Test Review: Nikon D7100

May 3, 2013 at 10:30 am  •  Posted in New Products, News & Events, Review by

Nikon D7100

Nikon D7100

The D7100 is Nikon’s newest SLR camera with a DX sensor (APS-C size). It has a brand new sensor with 24 MP and without a low-pass filter. It offers simple automatic and scene modes for beginners and a lot of individual set-up and exposure features for professional photographers.

Comments on Image Quality

The standard test box was shot in P mode and is a little underexposed. Colours are rendered very nicely; the gray background is reproduced with a neutral look.

The standard test box was shot in P mode and is a little underexposed. Colours are rendered very nicely; the gray background is reproduced with a neutral look.

Colour: The camera is able to reproduce colours very exactly. The automatic white balance system did a perfect job in nearly every lighting condition and created very neutral colours. But it also shows a tendency into a very saturated colour style, especially the blue and red nuances of our test chart. This causes a mean/average saturation of more than 112 percent and, therefore, a very high saturation result for a professional SLR system. On the other hand skin tones are reproduced nearly perfectly.

Sharpness: The resolution results are excellent. The camera reproduced the ISO 12233 chart with 3.911 lines in picture height, which relates closely to its nominal resolution of 4000 lines. The images have a crisp but still very natural-looking appearance. During our tests, we had absolutely no problems with moiré or aliasing effects. Even shots of fine detailed structures (front of an office building with blinds in its windows, fine structures of fabric, lines in Siemens stars in our standard test box shot and more) are reproduced neatly and cleanly. Some aliasing effects are noticeable in video shots taken with the D7100, but they are still on a lower level than in videos taken with some Sony SLT cameras, for example. Considering the missing low-pass filter this is a surprising result.

Noise: Noise results are very good. Luminance noise shows a slightly higher level than in images taken with cameras with APS-C sized sensors and lower image resolution, but the look of the final images is very good. Colour noise is filtered efficiently, and the final image shows only a little grain, similar to the grain of analogue film material.

The camera also performed excellently in our dynamic range test. It scores up to 11.5 f-stops in lower ISO speed modes and keeps a high level of more than 10 f-stops up to ISO 3200 mode.

Comments on Handling

The camera has an illuminated status LCD in the right-hand side of its top. On the left, you will find a mode dial (P, S, A and M, scene modes, etc.) and a second dial directly beneath the mode dial. This second wheel allows the selection of burst mode (two frame rates), the mirror-up mode, and the self timer.

The camera has an illuminated status LCD in the right-hand side of its top. On the left, you will find a mode dial (P, S, A and M, scene modes, etc.) and a second dial directly beneath the mode dial. This second wheel allows the selection of burst mode (two frame rates), the mirror-up mode, and the self timer.

The Nikon D7100 is the newest top-of-the-line product of Nikon’s SLRs with DX sensors (APS-C sized sensors). It uses a brand new sensor without a low-pass filter. This is a very unique feature because nearly all compact and SLR cameras are using such a filter system to avoid moiré and aliasing effects. Only digital backs for medium format cameras (Hasselblad, etc.) and some special versions of SLRs like the Nikon D800E surrender/give up such a filter system.

The new D7100 sensor offers 24 MP (6000 x 4000 pixels). We did our tests with the kit version of D7100 that included the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105 mm 1:3.5-5.6G ED VR, which is optimised for DX cameras.

The camera has a massive and robust body. It has a classical SLR design with a bulky handle on the right-hand side, which allows stable and secure handling of the camera. A large and illuminated LCD screen on the top shows all necessary image parameters and additional information.

The camera is very fast. Shutter delay and start-up time are low and, therefore, on a professional level. The camera can record up to 6 frames per second in full resolution (24 MP).

The Nikon D7100 has a very large LCD screen on the back. This LCD screen offers a very high resolution (1.229 million RGB dots) and is the control centre for all image and recording settings. Two setup dials (on the back and near the shutter release button), an 8 way control field, and many function buttons will allow a comfortable handling.

The Nikon D7100 has a very large LCD screen on the back. This LCD screen offers a very high resolution (1.229 million RGB dots) and is the control centre for all image and recording settings. Two setup dials (on the back and near the shutter release button), an 8 way control field, and many function buttons will allow a comfortable handling.

Its AF system offers 51 sensors (15 cross-type sensors) and shows a very quick response when pressing the shutter release button halfway down. The user can change the AF sensor set-up and define the AF area in the image centre with 9, 21 or 51 sensors, for example. The AF areas are shown in the bright and very large optical viewfinder, which also shows 100% of the final image. In addition, the camera offers a live preview on its very large LCD screen (8 cm/3.2 in) that has a very high resolution (1.229 million RGB dots). The LCD screen is fixed, which is a small drawback when using the Nikon D7100 as a high-end video camcorder. It is able to record Full HD videos with up to 60 frames per second (interlaced) or up to 30 full frames per second (progressive recording). Manual exposure settings can be used when using the camera as a professional recording tool.

The Nikon offers parallel recording of Raw and JPEG images. In addition, it uses a dual SD card system, which allows for shooting Raw images on the first SD card and the JPEG version of the image on the second card. The two cards can also be used in serial mode (recording on the second card starts when the first card is full) or as a back-up system (to copy images on the first card directly to the second card).

The camera offers scene modes for beginners. Professional photographers can use manual exposure modes like S, A and M.

Pros:
+ Extremely high image resolution and image sharpness
+ Very fast SLR system
+ Massive and robust body, carefully sealed
+ Easy handling, automatic functions for beginners (scene modes, for example), but also a lot of individual settings for precise set-up of all parameters
+ High-end video features (including manual set-up, high frame and high bit rates)
+ Large LCD screen
+ Large optical viewfinder (shows 100% of the final image)

Cons:
– No swivel monitor (would be nice to have, especially for recording video sequences
– GPS and WLAN function only with additional/optional systems

This review is based on precise lab tests conducted by BetterNet GmbH and provided by the Technical Imaging Press Association (TIPA). TIPA is the largest family of independent photo and imaging magazines worldwide.
Photo Life is an active member of TIPA.

SPEC SHEET: Nikon D7100
BASIC TECHNICAL DATA:
Resolution 6000 x 4000
Resolution sensor 24.0
Color depth (in bits) 42
Size of sensor (in inches) 0/0.00
Size of sensor (in mm) 23.5 x 15.6
TAKING PICTURES:
Startup time (in sec) 0.15
Shutter delay (in sec) without pre-focusing 0.20
Shutter delay (in sec) with pre-focusing 0.01
Continuous shooting speed (frames per second) 6.0
Max. burst during continuous shooting speed 999.0
Fastest shutter speed in sec 1/8000
Long time exposure/shutter speed in sec 30
Self timer yes
Exposure Settings:
Aperture pre-setting, shutter speed pre-setting, manual exposure settings,
automatic bracketing, time lapse photography
Exposure programs 19
White balance:
Auto yes
White balance settings 6
Individual white balance yes
ISO:
ISO min 100
ISO max 6400
ISO steps 19
Manual ISO control yes
FLASH:
Integrated flash yes
Flash Mode:
On, off, automatic-flash, slow-sync, anti-red-eye, rear curtain sync
External Flash:
X-Sync no
Accessory shoe yes
FILE FORMATS:
Standard file formats JPEG, RAW, DCF
JPEG-Compression grades 3
LCD AND PREVIEW:
Size (in inches) 3.2
Resolution of LCD (in pixels) 1229
Zoom mode during preview yes
Index during preview yes
Slideshow during preview yes
VIDEO:
Video available yes
Max. width 1920
Max. height 1080
Picture frequency 30
POWER SOURCE:
Rechargeable battery yes
Battery type Li-Ion
Battery charger included yes
Power connector no
Power supply unit no
STORAGE SYSTEM:
Supported memory cards SD Card, SDHC Card, SDXC Card
PC CONNECTION:
PC connection USB, HDMI
TV-Out HDMI
DIMENSIONS:
Dimensions (width x height x depth in mm) 106 x 135 x 76
Weight (in g; body without battery and memory card) 765
ACCESSORIES:
Docking station no
Printed manual yes
Manual on CD yes
Bag no
Remote control no
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