When the Nikon D610 was released in 2014, questions immediately started popping up among Nikon lovers, reviewers and general photographers in the digital imaging world. The Nikon D610 is an affordable full frame camera, but offers many of the same features of the Nikon D7100, which is considerably cheaper, albeit cropped frame. The Nikon D610’s release again ignited debate about the benefits of each sensor size, and how they measure up against each other.
This article is going to look in-depth at both the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 to try and answer not necessarily which camera is the best, but which one is the best body for you.
When the Nikon D610 was released in 2013, it caused a bit of a stir, but unfortunately not for the right reasons. Like many series upgrades, the Nikon D610 didn’t offer too much more on the Nikon D600 apart from a new shutter mechanism (that improved continuous and quiet continuous shooting) and improved auto white balance (for more realistic colors in artificial light). However, the Nikon D600 was dogged by complaints about its shutter mechanism, the one replaced in the Nikon D610, that Nikon never really responded too, which marred its release a little.
However, the Nikon D610 quickly expanded beyond the shadows of its past, offering a full line-up of features and specifications that photographers will love. The Nikon D610 sits in a coveted, and popular, position in the Nikon line-up as one of its more accessible full frame cameras. This means it offers some seriously professional potential, in a body that is easy to use, and to learn.
The Nikon D610 specifications include a 24.3-megapixel full frame CMOS sensor, ISO range of 100 – 6400 standard with expanded range of 50 – 25,600, a 39-point autofocus system with 9 cross-type points, a 3.2-inch 920k-dot resolution LCD screen, 1080p30 full HD video with built-in mono microphone, external mic jack, and dual SD memory card slots.
In short, the February 2013 release of the Nikon D7100 was Nikon providing for the crowing demand in the DX, or cropped frame, camera market. Nikon calls this its enthusiast market, which is made up of passionate photographers looking for some of the best equipment they can get, while still maintaining reasonable price ranges. These style of cameras, and Nikon is not alone in this, have become known for providing many professional and full frame camera features, in a cropped frame camera body.
The Nikon D7100 was a solid release from Nikon, with significant internal and external improvements that saw it eclipse even its predecessor the Nikon D7000 with ease. For photographers, the Nikon D7100 offered 24-megapixel DX format sensor with no OLPF, an ISO range of 100 – 6400 standard and up to 25600 expanded, an EXPEED 3 processor, 51-point AF system with 15 sensors cross-type, 1080 60i/30p video with built-in stereo microphone, external microphone port and audio monitoring jack, a 1.2m-dot 3.2-inch LCD screen, with 2 SD storage slots, all in a fully weather sealed body.
The Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 do have a number of similar features, and that should surprise nobody. If anything, the Nikon D610 is meant as a full frame step-up to the Nikon D7100, for those users ready to take the plunge into full frame photography.
Let’s now have a look at all of the comparable features of the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100, to give you a better idea of the areas in which each camera excels, and what that might mean in choosing between them.
One of the many reasons that the Nikon D7100 and the Nikon D610 are most often compared with one another is that they offer photographers the same number of megapixels. However, what photographers need to realise in the comparison of these two camera bodies, is that this is not a numbers game.
It is true that the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 both offer 24-megapixel sensors, but the full frame sensor present on the Nikon D610 gives it a serious advantage over its cropped frame counterpart in terms of image quality. That being said, the Nikon D7100 has no OLPF, which in turn gives it somewhat of an advantage in the realm of image quality. This means that each camera performs considerably well, and in fact they’re on par when it comes to image quality.
When it comes to the sensors on the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 it isn’t really about the camera’s individual specifications, but rather what they mean for you. The Nikon D610 is obviously a full frame, while the Nikon D7100 is a cropped frame sensor.
Many people wrongly assume that the full frame sensors will always perform better than cropped frame, but often, and especially when it comes to distance shooting, the cropped frame can give lenses an extended reach. The decision is more than we can cover quickly here, so we suggest you read carefully into it.
It might surprise you to learn that when it comes to the autofocus system there is absolutely no competition between the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100, but it’s not for the reasons you think. The Nikon D7100 absolutely blows the Nikon D610 out of the water with the most updated version of Nikon’s 51-point AF system with 15 cross-type sensors. By comparison, the Nikon D610 comes with the more simple 39-point system with 9 cross-type points. This means that the Nikon D7100 is able to focus both faster, more accurately, and at apertures down to f/8.
Both the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 perform admirably in terms of speed, and come up even on a number of levels. Both can perform continuous shooting at a rate of 6fps, but the Nikon D7100 outdoes the Nikon D610 on shutter speed ranges, offering 1/8000s maximum compared to 1/4000s, and flash sync speeds, offering 1/250s compared to 1/200s. These might only be small improvements, but they can make all the difference in a shooting situation.
At first glance both the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 offer the same ISO range. However, they are by no means equal. Just as the Nikon D610 outdid the Nikon D7100 in terms of image quality due to its larger sensor, so too does it outperform in ISO performance. The Nikon D610 is able to maintain much higher image quality at higher ISO levels, with noise showing around 2,980 ISO compared to 1,256 ISO on the Nikon D7100.
When it comes to video, neither the Nikon D610 nor the Nikon D7100 are top competitors for the prize, but both of them do pretty well overall and for most photographers they’re more than enough. The Nikon D7100 has a very small advantage with high speed 50i and 60i, but only in its 1.3x crop mode.
A big deciding factor when it comes to buying a new camera body will always be cost. So, it seems prudent to note that in choosing between the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 you’re making a choice on more than the body. The Nikon D610 works best with Nikon’s FX, or full frame, lenses, but most photographers upgrading will own only Nikon’s DX, or cropped frame, lenses. This means that if you have a collection of lenses, you’ll need to spend on more than just that expensive full frame body.
This is such a major factor when it comes to choosing between these two cameras, and for many photographers it will be the deciding factor. Although both the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 offer great potential for any photographer, the fact remains that the Nikon D7100 usually retails at prices around 40% cheaper than the Nikon D610. And when you consider as well that you’ll need to add the cost of lenses to that total, it becomes clear that if it’s bang for your buck that you want, the Nikon D7100 provides.
Users will see the Nikon D610 bundled in a kit with the Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR lens. This lens is a slightly newer replacement for the D series, which first appeared in 2000.
As a lens, it is a very good option to start with, which would be its purpose at this level of full frame camera bodies.
The 24-85mm is a stable everyday zoom that, although it won’t add too much on the already considerable price of the Nikon D610, will perform quite well.
As a first lens for many starter full frame photographers, the 24-85mm lens is easy to like, providing focal lengths to suit everything from wide captures to portraiture. It is well constructed for a kit lens at this level, and offers Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, which is sure to help out many beginner full frame enthusiasts.
The Nikon D7100 is most often seen bundled in a kit with the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II, a reliable kit lens in the DX range.
Producing stunning, high-quality images, this lens makes a great addition to any photographer’s collection, and includes both Vibration Reduction (VR) and the Silent Wave Motor.
What is most notable about this 18-55mm is its ability to retract for considerably greater compact storage, which may seen some users following through with the kit to upgrade their existing older model 18-55mm lenses
That being said, a smarter choice in many ways when it comes to the Nikon D7100 body is the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR kit lens. This lens has both the flexibility of a greater focal length as well as being well constructed and sitting balanced on the body.
It isn’t anything particularly special, like many kit lenses, but it does its job very well and includes Internal Focus mechanisms as well as a Silent Wave Motor and the Vibration Reduction technology Nikon is known for.
In the end, the choice between the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D7100 is all about wants and needs. You might want a full frame camera, but it remains that although the Nikon D610 is a cheaper full frame model, it is still very expensive compared to the Nikon D7100. What it will come down to at the final mark is your dedication to the full frame camera model, or your considerations of the budget mindset.
If what you’re looking for is a camera that has the ability to capture high quality images in most settings, dependent, as always on your own skills, then the Nikon D7100 is a great choice. Its improved autofocus system and maximum shutter range make it perfect for speed, wildlife and action photography. In many ways, its cropped frame is a massive advantage for any telephoto photography, giving lenses more reach than they would have on any full frame model.
As well as offering a range of quality features, the Nikon D7100 is also very affordable. Plus, for users upgrading from a lower model on the Nikon DX, or cropped frame, series there is absolutely no issue in most cases using old lenses, which can save even more money.
Of course, there’s no substitute for the quality images that can be captured on a full frame camera. Even a more budget option like the Nikon D610 still has the potential to capture absolutely beautiful images in stunning resolutions and quality. Like many full frame cameras, the Nikon D610 really shines in wide-angle and low-light photography, thanks to the size of its sensor and its ISO performance. This makes it a favorite body among landscape photographers, and those looking to pursue more professional portraiture.
True, the Nikon D610 is an expensive camera, but if you’re interested in starting in the world of full frame cameras, there’s no better model to begin with. It remains one of the cheapest options for the full frame beginner, more than enough to get you started, and provide an ideal platform for further learning.