access to settings on the back screen of the camera, and spot white balance has been introduced so that WB can be quickly set without the need of a grey card. The camera body features magnesium alloy and is weather sealed to the same standard as the Nikon D800. A virtual electronic horizon is available for shooting in portrait or landscape view, and the shutter mechanism has also been tested for 150,000 cycles.

Key Features 

  • 24.1-megapixel DX format CMOS sensor
  • APS-C with no OLPF (Optical Low Pass Filter)
  • EXPEED 3 image processor
  • ISO sensitivity of 100-6400, extendable to 25600
  • AF system: 51 focus points, 15 cross-type, up to f/8, -2EV
  • 6 fps continuous shooting, 7 fps with 1.3x crop function
  • 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor with Scene Recognition
  • Full HD Movie: 1080p up to 60i/50i and 30p/25p/24p, Stereo mics built into body
  • Microphone / Headphone sockets
  • High performance viewfinder: with approximately 100% frame coverage and 0.94x magnification
  • 3.2inch 1229k-dot RGBW screen
  • Durable body with magnesium alloy covers: sealed for dust, weather and drop resistance
  • Dual SD memory card slots
  • Improved ‘i’ button and Spot White Balance for quick and precise white balance setting in Live View
  • Active D-Lighting (ADL): retains details in highlights and shadows for well-balanced images
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR): combines two shots within a single shutter release to create detailed images of high contrast scenes
  • Effects Mode: allows selected effects to be applied to both stills and movies in Live View

Nikon D7100 Handling

Nikon D7100 Dslr (5)

Handling - The improved 'i' button on the back gives quick access to controls on the rear screen of the camera. There is also a new mode dial with lock, as well as drive mode dial surrounding this, also with a locking button that needs to be pressed before the dial can be changed.

The Nikon D7100 feels comfortable to hold, and surprisingly compact for a top of the range APS-C sensor weather sealed Digital SLR. It has a redesigned front and rear rubberised hand grip, and these feel good in the hand, giving the thumb more to grip onto on the back. There are ample buttons on the rear, top and front to give direct access to a number of settings, and there is a front and rear control dial to quickly set or adjust aperture and shutter speeds in manual shooting modes. The camera weighs 690g body only, a slight increase over the D7000.
Nikon D7100 Dslr (7)

Menus – These should be familiar to anyone who has used Nikon menu systems before, with options spread over six main menus, each one colour coded, starting with playback, shooting, custom settings, setup, retouch and recent settings. The custom menus (below, left) gives all of the advanced settings and they are colour coded into sections as well. The right image below shows the rear screen when you press the i button to adjust settings. A video walkthrough of the menus can be found on our YouTube channel.

Nikon D7100 DslrDSC 0227 Nikon D7100 DslrDSC 0224
Custom settings i button pressed

Nikon D7100 Dslr (6)

Battery life - The D7100 uses the EN-EL15 1900mAh battery, as used in a number of other Nikon cameras, including the Nikon D7000, D800, D800E and Nikon 1 V1. Battery life is rated at 950 shots, which is 100 less than the Nikon D7000's rating of 1050 shots. 

Nikon D7100 Dslr (10)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Nikon D7100 Sony RX100
Shutter Response 0.05 0.0
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2 0.3
Full zoom - Focus / Shutter Response 0.2 0.3
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 0.3 2.2
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.25 0.9
Shot to Shot with Flash 0.8 2.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
6fps (99 shots)
7fps (99 shots) crop
7fps (speed priority mode, 15 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A 1.6s
Continuous Shooting - RAW 5fps (6 shots)*
6fps (8 shots) crop
4fps (13 shots)

Tested using 16GB Sandisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s U:1 card. Switching from JPEG to RAW slows the shooting speed from 6fps to 5fps, and using the crop (1.3x 15.4mp) mode, JPEG shooting speed increases to 7fps, and RAW to 6fps. Focus, shutter response, switch on time and shot to shot time are all excellent.

* 6/8 shots before slowdown, RAW Norm/Crop, 99 shots before completely stopping, JPEG

Nikon D7100 Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Nikon D7100 Sample Photos


Sample Photos - The camera gives pleasing skin tones, with excellent results under our controlled lighting in the portrait shots. Colour is very good, and the camera delivers good levels of detail. 

Nikon D7100 Lens test images


Lens Performance - The 18-105mm VR kit lens provides a useful zoom range, and has a closest focusing distance of 45cm, which is best when using the full telephoto zoom. Purple fringing is evident in areas of high contrast and worsens towards the corners, but is not an issue in the majority of shots. Barrel distortion is visible at the wide end of the lens and pincushion distortion at the telephoto end, although this can be corrected in camera by switching on the Auto Distortion Correction feature.

Dynamic range is good, with the camera giving reliable exposure in a variety of conditions. Dynamic range can be extended using the Active D-Lighting option, or alternatively the built in HDR shooting mode, examples of this can be found below.

Nikon D7100 ISO test images


ISO Noise Performance - Noise performance is excellent with good results right up to ISO3200. It's at ISO6400 that noise becomes more noticeable, and detail suffers although results are still very good. At ISO12800 detail is lost further but results may still provide useful. Noise is worst at ISO25600 as expected, although noise performance is better at these higher ISO settings than the D7000 despite a higher number of pixels.

Nikon D7100 White-balance test images


White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performance is impressive under tungsten light with a very slightly warm result, and a more neutral result using the tungsten preset. AWB is again very good under fluorescent lighting, with the fluorescent preset giving an excellent result. White balance settings can be altered easily on screen.

Nikon D7100 Other sample images


HDR can be enabled in camera, when shooting JPEG only, we've shown two examples above, with the option set to normal and high. There are additional settings of low and very high, or auto, and the camera will automatically combine 2 shots to create the shot.

Nikon D7100 Digital filters


Digital Filters - The camera doesn't feature a built in panoramic mode, instead you will need to do this manually on your computer. Effects on the mode dial lets you shoot with a number of different effects applied. The effects available are: Night vision, colour sketch, miniature, selective colour, silhouette, high key and low key. A number of additional effects can be applied in playback. Picture control lets you choose from standard, neutral, vivid, monochrome, portrait or landscape and these can be customised letting you adjust sharpening, contrast, brightness, saturation and hue.

Video - Video options are 1920x1080 resolution at 30/25/24p with 720 at 60/50p, quality: high or normal. You can set to microphone sensitivity manually or leave it on auto, as well as set which SD slot you want videos recorded to. You can also set whether you want to record from the 1.3x cropped area.


Value For Money

The Nikon D7100 was introduced with an RRP of £1099, which is the same introduction RRP price of the D7000 when it was announced in 2010, and it's available for around £969 body only. Other cameras at a similar price point to the D7100 include the Pentax K-5 IIs (£859, 16mp, 7fps), also with a removed AA filter, the Sony Alpha A77 (£830, 12fps) with 24 megapixel sensor, and the 18 megapixel Canon EOS 7D (£930, 8fps).

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Nikon D7100 Verdict

The Nikon D7100 offers a compelling set of features, in a well built weather sealed body with a great looking 3.2inch screen. An updated 51 point focus system ensures focus is rapid and reliable, with the camera responding quickly. The camera features 6fps shooting in JPEG for 99 shots, which can be increased to 7fps when using 1.3x crop mode, although this isn't as quick as the Canon EOS 7D, or the Sony Alpha A77 with 12fps shooting.

The Nikon D7100 is one of very few crop (APS-C) sensor Digital SLRs without the OLPF, with the only other similar price Digital SLR, the Pentax K-5 IIs, featuring a lower resolution 16 megapixel sensor. This means the Nikon D7100, with 24 megapixel sensor, is capable of producing some of the sharpest images we've seen from an APS-C Digital SLR. As we found with the Nikon D800E, without OLPF, correct technique and attention to detail is important to achieve the sharpest results, but for those that are looking to get the best image quality possible, the additional effort is well worth the time.

The Nikon D7100 is an impressive update to the D7000, providing a higher resolution 24 megapixel APS-C sensor, but not only that, it also provides the ability to take the sharpest possible images thanks to the lack of optical low pass filter (OLPF). Although for optimum performance and for best results care should be paid to the quality of lenses used. The Nikon D7100 is introduced at a competitive price point, and it certainly makes this camera highly recommended.  

Read our Nikon D7100 vs D7000 Comparison Review.

 
  The Nikon D7100 is capable of producing images with excellent detail and quality, in a rapid weather sealed body.

Nikon D7100 Pros

24.1 megapixel sensor without OLPF
Weather sealed magnesium alloy body
Excellent image quality and detail
Very good noise performance
51 focus points
2 year warranty
Fast performance
Built in HDR
Dual card slots

Nikon D7100 Cons

Distortion with 18-105mm VR kit lens
FPS hasn't increased since D7000

FEATURES  
HANDLING  
PERFORMANCE  
VALUE FOR MONEY  
VERDICT  

Nikon D7100 Specifications

ManufacturerNikon
Lens
Effective Magnification1.5x
Image Sensor
CCD pixels24.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)6000
Pixels (H)4000
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.5mm
Sensor Size (height)15.6mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor3.2in
Screen resolution1229k dots
Touch ScreenNo
Focusing
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Spot
  • AF Tracking
  • Multi
  • Centre
  • AF Fine Tuning
  • Face Detection
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/8000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Aperture-Priority
  • Shutter-Priority
  • Manual
  • Scene modes
  • Program Variable
Metering
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Cloudy
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Flash
Exposure Comp+/-5
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting6fps
Video
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080
  • 1280x720 720p
Video FPS30/25/24p
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoYes
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Interface
HDMIYes
USBUSB 2
Storage
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLithium Ion EN-EL15
CIPA Rating950
Box Contents
Box ContentsEN-EL15 Rechargeable Li-ion Battery, MH-25 Quick Charger, UC-E6 USB Cable, AN-DC1 Strap, DK-5 Eyepiece Cap, DK-23 Rubber Eyecup, BF-1B Body Cap, BS-1 Accessory Shoe Cap, NikonView NX2 CD ROM
Dimensions
Weight675g
Width135.5mm
Height106.5mm
Depth76mm

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Photographs taken using the Nikon D7100

A  MonasteryHunting lodgeAutumn Morningfriend and foeautumnalRobinAutumnal RomanceSmileA trip to Lake MaggioreSmile for the CameraAbereiddyMoving ScultptureFlying High
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Comments


johneh 7 6 England
2 Apr 2013 1:51PM
Avidly awaiting Canon's response to this..........if and when it comes.

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josa 2 25 Czech Republic
2 Apr 2013 6:10PM
I'd love to see Canon response to Coolpix A or X100s...Wink
uzi9mm 3 79 United Kingdom
3 Apr 2013 7:26AM
now this a camera.
5 Apr 2013 1:22AM
Shan't be trading in my D7000 anytime soon
Great Camera. With 18-270 lens it is a compltete kit
The best features are - The Natural Color capturing capacity
ardo 6 Canada
4 Sep 2013 10:12PM
Hi
I switched from Canon to Nikon when the D90 came on the market. I never regretted my move. I bought the D7000 when it came out with so nice raw files with such dynamic range of 13.9 ev , but with one flaw its AF that in some low-light situation has a tendency to strongly back-focus. The problem is that this flaw is keeping this wonderfull camera from doing professionnal asignments. Then this spring the D7100 is here and I bought one, and what incredible pic quality it creates, with sharp photos thanks in part from its professionnal AF system the same that is used on the D4, and the low-pass filter that is missing. It is sold at a bargain price (1050$cdn). When you downsized the pics to display them on screen the pics are amazing in sharpness and low noise. Even downsized at 16 megapixels the noise and the images are better than on the D7000.

I wanted to switch from DX to FX before the D7100 came out, but now its out of the question for me. The only bad point is that Nikon is not really offering the aps-c cameras the same quality optics that FX is offering.
Grin
17 Feb 2014 3:24AM
Top of the Photo's Nikon D7100 has done it again, Canon on the runBlush

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