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Nikon D7100 review

Verdict

A superbly conceived DSLR with very few weaknesses – an ideal choice for enthusiasts

Review Date: 20 Jul 2013

Reviewed By: Ben Pitt

Price when reviewed: £825 (£990 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £930
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
3 stars out of 6

Image Quality
5 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

The Nikon D7100 is an update to the D7000, and with no news of a replacement for the aging D300S, it effectively sits at the top of Nikon's cropped-sensor SLR range.

From the outside, it's hard to distinguish from the D7000, but that's no bad thing – the D7000's controls are one of its greatest strengths. The significant changes are all on the inside. The resolution has increased from 16 megapixels to 24 megapixels, and Nikon has dispensed with the optical low-pass filter (more of which below), promising a further boost to detail capture. The autofocus sensor has been upgraded from 39 points to 51 points, including 15 cross-type points for increased sensitivity. The video mode now offers a choice of frame rates, and there's a headphone output to monitor the microphone while recording.

Nikon D7100

Video capture may be a niche interest within photography, but this is where the D7100’s most significant improvements lie. While the D7000's videos were limited to 24p, the D7100 offers a choice of 24p, 25p, 30p, 50i and 60i. We're not so convinced by the 50i and 60i modes, though: they're only available when a 1.3x sensor crop mode is enabled, and detail in these videos wasn't as sharp as in the progressive scan modes.

More importantly, we failed to spot any aliasing artefacts in the D7100’s videos. These have been a chronic problem in the video modes of previous Nikon SLRs, caused by a crude resizing algorithm when converting the sensor's output to the 1,920 x 1,080 video resolution. The artefacts were usually pretty subtle, but occasional swirling bands of moiré interference are not something keen videographers should put up with. It's great to see that, with the D7100, they don't have to. Details in 1,080p videos were crisp and lifelike – a step up from the overly sharpened appearance of the Canon EOS 700D's videos.

Nikon D7100

There's still room for improvement in other aspects of the video mode, however. Clips are limited to 20 minutes; continuous autofocus was slow and clumsy; the lens motor was picked up by the internal microphone; priority modes are not available; and it's not possible to adjust the aperture while recording. Still, if you can work around these limitations, the D7100 is a superb video camera.

Photography is clearly the main attraction; there's much less to fault here. The updated autofocus system performed superbly in our tests, with its 51 points doing a fine job of tracking moving subjects. So many points also meant we could focus precisely on an eye or another small detail without having to focus, recompose and shoot.

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User comments

What start your review with the Video capability

This is primarily an DSLR still photo CAMERA.

By bet1001 on 22 Jul 2013

What start your review with the Video capability

This is primarily an DSLR still photo CAMERA.

By bet1001 on 22 Jul 2013

Look another new Nikon DSLR camera

Is this an FX or DX sensor.
How many 'NEW' cameras does Nikon launch in a year, are they so afraid of the competition.
My Nikon F3 was in continuous production for 20 years, and it still works perfectly.
I bought a Nikon D800 last year, and I intend this to be my last digital camera.
We're getting to the stage of new camera = new computer!

By flashsalmo on 25 Jul 2013

@bet1001

Photo quality is more important than video quality for most people, so we save the best for last in our review.

By benpitt on 25 Jul 2013

@flashsalmo

Cropped sensor = DX.

Digital camera technology moves much faster than film cameras did, but I don't see that as a bad thing. A new model doesn't make its predecessor obsolete - there's no reason I can see why a D800, D7100 or D7000 shouldn't provide decades of valuable service.

By benpitt on 25 Jul 2013

Sample Photos unsharp??

The three images put up as samples are all (on my monitor) unsharp.

The woodland scene, it's hard to find anything as a guide to sharpness, but it looks generally out of focus to be honest. The second shot, of the dog, the eyes are off focus, and looking at the ground, the grass and gravel, I can't see a plain of focus, it seems the lens was focused somewhere between the dog's eyes and it's nose, but I am assuming nothing is sharp because there is subject / camera movement (blur) which can be misconstrued as poor focus. Similar story with the kids photo... though the high iso on that one makes it a bit grainy.

It's a shame a sharper more contrasty light wasn't used, the shadowless overcast light on this set makes none of the images make you think... I must buy this camera!

I have to say, my D5200 wipes the floor with this lot, on a cloudy/bright day (the kind of day Kodak used to call 125th @ F5.6)

The more reviews I read, the more convinced I become that the only two real choices are the 5200 (if you need the resolution for big prints) or the 7000 (if you need an enthusiast camera, still pretty high resolution, with pretty much the same feature set 'as the 7100' )

Either of these will do without breaking the bank, and leave some dosh for a decent lens. Remember that 24Mp will show up the poor performance of a lens (relatively speaking) so getting this camera, and using it with only a 18-55 kit lens is like buying a Harley Davidson and putting stabilisers on it full time.

How about changing the sample photos, I am sure the 7100 can do a better job than this batch shows?

By autofocusross on 3 Oct 2013

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