Nikon tonight announced the 24.1 megapixel D7100. The successor to the D7000 now sits at the top of Nikon's DX-format DSLRs, and with a number of new and improved features, deserves a serious look from a wide range of photographers. From advanced amateurs who want to hone their skills and photo enthusiasts to pros who want a relatively compact DX camera to complement their full-frame DSLRs.
Of course, we'll take a closer look once review units are available, but there are a number of features that will - or should - pique your interest, especially if you're a Nikon shooter.
Given the 24 megapixel sensor, Nikon decided to produce the D7100 without an optical low pass filter, as they did with the D800. That allows the camera to take better advantage of the sensor's high resolution (generally, the main downside to the lack of an OLPF is moire, but we'll have to see how it behaves in real life situations). Also trickling down from the D800 is the ability to output uncompressed video, simultaneously view footage on the LCD and an external monitor as well as a headphone jack for monitoring audio. The camera has built-in stereo mics but it's equipped with a separate jack for an external stereo microphone.
Also new for the D7100 is a 51-point AF system - with 15 cross-type points and a center point that works with f/8 (get those teleconverters out!) - so we hope to see improved speed and accuracy. And, as much as we like Nikon's matrix metering, we're anxious to see how the D7100's 3D Matrix Metering II, 2,016 pixel RGB system fares.
One of the more intriguing features is a 1.3x crop mode. Sure, a cropped sensor delivers an extra 1.5x boost on the telephoto end of a lens but the 1.3x essentially doubles the effective focal length. Imagine a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens being expanded with 140-400mm without the weight of a longer lens. While shooting at 1.3x crop drops the resolution to 15 megapixels, you'll also gain an extra frame per second in burst mode (7fps vs. 6 fps). And the file sizes are more manageable. Spot white balance in Live View also looks intriguing and will be especially useful for videographers.
Physically, the camera weighs a mere 1.5 pounds - maybe not so light compared to mirrorless cameras but it's certainly a manageable weight for a DSLR (especially if you're used to lugging around one of the larger, full-frame cameras). The LCD is now 3.2 inches with a resolution of 1.2 million dots and has a new OLED viewfinder with 100% coverage is the main viewing/composing option.
In addition to the WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter, the D7100 is compatible with the new WR-1 Transceiver, which is capable of controlling 4 groups of up to 20 cameras (total). There's a new battery grip as well, the MB-D15 which, when used with a second EN-EL15 battery doubles the battery life up to 1900 shots per charge.
We'll take a closer look at the still and video capabilities of this new DSLR in the near future, so stay tuned.
The D7100 SRP (suggested retail price) is $1200 (body only) or $1600 with the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens. Prices for the WR-1 Transceiver and MB-D15 battery grip have not yet been set. All products will be available this March.
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