Nikon D7100 low light performance analysis(Raw converted to JPEG in Lightroom and no noise reduction applied)

ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400
ISO 800
ISO 1600
ISO 3200
ISO 6400
ISO 12800
ISO 25600
As the above crops show, the noise performance of the D7100 is actually very good for a crop camera. Images show plenty of detail up to ISO 6400 and there isnt much noticable noise up till ISO 3200. I would say for this camera, there is no significant drop in quality if proper technique(not cropping to 100%, doing proper noise reduction in post processing) till ISO 1600. ISO 12800 can be used if the situation demands for it. I would stay away from ISO 25600. There is close to no detail and the whole image is full of noise. I notice while shooting the D7100 that the JPEG's are not better in the noise department compared to the RAW's. I reccomend spending on cards of sufficient size to exclusively take images in RAW for this camera shines in RAW. A comparison with the D7000 will be coming. Reviews place both as equals but we shall see who truly comes out victorious. 

Nikon D7100

Nikon has been really busy these past two years with releases such as the D4, D800 and the D5200 for bodies and lenses such as the 18-35 AF-S, 800 5.6VR and 70-200f4 VR. Riding in now is the D7100, a camera which Nikon say does not exactly replace the aging D300s but slots in between. Sporting a 51pt AF-system derived from the D4 and 6fps at full resolution, the D7100 is sure to be a good choice for anybody interested in shooting sports or birds. Speaking of the resolution, it sports a 24.1MP sensor similar to the one found in the D5200. However, the D7100 does not have an Optical Low Pass Filter(OLPF) similar to the D800e. This means the D7100 can resolve more detail. However, it also means the D7100 is more susceptible to moire on fine patterns. This camera like the D7000 sports dual SD card slots supporting the UHS-1 standard. The screen is the highest resolution Nikon has on offer so far having a pixel count of 1228K pixels in a 3.2inch LCD. The extra pixels are made up of white pixels which promise better colour reproduction and brightness. The viewfinder has also been improved. It now uses an OLED display compared to previous LCD displays which means tha the D7100's viewfinder uses less power and also provides clearer data. The focus system like the D4, D800 and D600 focuses down to F8. It also has a 1.3x crop mode over the 1.5x DX crop factor which means effectively it has a 2x crop reducing the MP to 15.4. This may be useful to those who shoot wildlife as the need for a teleconverter can be reduced. 

The video features have also been improved. It now will shoot 1080p at 30,25, and 24 fps with 60 and 50 fps settings available at 720p. It also comes with a stereo mic in built and a mic output and headphone jack. It also comes with a clean 100% HDMI out just like the D600, D800 and D4. However, we reserve our verdict on the usefullness of the HDMI out because the D600 has this feature but is only outputting at 95% not 100%. Again however, the aperture cannot be changed in Live View and must be switched out of LV to change the aperture.

Despite these this camera is bound to be winner. It is a good choice for those looking for an upgrade from a D5x00 series or D3x00 series camera. However for those using a D7000 you need to weigh the options that this camera has over the D7000. 

Till next time, Ciao. 

Nikon 18-35 F3.5-4.5G ED and 800 F5.6 VR 

Nikon has been quite busy now with these 2 lens releases. The 18-35 is an update to the old 18-35 AF-D, a not very popular lens which only sold because it was cheap and was very small. This new lens however, is a new beast entirely. Containing 12 elements in 8 groups with 2 ED elements, this lens promises to deliver much better performance than its older sibling. It also focuses closer than the older lens focusing down to 28cm rather than 33cm on the older lens. This lens also maintains the light weight of the older lens barely tipping the scales at 385g. However, we do not recommend buying this lens as despite the improvements, the price is a rather high 785 USD on relase. This seems a bit high as it is a variable aperture zoom with no VR and has less range the highly regarded 16-35 VR F4 constant which you can get used for only a little more. 

The 800 F5.6 on the other hand is a brand new beast in the Nikon lens lineup. Costing 18,000 USD on release( thats right 18 big ones) this lens boasts specs never before seen on Nikkor lenses. This is the first Nikkor optic which uses fluorite elements. This is the first Nikon supertelephoto lens that uses an electromagnetically actuated diaphragm previously only seen on the tilt shift line of lenses. This lens features Nikon's second generation VR which promises 4 stops of compensation. This lens focuses down to only 3.3m but at 800mm you will be seeing a very high magnification. What does 18,000 buy you? Other than the lens and accompanying accessories such as carrying case, hood and bag it also gives you a specially designed and built 1.25x teleconverter to give you a 1000mm F7.1. Happily, this lens is so sharp that at F5.6 with the lens only it has the best MTF curve for a Nikkor mount lens in history. Even with the TC it is sharper than many other supertelephotos without a TC. If you have enough money for a small house to spend on a lens, this is the lens for you. 

Nikon D5200

Nikon has announced the successor to the acclaimed D5100, the D5200. Headline features of this camera include an upgraded AF system borrowing the system from the D7000 along with a 24MP sensor different from the D3200 which promises to be even better than the 3200. The metering system is also borrowed from the D7000 and the D600 using the 2016 pixel RGB meter and the expeed 3 processor found in many Nikon DSLR's including the pro D4. This camera features a stereo mic, a first for a Nikon DSLR and an external microphone input which allows the camera to use accessories such the Nikon ME-1 or the Rhode mic pro This camera shoots 720p60 and 720p50 but only does 1080i60 unfortunately. Keeping in line with the D5x00 series, the camera has an articulating screen hinged from the side and also has the same lack of direct access to shooting control as the D5100. However to help you dig around the menu's Nikon has revamped this camera's user interface and made it look like more like its higher end counterparts. Perhaps this is to match up to Canon's strategy of making all its camera menu's identical so that switching camera's becomes a smooth transtition. This camera includes one SD card slot compatible with the UHS 1 standard and SDXC compatible. More information about this camera can be found here 

Nikon 70-200 f4 G AF-S VR

Nikon also announced this lens at the Photokina trade show. This lens is Nikon's answer to Canon's critically acclaimed 70-200L F4 IS. THis lens features Nikon's brand new 5 stop VR system, a first in the world and is also Nikon's lightest 70-200 to date. As you can see from the MTF curves, this lens is bound to be excellent. With Nikon's patented Nano-coating system, flare will not be much of an issue. This lens features 20 elements in 14 groups and 3 ED elements along with a gold ring indicating professional build quality and moisture sealing.This lens focuses down to 1.0m which is the closest focusing stabilised 70-200 lens so far. This lens has a magnification of 1:3.6 times and has a 67mm filter thread. This lens is substantially lighter(850g) and also about 2cm shorter than the 70-200 2.8 VR2. This lens is sure to be a hit among many enthusiasts and pro's. 

Nikon D600

Nikon has announced just before the Photokina trade show a world's first. A Full Frame DSLR which is affordable to most enthusiasts as an upgrade and a backupbody to a pro. This camera has high hopes pinned to it as people see this as the ticket to the premium world of FX and also as a replacement to the D700. Think of this camera as a D7000 with a full frame sensor. It is marginally larger than the D7000. Headline specs are a 24.3 effective MP sensor first seen in the also brand new Sony Alpha A-99. It sports a tweaked full frame version of the D7000's CAM-4800DX( 39 points with 9 cross type) AF array which allows it to focus down to F/8. This camera just like the D7000 has dual SD slots supporting the UHS-1 standard. Metering is handles by the D7000's 2016 pixel RGB sensor. It uses the same battery as the D7000, the EN-EL15. It has a 100% viewfinder with 0.7x magnification which is very similar to the D800's viewfinder. It shoots at 5.5 fps with a 57 shot buffer at the JPEG Fine setting. The video on this camera is very similar to the D800, sporting the array of video options normal now. 1080p( 30, 25 and 24 fps), 720p( 60,50,30,25,24 fps) all recording up till 29 min 59s are available on the D600 along with full uncompressed HDMI out and a headphone jack  Unfortunately, this camera does not have the power aperture feature like the D800 which means that only lenses with a aperture ring can be used to change aperture during video recording. This camera has an ISO range of 100-6400 with an expanded setting of Lo-1( 50 ISO) and Hi-1(6400) and Hi-2(25600). The noise performance of this camera is promising after the excellent noise performance on the D800 despite its high megapixel count. Sample videos and images can be found here ( video) and here ( sample images and more info). 

Review of 50/1.8G AF-S

This lens is the replacement to the aging 50/1.8D AF. The AF-S version is designed to be compatible with Nikon's FX( Full Frame) camera's like the previous version. This lens is approximately $220 US. In the box, Nikon generously provides a lens hood as well as a pouch. This lens is the first Nikon fast 50 to include an aspherical element which promises good performance even at f/1.8 with minimal chromatic aberrations. This lens is more expensive than the older 50/1.8D due to its lens based silent AF as well as the aspherical element. From my experience, this lens is built better than the older version. However, the AF is around the same speed. 

Sharpness, focus shift and Bokeh Fringing



As you can see, sharpness at f/1.8 is really not that bad. It really is pretty good. Unfortunately, bokeh fringing is pretty bad with the situation only improving at f/2.8. Sharpness has almost reached its peak at f/2.8 and really doesnt get any sharper than that. Sharpness is maintained till f/8. At f/16, the effects of diffraction come into play and sharpness is reducing.

Review of 28/2 AI-S

I got this lens 2nd hand of a Singaporean camera forum known as clubsnap for $300. Normally, this sort of fast lens such as the 28/1.8 AF-S costs as the post earlier states, $700 US or the rare, discontinued and very expensive AF-D 28/1.4 for a whopping $3000 US. This makes the 28/2 AIS a bargain for the fast aperture, metal construction and very good IQ as we will see later. This lens has a maximum aperture of F/2 and a mimimum aperture of f/22. This is smaller than current lenses. This lens also has a filter thread of 52mm, the small standard of Nikon since 1959 when the F mount was started. This lens was first built in 1981 and later was stopped due to the advent of AF in 1984. This lens was replaced by the AF-D 28.2,8 which is around 300 US. This lens has gotten mixed reviews on digital. Will the 28/2 AIS be the same? Lets see

Sharpness, focus shift and Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration( LoCA)









As you can see, this lens performs quite well at f/2 and sharpens up nicely till f/8. From then on, diffraction takes over and a reduction in sharpness occurs. This effect is quite noticeable in the f/16 and f/22 shots especially. I am glad to say that this lens suffers from very little LoCA as seen by the 100% crops above. It also suffers from no focus shift thanks to its manual focus ring not having any slop and a Nikon technology called Close Range Correction which uses floating elements to minutely change the focus distance in the lens to prevent focus shift.  


The bokeh varies from good to neutral. This lens has 7 straight aperture blades. This allows this lens to produce sunstars on points of light as soon as f/8.


This being a manual focus lens, will work very well on older manual focus film SLR's. Also, this lens has an aperture ring which will allow this lens to be used as a macro lens. This lens goes down to 5.4x life size as its normal magnification is 0.18x making this an extreme macro lens. This lens will give you shots like this. On all 2 digit and 4 digit Nikon DSLR metering will not work with the exception of the D7000. the D7000 and all 3 and 1 digit Nikon bodies have an option called Non-CPU lens data which will allow your camera to allow for full metering and aperture readout  in exif data and viewfinder. On the non metering 2 and 4 digit DSLR's you will have to use the camera on full manual(M on the rotary dial). Being an AI-S lens, this lens IS full frame compatible. Personally, I like this lens on a DX body. 


Should you get this lens? Well it depends on what you want. If you want to learn the nuances and fine details of photography, and the pleasure of using a real manual focus lens while having a high quality optical instrument which can allow you to take excellent images, YES go for this lens while you can. This lens is a standard for the crop frame as the crop sensor's diagonal is 28.4mm. This lens on a FX body, will be a wide angle lens. If you think that I am not ready for manual focus and do not want to waste time getting the focus and prefer to 'run and gun', this lens is not for you. 

Nikon 24-85 3.5-4.5 VR and 18-300 3.5-5.6 DX VR release

Nikon has just announced last week the 24-85 VR and the 18-300 VR. These lenses have already reached peoples hands and have been tested to be excellent in their respective classes. Both lenses feature Nikon's latest VR II technology which promises a 4 stop hand holdable experience. This lens is the worlds largest(16.7x) and fastest super zoom(3.5-5.6) beating the previous champion, the Tamron 18-270 3.5-6.3 VC. This lens features no less than 3 aspherical elements AND 3 ED elements. It features a 9 bladed round aperture diaphragm. This lens's minimum focus distance( MFD) is a small 0.45m with a magnification of 1:3.2x. This lens retails at $1000 US. 

the 24-85 VR is the kit zoom along with the rumoured D600, a entry level FF. This lens features 3 aspherical element with 1 ED elements. This lens has a 7 bladed round aperture diaphragm with a 72 mm filter thread. This lens replaces the much older and also non AF-S or VR 24-85 2.8-4 AF-D. The lens it is replacing may be faster but the intended audience will like the new lens as it's MTF curve shows it to be sharper at any aperture than the lens it replaces. This lens has a MFD of 0.38m and a magnification of 0.22x. This lens retails for $600 US. 

Nikon 28/1.8 AF-S Release

Nikon has released its answer to the Canon 28/2.8 IS released a few months ago. Samples of this lens are already out for this lens on some websites. This lens features technology such as Nikon's nanocrystal technology, Silent Wave motor enabling FTM and has no less than 2 aspherical elements. This lens has a filter thread of 67mm and comes with accessories such as a lens hood and a pouch along with the usual front cap( LC-67) and rear cap( LF-4). I ahve tried this lens and can say that this lens is built up to higher standards than lenses such as the 50/1.8 feels very similar to the 10-24 DX in terms of handling and build quality to me. I cannot say anything about IQ and contrast as I was shooting it in a high ISO situation but sharpness seems to be very good. This lens retail price is $700 US. 

Nikon D4 and D800 release

Hello readers,

Nikon has announced the D4 and the D800. The D4 is the replacement to the critically acclaimed D3s. Significant specs are that it has a 16.2MP FX sensor. A first for any camera, is the inclusion of the next gen XQD format memory card slot along with the traditional CF card slot. This card promises to be faster, smaller and more durable than any CF card. It has Nikon's new Expeed 3 processor which they say will deliver less noisy pictures with more clarity. The D4 has an ISO range of 100-12,800 which can be expanded to 50- 204,800. It has an updated version of Nikon's 51 point AF system which will focus down to -2 EV or as they say, moonlight. It will also focus with lenses which have a maximum aperture of F8. This is a first from Nikon. This means that lenses such as the 600 f4 can be used with a 2x teleconverter to give a 1200 f8 with VR and full AF capabilities. It has 15 cross type AF points, all of which are active at f5.6 and above. Nikon has really stepped up its game in the video mode to include 1080p at 24, 25 and 30 fps with full time AF. The 720p mode incorporates 50 and 60 fps for all the slow motion shooters out there. A first for any SLR, this camera allows users to take a 2mp( 1920 1080) picture, uninterrupted while filming. This camera can also crop in for movies, meaning that before filming starts, the image can be cropped in to 1.5x( DX image circle) or a 1:1 size( 2.7x CX image circle) so as to increase the effective focal length. It also includes a clean HDMI out and supports Nikon's brand new WT-5 transmitter. The D4 also comes with a headphone jack and real-time sound monitoring. This camera shoots 10 FPS on FX mode and 11FPS on DX mode. Nikon say that this camera's buffer is bigger than the D3S's buffer. More information can be found here

The D800, is speculated to be the replacement to the D3X, Nikon's megapixel monster. This camera turns the MP count to 11 with a whopping 36.3MP. Nikon say that this camera is going to challenge medium format cameras. It has 2 versions; the D800 and the D800E. Important specs which both these cameras share is the AF system and the metering system, both lifted from the D4. The ISO range is also the same with default ISO range being 100-6400 and an expanded tange of 50-25,600. The D800(E) also have pretty much the same movie mode as the D4 except the D800(E) cannot take a picture while filming and the 1:1 crop mode is not available. This camera comes with a more traditional CF and an SD card slot. This camera shoots at 4FPS on FX mode without the battery grip and 6FPS in DX crop mode with the batter grip. The major difference between the E and the normal D800 is the exclusion of the Anti Aliasing filter or Optical Low Pass Filter( OLPF). Nikon has excluded the filter to challenge the Medium Format crowd. What the OLPF does, is to diffuse the incoming light slightly to prevent moire. More information on moire can be found here. Although this has the efect of introducing moire, it allows more detail to be resolved. More information about the differences between the D800 and the D800E, can be found at D800 info. Thanks for reading!   

Review of Nikon D5000

The Nikon D5000 was introduced on 14th April 20a09 to replace the Nikon D60 DSLR. It has 12.3 MP 1.5x crop sensor. It has 11 AF points with a central cross type AF point. It is Nikon's 2nd DSLR with a video function. It shoots 720p at 24 frames per second(fps) and VGA resolution at 24 fps. This camera is Nikon's answer to the EOS 500D. For all illustration purposes, the kit 18-55 VR will be shown. This review will focus on the D5000's ISO performance and Dynamic range( DR). 

Shutter speeds: 30s-1/4000 and Bulb in M mode
Native ISO 200-3200. Expanded to 100-6400.
Max flash sync speed: 1/200
White Balance( WB): 1 Programmable preset WB
4fps with a 10 frame buffer depth at ISO 200. Nikon claims 100 fine large JPEGs till the buffer fills. It depends on your SD card. I use a Sandisk Extreme Pro 45mb/s. This gives me the full 100 shots till ISO 800.
Built in flash of Guide Number 12.
1005 pixel metering system. Provides accurate metering in most situations.
Number of shots per charge under CIPA conditions: 510
Size: 127(w)x104(h)x80(d)mm weighing 560g

ISO performance

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 6400
The camera's noise reduction( NR) was set to OFF. These are 100% crops of fine JPEG's straight from the camera. As you can see, the camera really does not perform too bad. Unfortunately, I would suggest you to turn of the D lighting and keep the picture control at standard as these two things will increase noise. Also, remember to turn NR on as it well reduces noise.

Dynamic Range

I can report that, the D5000 picks up shadows beautifully. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the highlights. I suggest if there is a scene where there is alot of Dynamic Range, to expose for the highlights then 'pull' the shadows in post processing. 


This camera is not the ergonomic pleasure that the D90 or the D7000 are. The grip is plenty tall but its not very wide. It is handhold able for long periods of time but only with light lenses such as the 55-200, 18-55, 50/1.8 and the 55-300. There is a programmable Fn. button where you can program it to set such things from changing ISO to direct access to changing from only taking Jpegs to taking Jpegs with RAW output straight from the sensor. This camera, unlike every higher end Nikon, does not have an inbuilt AF motor. This means that this camer's AF system only works with lenses designated AF-S( 18-55, 55-200 etc.) or AF-I( 400/2.8, 600/4 and 300/2.8). It is not really a hindrance now as most Nikon lenses that you are bound to buy have the AF-S motor. 3rd party AF lenses will also work on this camera if they are designated HSM( Sigma) and USD( Tamron). Tokina lenses AF do not work on the D5000 altogether. Currently, camera's such as the D3000, D5000, D3100 and the D5100 do not have an AF motor so take note when making your next lens purchase. This camera does not include in camera lens calibration. If AF is off, it must be sent back to Nikon. This camera has a bottom hinged 270K dot screen. The screen is good enough of I would think they could have given it the D90's beautiful 920K dot screen. It has a flippy screen which as said earlier is hinged from the bottom. This is irritating on a tripod as it's movement is then severely restricted. It is however, much better than a side swivel while walking around.


The D5000 is a feature packed DSLR with performance to boot. It may 'only' have a 12.3 Mp sensor, but that means that high ISO files looks cleaner and take up less space on your computer. This camera's 11 point AF system is more than enough for most occasions. It locks onto targets quickly and does not hunt at all if there is some contrast present. AF is bang on if the lens is calibrated properly. All in all, a good DSLR for the beginner. Now, Nikon has the D5100 and the D3100. Compared to the D3100, the 5000 is much more capable camera in the still photography section as it shoots faster, and has more options for shooting such as interval timer shooting. In the video department however, the D3100 hammers the 5000 with continuous AF during filming and a full HD at 24fps movie mode. The 5100 is the 5000's replacement and is alot better than the 5000 in many ways. It has 16mp and has a 920K dot screen. Thank you for viewing the review of the D5000 done by AF-engaged. We hope you have gained from reading this. Stay connected! Thanks for reading.