Nikon D7100 review
A superbly conceived DSLR with very few weaknesses – an ideal choice for enthusiasts
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.
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.
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.
|Camera megapixel rating||24.0mp|
|Camera screen size||3.0in|
|Camera optical zoom range||6x|
|Camera maximum resolution||6000 x 4000|
Weight and dimensions
|Dimensions||136 x 160 x 107mm (WDH)|
|Aperture range||fUnknown - fUnknown|
|RAW recording mode?||yes|