D7100 or D600/610

Started Jan 1, 2014 | Discussions thread
anotherMike Veteran Member • Posts: 8,769
Re: D7100 or D600/610

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.


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