D7100 vs D700 initial observations

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by stephen_doldric, Jun 21, 2013.

  1. I received my D7100 last night. Yippi for me. I traded in a D90 and D7000 and I'm very happy. No buyers remorse. Here is what I've found so far.
    1. The flash formula has changed. Too early to tell if its a good thing or a bad thing. On my D700 if I pop up my internal flash and manually set my camera to 1/60th f4 and letting the ISO float (shooting something close so I'm not trying to light the world), the D700 uses ISO 200 (lowest iso it can). On the D7100 same settings, it floats up quite high. Sometimes as high at ISO 6400 with flash, but normally about 1/2 of ambient ISO. Meaning if an ambient shot needs ISO4000, using flash it shoots at ISO2000. Using an SB600 and this is not nearly so pronounced, but still not at the lowest ISO. So I'm thinking its some sort thing they are doing to reduce the flash output. I even called Nikon support about it and they had no idea. It could also just produce better overall results. Time will tell, but not a deal breaker, but surprising to have an ISO 6400 shot when using a flash.
    2. The AF System lacks one setting the my D700 has. In AF-C, you can set it to release, release + focus, or focus. I normally set AF-C to release + focus. On the D7100 you do not have the middle option. Just release or focus. I won't know for a little while if that makes a difference, but will put it through its paces on a 5k road race soon.
    3. My D700 still kicks butt. Generally comparing photos of people coming out of my D700 are just better. Better overall exposure balance, better ISO and better overall for my type of shooting. I do think full frame makes a difference and on the D700 the mix of everything is just right. However, the D7100 is no slouch. The 24mp is really nice, noticeably nice and makes me no longer afraid of the D800 at 36mp. Even at ISO 6400 there is plenty of pixels to make a nice looking photo when downsampled, but really ISO 1600 is about as high as you generally want to take it. The AF system appears to be as good at my D700.
    4. Using Nikon Transfer (end of life, no longer supported), I can't open the images with Lightroom 4.4. Directly transferring them from the camera and they open without issue. So I have no idea what Nikon Transfer is changing, but its time to move on from Nikon Transfer.

    5. The standard mini USB port is now some sort of super micro USB port, so you have to use the cable supplied in the box unless you already have one laying around.
    I do feel like I finally have a suitable backup to my D700 that I can use for other things as well, though not a complete replacement pretty darn close and DX has the zoom benefits, so they compliment each other fairly nicely.
  2. The flash formula has changed. Too early to tell if its a good thing or a bad thing. On my D700 if I pop up my internal flash and manually set my camera to 1/60th f4 and letting the ISO float (shooting something close so I'm not trying to light the world), the D700 uses ISO 200 (lowest iso it can). On the D7100 same settings, it floats up quite high.​
    I don't believe you. All recent Nikons in manual + auto-ISO should be picking auto-ISO for correct background exposure, and flashing the foreground. I do believe the meter may have changed behaviour - my D800 seems to err towards overexposure more than my D700 (although the D800 also looks overexposed on the LCD and using the histogram more than it actually seems to be when I download files - I'm not sure what's going on there; I tend to set the camera to underexpose so things look right when chimping, then find myself having to boost in post...) As you found, I seem to have fewer issues with metering on the D700, and I'm not alone. I suspect Nikon fixed some special issues using the new meter at the cost of messing up the common case.
    The AF System lacks one setting the my D700 has. In AF-C, you can set it to release, release + focus, or focus. I normally set AF-C to release + focus. On the D7100 you do not have the middle option. Just release or focus. I won't know for a little while if that makes a difference, but will put it through its paces on a 5k road race soon.​
    Bet you that you can't do trap focus on a D7100 either. (Actually, I haven't checked, but the D4, D800 and D600 can't, so I think it's part of the new autofocus philosophy.)
    The standard mini USB port is now some sort of super micro USB port, so you have to use the cable supplied in the box unless you already have one laying around.​
    You're one of the few people I'm aware of who don't just use a separate card reader!

    Glad to hear you're getting on well with it, anyway - thanks for posting your thoughts. My D700 has largely been unused since my D800 turned up, but I'm very glad to have it as a backup. And my D800 is due for a sensor clean, so I'll likely be dusting the D700 off soon for a brief run. I hope I can cope with the old positions for + and -!
  3. Stephen, are you comparing your new D7100 to your old D7000 as your first line seems to insinuate , or to your old D700 used in the tekst all the time ?
  4. He's comparing the D7100 to the old D7000 and D700.
    Here's the thing. You can buy a pristine D700 with all the features of 51 point AF, FX and a really nice sensor, for the same price as a new D7100....$1200- $1400. The only downside is the MP count and if all you are doing is viewing or printing up to A3 size, it makes no difference.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Actually the D700 has a number of drawbacks, which Nikon had already improved with the D7000 back in 2010, as I outlined in the following post on June 16, 2011: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00Ytvg
    The D7100 maintains those D7000 features and adds a few more, e.g.:
    • 100% viewfinder
    • Dual memory cards
    • HD video
    And not to make too fine a point about it, the EN-EL3e battery is now considered unsafe according to the high Japanese safety standards, although standards outside of Japan are not as high.
  6. I'm mainly comparing it to my D700, but thats because that is my personal gold standard. I did get rid of an existing D7000 though, mostly because the AF didn't work well for me personally. I figured the stuff I mention above is stuff that I didn't see before I bought the D7100 and it might help someone else in the future.
    I did seriously consider another used D700, because I love the one that I already have. But DX has some advantages such as reach, quiet shutter and in this case higher resolution. So the D7100 seemed a good fit for me.
    The remainder of any photography problems I might have are with the photographer and not the equipment. :) Arguably, thats been the issue all along.
  7. The flash formula has changed.......​
    I don't know if it's relevant to the D700/ D7100 but there has been a change in behaviour with Nikon DSLRs when flash is used with auto-ISO. On older Nikons (my example is a D40) when used in P or A mode with the built-in flash and auto-ISO the ISO setting does not normally rise; it only happens when the flash is unlikely to be of adequate power to light the foreground. This frequently results in the background being underexposed unless slow sync is used. On newer cameras (my example is a D7000) the ISO can rise up to the maximum ISO limit set which means that the background more likely to be correctly exposed but can result in noisy photographs if, like me, you tend to leave the max. ISO at 6400. With an external flash the ISO can rise but only to four times the base ISO unless the flash can't provide enough light for the foreground in which case the ISO rises further. Yes, you did read that right, there is a difference between external and built-in flash!
    For a helpful analysis and discussion see:-
    Personally I prefer the old system to the new since on the D7000 is a little difficult to turn off auto-ISO (it's easier on the D7100).
  8. Further to the post above, it looks as if the change was made around 2009; the D90 is old-style but the D5000 is new-style. Not sure about the D700; my guess would be old-style.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I don't use auto-ISO very often, but it is highly useful for me when photographing wildlife under changing light, which is common at dawn and dusk when animals are most active.
    However, if you are using flash as the main source of light indoors, I would suggest using manual everything: ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, and let i-TTL control the right amount of exposure.
    Under such conditions, if I could get away with using the base ISO (typically 100 in these days), of course I would use that, but usually it is more like ISO 400 and 800. Anything higher would lead to noticeable noise as well as quality and dynamic range loss. Aperture is more like f4 or 5.6 to gain some depth of field, maybe f8 if I have a large ground so that I need to get everybody within the depth of field. Shutter speed is more like 1/30 sec to get some ambient light contribution while minimizing subject/people motion.
  10. pge


    Thanks for this post Stephen. I found it an interesting read. I just moved from a D700 to a D800 and would have loved to have them together to compare, but circumstances did not allow this. In many ways I think the D700 was a remarkably balanced camera and its used prices seem to suggest that others hold it in high esteem as well. In my part of the world used D700's are priced the same as new D600's.
  11. As has been mentioned before, one thing you might consider is testing out your lenses on the D7100 to see which ones
    are sharp on there. I just got mine a few weeks ago and have used it very little, but I could see already from the post-op
    that it's tough on lenses. What may have been very sharp on your D700 might not be so with the sensor on the D7100.
    That said, I don't find a huge difference between my D5100 and the D7100, but it's there, it has that edge, and so the lens
    has to be able to hold up, or they just look the same? worse? IDK, I'll leave that to the pixel peepers.
  12. Richard, thats an excellent article. I knew I wasn't going crazy, but I also see it was the same way on my D7000.
    As a follow up I did get Lightroom 4.4 and 5 to read the Nikon Transfer files. I uninstalled Nikon Transfer (the standalone product), installed Nikon View NX2, which also comes with Nikon Transfer2. Then simply launch Nikon Transfer2 directly:
    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Nikon\ViewNX 2\ViewNX 2\Nikon Transfer 2\NktTransfer2.exe"
    All is working again like I'm used to. I know there are other ways to do this, but I generally don't swap cards in and out, and I like my files to get renamed on import.
    Thanks everyone for the feedback and discussion. Lens testing is next...
  13. I don't use the on-camera flash on my D700 very often (well, I do, but only to trigger the external flash), but from Richard's post it sounds as though I owe Stephen an apology. I don't think I can see the manual explaining a difference, though (in the section on the "e" part of the menu), so I'll have to give my D700 a try when I get the chance. Live and learn.

    For what it's worth, the Canon philosophy with this was that (I believe), in program mode, the flash would ensure that the foreground was exposed correctly, and the aperture and shutter speed were set ignoring the background. In other modes, the assumption was that you wanted to set the exposure for something other than what was going to be lit (which you could do just by adjusting the flash power), so an attempt was made to expose the background. I guess I'd assumed that Nikons did roughly the same thing. Honestly, I tend to turn auto-ISO off anyway when I'm doing flash exposures!
  14. No apologies necessary. I did however notice one other odd thing, that in P and Full Auto the pop up gets treated differently along with aperture. Look at the ISO and aperture on these two with the exact same everything except rotating from P to A.
    P (w/ popup flash) = 1/60 f8 ISO 6400 w/ pop up flash
    Auto (w/ popup flash) = 1/60 f4.5 ISO 1600
    P (no flash) = 1/30th f4.5 ISO 6400
  15. Thank you, Stephen - and thank you for bringing this to my attention. I'd just disabled auto-ISO to avoid being confused by it (and because I kind of guessed that the camera might try to expose for the background), but I've not done enough comparative shooting with the D700 and D800, with flash, to realise this behavioural difference; I'm grateful to know about it. And it's certainly something confusing. (My list of "things to fix in the BIOS" is increasing yet again.)

    Of course, since neither the D700 nor the D800 have a "full auto" mode, at least I only have some of the weirdness. I guess my technique would be to turn off auto-ISO if I wanted the flash to handle the lighting, and be in slow-sync anyway if I wanted the background exposed correctly - though my default is manual mode + auto-ISO, so I'm sure this would have bitten me eventually. I'll definitely do some more experimenting! (I knew my flash technique was iffy.)
  16. Stephen, Andrew,
    That Francois Malan article I referenced points out that full auto mode is different from P mode; it seems to limit the rise in ISO to less insane levels. Trouble is that for we 'serious photographers' ;-) it doesn't really allow enough flexibility, in particular no flexible program.
    From what you are saying the D700 has what I called old-style flash behaviour. I guess I can excuse the change but I just don't get why the behaviour with internal and external flash differs. The behaviour with external flash seems more sensible; it makes sense to alow the ISO to rise a little to try to ensure the background is OK but ISO (say) 6400 should surely be reserved for available light photography when some noise is acceptable - not for flash when it probably isn't.
  17. Stephen's example above points up another peculiarity. In P mode with flash the widest aperture available is restricted as ISO rises. This is documented - for the D7000 there is a table on page 147 showing that at ISO 6400 the widest aperture is f/8 while for the D7100 the same table is on page 123. So we have the absurd situation where the ISO is allowed to rise to crazy levels when the ISO could have been set lower and the lens opened wider!
    I've never really understood the reason for this aperture restriction (and notice the strange way the aperture closes half a stop for each doubling in ISO). The restriction goes back a long way; there is a similar table for my F90x film camera.
  18. Thanks Richard!
  19. Have moved "up" over the years from a D50 to a D90 to a D7100. In Auto ISO with a SB 600 flash, I have noticed that the ISO jumps to 400 even though I am taking a picture of something in the room that is naturally lit with window light and light bulb and the object is less than 6 feet away. I'm not sure about this, but with my D90 the ISO went to the default lowest at 200 in this case. Now I can force it (D7100) out of Auto ISO and take the same picture and it takes it at 100 ISO. Did Nikon think that the ISO on the D7100 is so good that it is trying to save on the battery life, or, that it takes a better picture with the ISO higher and less light?
    With the D90, I could use the live view and adjust the white balance in mixed lighting with the control dial and then switch back to taking the picture with the view finder and get the white balance spot on. With the D7100 I can't. When I also take a picture of a white card for the same reason, the white balance is off. Now since I take almost all my pictures in RAW and then post process in Nikon Capture NX, it's not a problem, but, if I was taking it in JPEG it would be a problem getting the correct white balance.
    Has anyone else also had these problems, or should I call Nikon and ask for a replacement or have them fix the camera? At around $1200 for the body, I expect everything to work like it should.
    Please respond if you have any help with this.
  20. ok guys, I have a D700 absolutley love the camera, i was looking for a backup and I picked up a new d7100, yeah theres a big difference as far as build but I'm not a pro maybe not even a semi-pro but , I know a great camera when I shoot one, the d700 has yet to have a honest upgrade for that camera, the 810 I sure is a great camera, but If Im going to shoot that size of image and have a use for it then I would of bought one, the 610 and the d7100 is basicly the same camera except for the sensor, and Ive read the 7100 is faster and sharper and can hold its own for high iso around f2300 iso, that works for me cause I only shoot stage performance stuff . I will probably Use my d700 for that stuff anyhow. But back to the point I picked up the d7100 just for the fact if I,m shooting a stage performance where the 200mm is quite getting tight enough, I would use the d7100 with the 200mm to get a tighter shot and not waste any bit of the sensor. what do you guys think????

Share This Page