Thursday, February 21, 2013

The Nikon D7100 is here. Is the D400 dead?

Nikon announced the new D7100 this morning. Once again Nikon has shocked everyone by doing something unprecedented. While you had to pay extra to get a D800 without an OLPF/AA filter (D800E), Nikon has just done away with it completely in the new D7100 which comes in at just 2/3 of the price of the D800E.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. The D7100 introduces a few more brand new features

  • 3.2" 1.2M pixel RGBW LCD monitor (a Nikon first)
  • 6fps (7fps in 1.3X high-speed crop mode)
  • Spot custom WB setting
  • 100% viewfinder with new EL (electro-luminescent) data display
The D7100 also inherits a few features from higher end cameras (and lower end cameras as well). 
  • 51-point AF with 15 cross-sensors (supposedly upgraded from D300s with D4 features)
  • 2016 pixel RBG metering sensor
  • 1080i/60fps video
  • Expeed 3 processor
  • Enhanced weather sealing
If the D5200 is a measuring stick for performance of the D7100's IQ then we're in for a real treat. The D5200 is a very good camera and the D7100 should surpass at at least in sharpness due to the lack of OLPF/AA filter. 

The 1.3X high speed crop will allow 7fps (not too bad) as well as give your lens a 2X crop factor. This will leave you with a more than ample 15MP file as well as allow the AF points to cover more of the frame. I'm looking forward to having 400mm f/2.8 and a 600mm f/4 option without using a TC. 

The updated 51-point AF should be faster and more accurate (I hope) than the D7000. That was an area that really needed improvement. 

The D7100 looks to be the end of the line for Nikon's venerable D300 series DX pro camera. The D300s is 3.5 years old now and Nikon drawing direct comparisons of the D7100 to the D300s in their own news statement in regards to build quality and weather sealing I'd say that Nikon is definitely broadly hinting that the D300s is dead and there will be no D400. I'm quite sad to say this because I liked the D300 series cameras and having a DX camera with the excellent control layout is definitely a plus for a lot of pros, but what can you do? It's gone. Time to focus on the present.  

What Nikon is doing here is saying, "if you want a serious pro camera you gotta step up, spend the $3000 and buy a D800/E" In the meantime the high-end amateur cameras the D600 and D7100 are very capable for budget-minded pros, but also offer features that will appeal to the amateurs with deep pockets, killing two birds with one stone. Not to mention, the D300s retailed at $600 more than the D7100, so there's some savings to be had. 

So it looks like the DX pros aren't going to have a camera to one-up the ams with. I pronounce the D400 officially DOA. 


Anonymous said...

Well said. I loved my D300, but I'm enjoying my D600 even more in some respects save the lack of a few controls. Those waiting for a D400 now have a few choices. Keep enjoying the still capable D300s, go FX with the D600 or step up to the new DX flagship, the D7100. Stop dreaming about the D400 and start shooting!

J. Dennis Thomas said...

I like the D600 for file size, but the D800 for handling.

Nikon has pretty much said DX is dead for high level pro cameras. You want a D400 pro camera? It's the D800 in crop mode. Maybe they could call it the D533 (800÷1.5, get it?)