Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Nikon D7100 Announced; Available for Pre-Order

Last week NikonRumors posted that Nikon scheduled a product announcement for this week, possibly for the D7100.  A couple of days ago, it looked like the announcement would be for a high-end Coolpix.  But indeed, the Nikon D7100 has been officially announced.

Release date is March 21, 2013.

A majority of the specs I predicted came true, with a couple of surprises:

  • Surprise! Sensor: I guessed it was the same as the D5200's (which is 24mp with slightly better high ISO performance that the D7000).  DPReview says the D7100's sensor is completely new.  Update: notwithstanding what Nikon says, the D7100's sensor may be the same as that of the D5200.  See here.
  • Surprise!  NO low pass filter.  This is a surprise.  One of the things I liked about the D300 is that it had a weak low-pass filter which made everything look sharper.  The D7100 has no low-pass filter at all.  I'm not super worried about moire because I think it can be handled it post.  I hope.
  • As predicted: The new, smarter Auto ISO (just like the D4, D800 and D600) that can take into account the focal length.
  • As predicted: Support for WU-1a allows remote live view.
  • As predicted video: Can do 1080p at 30fps or 1080i at 60fps (D7000 can only do 1080p at 24fps).
  • As predicted: Exposure mode dial has a button and lock, just like the D600.
  • Surprise! It has the instant 100% zoom on playback that was present on the D300, D700, and pro bodies but was missing from the D600.
  • Surprise! 51 AF Points with new AF algorithm, and low-light AF capability.  I thought it was unlikely but thank goodness Nikon pulled through.  Not just that, but it's supposed to focus up to -2EV, which beats even the D600 which can focus at -1EV.
  • As predicted: still no PC sync.
  • As predicted: 1/8000 shutter speed.
  • Partial surprise: As predicted: flash sync is 1/250 (no mention of 1/320 non-HSS sync speed) with the option for non-HSS 1/320 sync speed.
  • New! 1.3x crop mode. In this mode, the image will be cropped slightly (effectively 2x crop compared to full frame 35mm, very similar to Micro 4/3 and 4/3 ratio).  The focal length will be effectively 2x instead of 1.5x, the continuous shooting speed increases to 7fps, and the AF points will fill the frame from edge to edge.  The crop mode also works in video.  If the implementation is the same as that of the D600, then the 1.3x-cropped video will still have full 1080 or 720 resolution.
  • New! Spot white balance: instead of taking a manual white balance shot of the whole screen, you can take the white balance from any small spot of the screen (in Live View).  No need to look for a gray card.
  • New! LCD screen is slightly larger (3.2 inches vs. 3.0), higher resolution (1.229M vs. 921k) and brighter (has white pixels, not just RGB).
  • As predicted: Price is $1200 for body only.
  • Wishful thinking: Can specify whether exposure compensation affects ambient only or both ambient and flash.  Not sure yet whether this is true.
Early verdict: I was sort of on the fence whether to order this because the D7000 is already such a great camera, but: 
- probably kickass sensor (otherwise Nikon would use the D5200's sensor), --> but see here
- no low-pass filter
- new AF system
- smart Auto ISO
- instant 100% zoom 
...are just enough for me to take it up instead of the D7000.  So, yes I will preorder one.

If you're interested in the D7100, please join the Flickr group for it right here.  I will be posting there regularly.

Comment:  One issue is whether it's better to spend money on a good body or a good lens.  From a purely financial standpoint, spending money on a good lens is a better way to save because lenses depreciate more slowly than bodies.  On the other hand, in terms of actual impact on your images, it appears that a great sensor with a good lens outresolves a good sensor with a great lens (see this post from LensRentals).  In addition, a good body has the potential to improve all your images (from a lower noise sensor, or a body with better autofocus), not just the images from a single lens.  So, as long as you're ok with the inevitable financial hit, I think choosing a better body is a reasonable decision.


  1. You can't believe how happy you make me reading this news on your blog. ;-)

    Sold my D300 last week, before the announcement, and got a good price. Would definitely be lower as of today.

    Considered a D7000 or its successor for a while, but decided upon the NEX-6. Given the size and weight of D7100-monster, my neck and back are now happy... ;-)

    Moreover, I'm stronly convinced that there is absolutely no need for the majority of amateurs for 24mpx cameras. I've been more than happy with the 12mpx on my D300 and now 16mpx on the Sony. Why: 99% of our pictures are shown on TV or laptop screens, the remaining 1% printed are 99% "basic" 13x10cm prints...

    I would like Nikon to make a 12mpx sensor that's absolutely noise-free at 6400ISO...

    Anyway, I'm ranting. ;)



    1. Hi Roel! Congratulations on selling the D300 with absolutely perfect timing! Coincidentally, I also sold my D300S last week (in anticipation of the D7100), so I know exactly how you feel. :D

      Congrats also on the move to the NEX-6. It's definitely lighter than the D7100.

      About the resolution I agree with your rationale. I think even 6mp is fine. That said, it appears that high resolution sensors have a benefit even for people who have small prints/views in terms of noise reduction. One thing that I will compare is how the images look from a 6mp APS-C camera (S5) and 24mp APS-C camera (D7100) at laptop screen sizes. Not a scientific comparison due to the many variables such as the absence of a low pass filter but fwiw, I'd still like to see.

      Best regards,

    2. Mic,

      "That said, it appears that high resolution sensors have a benefit even for people who have small prints/views in terms of noise reduction." => That's new for me as I'd rather expect the opposite. Apparently, the positive effect of the increase in delivered picture quality as a whole has then grown faster than the negative effect of increased pixel density...

      That comparison 6mp vs 24mp would definitely interest me!

      Keep up the good work,


    3. Hi Roel! What you said has become true in some cases. For example the d5200 with 24mp has better high iso performance than the d7000 (16mp) according to dxo.

      But actually what i meant is that all things being equal, applying noise reduction is more effective with higher resolutions. With the d600 i can boost the noise reduction while still retaining some detail. Also, the finer grain of the noise of higher resolution cameras makes the noise less obtrusive.

      We'll see with the d7100...!

      Best regards,

  2. 5 AEB ain't bad, but it's not the 2-9 brackets you can get on the D300/D300s.

    I'm still waiting for the D800s :\. 16-24MP, 1/8000s max shutter, 2-9 AEB, pop-up flash for commander, 1/250+ flash sync, dedicated AF-ON button, 6+ fps. I'm hopeful/doubtful that it's going to be made.

    Unless I hit the jackpot, the D800 is out due to its overly excessive (for me) 36 MP count and storage requirements. D4 is just too big (and expensive) for regular use. If I upgrade from the D90, it won't be for the D7100. If they actually did 2-9 AEB and an AF-ON button on the D7100 (which would be quite tempting actually), I'd still want something for clean high ISO.

    1. Hi Francis. Good to hear from you.

      Re bracketing, you're right. On the plus side, the bracket interval can be up to 3 stops apart, therefore even with just 5 shots, the D7100 can cover a much wider dynamic range than the D300/S.

      As for a D800s or D710 or whatever, who knows. I did wish that the D600 was a baby D4 just like the D700 was a baby D3, but that didn't happen. I think there is now too little room between the FX models for sufficient separation, but I've been wrong before :)

      Best regards,

  3. Looks like this is going to be the best APS-C camera ever. Looking forward to your review, Mic.

  4. Thanks Xiaoli. If there are particular answers you are most interested in, pls. let me know. I'd like to get the review out but also make it detailed just like my D600 review. It will be a challenge but rest assured I will do my best.

    Best regards,


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