Nikon D7100 (26.8 oz./759g with battery, strap rings and card, about $1,150 new, and sometimes available refurbished for much less) and 50mm f/1.8 AF. enlarge. I bought mine at Adorama (comes as body-only or with 18-105mm VR lens). You also can get it at Amazon as a body-only or kit with 18-105mm VR lens.
My biggest source of support for this free website is when you use those or any of these links when you get anything, regardless of the country in which you live. It helps me keep adding to this free website when you get your things through these links — but I receive nothing for my efforts if you buy elsewhere. By purchasing from approved sources, you are assured of the best selection, best prices and best service. Thanks for your support! Ken.
NEW: Nikon D7200. March 2015
Nikon D600, D7100 and D7000 Image-Quality Comparison 10 April 2013
Back, Nikon D7100. enlarge.
Top, Nikon D7100. enlarge.
Shot from the window of a moving car at 60 MPH: San Francisco. Nikon D7100, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, AUTO ISO 100, f/8 at 1/250, VIVID Picture Control with +3 Saturation and 7 Sharpening. © Camera-Original LARGE BASIC JPG.
OK people, that's enough wasting time worrying about high ISOs. When I can snap constellations of stars in the sky as I walk down the street, complete with full autofocus and exposure and everything, and get clean results like this, DX cameras have come far enough for anything. The sky isn't perfectly black because it isn't; there is light pollution here.
See more family-photo sample images at Performance.
Other side, Nikon D7100. enlarge.
My D7100 Settings File (NCSETUPB.BIN). It won't do anything on your computer or by clicking it. If you'd like to use the same settings I do (U1 for scenics as above, U2 for family shots), click that to download my NCSETUPB.BIN file to your computer, copy it to a memory card, pop the card in your camera and go to MENU > SETUP > Save/load settings > Load settings > OK, your D7100 will be set up as mine.
The D7100 is new in that it has an ordinary 24 MP sensor, but without an anti-alias filter for added sharpness. Honestly, it won't make much, if any, visible difference at less than 6-foot (2-meter) wide print sizes, and only if you use the very finest NIKKOR lenses and technique.
Lens Compatibility top
There is a focus motor in the D7100, so it works with every AF lens made since 1986.
Even better, there's an aperture-ring feeler, so it meters with all AI and newer (1977-on) manual-focus lenses. The D7100 also gives full-color Matrix metering and EXIF data with manual-focus lenses if you share the lens' data in a menu. More at Nikon Lens Compatibility.
Manual focus lenses work extraordinarily well, with extraordinarily precise and accurate manual focus, especially for ultra-fast lenses like the 58mm f/1.2 Noct-NIKKOR which tax other camera's more simple focusing systems.
You're always on your own with off-brand lenses like Sigma. Readers tell me that their Sigma 105 Macros don't work on the D7100. Potential incompatibility with future cameras is one of the steep prices one pays for trying to save a few dollars yesterday on a cheap lens. Nikon shares nothing with its competitors about lens compatibility, so if you want to buy a Tamron or Sigma, you're gambling that it will work with tomorrow's camera. Good luck.
What's New top
It's pretty much the same as 2010's D7000, with the addition of a stereo mic and headphone jack for video, a higher-resolution sensor, 51 vs. 39 AF points, a slightly larger LCD, and a first in any SLR: an OLED data display in the finder (Sony, Fuji and other cameras with OLED finders today aren't SLRs).
The D7100's OLED display is just for the shooting data in the finder, not the finder image display. From the 1980s through yesterday, all electronic Nikon finder data displays have been LCDs, usually backlit with a green LED.
In live view only, a new "spot" white balance mode.
The rear LCD adds auto brightness control. No previous Nikon's auto LCD brightness control has worked properly; so we'll see about the D7100.
The D7100 is very slightly bigger than the D7000, and very slightly (0.5 oz or 15g) lighter than the D7000.
There's a new "i" button for recalling recent settings, and just like the D600, there is now a lock button in the middle of the mode dial.
Missing compared to the D7000
Missing compared to the D7000 are the 640-pixel resolution video modes. No analog A/V output cable is included, so the D7100 may lack NTSC/PAL analog video outputs.
The finder only adjusts from as far as -2 diopters, from the D7000's -3 diopters. Both go to +1 diopters.
No LCD cover.
The D7100 has the same battery and charger as the D7000, but is rated for 10% fewer shots per charge (only 950 for D7100 versus 1,050 for D7000).
See my separate Nikon D7100 Specs & Accessories page.
The D7100 is awesome for pictures of places and things; here's how it looks for pictures of people:
Katie's ready with the Easter bag she made herself, 30 March 2013! (Nikon D7100, pop-up flash ON, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, AUTO ISO 100, f/9 at 1/250, STANDARD Picture Control with +1 Saturation and 7 Sharpening, Athentech Perfectly Clear plug-in.) Bigger or © rotated Camera-Original BASIC SMALL JPG.
Colors and the built-in flash are marvelous. Also great is the sharpness even set down to its lowest 6MP resolution setting, as I prefer to shoot my family photos. These 2,992 x 2,000 pixel BASIC JPGs run about 1.3MB file size.
Katie goes Easter egg hunting. (Nikon D7100, pop-up flash ON, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, AUTO ISO 100, f/5.6 at 1/250, STANDARD Picture Control with +1 Saturation and 7 Sharpening, cropped at 100% from SMALL BASIC JPG.) bigger.
Even at its lowest resolution setting and with my favorite fixed 35mm lens, there's more than enough sharpness for cropping when you don't feel like lugging a telephoto lens when you're with the family.
Katie's shows her loot! (Nikon D7100, pop-up flash ON, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, AUTO ISO 100, f/10 at 1/250, STANDARD Picture Control with +1 Saturation and 7 Sharpening, Athentech Perfectly Clear plug-in.) Bigger or © rotated Camera-Original SMALL BASIC JPG.
Katie going night-night in the back of Stomper, the big Mee. (Nikon D7100, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, AUTO ISO 100, f/2.8 at 1/125, STANDARD Picture Control with +1 Saturation and 7 Sharpening, Athentech Perfectly Clear plug-in.) Bigger or © Camera-Original SMALL BASIC JPG.
As you can see, even at the SMALL 6 megapixel setting as I use for my family photos, everything looks great - from color and white balance to sharpening, whoo hoo!
To my amazement, my D7100 focuses much better in low to no light than my D600!
Even in very dark light, my D7100 always focuses, and never stops or gives up as my D600 will do if it gets too dark. In very dim light as I'll show below, my D7100 has no problem autofocusing, while my older Nikons like my D600 or even the Canon 6D will occasionally hang-up and not be able to focus. Bravo!
If the light is so dim that you need ISO 6,400, you ought to do something to improve the light. If you can't, the D7100 looks fantastic at ISO 6,400 at night in available light.
In this shot, the only thing in focus is the woman on the right:
ISO 6,400: In the Big Mee, 02 April 2013. (focus only on Noni in the right front seat, everything else out-of-focus, Nikon D7100, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, AUTO ISO 6,400, f/1.8 at 1/125, AUTO white balance with A2 adjustment, STANDARD Picture Control with +1 Saturation and 7 Sharpening, Athentech Perfectly Clear plug-in.) Bigger or © Camera-Original BASIC SMALL JPG.
In light so dark and dim and red in a fancy restaurant that it's too dark to read, the images look far better than I'd expect for a DX camera at five-digit ISOs:
ISO 10,000: Katie puts a birthday hat on Pops, 02 April 2013. (cropped from horizontal, focus on Pops, Katie out-of-focus, Nikon D7100, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, AUTO ISO 10,000, f/1.8 at 1/125, AUTO white balance with A2 adjustment, STANDARD Picture Control with +1 Saturation and 7 Sharpening, Athentech Perfectly Clear plug-in.) Bigger or © Camera-Original BASIC SMALL JPG.
ISO 12,800: Katie loves the Fun-Do (Fondue) restaurant, 02 April 2013! (Nikon D7100, Nikon 35mm f/1.8 DX, AUTO ISO 12,800, f/1.8 at 1/60, AUTO white balance with A2 adjustment, STANDARD Picture Control with +1 Saturation and 7 Sharpening, Athentech Perfectly Clear plug-in.) Bigger or © Camera-Original BASIC SMALL JPG.
The only "gotcha" I've found shooting in even lower light at ISO 12,800 where I need to use 1/30 of a second, and also in light so dim-orange that I also need to force 2,500 Kelvin manual white balance (which increases the blue-channel sensitivity to around ISO 51,200 equivalent) is that I sometimes might see a tiny bit of blue-violet fog on dark things along the bottom edge of the photo. This is usually invisible, and even if it was far worse, is extraordinary performance for any camera.
The reason this is a gotcha for casual shooters is that High ISO NR won't fix it (High ISO NR is only for high-frequency noise, and this is a simple level-shift along the bottom edge), and Long Exposure NR won't do anything either, since even if set ON, it doesn't work until the exposure get to one second, which isn't where we hand-hold.
No worries, the easy fix for the serious digital photographer is to use a levels adjustment layer mask in Photoshop. Simply drag the right (black) slider on the blue channel up a bit to the fog level, and paint-in a mast to apply this only the small region with the fog. Photographers have been using this technique since the 1990s to fix light-leaked film, too. (With light leaks, the Color Range selection tool makes it even easier to make a mask from the fogged region on film, but How To Use Photoshop is another page.)
The D7100 and previous D7000 are pretty much the same. They both have U1 and U2 Instant Recall Modes, two SD card slots and 2,016-segment RGB light meters, all new two years ago on the D7000.
* D7100 can run 7 FPS in its oddball 1.3x crop mode, and D300s can run 8 FPS with more batteries in bigger, optional grip. I don't care, but have been told that the D300s can only shoot at 2.5 fps at 14-bit RAW, while the D7100 can still shoot 6 fps at 14-bit RAW.
** 39 is the same as 51; they all are fields of AF points. 39 to 51 is the same as 40 to 50, which looks the same.
*** As actually measured by me, with battery and card.
The D7100 is awesome. Buy one; I did.
24MP in DX is way more than enough. If you want to get the sharpness I showed at the top in my D7100 Sample Images, you need superb lenses. The 18-55mm VR doesn't quite have as much resolution as this camera. Personally, the only lens I ever shoot on DX is the 35/1.8.
If you've found the time and expense I incur to share all this for free, the biggest source of support for this free website is when you use these links, especially these directly to the D7100 at Adorama (either body-only or with 18-105mm VR lens) or at Amazon as a body-only or kit with 18-105mm VR lens, when you get yours. Thank you! Ken.
I wouldn't order it with the 18-105mm VR lens, which is a pretty boring lens for $400 extra. Honestly, if I want a zoom to carry around, I prefer the much smaller, lighter and less expensive featherweight 18-55mm VR.
I ordered the body-only, and prefer my excellent 35mm f/1.8. That's what I shoot on my DX cameras most of the time. The 35/1.8 is superb for just about everything, especially for action in low light. I don't use a zoom.
If I need wider angles, I use the 10-24mm.
Another suggestion is to get the 10-24mm and the 35mm f/1.8, and then your choice of smaller dedicated telephoto zoom. Either of the 55-200mm VR or 55-300mm VR are excellent, but for action, the 70-300mm VR has much faster autofocus. Most professionals use the huge 70-200mm VR II all day for everything.
I use the inexpensive and excellent SB-400 flash. The built-in works great, but the SB-400 recycles for each next shot much, much faster, and saves the D7100's battery life, as well as offering longer range when needed.
Honestly, before you go buying another flash, try the built-in first. It probably is all you need unless you're shooting professional sports or portraits outdoors all day at rapid speeds.
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