Nikon D7100 vs D7000 – What are the upgrades?

The Nikon D7000 has been around for two and a half years, so the new D7100 has been talked about for a while now but finally it is here. From the comment of our latest article “Nikon D7100 vs D5200 vs D3200 – Which camera is for you?”, we know you would prefer the Nikon D7100 among the two other more entry-level DSLRs from Nikon. But, when we are putting the Nikon D7000 into the game, which one will you choose? Let’s find out what the upgrades are for the Nikon D7100 from its predecessor.

Nikon have deemed this to be their flagship DX camera. It is a pretty substantial upgrade to the D7000. Firstly there are key upgrades to the sensor and autofocus systems as well as several other new features. How does this camera stack up against the D7000? And the obvious question, should I shop in my D7000 (or a kidney) to get one?

Sensor TypeAPS-CAPS-C
Sensor Size23.5mmx15.6mm23.6mmx15.6mm
Sensor Resolution24.1 Megapixels16.2 Megapixels
Live View  
Movie clipsHD 1,920×1,080 / 60iHD 1,920×1,080 / 50iHD 1,920×1,080 / 30 fpsHD 1,920×1,080 / 25 fpsHD 1,920×1,080 / 24 fpsHD 1,280×720 / 60 fpsHD 1,280×720 / 50 fpsHD 1,920×1,080 / 24 fpsHD 1,280×720 / 30 fpsHD 1,280×720 / 24 fps
Lens MountNikon F mountNikon F mount
Focus SystemAuto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A)Continuous-servo (AF-C)Face-Priority AF available in Live View only and D-Movie onlyFull-time Servo (AF-A) available in Live View onlyManual (M) with electronic rangefinderNormal areaSingle-servo AF (AF-S) Wide areaAuto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A)Continuous-servo (AF-C)Face-Priority AFFull-time Servo (AF-A) available in Live View onlyNormal areaSingle-servo AF (AF-S)Wide area
ISO sensitivity rangeISO100-6400Hi-1 (ISO 12,800)Hi-2 (ISO 25,600)ISO100-6400Hi-1 (ISO 12,800)Hi-2 (ISO 25,600)
Shutter speed1/8000 to 30 sec.1/8000 to 30 sec.
Max. Continuous Burst Rate6fps6fps
Viewfinder coverage100%100%
LCD Size3.2 inches3 inches
LCD Resolution1,228,800 Dots921,000 Dots
StorageSD/SDHC/SDXC x2 slotsSD/SDHC/SDXC x2 slots
Weight23.8oz.(675g) camera body only24.3oz.(690g) camera body only
Dimensions (WxHxD)Width: 135.5mmHeight: 106.5mmDepth: 76mmWidth: 132mmHeight: 103mmDepth: 77mm

The Looks

Firstly the camera hasn’t really changed much from the D7000 in the looks department. It has had a slight ergonomic upgrade though. Nikon are starting to create a blueprint for the control system on Nikon cameras. This is great for those looking to use the D7100 as a second body alongside something like a D800 or D600. There are a couple of gripes about this system though, namely the position of the ISO button. It remains hard to find by feel, as it sits in a row of similar buttons down the side of the camera. The position of the zoom in button is also opposite where it is on the D7000. This is not a problem once you are used to it but I can imagine some frustration when getting used to this camera.The increase to 51 points from the 39 in the D7000 is (in numbers at least) a pretty substantial one

On the plus side for the new design, the live view replaces the trigger switch with a two position switch as found on models further up Nikon’s lineup. It also features one completely new button. The “i” button sits on the bottom left of the camera and allows access to commonly used features and is also customisable.

The Sensor

The first of the big two improvements made with the D7100. According to Nikon’s press release:

“images explode with more clarity and detail to take full advantage of the 24.1-megapixel resolution achieved with D7100’s DX-format CMOS sensor”

I am not sure of explosions but the new D7100 does offer a brand new sensor that is a first for Nikon. The new sensor has no optical low pass filter. The D800E had the sensor blocked out but it was still there. The D7100 omits this filter all together. The resulting images should see gains in resolution, but the obvious question left by this is how will the D7100 handle moiré? I am sure Nikon have thought about this, but it is something that could become an issue.

The D7000 sensor gained great reviews on release and was argued by many to be the best APS-C sensor available. Time has obviously moved on since the D7000’s release but it still remains a great sensor and 16MP images can easily be blown up to any reasonable size. It also handled noise well for APS-C sensor and the obvious question is how will the D7100, with all those megapixels, handle noise at higher ISO?

The official Nikon photos for the D7100 are all at lower ISO. Nikon France published some images on Flickr which did include one at ISO 1600. These images show decent handling of noise, but obviously the manufacturer of the camera is not going to show anything in a bad light.

There are some images floating on the net by someone who claims to have snuck a memory card into a D7100 at a Nikon event. These again show the camera to do well at higher ISO (if they are genuine). Obviously these are a pre release model with all the things that entails and this makes these images look very impressive. The final release camera with a further improved firmware should improve image quality even more, so there seems to be enough evidence to say that the D7100 sensor is going to deliver great images even at the higher end of ISO. A word of caution though, all the current images will be JPEG as there is not an available RAW processor capable of handling the D7100 files as yet, so it will be a while before RAW samples are floating around for people to really pixel peep (the photographic equivalent of train spotting).

All the image processing is handled by the Epxeed 3 processing engine which is seen in the higher end models such as the D800 and D4. It is also in the D5200 so it was pretty obvious it would be present in the D7100. It is a proven system so whilst there is nothing to get excited about, it reliably delivers what you want it to.

The Autofocus System

The D7100 features no less than 51autofocus points, with 15 of these being cross type. Nikon claim the camera will lock focus quickly and will cope very well in low light. This quality of focussing Nikon is claiming is partly down to the fact the D7100 shares the same autofocus algorithms as the top of the range D4. This means if it works as well in practice as it does on paper it could be a budget conscious sports shooter dream.

The increase to 51 points from the 39 in the D7000 is (in numbers at least) a pretty substantial one, but the key update is in the camera’s ability to quickly lock focus in lower light. I am personally unsure if many will need or use all 51 points in the D7100 or if it retained the 39 points of the D7000 if anyone would be crying out for more. The bottom line though is it is a nice upgrade in terms of low light ability compared to its predecessor and it beats out the Canon competition in what it can offer the user. Whether camera manufacturers are reaching a point with AF systems where we will start


There have been some updates to the video side of the D7100. It has a stereo mic, which is still not going to deliver the greatest sound but it is an upgrade. It gains full HD at both 25 and 30 fps as well as 50i and 60i. The camera does shoot 50p and 60p but this is only available when shooting in crop mode and are only 1280×720.

This is a nice upgrade from the D7000 for those who use video a lot.The D7000 really didn’t cut it in the video department and it is nice to see that thought has been put into this area. If you shoot a lot of video then the D7100 will be a great improvement for you.

1.3x Crop Mode

This is a nice feature of the camera. The crop mode is basically your in camera extender. It will come in handy for those who are shooting sports as it allows that extra reach, but also it means the autofocus points cover almost the whole of the frame and it slightly increases the burst rate to 7FPS. This feature means there will be some very happy sports shooters queuing up to buy this camera on release.

Everything Else

There was one point that did jump out to me when comparing specs with the D7000 and that was the buffer. The D7100 can only manage 7 shots in 12-bit RAW or 6 in 14-bit compared with 11 or 10 respectively on the D7000. The buffer for JPEG is slightly larger with 33 compared with 31 on the D7000. The reasons for this are the obvious jump in file size with the new 24 megapixel sensor but it may be an issue for some so is worth noting.

Battery life is a little less than the previous model with the D7100 managing 950 shots instead of 1050 on the D7000 It will still see most through a decent days shooting. It also keeps the same battery as the D7000 which is great for those who are buying this to compliment or replace their D7000. This is a small touch but it is a nice one.

The D7100 is weather sealed to the same level as the D800. The weather resistance again will come in handy for those who will be shooting sports.

It still has the 2 SD card slots which worked perfectly well in the D7000 so again there will be no need to invest in new memory cards with your new camera.


The D7100 is a well featured camera that will appeal to a huge variety of users and will particularly appeal to sports shooters. It is a decent upgrade to the D7000 and a camera that is going to sell huge amounts on its release. If you already have Nikon gear and are looking to upgrade to a high quality APS-C camera then look no further you have found your dream camera.

It is not a must have upgrade for those who currently have a D7000 but, if you shoot a lot of video it becomes something you may well want to consider. Nikon have put much more than a token upgrade on the table.

The only question left is Canon. Nikon have laid their cards on the table with the D7100. Canon’s 7D is going to be 4 years old this September. There have been a number of rumours and those (much like the D7100 before release) are growing rapidly. Canon need to come out with something special with the 7D2 because, on paper at least, the Nikon D7100 looks likely to be a very special camera.

will finish this article with a question. The D7000 can be had for an extremely attractive price and it remains an extremely attractive camera. Do you need the features that come on the new D7100 or will the cheaper D7000 still fulfil all your photographic needs and leave you with some cash in your pocket?