Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nikon D7100 vs D7000

As mentioned in a previous post, the new Nikon D7100 is almost the equivalent of a D600 shoved back into a DX body, putting the comparison between DX and FX on one of the most level playing fields ever. However, more value oriented shooters may compare the D7100 with its immediate predecessor, the D7000.

If you have decided to forgo the jump to FX, then the question is then whether or not the D7100 is worth the price difference. Though it has been said time and time again, we are now at the point of diminishing returns. If you can’t get a good shot with a 16mp dSLR, you won’t get a good shot with a 24mp one either. Thankfully, the D7100 shows improvement in other areas as well…. But again, if you can’t make the feature set of the D7000 to work for you, the D7100 won’t be much help either.

Here are some quick thoughts about what the upgrade landscape might look like for various groups. These are generalizations, of course, and are based on a rational view of the camera market. Purchases, though, aren’t rational, so don’t be surprised if none of the following adequately describes your situation

More Likely to be Buying a D7100:

  • Power User
  • Does paid work or has aspirations to be paid one day
  • Upgrading from a D90 or D300s
  • Prefers the more precise 51 point focus system
  • Interested in high speed crop mode; owns lenses like the 70-300VR
  • More likely to print photos
  • Wants the added acuity bite of having no anti-aliasing filter
  • Likely to own Capture NX, Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, etc.

More Likely to be Looking at D7000:

  • Value buyer
  • Less likely to be submitting photos for remuneration
  • Upgrading from D3200, D5100 or D90
  • Want the features and handling of a more serious dSLR without the expense
  • More willing to live with traditional anti-aliasing filter and in-camera or post processing sharpening
  • Less likely to own a lot of lenses.

Probably Not Changing Cameras:

  • Most existing D7000 owners, minus the bleeding edge early adopters.
  • Recent D5200 owners. They have more camera than they need, and with the swivel LCD display, they have a better video rig than either the D7100 or D7000
  • Recent D600 owners. You’ve made the jump to FX, as good as the D7100 is, it would still be a step back. Besides, you’ve got to save up for all of those expensive full frame lenses

Most Meaningful Differences Between the Two:

  • Native file size for D7100 vs D7000 (Hint: Time for a faster computer)
  • Though the evidence is mostly anecdotal, the 51-point autofocus system does seem to be more precise and reliable than the 39-point system
  • The price difference (As much as $300 USD at the time of writing) can be used to at least partially fund an additional lens
  • March'13 update: The quality of the contrast from the lack of the AA filter. Yes, you can notice it's not there, even without pixel peeping.

Things that Won’t Matter as Much:

  • The difference in resolution if you are shooting handheld. Natural hand movement and vibration from mirror slap will make both cameras more or less equal in terms of real life resolving power. Yes, for a modest improvement in detail rendering, some users are about to experience a significant increase in computer hardware demands
  • The danger of provoking moire on the D7100. Even so, there are software solutions to clean it up afterwards.
  • The increased weather sealing and rated shutter life of the D7100. You will most likely upgrade to the next big thing before the shutter wears out. The D7000 already has some environmental sealing, and owners of this class of camera tend to be responsible about their $1000 purchases anyway.

Things that Might Vex new D7100 Users:

  • In terms of noise and resolution, the D7100 is an improvement, but on a per-pixel basis, it will look the same or slightly worse than the D7000. This will definitely vex pixel-peepers, but it bears remembering that equal per-pixel noise and dynamic range performance with additional resolution means that overall noise performance is better.
  • Another group that might be vexed are those who cop into their pictures on a regular basis. When you crop into  the picture, you are effectively making the remaining pixels “work harder” to produce your final image

Things that Might Make D7000 Purchasers Wish they Bought a D7100:

  • Forum talk. If you are prone to “I coulda hada…” then it’s best to stay away from sites like DPReview for a little while. There’s going to be intense buzz around the D7100 for a while, but it bears remembering, if you have a dSLR, any dSLR, then you have far more camera than the majority of the population out there.

1 comment:

  1. A very level headed and unbiased analysis. Far from the hyperbole that discredits other "experts".