Have Nikon got something special here?

There are some raw samples around from the Nikon D7100. This ones from ephotozine. Still life, tripod, ISO 100 all taken into consideration this looks pretty impressive to me. 

There are some other samples here at photography blog.

There isn't much software other than Nikons own to see what these raw files are like. I found that Raw Photo Processor 64 for Mac worked and that is what I used for the above image.

As you might expect ISO 3200 isn't great. This one is processed from raw again in RPP. Retains good detail but as you can see very noisy and on the verge of breaking up.

This is an unexpected move from Nikon. They seem to think that potential D7100 buyers are more interested in high quality low ISO results than what might be described as an all-round camera with good low-light performance. It will be interesting to see if they are right. 

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.  

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