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Nikon D7100 Initial Impressions

Does Nikon deliberately damage usability with the low and mid-range cameras, making arbitrarily stupid changes in behavior? It sure seems that way in some respects (idiotic Live View aperture behavior and obscure access to focusing points that took me 15 minutes to find what I wanted— it’s an exercise in not reading the manual, intentionally).

Live View ROCKS (at least for the image quality)

There is some encouraging news for a future pro model: Live View on the Nikon D7100 is WAY better than the subsampled mangled mess seen on the Nikon D800/D800E. I mean that fine details are there, clear as day. Except that in the field, I found the clarity wanting, versus under controlled conditions.

Not only that, my impression is that the screen quality is also superior. There is one distracting oddity which I have never before seen on a Nikon DSLR: zooming into high magnification is blurry for about 2/3 of a second, then the view goes crystal clear. I did dial up sharpening as per my Live View tip for the Nikon D800, but that does not play a role (I checked).

Is this the new Nikon D4x 56-megapixel sensor?

Recall that a little birdie told me about an upcoming Nikon D4x with 56 megapixels, already in the wild so to speak. I also speculated on a D4x nearly a year ago.

Now let’s do some math and scale up the D7100 sensor to D4x resolution:

24 megapixels * (35.9/23.5)^2 = 56.0 megapixels

An interesting piece of math no doubt, and maybe it just happens to fit. After all, 24 megapixels on a DX sensor is now fairly common. But just maybe the D7100 (which to my eye is easily the best DX sensor yet) might just be the basis for a full frame version of the same pixel density.

And just maybe Nikon has done away with the anti-aliasing filter on the D7100 because it’s no longer needed, even with the best lens I own: the Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar.

Image quality

Sensational with some limitations in tonal transitions. But unfortunately I cannot process the files with ACR and thus have to use Nikon Capture NX2 (unusable sharpening, great color) plus Topaz InFocus sharpening.

Nikon D7100
Nikon D7100 + Zeiss 135mm f/2 APO-Sonnar
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