A tale of two Nikons (D7100 vs. D90 shootout)

Ok, false advertisement here; The D7100 actually only got to fire a few shots. What gives ? Let me explain.
I bought off Le Bon Coin (for US readers, that’s our “Craig’s List” equivalent) a minty D7100 advertised as having “around 4000 shutter actuations”. Thank God, I paid for it using Paypal, which is always a pretty good idea when buying from a distance, and not checking the gear oneself. The seller shipped promptly and a pristine camera got here yesterday. This morning, after putting probably no more than 30 clicks on it, I decided, totally randomly, to check the shutter count. I was more than a little shocked to find out that it had 17065 clicks on the shutter. I ran it through three different programs, and came out consistently with the same value : 17065.
Of course I immediately emailed the seller, AND opened a Paypal file about it (never too careful). I’m not liking the camera half as much as I thought I would, and getting screwed on the shutter count is the perfect excuse to send it back. Had I liked it, I would have settled for a hefty discount. Now I want it gone. More on why, in a minute.

Has12Juin14-05Meet Pagaré. The beautiful Spanish purebred that nearly broke my neck a couple of months back. With one of the Nikon bodies

Has12Juin14-32Pagaré again, in a VERY similar pose (intentional) with the other Nikon body. 1) can you tell which is which (I bet you can). 2) Do you see a *significant* difference in IQ between those shots ? Probably not

Has12Juin14-03Pagaré in the indoor arean

Has12Juin14-19About the same place. Again, any significant difference ? Is one camera blatantly better than the other ? Can you tell which is which in these shots ?

Has12Juin14-25By the way, EXIFs have not been stripped, so you can very easily check. And because I’m nice I can even spare you the effort. D90 on top in both cases. And D7100 here. Same lens, settings either similar, or close


My friend Tracey, who eats cameras for breakfast, and goes through them faster than me, will confirm my theory on the huge sample variation that can exist in similar models, especially within the Nikon brand (Canon seems WAY less prone to this problem). Ever read the mention “good copy” ?? Yeah, a good copy is a unit that performs to the top edge of the quality control margin. Then you have average, decent, poor. And “dawgs”, “duds”, “lemons”, whatever you wanna call them. I’ve had a few and trust me, it’s not fun. I think the D7000 I got to test last week was probably a very solid unit. And this D7100 I have here now, not only it has FOUR times the mileage it was advertised for (unacceptable as such, even though I’m pretty sure the seller didn’t know, and was screwed himself when buying it from the original owner), but it must be a rather below average copy, because there is nothing to write home about in its files, autofocus speed or accuracy. Worse, its metering is ALL over the place. Awful

Has12Juin14-26Kinda softy mushy, and yes it’s been sharpened…

Has12Juin14-27That’s alright, but nothing out of the ordinary


Has12Juin14-20D90. I’m not saying the D90 does better, I’m just saying they’re pretty darn much similar. D90 is “free”, I’ve owned it for four years. D7100 cost me money and *should* be considerably better, the D7000 I had was !

Has12Juin14-18On my D90 metering is not only much better, it’s also at least *consistent*. If it tends to over, or under, expose a scene, it does so consistently until the lighting conditions change. The D7100 unit I have just jumps all over the place and it’s a heck of a pain trying to compensate to nail proper exposure

Has12Juin14-16D90, much easier to work with



Has12Juin14-04He sure is handsome


Has12Juin14-08What a gorgeous, gorgeous horse !

Has12Juin14-09All D90 so far



Has12Juin14-12Not that this one looks shabby either 😉


Has12Juin14-14Unfortunately there wasn’t any f*a*s*t* action, so I couldn’t put boths camera face to face in a really trying situation



Has12Juin14-22Still D90





So all set to arrange the D7100’s return. Stay tuned 😉


About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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5 Responses to A tale of two Nikons (D7100 vs. D90 shootout)

  1. drpankajshukla says:

    since d7000 originally lived up 2 your expectations of a camera performing better than the one that u have had for 5 years already …the natural choice would be to go for that one….no? 🙂 [I mean I m just saying ….and just is my humble opinion …:)]

    Can I have a link to blog/site/pages of Tracy so that I can have a look at the output after a regular breakfast of cameras…….:) [of course with due permission from Tracy …….]

    • marla2008 says:

      I didn’t mean to test the D7000, but one pretty much fell in my lap. It’s the D7100 I had my eye set on, and this is why I bought that instead. I still think I’m facing sample variation here…

    • marla2008 says:

      As for Tracy’s blog, it’s called the Portraiblographer, you’ll easily Google it 🙂

      • drpankajshukla says:

        Thank u … I just had a quick view ..of it …the images are stunning ….[to me .. ] I do intend to be spending more time there …soon…

  2. Well, in decent light, and with relatively slow moving target, did you really expect a noticeable difference between the D90 and the D7100? I would bet that you could do the same test during a gloomy winter day (I was told you have a lot of those where you live….lol)…and the results might change drastically.

    Having said so, the metering issue is weird.

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