Operation & Controls

Top of camera controls (right)

With the D7100 little has changed from the D7000 in terms of right hand shooting controls outside of the new model's inclusion of a red movie record button just behind the shutter release; a move we've seen in both the D600 and D800. To prevent accidental movie recording, this button is only active with the camera set to live view movie mode. The D7100's on/off switch is concentric with the shutter button, with the exposure compensation and metering mode buttons rounding out the control points.

Top of camera controls (left)

On the far left of the camera is the lockable exposure mode dial which features a new 'Effects' position that offers seven automated modes that combine image processing effects such as miniature and selective color with mode-specific automated exposure. Sitting directly beneath the mode dial is a lockable drive mode selector that is rotated by use of a knurled dial, providing access to continuous shooting, timer release and mirror lockup modes in addition to a 'quiet' shutter mode. With the latter active, the mirror remains flipped up until you release the shutter button and the sound of the mirror movement itself is dampened. Arranged along the side of the lens throat are the flash mode/compensation and bracketing buttons.

Rear of camera controls

The D7100's rear control layout is essentially a clone of the D600 and very similar to that of the D7000. The D7100 has a five button layout along the left side of its 3.2-inch LCD, the bottom-most of which is a brand new control used to make the info display screen or on-screen options in live view active.

A multi-selector pad surrounds the OK button and is itself encircled by a lockable lever that prevents accidental focus point adjustment. Below this is an integrated button/lever combination that engages live view for both stills and movie mode. An Info button sitting near the bottom of the camera calls up the camera settings screen.

Viewfinder specs and view

One figure hidden away in every SLR's spec is the size of the viewfinder (often in a format that makes comparison between competing models impossible). The size of the viewfinder is a key factor in the usability of an SLR - the bigger it is, the easier it is to frame and focus your shots, and the more enjoyable and involving process it is.

Because of the way viewfinders are measured (using a fixed lens, rather than a lens of equivalent magnification), you also need to take the sensor size into account, so the numbers in the diagram below are the manufacturer's specified magnifications divided by the respective 'crop factors'. The D7100 has an excellent viewfinder for its class - offering 100% coverage and a magnification of 0.94x - the same as its predecessor the D7000.

Viewfinder information

The D7100 uses the same Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark II screen found on the D300s and D7000, but displays shooting information and focus points via an OLED display in the optical viewfinder (shown below), offering noticeably better clarity than the LCD units found in the aforementioned DSLRs.

The D7100's AF system comprises 51 focus points, 15 of which are cross-type, meaning they are sensitive to both vertical and horizontal detail. These occupy the central three columns of the array.

Superimposed over the image you'll find the AF points, a single-axis level indicator (available for both landscape and portrait orientations), a framing rectangle when the 1.3x crop mode is enabled as well as optional gridlines. Exposure and shooting settings are displayed in the black border below the image area.