Nikon launched the D5200 and D7100 DSLRs in quick succession. A year and a bit on from their launch both remain viable cameras (even if the D5200 was usurped by the Nikon D5300 9 months later). Both have 24-megapixel sensors, both use Nikon DX format lenses, and both are designed for photo enthusiasts. So how do you choose between them? Find out in our Nikon D5200 vs D7100 comparison.
Our detailed Nikon D5200 vs D7100 breakdown shows the key differences between these two cameras – and don’t just assume the more expensive camera is the best because there are pros and cons to each, as we reveal…
Both cameras have a 24-megapixel APS-C sensor measuring 23.5 x 15.6mm. Nikon claims that the sensor in the Nikon D7100 is a brand new design, but the key point for most users will be the fact that Nikon’s left out the OLPF (Optical Low Pass Filter), also known as the anti-aliasing filter, in front of the sensor.
These are used to prevent moiré (interference effects) with fine patterns and textures, but at the cost of slightly blurring the fine detail. Nikon’s decided that the size and resolution of this sensor makes moiré unlikely and that the gain in sharpness from removing the filter is a bigger benefit.
As a result, although the D7100 and D5200 have the same resolution, you can expect the fine detail from the Nikon D7100 to be slightly sharper.
The D7100 uses the sophisticated 51-point autofocus system used by Nikon’s professional digital SLRs, whereas the D5200 uses a slightly less advanced 39-point ‘amateur’ version.
Both are fast and powerful by any standards, but the D7100 has a slight edge. It has 15 more sensitive ‘cross-type’ sensors compared to 9 cross-type sensors in the D5200.
The D7100’s autofocus can also be used with lenses that have an effective maximum aperture of f/8, which is important if you’re going to use telephoto lenses and teleconverters.
The D5200’s smaller body does not contain an autofocus motor. That’s fine if you intend using Nikon’s later AF-S lenses, which have their own autofocus motors, but not if you have older AF lenses, where the focus mechanism is driven by the camera body.
The Nikon D7100 has an autofocus motor built into the body – you can see the tiny drive shaft in the lower left corner of the lens mount flange here – so the autofocus will work fine with these older lenses. (Note that some older independent lenses don’t have autofocus motors built in either.)
The D7100 has the advantage if you have older lenses in your collection or you’re planning to get some.
The Nikon D5200 has a single SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card slot, but the D7100 has two. This isn’t simply to provide extra storage capacity – the real benefit is that you can use the second card to split JPEG and RAW files.
For example, or you can use one card for stills and the other for movies, or you can use the second card to keep a running backup of your images as you shoot. It’s not a major advantage for amateurs, but it could be a useful feature for experts or pros.
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