Nikon D7100 DSLR review

D-elight? Nikon’s D7100 is pitched at amateurs who fancy themselves as pros with bells and whistles to match, though basic image quality apes cheaper consumer DSLRs

The traditionally styled D7100 naturally updates the older D7000, as such sitting at the top of the tree of Nikon’s APS-C sensor digital SLRs aimed at consumers. The next step up being a semi professional full frame sensor model such as the D600, this makes for an impressive 16 DSLRs in Nikon’s current line up. Most notably the resolution has been hiked this time, with the D7100 boasting 24 megapixels to its predecessor’s 16MP. As it did previously with the pro-grade D800E, to eke out more detail still, its manufacturer has also removed a low pass filter that normally reduces unwanted artefacts but can sacrifice some detail into the bargain. Direct rivals include the Canon EOS 7D, Pentax K5 II plus Sony SLT-A77. 

Though this is a camera for amateurs who aspire to go pro, Nikon has bundled a standard 18-55mm (3x equivalent) zoom with it, when a fixed focal length or ‘prime’ lens would better do its sensor justice. This meant that images were softer overall than we’d have hoped given the spec on offer; but for general-purpose photography and as a starter option, a modest zoom will certainly do. It’s not cheap though at a suggested £1299.99 for body and lens, so those on a budget would do well to also consider the D5200 as it features the same sensor.  

Though Nikon has suggested this as a lightweight DSLR option, we still get a solid-feel, chunky weather resistant body with all the expected controls plus top plate LCD window as well as larger 3.2-inch LCD at the back. With a resolution of over a million dots, said screen is large enough to use it as an aid to manual focusing in Live View mode; otherwise of course there’s a smaller though bright optical viewfinder offering 100% field of view to compose shots at eye level with. A tilting LCD is one thing this camera is missing which would have been useful for composing video. Here we get the regulation 1920x1080 pixel clips, at 30fps with stereo sound, though we had to be careful the built-in microphone didn’t pick up our hand movements and camera mechanics.

Add a top speed of 7fps at 15.4 megapixels for capturing action shots and this is a DSLR that pretty much does all the amateur could want. Though we’d have liked pictures to be sharper still, especially when shooting JPEG, colours are natural, it holds detail well during tricky exposures and if familiar bugbears such as pixel fringing do rear their head, then it’s something we can live with.

OUR VERDICT

A respectable showing though if extras like weatherproofing aren’t required there are cheaper alternatives delivering a very similar still image quality.

Find the best price