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Customer Review

322 of 350 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy upgrade for the skilled photographer, March 21, 2013
This review is from: Nikon D7100 24.1 MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR (Body Only) (Electronics)
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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Showing 1-10 of 12 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 22, 2013, 3:55:54 AM PDT
Thank you very much for your review, I was really worried about no having the low pass filter and the moire risk, very helpful.

Posted on Mar 23, 2013, 6:33:02 PM PDT
Matthew F. says:
I switched mine to AF11 pt. and it still moves around a lot for my tastes. I guess my shooting style is very comfortable with the single point I used on my 5100.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2013, 3:03:46 PM PDT
The D7100 can be set to use a single focus point of your choosing. Push the center button of the AF/M switch, and use the sub-command dial to set it at the center point. Then, you can choose whichever of the 51 focus points you want using the same method you did on the 5100.

Posted on Mar 24, 2013, 3:28:14 PM PDT
C Garnet says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 24, 2013, 6:46:48 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 25, 2013, 6:14:47 AM PDT
To clarify on the "rotational movement" - I didn't know what else to call the effect that happens when you mash the button on the camera in a manner that causes motion... Many people hit the button hard enough that it adds "tilt" motion to the camera, and causes a blurry image. This is one form of motion that VR doesn't presently correct for.

The D7100 has such dense resolution that it picks up slight sloppiness that wouldn't be apparent with less density.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2013, 3:52:29 PM PDT
A. Martin says:
Sounds like it's a simple matter of proper shutter release. Do not "mash" simply press the shutter gently till you take up slack and then follow through. If you are in a low light situation you should also hold your breath while releasing the shutter.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2013, 4:37:24 PM PDT
Matthew F. says:
Isn't that what I said I did?

Posted on Jul 9, 2013, 8:02:40 AM PDT
TMH says:
Thanks for the good review. I just shot a wedding with my D90 and I am happy with the results but I'm sure I can do better with a 7100. I do this as a hobby and the wedding was a freebie for my niece (her wedding). Upgrading to FX sounds good but the cost of the camera and lenses makes me nervous and buyers remorse might set in.

Posted on Dec 29, 2014, 12:50:28 PM PST
Does this body share lenses with the D90? My Wife dropped her D90 and it's DOA. I'm considering buying this camera body for her.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2014, 4:03:09 PM PST
Matthew F. says:
Yes, all Nikon lenses have the same mount.
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