Nikon has just announced the brand new D7100 DSLR camera body, and judging by the specs, it looks to be a capable upgrade to what proven to been an extremely popular model during the past couple of years.
With a brand new 24.1 MP APS CMOS sensor and Nikon’s EXPEED 3 Image Processor, the D7100 is able to shoot full resolution RAW images at 6 frames per second with an impressive 100 frame buffer. Video capabilities include a built in stereo mic, external mic and headphone jacks, HDMI output and 1,080HD at a variety of different speeds, as well as 60p slow motion at 720p.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade that the Nikon D7100 offers is an improved autofocus system that incorporates 51 focus points, 15 of which are cross type sensors. This is up from 39 that are found on the D7000. Even the $2,000 full frame D600 only has a 39 point AF module.
Another important feature on the D7100 is a special 1.3x crop mode which is designed to let you get even closer to distant subjects without having to resort to carrying an enormous lens. The image size of the 1.3x crop becomes 15.4 megapixels, which is certainly high enough for just about any type of pro quality use. When combined with the already 1.5x crop of the DX sensor, this effectively turns the D7100 into a 2x camera, making this a great body for shooting sports and wildlife.
Also, in 1.3x crop mode, the 51 focus points end up covering the entire frame, which gives you enormous flexibility to compose your scene, and the max frame rate climbs up to 7 fps. Again, a sports shooters dream.
A built in flash with a shutter sync of 1/250 allows full CLS control of external Speelights. Again, by comparison, the D600 only syncs at 1/200, a fact that has caused concern with more than a few die hard flash photographers.
Another feature that confirms Nikon’s intention of creating a pro-caliber body is the fact that the viewfinder gives 100% of the frame. Add to that Nikon’s EXPEED 3 processor, which is the same one found on all of their latest models, including the D4, D800 and D600, the D7100 promises to deliver exceptional image and video quality.
Ergonomically, the D7100 looks very much like the D600 and D800. If you’ve used either of those cameras, this will feel very familiar in your hands.
Price on the D7100 is expected to be $1,199, which is pretty much the same as the normal price on the D7000. Yes, it’s over the $1,000 mark, which might scare away the amateur crowd, but especially when compared to the D600, the D7100 is whole lot of camera for $800 less. The only trade off I see is that it’s DX, but that’s just me. There are a great many shooters out there who love their DX bodies and find that it works perfectly for their style of photography.
Would I recommend the D7100? Based on what I’ve seen, absolutely, unless, of course, you want full frame. In fact, as good as the D7100 is, that $800 savings against the D600 seems to be an even easier decision to make. Read my comparison between the D7000 an the D600, and keep in mind that you’re getting even more bang for your buck with this new model.