JPEG and noise profile

JPEGs are clean through ISO 200, good though ISO 1600, and usable to ISO 6400. The extra sharpness delivered by the OLPF-free sensor helps maintain sharpness as ISO sensitivity rises.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

D7100 vs. D5200, ISO 100

The D7100's images are a hair sharper than the D5200's, but much of that can be compensated for by using a better lens on the D5200 (the D7100 comes with a better kit lens). Once you equalize for that, only pixel peepers will really note a difference at low ISO sensitivities.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 100

This isn't bad sharpness for a crop into a midrange distance photo.

(1/200 sec, f5.6, spot metering, ISO 100, AWB, 18-105mm lens at 105mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 400

The noise reduction is pretty intelligent, only kicking in when there's actually some noise to process.

(1/80 sec, f4.5, spot metering, ISO 400, AWB, 18-105mm lens at 34mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 800 raw vs. JPEG

Even as low as ISO 800 I could get better results processing the raw images than using the default JPEG settings. (JPEG top; raw bottom. I didn't attempt to preserve the red tint.)

(1/50 sec, f4.5, spot metering, ISO 800, AWB, 18-105mm lens at 40mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 1600, no noise reduction

The color noise remains fairly fine as high as ISO 1600.

(1/40 sec, f3.5, spot metering, ISO 1600, AWB, 18-105mm lens at 18mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 1600 JPEG

You can see some of the JPEG processing and noise-reduction artifacts here, but it's okay for printing as large as 13x19.

(1/30 sec, f4.5, matrix metering, ISO 1600, AWB, 18-105mm lens at 30mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

ISO 3200, raw vs. JPEG

You can get much better results from the raw files at ISO 3200.

(1/30 sec, f4.5, matrix metering, ISO 3200, AWB, 18-105mm lens at 30mm)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Color

On its default settings, the camera produces bright, saturated, pleasing colors with high contrast.
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Standard vs. neutral Picture Controls

Nikon pushes the hues and contrast a little too much with its default Picture Control settings. (You can see the red hue shift here, but this example doesn't show how the contrast boost clips detail.)

(1/100 sec, f5, matrix metering, ISO 100, AWB, 18-105mm lens at 48mm. Images rotated 90 degrees to fit.)
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Photo by: Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:
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