2013-02-21

Nikon D7100 First Impressions


Nikon have today unveiled the latest addition to their DSLR range, the D7100. Sitting at the top of Nikon’s enthusiast-level DX format range, the camera is set to prove popular with Nikon enthusiasts and attract some new photographers too.


Low Pass Filter omitted for incredible sharpness
Like all DX format cameras, the D7100 utilises an APS-C sized sensor, which gives a 1.5x crop factor when used with 35mm lenses. In an interesting move, Nikon have omitted the optical low-pass filter from the camera. Low pass or anti-aliasing filters are used extensively by DSLR manufacturers to reduce the likelihood of moiré patterns, which can occur when the camera is used to capture subjects with fine detail like the fibres in clothing, for example, that is close to the resolving limit of the sensor.

We’ve seen other cameras that don’t employ a low pass filter, notably Nikon’s D800E and Canon’s 60Da, but these are normally intended for astrophotography, where the risk of moiré is reduced and the extra detail offered by removing the filter is advantageous.

Nikon believe the pixel density of an 24.1-million pixel APS-C format sensor is such that the risk of moiré patterns appearing in images is significantly reduced compared to lower pixel-count cameras and, therefore, the benefits of omitting the filter far outweigh possible disadvantages. Presumably Nikon have learnt much from the D800E, whose images exhibit very little moiré, and anticipate only limited situations where it might be visible in the D7100. Time will tell, of course.

Responsive, professional level focusing system
The D7100 incorporates an advanced autofocus system, designed to capture fast moving subjects. It comprises 51 focus points – the same as the flagship Nikon D4, and has 15 cross-type points for added precision irrespective of the camera’s orientation. In addition, the central cross-type sensor works all the way down to f/8, ideal for when you’re using a telephoto lens with a maximum f/4 aperture with a 2x teleconverter, for example.



The AF system is combined with 6 frames per second shooting, to ensure you can capture fast action and, in another first, the camera features a 1.3x crop function. This offers an effective focal length increase of 2x, meaning that a 200mm lens will behave like a 400mm lens. In addition to the telephoto effect, the 51 focus points cover an even wider area of the cropped frame, for precise image capture, whilst the smaller 15 megapixel images permit an increased burst rate of 7fps, perfect for wildlife and other fast action subjects.

Expeed 3 Processor delivers vibrant images
The camera includes Nikon’s latest generation Expeed 3 image processor,  which delivers high-speed operation, vibrant colour reproduction and enhanced noise reduction. The native ISO range is a flexible 100-6400, which can be expanded to 25,600 in dimly lit environments or to help capture fast moving subjects.

Full HD Movie Capture
Video capture is a key feature of the D7100, with Full HD movie recording at 60i or 50i in 1.3x crop mode, or in 30, 25 and 24p in DX format. A range of creative effects like Selective Colour can be applied in real time, a stereo microphone is built in and the D7100 is also compatible with an external microphone ME-1.

Durable Build
The D7100 features a large, bright viewfinder with approximately 100% frame coverage and 0.94x magnification. Inside the viewfinder there’s also a new OLED display for shooting and exposure information, which offers excellent clarity. The new LCD screen is 8cm (3.2inches) wide diagonally, and comprises 1229k-dots. A newly added i button gives you direct access to frequently used functions and spot white balance can be set quickly when shooting in Live View.
Large 8cm LCD display and new i button

The body is slightly smaller and lighter than the D7000, weighing just 675g, and features magnesium alloy top and rear covers and improved dust, drop and weather resistance.

The camera is equipped with twin SD card slots for recording flexibility, and optional accessories include the new MB-D15 battery grip.


The camera will be available body only for just £1099, or a kit complete with the AF-S DX 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR for £1299.

Comparison with D7000
Nikon maintain that the D7100 is not a direct replacement for the D7000, but for those of you who were looking at upgrading to the D7000, the new model is undoubtedly better still. There's a higher pixel count, more advanced autofocus system, larger LCD display, a wider choice of video frame-rates and enhanced weather sealing, together with a new locking mode dial.

Conclusion
Whilst we await the chance to get our hands on the new D7100, it looks a compelling proposition on paper. There’s a host of features, not least the new sensor and autofocus system that should be sufficient to entice Nikon owners looking to upgrade, and if Nikon can prove beyond doubt that removing the low pass filter has no detrimental effect for most shooting situations, then this could mark a step change in how manufacturers develop their cameras in the future.

We can’t wait to get our hands on the camera, we’re expecting stock at the end of March. Why not keep an eye on parkcameras.com to find out when the first units are due to arrive so you can pop into our showroom to try it for yourself.

Park Verdict
An impressive enthusiast level DSLR, ideal for sports, wildlife and other fast actions subjects.

We Love
♥    Professional-level 51-point autofocus system and 6 frames per second shooting so you’ll never miss a moment
♥    Twin SD memory card slots for enhanced shooting flexibility
♥    Robust construction with dust and weather sealing

Comparison chart

D7000 D7100

Sensor 16.2MP CMOS (DX Format) 24.1MP CMOS (DX Format)
Auto Focus System 39 points with 9 cross-type 51 points with 15 cross-type
Maximum Framerate (DX Mode) 6fps 6fps
Display Size & Resolution Fixed 7.5cm / 3”, 920k dot LCD Fixed 8cm / 3.2”, 1.29m dot LCD
Movie Mode 1080/24p 1080/60i, 30p, 25p, 24p
Battery Life (CIPA) 1050 shots (approx) 920 shots (approx)
Dimensions (W x D x H) 132 x 105 x 77mm 135.5 x 106.5 x 76mm
Weight with battery 780g 765g

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