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Nikon D7100 Ken McMahon, April 2013
 
 

Nikon D7100 vs Nikon D5200 vs Nikon D7000 quality JPEG

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To compare real-life performance I shot this scene with the Nikon D7100, the Nikon D5200 and the Nikon D7000 within a few moments of each other using their best quality JPEG settings; RAW results will follow on the next page.

Each camera was fitted with the same AF-S Nikkor 28mm f1.8G lens, thus eliminating any difference in results due to lens factors.

The 28mm f1.8 lens has an equivalent focal length of 42mm on all three models due to the 1.5x field reduction of the DX sensor. The cameras were set to f5.6 in Aperture Priority exposure mode with the senstivity set manually to 100 ISO.

  Nikon D7100 results
1 Nikon D7100 Quality JPEG
2 Nikon D7100 Quality RAW
3 Nikon D7100 Noise JPEG
4 Nikon D7100 Noise RAW
5 Nikon D7100 Sample images

The image above was taken with the Nikon D7100. The D7100 was mounted on a tripod, the aperture set to f5.6 (previously determined to be the optimum setting for this lens) and the sensitivity set to 100 ISO. Under these conditions the camera metered an exposure of 1/500. Both the D5200 and the D7000 metered the same exposure so you really are comparing like with like here. On the D7100 and D5200 JPEG compression was set to Optimal quality and on the D5200 Active D-lighting, which is set to Auto by default was turned off to match the default Off setting on the D7100 and D7000. The D7100 JPEG file measured 13.86Mb and, as usual, the crops are taken from the areas marked by the red rectangles.

The weather on the day was cloudy but bright and all three cameras chose the same (correct) exposure which has resulted in a histogram in the middle of the chart with no clipping of the highlights or shadows. The question everyone wants to know the anwer to is just how how much of a difference does the abscence of the optical low-pass filter make to the D7100's image quality? The comparison here to the D5200 which shares the same, or at least a very similar 24 Megapixel CMOS sensor, but with an optical low-pass filter fitted, should provide the answer.

So how do the crops shape up? I'll start by comparing the D7100 crops with the D5200 ones. In the first crop there's a good level of detail from both sensors, but I must admit to a slight sense of disappointment that the detail in the D7100 crop isn't noticeably sharper than in the D5200 crop to the right. Having said that, you can clearly make out the crosses on the chapel roof and detail in the stonework.

In the second crop, I wouldn't pay too much attention to the slighter clearer lighthouse which I think is most likely a consequence of slighly changing light and atmospheric haze. In the foreground of this crop at the bottom, comparing the detail in the roofing and the edges of the window frames, once again, I'm finding it hard to see any appreciable difference. It's the same story on the third crop from close to the edge of the frame. The 28mm f1.8 lens is pretty sharp at the edges when stopped down to f5.6 and I can't see any softening here, but neither can I see much of a difference in the sharpness or level of detail between the D7100 and D5200.

The final crop from closer to the middle of the frame is also extremely close and if anything the crop from the D5200 looks slightly sharper and more detailed. So, if you're one of those people hoping to benefit from shaper more detailed images from the D7100 on account of its lack of an optical low-pass filter, you'll be disappointed. On this evidence, it doesn't make a great deal of difference.

Of course it may be that Nikon's processing isn't make the most of the sensor data; and possible that the jpeg processing has erred on the side of softness to compensate for the missing OLPF. The RAW results on the next page will tell us more about that. Before that, let's take a look at how the D7100 crops compare with those of its predecessor, the D7000. The crops from the 16 Megapixel sensor in the D7000 show a larger area with smaller detail. Overall, the edges in the D7000 crops are a little softer and the detail a little less clear, It's a relatively small difference and on its own wouldn't justify upgrading, except that as well as a slight increase in quality you're also getting a big boost in resolution.

You can see how these differences are reflected in the Nikon D7100 RAW quality results on the next page. Alternatively you can see how these models compare at higher sensitivities in my Nikon D7100 Noise results.

 

Nikon D7100
 
Nikon D5200
 
Nikon D7000
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO


Nikon D7100
results : Quality / RAW quality / Noise / RAW Noise


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