Nikon launches the D7100, a new flagship DSLR for photo enthusiasts

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Destined for the hands and eyes of advanced hobbyists, Nikon has introduced a new flagship DX-format DSLR, the D7100.

Sporting a 24.1-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 51-point AF system, and wireless connectivity, this lightweight model promises even faster performance with new features and controls.

The D7100 retains the button layout of its predecessor the D7000, but adds to the new sensor and improved autofocus a shooting crop mode that facilitates high-speed shooting at a similar field of view to Micro Four-Thirds. The camera also has a new 3.2-inch rear LCD panel, with a 1.23 million-dot resolution. The viewfinder has been upgraded with a built-in OLED panel instead of the current LCD, and is designed to be brighter and more detailed. The ISO ranges from 100-6400 (expandable to 25,600).

The D7100’s 24-megapixel sensor is the same resolution as Nikon's D3200 and D5200. However, the D7100 has no optical low-pass filter, for better fine-image detail with high-resolution lenses. The new camera has Nikon’s Expeed 3 imaging processor—a more advanced processor than the Expeed 2 of the D7000—which the company says will boost dynamic range. Built-in High Dynamic Range (HDR) capability records multiple shots simultaneously at different exposures and blends them into a single frame.

Whereas the D7000's 39-point autofocus system has been used in other Nikon models like the D600, the D7100 introduces a new 51-point sensor (including 15 cross-type points) that covers the same proportion of the image frame, resulting in a larger array of focus points. It’s also more versatile than the existing system as it is functional at an aperture of f/8, and lets the autofocus operate when using a telephoto lens with a teleconverter.

The D7100’s unique feature is a 1.3x crop mode. With this crop enabled, the D7100 will see the same images as a 2x crop Micro Four-Thirds camera. This is designed for telephoto shooters who want to use the D7100 for long-distance photography. The 1.3x additional crop also enables high-speed shooting of 7 frames per second—a big boost from the D7000’s 5fps. Otherwise, the new camera shoots at 6fps.

A new spot white balance allows for quick, precise white balance adjustment while shooting in live view. By selecting a desired point on the screen, users can set a custom white balance from a distance, even while using a super-telephoto lens.

Video can be recorded at 1080/30p, or at 60i/50i (in 1.3x Crop Mode). The D7100 can record stereo sound through the internal microphone, or attach an optional external microphone through the dedicated microphone terminal.

No camera, it seems, is complete without social networking, and thus the Nikon D7100 works with an optional WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adaptor for instant sharing with a smartphone or tablet. A compatible iOS or Android app allows users to control the camera remotely, or use the phone or tablet as a Live View monitor in the field.

Concurrent with the new release, Nikon also announced the WR-1 Transceiver for Nikon DSLRs. It uses 2.4 GHz radio frequency when communicating with the camera, extending its range and functionality for remote shooting.

The D7100 will be available in March for $1200 body-only and $1600 bundled with a 18-105mm kit lens. A new MB-D15 battery grip and the WR-1 transceiver will also be available in March, though pricing for these products is not available. The WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter is available now for $60.

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