Nikon D300S vs D7100 - Key Differences

February 22, 2013 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital SLR Cameras | Comment | |
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In some markets, Nikon is touting the recently announced Nikon D7100 as its new flagship DX camera. Therefore - having compared the D7100’s specifications to those of its most obvious forebear the D7000 - we were curious to find out how it stacked up against Nikon’s last truly pro-oriented DX model, the venerable Nikon D300S (read review). The two cameras share a number of components - such as a 0.94x pentaprism viewfinder with 100% frame coverage, a shutter unit capable of a maximum shutter speed of 1/8000s and rated for 150,000 actuations, a weather sealed construction and an auto focus module with 51 focus points - and a legion of features; but there are some rather significant differences too. The Nikon D7100 comes with a 24-megapixel sensor that does away with the low-pass filter, a new LCD screen, a newly developed OLED display inside the viewfinder, an updated AF system whose centre point can be used with lens-teleconverter combinations as slow as f/8, a so-called “1.3x crop mode,” a 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor, and Full HD video with a number of frame rate options. At the same time the D7100 makes do with a much smaller raw buffer, slower continuous shooting speed and less robustly built body, and lacks the dedicated AF-ON button and PC sync terminal of the D300S. In addition, it uses a different battery and charger and is incompatible with the D300S’s optional MB-10 portrait grip. Upgrading from a Nikon D300S to a D7100 thus involves a number of compromises in addition to the obvious benefits.

In order to help you get a clearer picture of how they compare to each other specifications-wise, we have compiled a handy little table summarising the key differences between the two models, based on information available to us at the time of writing.

Key Differences Nikon D300S Nikon D7100
Sensor 12-megapixel CMOS
With AA filter
24-megapixel CMOS
Without AA filter
Image processor Expeed Expeed 3
Native sensitivity range ISO200/24° to ISO3200/36° ISO100/21° to ISO6400/39°
AF points usable through f/8 0 1
AF sensitivity range -1EV to +19 EV -2EV to +19EV
“1.3x” crop mode available? No Yes
Exposure bracketing 2 to 9 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 or 1 EV 2 to 5 frames in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 2/3, 1, 2, or 3 EV
Continuous shooting speed
(JPEG or 12-bit raw)
7fps
8fps with MB-D10 grip
6fps at full resolution
7fps in “1.3x” crop mode
Continuous shooting speed
(14-bit raw)
2.5fps 6fps
Buffer size
(14-bit raw, lossless compression)
30 6
(8 in “1.3x” crop mode)
Metering sensor 1,005-pixel RGB 2016-pixel RGB
In-finder status display LCD OLED
Rear display 3”, 921k-dots 3.2”, 1,229k-dots
Wi-Fi connectivity Via Eye-Fi cards Via Eye-Fi cards or
WU-1a Wi-Fi adapter
Movie HD 1280x720 / 24fps
VGA 640x424 / 24fps
QVGA 320x216 / 24fps
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 60i
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 50i
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 30fps
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 25fps
Full HD 1,920x1,080 / 24fps
HD 1,280x720 / 60 fps
HD 1,280x720 / 50 fps
Built-in microphone Mono Stereo
In-camera HDR exposure blending? No Yes
“Spot White Balance” in Live View? No Yes
Mode dial No Yes
Dedicated AF-ON button Yes No
PC sync terminal Yes No
Top-mounted ISO/WB/QUAL button cluster Yes No
Memory card slots 1x SD
1x CF
2x SD
Connection ports 10-pin Terminal
HDMI
USB
Stereo microphone input
NTSC
PAL
Remote/GPS terminal
HDMI
USB
Stereo microphone input
WR-1/WR-R10 terminal
Battery EN-EL3e EN-EL15
Bundled charger MH-18a MH-25
Optional battery grip MB-D10 MB-D15
Main magnesium alloy parts Entire chassis (practically) Top and rear plates
Weight 840g 675g
Dimensions Width: 5.8 in. (147mm)
Height: 4.5 in. (114mm)
Depth: 2.9 in. (74mm)
Width: 5.3 in. (135.5mm)
Height: 4.2 in. (106.5mm)
Depth: 3.0 in. (76mm)

Do note that the table highlights the key differences only - there’s a number of interface changes as well, from the omission of the D300S’s physical AF area mode selector and metering mode selector to the inclusion of a D4-style live view mode switch and top-mounted movie record button as well as a completely new customisable “i” button on the rear plate; making the transition somewhat difficult for current D300S users.

NB: The image showing the two cameras side by side is not to scale.

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