D7100 or D600/610

Started 8 months ago | Discussions
paul2009
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D7100 or D600/610
8 months ago

Hello - I currently have a D90. I'm still enjoying that camera but I feel I'd like a new challenge and, of course, to improve my photographs.

This is the sort of stuff I do: http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulfrankl/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulfrankl/

Regarding the D7100 it's been suggested to me that the sensor is not so good for people who do a lot of PP.

Here's a quote from someone who gave me this advice:

The D7100 has less room for correction or postprocessing before the file starts to fall apart, posterize or show noise. And, double the pixel count is going to require much better shot discipline to maintain sharpness at the pixel level.

Interesting...

Yet in Thom Hogan's very positive review of the D600 he says of people converting from DX to FX:

DX or FX? You really need to know which one you are, especially with the D7100 appearing. Basically you have the same choice of camera (24mp, same body and controls), but in DX and FX form. There aren't a lot of differences other than sensor. Nikon has been telling all you D80/D90/D7000 users that the D600 is the camera for you. I suspect not. The D7100 very well may be the camera for you, especially with that 1.3x crop, which gives consumers a phase detect system that works across nearly the full captured frame. Thus, if "reach" is one of the things you value, the D7100 is your camera, not the D600. Low light work? The D600 should top the D7100 by about a stop or so, all else equal, but even a stop behind is pretty darned good for most users. If only Nikon would make some fast DX primes ;~). What I keep finding is that DX users moving to FX either already had all the FX lenses they needed, or they're having to do a complete overhaul of their lens system. If you're one of the former, congratulations, the D600 may be for you. If you're one of the latter, I hope you have a lot of disposable income, as this can get expensive.

Can anyone please help me to find my way round this apparently conflicting advice?

Many thanks

Paul

Nikon D600 Nikon D7100 Nikon D90
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David314
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

paul2009 wrote:

Interesting...

Yet in Thom Hogan's very positive review of the D600 he says of people converting from DX to FX:

The D7100 very well may be the camera for you, especially with that 1.3x crop, which gives consumers a phase detect system that works across nearly the full captured frame. Thus, if "reach" is one of the things you value, the D7100 is your camera,

is reach one of the things you value, then strongly consider the D7100

and judging from your images, it is not, so I would say get the D600

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Rservello
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

I haven't use the D7100..but from what I've seen it's pretty awesome.  That said, I love my D600.  I already had some prime FX glass so I really wanted to use it.  I don't like converting my focal lengths based on crop.  So when I finally got my D600 and got to shoot full frame with that 100% VF I was in HEAVEN!  Image quality is phenomenal...but I'm sure the 7100 is too.  Low light capabilities are great as well.  I think this is a matter of whether or not you are used to film and really want your focal lengths to match your expectations, or if you are fine working within a crop.  If crop doesn't bother you, it seems like the best choice is to save $600 and get the D7100.  But I personally want my full frame.  So it was totally worth it to me!

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paul2009
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to David314, 8 months ago

I'm really sorry. I don't know what reach means. Is it photographing things far away?

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shmn
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

paul2009 wrote:

I'm really sorry. I don't know what reach means. Is it photographing things far away?

Yes.  Using FX lenses on DX bodies gives the lens a longer apparent focal length.

What lenses do you currently have?  If they are mostly DX lenses and you like them, stick with DX.  If they are mostly FX lenses or you want to get certain FX lenses, go FX.

To be honest, I think both are decent cameras and either will make you happy.  The minor details are just that.  Look at the bigger picture in respect to lens usage to help make a decision.

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anotherMike
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

I'll see if I can help.

Disclaimer: I primarily shoot with a D800E, but my backup camera over the past several months was initially a D7100 and then I switched that out (sold it) and am currently using the D610 as my second cam / backup camera. So I have a pretty good idea of both bodies.

The D7100:

Truly excellent acuity and "bite" from that 24mp sensor without any AA filter in front of it. It produces images with nice edge sharpness that don't need extensive sharpening in post. Here's the key: IF you expose properly and don't have to move the files a lot in post, particularly in the shadows, where there is not as much "room" to shove them around in post compared to the 610 or 800 bodies, the D7100 is capable of world class image quality at base ISO and a bit higher. However, if you shoot strong saturated colors or have to move things around in post a bit, the shadows (and even midtones in strong colors) aren't as liquid or as clean as the 610 or 800 bodies. Not a huge thing, not a super subtle thing. I"d "grade" the magnitude as between subtle and moderate. For my work in the studio, it wasn't an issue, but for landscape, it became a bit clear that I preferred somewhat the files from the FX chips. In general I do prefer the image quality from the larger chips though.

The AF system in the D7100 was really nice - covered a wide range of the frame, did well in low light. Shot buffer and reaction speed of the body was a bit lacking, but other than that, the D7100 is a really nice body. Combine it with the stellar Sigma 18-35/1.8 Art series lens, and it was capable of magnificent prints both landscape and studio.

The D610:

Acuity and "bite" aren't quite up to what the D7100 does, so one has to sharpen a touch more. I suggest and prefer a light touch with a deconvolution based sharpening system as opposed to USM - I suggest focus magic. However, on the other side of the coin, the shadows and strong colors are simply a touch cleaner than those from the D7100 and you have more room to shove things around in post. Overall there is something intrinsically "right", subjectively, to me, about the D610 files. No, they don't have the bite of the AA filter less D7100 or the semi AA filter-less D800E, but with a touch of sharpening, they get close. But overall, the image quality across all aspects of image quality, particularly tonality and shadows, is just a bit better, so for me this was the better option.

AF is pretty basic - the narrower coverage 39 pt system, although this one doesn't seem to have the massive problems I experienced a while back with the 39 pt system in the D7000 which was horrid in lower light, but this is not the fancier 51pt AF. Build quality of the D610 is nice, but it's not a D4 or a D800 and I wouldn't hang a 200/2 off it all day for example.

For me changing from the D7100, a body I liked and still like in all aspects, came down to two things: First, for me the viewfinder of FX bodies are vastly superior to DX bodies (and incredibly superior to any and all EVF, which I truly hate with passion). Since the work I do is influenced in part by how I feel about looking through the viewfinder at the scene, I just find the viewfinder of the D610 more pleasurable to look through, and by progression, to create images with since I'm not fighting it. Secondly, I do like having similar-to-D800E cleanliness and room in the shadows and I prefer the tonality, slightly so, over the D7100. The less AF coverage doesn't really affect what I do, but the bigger buffer is nice.

However, if I had not been able to afford the switch, I would have been happy sticking with the D7100 as it is capable of very nice image quality, but perhaps with a bit more care taken on the part of the photographer.

Now - for you: I looked at your image page and I see a lot of bold colors and I expect you like to have some "room" in post processing. Thus in your case my recommendation is pretty simple: Get the D610 and don't look back.

-m

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Rservello
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

paul2009 wrote:

I'm really sorry. I don't know what reach means. Is it photographing things far away?

Yes, an FX sensor will give you a much wider shot.  A DX will be cropped.  So a DX @24MP is similar to a cropped 36MP.  So if you shoot a lot of wides you will benefit from an FX sensor...if you shoot a lot of closeups you will benefit from the tighter crop of a DX.  Keep in mind tho, all FX cameras can crop to DX (The D800 has 3 crop modes, while the D600 has 1)

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paul2009
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to anotherMike, 8 months ago

All these comments have been immensely useful and interesting. Thank you very much.

My lenses are 35mm 1.8 DX and the 18-105 kit lens. I also have an 85mm but not certain what that is. and a 50mm 1.8 which i understand is FX.

Paul

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shmn
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

paul2009 wrote:

All these comments have been immensely useful and interesting. Thank you very much.

My lenses are 35mm 1.8 DX and the 18-105 kit lens. I also have an 85mm but not certain what that is. and a 50mm 1.8 which i understand is FX.

Paul

This sounds familiar...do you have another thread going with a similar topic? I think you were asking about which lenses to switch over to for FX.

Given your lenses, which are pretty good for DX, I would save your money on the lens front and stick with DX. Get the D7100. You won't have to rebuild your lens kit and you will be getting a very capable body in a format, DX, with which you are familiar. Try not to change too many variables at once. The D7100 is an excellent camera with a wonderful sensor and I'm sure you will not be disappointed. Plus, you will save $$ on the lens front and then maybe get yourself another prime at the wide end or maybe a wide zoom like Nikon 10-24 or Tokina 11-16.

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paul2009
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to shmn, 8 months ago

shmn wrote:

Given your lenses, which are pretty good for DX, I would save your money on the lens front and stick with DX. Get the D7100. You won't have to rebuild your lens kit and you will be getting a very capable body in a format, DX, with which you are familiar. Try not to change too many variables at once. The D7100 is an excellent camera with a wonderful sensor and I'm sure you will not be disappointed. Plus, you will save $$ on the lens front and then maybe get yourself another prime at the wide end or maybe a wide zoom like Nikon 10-24 or Tokina 11-16.

That's very useful, thank you. The only issue is that the D7100 seems not to respond well to extreme PP. I can't get away from the fact that part of the stuff I like to do does involve some fairly heavy duty PP. It's a big shame because I'd been looking forward to buying the D7100 for some time, assuming I would be able to take similar liberties with its output as I do with my D90. Apparently, this is not so.

Paul

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shmn
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

paul2009 wrote:

That's very useful, thank you. The only issue is that the D7100 seems not to respond well to extreme PP. I can't get away from the fact that part of the stuff I like to do does involve some fairly heavy duty PP. It's a big shame because I'd been looking forward to buying the D7100 for some time, assuming I would be able to take similar liberties with its output as I do with my D90. Apparently, this is not so.

Paul

The only place I have seen the comment that the D7100 doesn't respond well to 'extreme PP' is the unattributed quote in your original post.  I have never heard this comment regarding the D7100 before.  And this is just one person's opinion.  Who is this person?

The D7100 has more dynamic range than your D90 and thus will be able to handle A LOT more PP than the D90 files.  Don't base your buying decision on one person's comment.  Check Flickr out for D7100 images and make your own decision.  Look for someone to let you play with their NEF files and try some PP for yourself and you will be surprised at the latitude of PP capability.  Esp compared to the venerated D90.  I don't own a D7100 so I'm not trying to push you into something just because I own it.  But I've seen what the D7100 can do and the comment about limited PP of its files is poppycock.

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JimPearce
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You find twaddle interesting?
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

Here's a quote from someone who gave me this advice:

The D7100 has less room for correction or postprocessing before the file starts to fall apart, posterize or show noise. And, double the pixel count is going to require much better shot discipline to maintain sharpness at the pixel level.

Interesting...

This "advice" sounds like it came from someone who has never shot a D7100.

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paul2009
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Re: You find twaddle interesting?
In reply to JimPearce, 8 months ago

JimPearce wrote:

Here's a quote from someone who gave me this advice:

The D7100 has less room for correction or postprocessing before the file starts to fall apart, posterize or show noise. And, double the pixel count is going to require much better shot discipline to maintain sharpness at the pixel level.

Interesting...

This "advice" sounds like it came from someone who has never shot a D7100.

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Jim

thank you Jim - and shmn - as you pointed out, it has been said to me once by the photographer I quoted but also a poster on the D7100 forum with experience of the D7100 said the same thing about IQ when you radically alter shadows. And on this thread to anotherMike made the same point about the D7100. I realise I may be making too much of this nonetheless but i can't ignore these repeated warnings about lifting images out of shadows.

Best

Paul

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wasserball
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to shmn, 8 months ago

shmn wrote:

paul2009 wrote:

I'm really sorry. I don't know what reach means. Is it photographing things far away?

Yes. Using FX lenses on DX bodies gives the lens a longer apparent focal length.

What lenses do you currently have? If they are mostly DX lenses and you like them, stick with DX. If they are mostly FX lenses or you want to get certain FX lenses, go FX.

To be honest, I think both are decent cameras and either will make you happy. The minor details are just that. Look at the bigger picture in respect to lens usage to help make a decision.

A correction:  D7100 has a 1.3x reach regardless of whether it is a FX or DX lens.  DX lens with same focal length is less expensive because the lens is smaller in diameter, therefore, less material and less fabrication cost.  Also, with the exception of fast f2.8 DX lens, they are not constructed as well as FX lens.

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wasserball
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

If you don't shoot at ISO 3200 or 6400, the D7100 is the camera for you. Its focus system is more accurate with 51 sensors, which beats the D600 with 39 sensors. Remember, FX camera is not always better than DX camera since the sensors have improved tremendously since the D90. It depends on your budget for lens. There are a lot of good zoom DX lens that cost a fraction of what FX lens cost. The only issue (not problem) is there are not too many f2.8 lens for DX cameras, but you can buy used FX lens if money is an issue.

I have a D600 as a backup to D3s only because I shoot FX and I shoot at ISO 6400.

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JimPearce
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No, not the same points at all...
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

I agree with mosswings and anotherMike, but their points were very carefully qualified. Neither of them talked about posterization or files falling apart. After 50,000 shots on the D7100 I couldn't let that pass: it's just plain false. And the noise is almost all luminance and easily dealt with. Which doesn't at all mean that I'm arguing for the D7100 over the D610 for your needs. And for the record, I really like some of your photos too.

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shmn
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Re: You find twaddle interesting?
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

According to Imatest, the D90 has a DR of 9 and the D7100 has a DR of over 13.  That's an extra 4 stops.  If you are happy with the D90...you will be very happy with the D7100.  Over 13 stops of EV to work with.

Like I said.  Find a D7100 NEF file that has been properly exposed and has shadows and try for yourself.  It's the only way to be sure.  We can talk till we are blue in the face...but doing and seeing for yourself is the only way to be sure.

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57even
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Re: You find twaddle interesting?
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

paul2009 wrote:

JimPearce wrote:

Here's a quote from someone who gave me this advice:

The D7100 has less room for correction or postprocessing before the file starts to fall apart, posterize or show noise. And, double the pixel count is going to require much better shot discipline to maintain sharpness at the pixel level.

Interesting...

This "advice" sounds like it came from someone who has never shot a D7100.

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Jim

thank you Jim - and shmn - as you pointed out, it has been said to me once by the photographer I quoted but also a poster on the D7100 forum with experience of the D7100 said the same thing about IQ when you radically alter shadows. And on this thread to anotherMike made the same point about the D7100. I realise I may be making too much of this nonetheless but i can't ignore these repeated warnings about lifting images out of shadows.

Best

Paul

The difference of one stop in noise applies to shadow noise too on the whole. It's much the same as shooting at an ISO 1 stop higher. But that does not make it unusable, far from it. It will still be much better than the D90.

FF will allow you to raise the shadow illumination a bit more without seeing objectionable noise, but how far do you normally want to go? It can start to look artificial very quickly.

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wasserball
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D90 can still hold its own...
In reply to wasserball, 8 months ago

I carry the D90 with the 18-70mm f3.5-4.5 DX lens for those fun trips.  Photo highly cropped.

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MRM4350
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Re: D7100 or D600/610
In reply to paul2009, 8 months ago

After looking at your Flickr portfolio, I would say you are not tied to "reach", and would be happy with either 24 MP camera. It seems that you have two DX (D90, D71000 lenses, and two FX (D610) lenses. The 50, and 85 will give you a somewhat shorter FOV on the D610 compared to what you might be used to with the D90.

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