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JPEG and noise profile

D7100 vs. D5200, ISO 100

ISO 100

ISO 400

ISO 800 raw vs. JPEG

ISO 1600, no noise reduction

ISO 1600 JPEG

ISO 3200, raw vs. JPEG

Color

Standard vs. neutral Picture Controls

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