Nikon announces the D7100, its new flagship DX DSLR
By Simon Crisp
February 22, 2013
Nikon has revealed a new enthusiast-level flagship DX-format camera, the 24.1-megapixel Nikon D7100. The much-awaited update to the aging D7000 has a professional-level 51-point AF system, and continuous full resolution shooting at 6 fps. Notably, the camera also does away with the optical low pass filter – meaning it should be able to capture sharper detail than cameras with a similar resolution.
The Nikon D7100 has been given a specially designed DX-format (APS-C) 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor (so not the same one employed in the D5200) which doesn't use the traditional optical low pass (anti-aliasing) filter found in most cameras. Nikon says this means it can produce sharper images that make the most of its resolution … and presumably the firm is confident users won't suffer (too much) in terms of moiré and aliasing artifacts.
Autofocus is another area where Nikon has significantly improved the camera. The D7100 uses the Nikon Advanced Multi-CAM 3500DX autofocus sensor module, and employs the same algorithm used in the Nikon D4. This gives what Nikon describes as "professional-level performance" from the 51 focus points (15 cross-type sensors), including speedy subject acquisition, and phase-detection AF down to a minimum luminance of -2 EV (really dark conditions).
Using an EXPEED 3 image processor, the new camera has an ISO sensitivity of 100-6400 (expandable to 25600) and can shoot full resolution images at a not-too-shabby 6 fps, though the buffer capacity is only good for six frames in full 14-bit RAW (or 33 frames in JPEG fine and large).
Interestingly, Nikon has also introduced a new 1.3x crop function which crops images, giving an extra telephoto effect – and taking it to about double the 35mm-format focal length. This is likely to be welcomed by sports and wildlife shooters, who will also benefit from the way focus points cover a wider area of the cropped frame … and the increase in continuous shooting speed, which goes up to 7 fps. Cropped images are 15.4 megapixels
On the video side of things there's Full HD (1920 x 1080) recording at frame rates of up to 60i/50i and 30p/25p/24p. Dropping the resolution to 1280 x 720 gives users the option of 60p recording. Video recording can be based on the full DX-format or using the 1.3x crop (both in an aspect ratio of 16:9). While there's a stereo microphone, videographers will also be pleased to see an external microphone jack and headphone connector.
There's a 3.2-inch LCD on the rear with 1,229k dots, while the 100 percent coverage optical viewfinder has been given an OLED display (for the information under the image) which is said to be very bright and have low power consumption.
Measuring 5.3 x 4.2 x 3 inches (135.5 x 106.5 x 76 mm) and weighing 23.8 ounces (675 g) the D7100 features magnesium alloy top and rear covers in a durable body which is dust, weather and drop resistant. For those who prefer their cameras with a vertical grip, Nikon has also introduced the MB-D15, which adds the usual shutter-release button, AE/AF lock button, multi selector, and command dials. It can be powered either by six AA batteries or the standard D7100 battery.
Though there's no built-in wireless capabilities, the Nikon D7100 is compatible with the optional WU-1a Mobile Adapter which allows users to transmit images wirelessly to an iOS or Android device, or to remotely control the camera.
While the numbering of the Nikon D7100 shows it's an update to the D7000, it's also possibly the closest thing the D300s is going to get to a replacement. Nikon is choosing to refer to it as the "flagship of Nikon's DX-format HD-SLR lineup" and it's hard to see what the fabled D400 could add ... other than a larger full-metal body and faster continuous shooting with a bigger buffer.
The Nikon D7100 will sell for US$1,200 body-only when it goes on sale in March, or $1,600 with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR kit lens.