There are a lot of similarities when it comes to the Nikon D7100 and its predecessor the Nikon D7000, which is likely what causes confusion among photographers when it comes to choosing between them. Both bodies, released a few years apart, have a range of features conclusive with their position in Nikon’s enthusiast line of cameras, but they have very different price tags.
So, which camera is the better choice for you? The Nikon D7000 is the older camera, and much cheaper, but whether it serves your individual needs remains unclear. Let’s have a look at these two cameras, and see if we can’t help you make that decision.
Announced in September of 2010, the Nikon D7000 turned quite a few heads upon its release. A glance over the specification sheet showed that, although initially considered something of a Nikon D90 successor, the Nikon D7000 had just as much in common with the semi-pro Nikon D300s.
A worthwhile upgrade for any Nikon D90 or Nikon D300s user, the Nikon D7000 is in many ways the camera body that Nikon D90 photographers have been waiting for. In terms of features and specifications, the Nikon D7000 offers a 16-megapixel DX format sensor, an ISO range of 100 – 6400 standard and up to 25600 expanded, an EXPEED 2 processor, 39-point AF system with 9 sensors cross-type, 1080p24 video with built-in mono microphone and external microphone port, a 921k-dot 3-inch LCD screen, with 2 SD storage slots, with dust and moisture sealing.
Released in February of 2013, the Nikon D7100 was an upgrade from the Nikon D7000, taking the top spot in Nikon’s enthusiast range of DX or cropped frame bodies. The Nikon D7100 might have had a bigger price tag than many entry-level models, but it also had all the features that Nikon’s target market of passionate hobbyists and photography junkies were looking for. Improving on the Nikon D7000, the Nikon D7100 aimed to provide for those photographers who wanted the best, while still maintaining the affordability and accessibility that the cropped frame camera bodies offered.
In terms of features, we can see a number of places that the Nikon D7100 remains true to its predecessor, and some places that it totally outperforms it. These features include a 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 features are certainly what distinguish these two very similar cameras from each other, and along with price will be the main considerations in choosing between them. We’re going to have a look at each of the relevant features of these two models in depth, to help you better judge the one best suited for your needs.
The first difference between the Nikon D7000 and the Nikon D7100 that people notice is the megapixels. Lately, and at the centre of many a photographic debate, is whether these numbers really matter. Yes, the Nikon D7100 does have a 24-megapixel sensor, a considerable leap over the Nikon D7000’s 16-megapixel offering. But that doesn’t make it instantly better when it comes to image quality, sharpness or any of a million other measures of worth in photography.
However, the Nikon D7100 is still better than the Nikon D7000. Why? Because on the Nikon D7100 the manufacturer has opted to leave out the Anti Aliasing or Optical Low Pass Filter, giving the Nikon D7100 the ability to capture much sharper images. The OLPF protects images against moiré and false colors, but leaves the images slightly softened. Without the OLPF the Nikon D7100 has the ability to capture stunningly sharp images, particularly in high-quality RAW files.
The Nikon D7000 is fitted with an EXPEED 2 image processor, while the newer Nikon D7100 features an EXPEED 3 processor. Now, although performance will obviously depend on the specific camera and the methods of use, newer processors tend to allow for better performance in image processing, speed and camera ability. Particularly, the newer EXPEED 3 processor has been able to boost the ability of the Nikon D7100 in low light, which we’ll discuss now.
On the surface, both the Nikon D7000 and the Nikon D7100 perform the same when it comes to ISO. Certainly, the numbers would suggest that this is the case, with both cameras offering an ISO range of 100 – 6400 standard and 25,600 expanded. But, when it comes to practice, the Nikon D7100’s updated EXPEED 3 processor gives it a slight edge when it comes to low light performance or around 0.1 f-stops. This means while the Nikon D7000 retains low noise up to 1,167 ISO, the Nikon D7100 stretches to 1,256 ISO, a worthwhile consideration for any low-light photographer.
One of the most effective ways to improve your shooting performance when you’re out in the world is to assess your shots on the screen of your DSLR. The Nikon D7000 offers a standard sized 3-inch screen, with 920k-dot resolution as expected at this level and for its release date. But, the Nikon D7100 does it one better, with a 3.2-inch screen and 1.2m-dot resolution for even larger, clearer images and Live View.
You can’t really compare this in the Nikon D7000 and the Nikon D7100 as the earlier model didn’t have this nifty feature. Called 1.3x Crop Mode, it is essentially an extender for your camera that allows the Nikon D7100 to shoot at 7fps (up from 6fps normally) and produce 16-megapixel images. The Crop Mode means that the autofocus covers the frame, and it also increases the equivalent focal length of your lenses, making it a definite bonus for sports and wildlife photographers.
Here is another area where the features of the Nikon D7000 and the Nikon D7100 definitely don’t line up. However, unlike the sensor, the numbers really do count when it comes to autofocus. The Nikon D7000 offers a respectable 39-point autofocus system, with 9 points being cross-type. The Nikon D7100 on the other hand offers a more professional 51-point autofocus system with 15-points being cross-type.
This more sophisticated system means that photographers can focus faster and more accurately in a range of situations. When paired with the Nikon D7100’s improved low-light photographer performance, it makes for a well-balanced camera that adapts easily to any shooting environment without giving up anything on image quality and potential.
There aren’t any major upgrades when it comes to the video on the Nikon D7000 and Nikon D7100, but videographers will still notice the Nikon D7100’s upgrades. It bumps up the Nikon D7000’s 1080p ability to include both 25fps and 30fps. In 720p recording, it is possible to record both 50p and 60p videos. Also upgraded was the internal microphone, which is now stereo instead of mono, and the external audio monitoring port, which has been included on the Nikon D7100.
As is often the case with upgrades, the Nikon D7000 and the Nikon D7100 use the same battery. However when it comes to batter life the Nikon D7100 doesn’t do as well as the Nikon D7000, likely due to the extra features on the body. While the Nikon D7100 offers a reasonable 950 shots on a full charge, the Nikon D7000 offers 1050 shots, which for some photographers will be considered very important.
Like many newer models, the Nikon D7100 delivers on fronts that either weren’t around, or weren’t important when the Nikon D7000 was first released. These include compatibility with Nikon’s range of plug-in wifi adaptors, which were released after the Nikon D7000 came out. The Nikon D7100 also offers a number of in-camera special effects, brought across from the Nikon D5200 and indicative of the placement of the Nikon D7100 for enthusiasts, as well as in-camera HDR, which has become a popular addition in many enthusiast and hobbyist camera models.
The Nikon D7100 comes most often in a kit with the Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 VR II, a solid kit lens for Nikon’s DX range. The lens, like many kit lenses, is an all around performer, producing stunning images that make it a useful addition to the equipment of any photographer.
The 18-55mm includes both Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) and its effective Silent Wave Motor, which allows for smooth and silent focusing.
For photographers who already own the older Nikon 18-55mm, this lens is still an upgrade, and offer the ability to retract, meaning it is more compact and much more easily stored.
However, a great choice for many with the Nikon D7100 body is the 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens, which was also sold in kit with the Nikon D7000.
This lens includes many of the same hardware as contained in the 18-55mm, including the Vibration Reduction (VR) and the Silent Wave Motor, but with an increased focal length.
For photographers that want to get the most out of their lenses in terms of flexibility and potential, the 18-105mm certainly performs, offering wide angle as well as the benefits of general zoom.
The Nikon D7000 now also sells in a kit with the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR II ED. For many photographers, this lens offers an easy solution to the issue of having to carry a number of lenses with you on a daily basis.
Covering the focal range from wide-angle to long zoom, the 18-200mm is a highly flexible and versatile lens option that really delivers on all fronts.
This lens, like the others we have looked at, also contains Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) and that Silent Wave Motor for smooth and easy focusing, for stunning sharp images worth showing off.
The Nikon D7000 and Nikon D7100 appear in many ways to be a typical series of successive models. The Nikon D7100, being the newer model, offers a range of updated and upgraded features on its predecessor, some of which are likely to impress photographers, and some of which might go unseen. However, a significant consideration in making a camera choice is price, and the Nikon D7000 and Nikon D7100 certainly differ on that.
If you’re looking for a camera that is going to be a solid but affordable upgrade from a mid-range or entry-level DSLR then the Nikon D7000 is probably a great fit. It has an impressive autofocus system, good ISO performance, reasonable video ability for a beginner, all wrapped up in a more ‘pro’ looking body. It gives photographers the ability to test the waters of the higher range of Nikon’s DX bodies, without breaking the bank. A bonus in terms of cost as well is that the release of the Nikon D7100 will likely mean there are more used bodies floating around, which is worth considering.
If you want a camera that is going to perform at the top, and you aren’t too worried about the price tag, then the Nikon D7100 is definitely your choice. It betters the Nikon D7000 almost across the board, perhaps not enough for a Nikon D7000 user to consider an upgrade, but certainly more than enough for other photographers. The superior autofocus, upgraded processor and improved video performance would be enough to put the Nikon D7100 ahead. But add in the bonuses like the addition of the 1.3x Crop Mode and you have a serious case for any photographer. This is especially true if you’re a high-speed action or zoom photographer, such as a sports or wildlife photographer, as these features really do vastly improve the already impressive Nikon D7100.
Ultimately, the choice between the Nikon D7000 and the Nikon D7100 is your own. Think about your individual needs as a photographer, and consider whether the added features of the Nikon D7100 really benefit you enough for the price hike.