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on March 16, 2013
While I'm hoping Nikon will release a D400, I couldn't resist trying out the new D7100. As a working pro who uses both FX and DX format cameras, my first impressions of the D7100 are very positive.

My simple summary is that this camera is a bargain and that those already inclined to own the best the DX camera Nikon sells should get one.

Having worked for years with the D300 and the D7000 bodies, my perspective on this one is influenced by what I think is good about those two popular cameras. I hoped that the D7100 would really improve in the areas of autofocus, shadow noise, and overall resolution/acuity. This camera has not disappointed me, and has even a few minor improvements I wasn't expecting.

Of first importance, shooters of the D7000 will appreciate the big improvements in AF (you probably know how sketchy that camera is to focus, especially compared to the 51-point standard set by most older/current pro bodies). It's fast, accurate, and doesn't get fooled into moving if you recompose. On single focus mode, it simply acquires and holds where you want. And the tracking AF is on par with Nikon's pro standard. This is huge for me, since I love the quality of images the D7000 gives but hate the unreliability of its AF. Acquiring focus in low light seems a bit snappier and more accurate than even the D300.

The resolving power of this sensor is unlike any DX camera before it. Because the D7100 doesn't have an anti-aliasing/low-pass filter on its 24 megapixel sensor, I knew it would be able to show a perceptible increase in resolving detail over the older D7000, and again I am glad to report it does - IF you use good glass, stopped down a bit, and process from the RAW files. My test shots captured with the Tokina 11-16 and Nikon 70-200 have blown me away. The acuity when zoomed in is night/day compared to the D7000. However, if you use mediocre glass then the only differences you'll notice are larger files and slightly better dynamic range.

In DX images, shadow noise has generally appeared too stippled even at lower ISO values, rendering a texture that the FX sensors don't have at the same ISO's. The D7100 has definitely improved this. The texture gradient is more uniform and it reminds me of the D600 in this way. Although I haven't done tests above ISO 1600, the shadow textures are more uniform and pleasant (natural?) on skin than the previous DX cameras.

Shooters familiar with Nikon's pro camera ergonomics will appreciate that the D7100 has added the quick magnification/zoom feature to the `OK' button on the rear thumbpad. It's great for snappy, quick inspections at defined zoom ratios to check for focus accuracy. This feature is nonexistent on the D7000 and the D600. I find it very handy and preferable to the +/- buttons.

Speaking of the +/- buttons to the left of the LCD, I have no idea why Nikon reversed their positions on this camera. It's a small thing but still annoying.

I'm still getting used to the new viewfinder display, so the jury is out.

The two-shot HDR feature isn't what it should be since it doesn't align the images. I'd use the bracketing feature on a tripod and be done with it.

I like that there's finally a lock button in the center of the program mode dial to avoid accidental switching, which happens too often on the D7000.

The rear LDC screen is slightly larger and also a bit crisper to my eyes.

The overall fit/finish is solid and secure. I have big hands so I only wish it was the same form factor as the D800 (hey Nikon, give us a D400 already), but at this price I'm not complaining.

I wish Nikon could squeeze out better battery performance from their cameras, frankly, and the D7100 hasn't improved upon what has become normal for the past couple years.

Sorry, but I don't mess with video so I cannot speak to this.

As a still image camera (in the DX format) the D7100 has really set a new standard. Even though I'd buy a D400 if it came out tomorrow, there's nothing stopping me from enjoying the D7100 today as the best you can get. I feel that the price is low for what it is and can create. Highly recommended...
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on March 16, 2013
***UPDATED 3/18/13 TO INCLUDE SOME MEMORY CARD BUFFER BENCHMARKS IN MEMORY CARD SECTION***

This review is aimed at people who are relatively new to photography (~couple years), as I am in the same boat. There will be much more thorough reviews on Amazon for people who are already serious photographers, written by people who are actually serious photographers.

General Impression:
A wonderful upgrade from my D5100 after 2 years of heavy use. This camera is obviously aimed at a different person than the D3x00 or D5x00 series as it offers quick access to advanced features without having to go through tons of menus.

Construction/Feel:
This camera feels like a series camera. Coming from the all plastic D5100, this thing is built like a tank. It is noticeably larger than my old camera, which is due to the fact that it has more knobs and wheels.

Controls:
One of the main reasons I wanted to upgrade from an entry level dSLR was so I can quickly change settings without having to hunt through menus to do so. This camera fits the bill very well and has a few major upgrades from my point of view. Fistly, the U1 and U2 settings are invaluable. Being able to have a group of settings stored such that I can revert back to them by turning one knob is major. Several times in the past I have been trying to compose one shot only to have a completely different shot appear that required different settings altogether. This takes a while to do on the more entry level camera and has been very annoying. Something that may not seem that important but I love already is the depth of field preview button. I enjoy being able to see what the aperture setting will actually look like without having to take a shot and review on the LCD. The final feature that I love are a collection of buttons/knobs/wheels that allow me to change things like shooting mode (continuous, timer, etc), AF mode, ISO setting, etc without having to get into a menu. I haven't quite committed their location to memory but once I do I won't even have to take the camera away from my face to make the changes. Again, this section here is really the reason I wanted to upgrade and I am not disappointed.

Auto Focus:
The 51-point AF on this camera has been a dream to use. I almost always keep the camera set to single point servo autofocus so I can select the point I want it to focus to. As long as you have some contrast, it is very quick and accurate to focus. A big positive in this camera over the lower level ones is that it DOES have a built in AF motor which means it will autofocus on lenses that do not have a built in motor. I do have the Tokina 11-16mm 2.8 which lacks a motor, so I was stuck manually focusing it on my previous camera. I notice this camera has a much faster focusing speed compared to the D5100 and also is able to focus in low light better, I believe its supposed to be a 1 stop improvement.

LCD Screen:
I do/will miss the rotating/articulating screen the D5100 had. I can understand why on a semi-pro/prosumer camera they would remove it (it could fairly easily break off and does seem like somewhat of a gimmick), but I mainly enjoyed it because i could turn it around to protect the screen while transporting. This screen is definitely a better quality though and shows much more information.

Noise:
Wonderful sensor, great signal to noise ratio. With my D5100 I would start to see things go down hill around ISO1600-3200. With this camera, I will be bumping that setting up to 6400 which gives me 1-2 stops of slack to play with. A little noise reduction in editing software makes the images completely usable. Very happy with the noise. I'm guessing the full frame bodies do a better job in this category, but this camera does all I need it to. Also, still waiting for Lightroom to update their camera compatibility.

Image Quality:
I'm not a pixel-peeper nor do I have the extensive experience to really discuss the image quality. It takes good pictures if I compose good pictures.

Battery Life:
No complaints. I have gotten a couple hundred shots off and still have half battery life. I do expect to buy another battery at some point for times when I might be taking a couple thousand shots over a weekend.

Memory Card:
I enjoy being able to put two SD cards in here and plan to always use them in the backup mode (in case one should sheet the bed). VERY IMPORTANT, BIG DEAL HERE: The memory you put in is very important. From my D5100 I had a few Transcend 16 GB Class 6 SDHC Flash Memory Card TS16GSDHC6E. When I got the D7100, i felt the camera was not shooting as fast as it should. I then bought one SanDisk Extreme Pro 32 GB SDHC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card 95MB/s SDSDXPA-032G-AFFP and would like to explain the results of my tests. So i set up on a tripod the same shot with each card at 14bit RAW uncompressed, as many as the camera take in 30 seconds. The only difference was the cards. The results are astounding and are not a typo. I got 68 shots with the sandisk and 23 with the transcend. That's right, almost 3x as many. Additionally, but unrelated to the camera, when copying 30 pictures (at 23mb a piece) to my MacBook Pro, the Sandisk took 13 seconds and the Transcend 41 seconds. If you aren't getting high performance out of your memory card, definitely look into upgrading.

Flash:
The built in flash is pretty puny, which seems to be par for the course. It does provide some nice fill lighting if you're outside taking pictures where there are some shadows on your subject, but for shooting inside it's marginal at best. I bought the very reasonably priced Nikon SB-400 AF Speedlight Flash for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras and have been very pleased with the combo. The external flash adds the ability to bounce light off the ceiling and not waste the camera battery while doing so. This camera does have the Nikon flash commander ability which I will no doubt take advantage of at some point.

Conclusion:
If you're starting to outgrow your lower tier DX camera, get this one - you won't be disappointed. I already have quite a few DX lenses and don't feel like replacing them with FX lenses and I actually prefer the crop factor (1.5x teleconverter in effect) on my big nasty 70-200 2.8.

Highly recommended.
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on March 21, 2013
I picked up the body three days ago, as an upgrade to my D90 - I was particularly interested in the weather sealing, how it performed without an AA filter, and some of the goodies that filtered in from the prior model, like the dual SD slots.

Coming from the D90, this is simply an astounding upgrade in terms of image rendition, range, light sensitivity, and performance... but it takes spending some quality time becoming familiar with it to truly appreciate it.

If you are the sort of person - like me - who simply starts tweaking things in advance without really testing them, then you can easily make things difficult for yourself. Case in point: 51 AF points. Coming from the D90, where I had 11, this seemed to be a really good thing, and it CAN be, in the right scenario. However, if you blindly set it to use 3D tracking without considering your subject, the sheer density of the focus points combined with certain subjects can lead to a lot of focus-shifting back and forth. The solution to this is to either use pure auto focus (and I know you purists are shaking your head already at that one, I know I was at first), change the AF mode to AF-S, or use less focus points. I suspect if I had just left the focus as it shipped, I wouldn't have seen any issue at all.

Much of what is new to me, like the custom modes, won't be new to somebody coming from the D7000, so I won't go into detail on those. It does feel that this has become the definitive DX camera to track action - sports and wildlife in particular, given the new crop mode (which is of no use to me) and the aggressive focus tracking. But there's plenty in there for other shooters as well, and the extra resolution and light sensitivity is never a bad thing. What this really means is that this camera really has two types that will be particularly interested in it... If you are looking to shoot action affordably, this is your new camera. If you are an experienced user looking for the most advanced DX format Nikon has to offer at this time, this is also your camera. However, if you are a novice, or if you are not willing to spend some time tuning it to how you work, this may be too much camera for you.

It also seems like many of the enhancements were for movie modes - and I'm a stills guy, so I can't speak to those. Technically, I'm sure it's amazing.

From an image resolution standpoint - there are two things that may give a false impression that this camera doesn't perform as you would expect. The first: Sharpening is set extremely low by default, so the first time you zoom in to 100%, you are probably going to have a question or two. Dialing up the sharpness fixes that quite nicely if you are a sharpness junkie. The second: Your own technique. And by this, I mean knowing what aperture to shoot in, really knowing how to be steady, knowing how to release the shutter without adding rotational motion - There are a ton of factors that could affect this. So if you are still aren't happy with the sharpness after dialing it up, set your camera in aperture priority, dial it up to 8 (or whatever is optimal for your lens, but 8 is a safe bet), set it on something heavy, check your focus in live mode, and use a timer release mode. You will quickly see where the problem is, and unless you have a really awful lens, I'll take the odds that it's NOT the camera that is the problem- This thing is SHARP. It is only limited by the lens and the operator.

Now, for those of you worried about moire, I have some good news for you: I've been shooting repeating patterns - pinstripes, grid textures, you name it - trying to create moire. I have yet to succeed... I'm sure it's possible, but I haven't been able to coax it out yet. Point is - it will take some effort to make that happen, and I don't think that should factor in your decision.

My gripes are incredibly minor. The new "i" menu screen is laid out very intelligently and greatly eases camera operation, but it also just about makes the "info" button redundant - I'd rather have had the ability to hit "i" or "info" twice - once to show info, the other to open the menu - and have the ability to remap the additional button to something else.

Quiet mode, well, isn't very. Probably not distinct to this model over any other Nikon SLR with quiet mode, but I was expecting more.

And why did Nikon take away my ability to toggle on the info screen along with the LCD backlight?

These are minor gripes, and I'm hard pressed to come up with anything. I've seen people complain about the buffer size, but I just shot 32 full-size JPGs at full speed before it started slowing down as I was writing this. There may be some focus issues for some people, but for me it was technique along with camera settings. I've been looking for things to criticize, and it's just not that easy. What I have is a truly significant upgrade that has astounded me with its performance, and is an improvement in every way from the already strong D90 I was coming from. There's a lot of ways to shoot yourself in the foot with settings, so you need to be mindful of what you are tweaking, but there's a lot of power to be unlocked as well.

Very highly recommended.

UPDATE: 3/6/2013

I was a bit wrong about quiet mode... The shutter is quiet to begin with, so the effect didn't seem as dramatic as I expected. The reality is that it's already worlds quieter than the D90 ever was.

Also, note that I rarely if ever shoot raw. The great thing about this is that I have felt a need to with this camera. That does significantly degrade the rapid-fire speed, and I understand that moire can exhibit in raw, but I haven't seen that in practice yet. I'll reserve judgement until there's support for this in Aperture or Lightroom, as I've never been crazy about Nikon's offerings.

Using this as a flash commander in conjunction with my SB-600 is AWESOME. I could do that with the D90 as well, but it seems to work much more consistently and rapidly than it did before. The on-board flash seems ridiculously competent.

My other minor gripe: The record movie button just hangs around uselessly if you aren't in video mode. Remapping that would be nice as well. I'm not holding my breath for any firmware updates.
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on December 28, 2013
Note: This is not a full review - this review only addresses the auto-focus issue.

I own 5 Nikon bodies: D5000, D7000, D700, D600, and now the D7100. With the exception of the D7000 (I have not 'tested' my D600 yet), EACH camera has had an AF issue; that issue being a front-focus problem. The D5000 has no internal AF fine-tune, so I sent that in for calibration. The D700 I have set on +16, and now the D7100 set on +12. As I mentioned, I haven't 'tested' the D600 yet, but it appears from general shooting the AF is ok. My D7000 has been the only body that is spot-on AF so far.

Let me ask you, what is the single most important element needed for taking good, sharp photos? That's right - the focus. It doesn't matter how good your equipment or your technique is if you can't nail exact focus - your photos will be sub-par. With that said, why doesn't Nikon pay extra special attention to this? If I'm paying $1,000-2,000 for a piece of equipment - I want the most important element dead-on.

There are many sophisticated items available to check your AF, but here's a simple quick-check that I do:
--------------------------------------------------------------
**Set your camera up on a tripod
**Get out a tape ruler and place it on the floor in front of the camera (I use a Stanley 25 foot)
**Set your camera/lens to it's lowest number f-stop (test with different lenses - some may be in the lens only)
**Set your AF to single-point and set your focus to AF-S mode
**Focus in on the nearest foot mark to the camera - take a photo
**Repeat on next, farther foot mark - work your way out a few feet (5-10 photos or so)
**Check the photos on your computer - zoom in.
--------------------------------------------------------------
As you review the photos, if your AF is dead-on, the numbers and marks in front of and in back of your reference point (foot mark you were focused on) should be equally in focus and gradually equally blurring in proportion to the distance from your AF point. If they aren't - you need adjustment. Now I know this isn't a dead-accurate focus test, but it will give you a general idea.

And note, I didn't begin this testing because I was looking for focus problems. After I noticed numerous photos were not "perfect", in certain cameras, I decided to do some testing - this is why I haven't tested the D600 yet - all appears to be OK with that one. Also note, I have tested the bodies with multiple lenses - the problem is in the bodies of the camera.

Anyhow, I hope this information helps you create better images.

*********The 3 stars is based on the AF issue only***********, otherwise the D7100 seems like a very nice camera so far.
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on March 22, 2013
***UPDATED REVIEW TO REFLECT ADDITIONAL USE***

As a happy D7000 owner for more than two years, I immediately upgraded to the D7100. Rather than rehash all of the camera specs in this review, I'll focus on what has changed vis-a-vis the previous camera.

NEW 24.1 MEGAPIXEL SENSOR, 1.3x CROP MODE, NO AA FILTER
Although I didn't really care about having more megapixels, there are advantages. The most obvious is cropping and the 1.3x crop mode is a nice feature if you are into bird & wildlife photography. The crop mode delivers an in camera crop that essentially discards pixels around the outer perimeter of the image (instead of a 6000x4000 DX image, the camera captures a cropped 4800x3200 image). Because the resulting cropped files are smaller (about 16 megapixel) the cameras gets a slight boost in frame rate to 7 fps. There are focusing advantages as well, since all 51 focus points cover almost the entire frame of the image. Nikon has worked wonders with the 24.1 megapixel sensor, delivering amazing resolution detail while keeping noise in check. The noise that appears in higher ISO images has a grain quality that's more pleasing to my eye than previous Nikon cameras I have owned (YMMV). The removal of the AA filter is icing on the cake, placing this camera in the company of the D800E (which merely canceled its AA filter - the D7100 deletes it altogether). The new crop mode, combined with enhanced sharpness, were key selling points to me. After extensive use of the D7100, I'm happy to report that the camera is SHARP SHARP SHARP. (And did I mention that it is SHARP?) I was never 100% pleased with the sharpness of images coming out of my D7000, but this new camera is amazing in that department. Whether this performance is the result of the deletion of the AA filter, I do not know - but I know the camera is sharp.

NEW WEATHER-SEALED BODY
The camera feels great in my hands, solid and substantial without being a brick. The body is now fully weather sealed (reportedly to the standard of the D800) and the button layout changes are logical and well thought out. I like the new "i" button - it's a cinch to change key camera settings, especially toggling the image area between DX and 1.3x crop modes. Nikon has tweaked the ergonomics nicely, with the larger thumb rest and raised "OK" button control pad. The LCD screen is 3.2", larger, brighter, and higher resolution than the D7000 screen. ALL of these changes are subtle but significant improvements. Note also that pressing the "OK" button during shot review zooms to a 100% review of the image at the focus point, allowing you to pixel peep on the fly - a great feature that will become essential once you start using it.

51 AUTOFOCUS POINTS
The AF is improved as well, with a whopping 51 AF points (that extend edge-to-edge in 1.3x crop mode). The camera focuses quickly and (for the most part) accurately.

COLOR
I'm liking the color captured by the D7100 better than that of the D7000 (and its Sony sensor). It's warmer and more organic to my eye.

VIDEO UPGRADES
I shoot a lot of video, so I'm happy about the new frame rates (including 60P). The new location of the movie record button, next to the shutter release, makes sense. I'm particularly happy that we now have a headphone jack on the camera. Sure, we don't always use the in camera audio, but it is nice to be able to monitor it now if necessary. The camera LCD display now sports audio level indicators, too.

POSSIBLE WEAKNESSES
The sharp 24 megapixels demand better lenses and better technique to get the results you want - is that a weakness? In other words, the ceiling of performance is higher with the D7100, but you will need the lens and technique to take advantage of it.

The buffer could be larger - this will be the Achilles Heel for some bird shooters. By limiting the buffer, Nikon has left the door open for a true D300 replacement to slot above this camera in the lineup. For me, the many considerable upsides of the D7100 outweigh the buffer issue.

I'm not a big fan of the new locking control dial (I never had problems with the old dial) but it works fine - it just slows down operation a bit, and I worry that it may break. Just a minor quibble: the shutter sound is different, perhaps a little louder, than the D7000 shutter.

CONCLUSION
Brilliant camera. Nikon has dialed up the D7000 in every area you would expect, and a few you would not expect. The D7000 is an outstanding camera, but the D7100 offers improvements across the board. Better weather-sealed body, better ergonomics, more resolution, better color, more AF points, no AA filter, a 1.3X crop mode, a headphone jack, 60P frame rate, on screen audio levels. And did I mention that it is SHARP SHARP SHARP?

The D7100 is the best DX camera to date.
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on January 9, 2015
I’ve had a Nikon D7000 since it came out about 2 years ago. I had upgraded from a D5100 and it was a noticeable jump in quality all the way around. It had a higher resolution, better processor and more storage capacity. But I kept the D5100 around as it had in camera HDR (High Dynamic Range) capability, where as the D7000 Did not. The D7100 has HDR included.

One feature that cannot be stated more is the D7000 was an absolute tank. A very strong titanium frame, fully weather sealed against any and all environmental hazards. Seriously… The firs thing I did was opened the box. The second thing I did with this was drop it in the middle of a lava field during an ice and ash storm on the face of Mt Fuji and it didn’t even hiccup. Since then it has been taking a beating around the planet.

The one thing I have learned to avoid is being an early adopter, admittedly not with total success. I have fallen for more than my share of hype over reality. So I did wait to see what problems were surfacing with the new Nikon D7100. There were a few focus issues and oil spotting that had to be weaned out of the production a year ago, but it got an all clear a few months ago and I put a few coins aside for one.

The reasons are readily apparent; the D7100 is what the D7000 should have been. Most important is the 16 MPS vs. 24.3 MPS. Some people will tell you counting pixels is a sales gimmick; those people have 12 MPS cameras, so ignore them. 24 MPS is half as much more than the original D7000 and the 7100 put those pixels to good use. The lens that comes with the bundled kits can use the extra resolution, but it doesn’t truly exploit the higher count. You need good glass to get the full effect of 24 MPS and I got some fantastic glass. So much so that the deficiencies of the d7000 were readily apparent with some of my shots.

A major draw back to the D7000 was the use of Optical Low Pass Filters. OLPF counter moire’ patterned that show up with some repetitive detail in the image. It did this by softening the image. But that just meant it was removing some of the benefits of having great and very expensive lenses. It was relatively simple to fix post processing, but sometimes it meant the difference between a recoverable images and a crap one. Photoshop can only do so much.

In the D7100 OLPF has been removed completely, so you have the full resolution of your sensor and the lens you shelled out a $1000 for. Moire’ is relatively rare, especially at these resolutions and I’d rather deal with the occasional affliction than a constant hazy resolution.

Auto focus has made a huge jump for those who rely on AFS-C or continuous focus when shooting action or moving objects. The D7000 had 39 3d Focus points; the D7100 has 51 and a much faster processor to take advantage of it. Pair that with 6 pic’s per second continuous shooting and the chances of missing a moment are a lot lower.

Color depth has bee improved slightly, but notably; the color depth from 23 to a bit above 24 bits. This is only slightly lower than higher priced full frame Nikon systems such as the D800.

ISO noise is much better handled with the new sensor and processor. ISO runs from 100 to 6400, and H-01 to H03 hitting 25,000, which is nearly useless in my experience. Noticeable bump in low light handling as well as depth of field; Physics says I should have expected that.

The control scheme has been cleaned up and simplified. The rotary switch for shooting modes has a lock button on it now, so you don’t accidently bounce between shutter and aperture mode. I find myself hitting the wrong button at times, but this will pass.

I can go on for hours. If you want a good camera, the D7000 is a good choice, if you want a better camera that is a bit more future proof, the D7100 is a better one.
review image
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on February 27, 2015
I am using this primarily for sports pics. I shoot 5 frames per second and am doing high school wrestling and volleyball. these are indoor events are not typically the best light. its about as good as it gets without going to a full frame camera. even at ISO 4000 the quality is pretty good. I am not a pro by any means and I do not sell what I shot but I do give them to the parents of the competitors, they all seem to like what has come out of the camera. pretty easy to use and I have just scratched the surface, this camera can do so many things. there is even a soft focus effect that can be used with portraiture... the pics attached came from this camera within the last month.
review image review image
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on April 5, 2013
After reading the reviews here, I decided to take the plunge and upgrade to the D7100. I am certainly glad I did. As many have previously commented, the pictures are tack sharp. The color renditions are very accurate, also. I would say to anyone still considering this camera just buy it. You will not regret it at all. Just be sure you take the time to setup the camera the way you prefer it before you rush out and start taking pictures. I upgraded from the D7000, which is a great camera in its own right. This one blows it away in all aspects from low light shots to portraits or landscapes and everything in between. It is a little bit lighter than the D7000 and it feels great in my hands. I have not used the video yet so I can't comment on that part. The 1.3x crop is more useful than I expected. It is wonderful for sports shots for the extra length it provides on your lenses. That means my 18-200mm lens is about equal to 390mm when zooming in. Again, the pictures in this mode are very good and this is where you can get 7 shots in burst mode. I noticed no lag time in the shots I took testing this feature, although I did only take about 40 shots while testing it out. Again, all I can say is "WoW!"
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on April 23, 2014
Back in 1997 I began with the Nikon Coolpix 900 followed by the Nikon 4500 (which I still have and love).

In 2005 I got my first Nikon DSLR the D70 followed by a D90, D200, D7000, D7100 and currently the D600.

All have been wonderful cameras but I am now seriously considering downgrading back to the D7100.

I shoot lots of photos of all kinds of subjects, just for the joy of it!

The D7100 with it's APS-C sensor gets the 1.5x crop factor boost on my lenses ...

They start with the 10-24 DX Nikon followed by the 24-85 VR Nikon, the 70-300 VR Nikon and 50mm f/1.8D lenses.

That crop factor boost turns my 70-300 into a quite effective 105-450 lens which I really miss with my FX full frame D600.

BTW Both my D600 and the D7100 produce amazing 24 megapixel images!

But getting a lens for my full frame D600 that equals the quality I get with the 70-300 VR Nikon lens on my D7100 at the equivalent of 450mm is a real problem!

Not only are those lenses expensive but they also are big and very heavy and I like to handhold when I'm shooting fast moving birds.

I've tried cropping the images from the D600 but the image quality after the cropping suffers.

The D600 also has a "DX crop mode" but that only produces images that are 10.5 megapixels and these suffer even more when printed big.

The D7100 had a very useful feature they called the "4/3rds Crop" which turns on a frame line inside of the optical viewfinder showing the cropped area and the images it produces are 15 megapixels with an even, 2x lens crop factor which for shooting smaller birds was perfect ... turning my 70-300 effectively into a 140-600 mm equivalent lens and the 15 megapixel images print wonderfully, showing every feather crystal clear, even in large 13" x 19" prints!

My only quandary is that the low light performance of the much larger pixel sites on the FX full frame sensor on my D600 is unbelievably great! And, other than when shooting birds, the images I get with the D600 make beautiful large prints, too!

My suggestion is that you carefully consider what your photographic subjects are and let that be your guide as to which camera you buy. Good luck!
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on March 23, 2013
I received my D7100 yesterday afternoon and shot some pictures that are posted here, "a picture is worth a thousand words." I had the Nikkor 28-300 mounted so I was getting a 35 mm equivalent of 42-600 mm with the 1.3 crop factor feature. Note this is an FX lens. I have never encountered this before, but Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom have not caught up with being able to process the D7100 RAW files, so all my images posted here were converted in Nikon NX2. Using NX2, you can do some crude editing (adequate for some, perhaps) and can convert to jpegs or 8/16 bit tiffs. All were shot handheld at f/8, ISO 200 (except for the tulips, ISO 1600) at shutter speeds ranging from 1/500 to 1/1000 (sunset was shot at 1/60, tripod mounted). Original raw files are 24 megapixels and were quickly transferred via USB 3.0 reader from Kensington. Operation of the D7100 is essentially identical to the D7000, which I gave to my daughter. A few minor differences, but nothing significant. Using the "i" button on the back of the camera makes switching between DX and 1.3 crop mode VERY simple; this would be great for bird stalking if you need a little more reach or sports where the 51 focus points would essentially cover the FOV. In DX mode, you get 24mp, in 1.3 crop mode, something less than 16mp. I think the best aspect of this is the way the focus points cover the entire width of the image area.

After shooting the quick "one offs" posted here, I would have to pronounce this camera "sweet." I like the DX format and the 1.3 crop factor. Expeed 3 processor seems comparable to my 800E. IQ seems terrific. Dynamic range is superb, but hard to completely tell at this point without proper software. Bottom line, while some may scoff at this model as merely evolutionary, to me, it continues the very strong reputation of the D7000, and "son of D7000" is not too shabby a moniker ;) I have encountered no QC issues with the images, sensor, or other bits, but I have only had the camera for less than a day. I will update this if things change. I loved my D7000; I can tell I am going to love the D7100 as well. I will use this camera primarily for bird and animal stalking, but may also take it when I don't want to risk my D800E (the D7100 IQ is terrific enough and the camera is weather sealed as well).

PS A note about moire. The D7100 doesn't have an anti-aliasing filter, the 800E neutralizes the AA filter's effects. With my 800E, I have NEVER seen problems with moire (after a few thousand images) and I don't see why the D7100 would be a concern in this regard. Yes, I am aware of all the technical caveats. You can see more of my work at on my website if you want to see more (just click on "drdvde" above to see the link.)

UPDATE 4/3/13: Just returned from a trip to Arches National Park. D7100 performed terrifically. Using the 1.3x crop factor, I can get an effective 600 mm from my Nikkor 28-300 mm zoom FX lens. Pictures were sharp, but two issues are important until Adobe provides compatible software. It is possible to "hack" the exiv data of the raw camera files using the exiftool program (google it!) so that ACR and Lightroom and Photoshop thing their dealing with a D5200 file. This works reasonably well with DX mode images (program works flawlessly, but the process is convoluted). In 1.3x crop mode, however, things come to a halt. You can view your images in Bridge, but you can't ge them to load into ACR and they cannot be converted to DNG format by Adobe DNG Converter. You'd be limited to converting to jpeg or tiff using Nikon ViewNX2, as shown in some of my images above.

UPDATE later 4/3/13: Adobe DNG Converter v7.4 and Lightroom v4.4 now support the D7100
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