A 24.1-million-pixel, APS-C sensor with no anti-aliasing filter should ensure large and sharp images from Nikon's new enthusiast-level DSLR, but there's a lot more to the D7100 than that. Read the Nikon D7100 review...
Nikon D7100 review – Dynamic range
Image: HDR mode adds welcome punch to colours and tones, but a tripod is necessary. This image was taken with a shutter speed of 1/125sec and initially appears sharp, but when reviewed at 100% details is slightly soft
Given the history of Nikon’s recent DSLRs, I expect the D7100‘s dynamic range to be in the region of 14EV in studio tests, which is very good. In real-world images, there is that little extra detail in an overcast sky, where otherwise there would be a white mass in an image from a camera with a lesser dynamic range.
Active D-Lighting adjusts the levels to brighten and darken shadow and highlight areas respectively. This processing makes detail in these areas more obvious straight out of the camera. On the whole, the auto setting works well, providing a subtle and welcome lift to the tones in a scene.
The highest setting brightens shadow areas too much for my liking, and can result in a flat-looking image with HDR-like tones. Active D-Lighting can be turned off altogether, but leaving it in its auto mode is fine.
There is a dedicated HDR mode available in JPEG capture only, which is a genuinely useful tool where the ambient light is dull. It gives the scene a pleasant lift to the colour saturation and tonal detail in particular.
Nikon states that two exposures are captured at the same time, but looking at the results when using this setting I would strongly recommend the use of a tripod, because there is a blurred edge where detail would otherwise have been crisp. Needing a tripod limits the mode’s effectiveness for day-to-day shooting, where one would not want to lug a tripod around.