Nikon D7100 - Review and user experience - Part 2 - Compared to D800E

I was interested to see how the Nikon D7100 I've just bought with no AA filter compared to my D800E with its anti anti-aliasing-filter filter. Firstly I tried the comparison with the lenses fitted to the cameras as above. The 35mm f/1.8 on the D7100 and 50mm f/1.8D on the D800E. However the D7100 files were sifnificantly softer than the D800E files so I did it again with the 50mm on both cameras. I had to reposition the D800E to get the images to match up but the point of focus, manually focused, is exactly the same. I used f/8 throughout.

Here's are two 100% blowups from each at ISO 100. One with the D7100 file upsized to match the D800E and the other with the D800E file downsized to match the D7100.

One thing I instantly noticed is that the D7100 has a warmer auto white balance. These were shot and processed from raw using identical settings. 

I think its clear that the D800E has the edge here, but thats not the whole story. With a bit of tweaking in ACR and Photoshop I got this from the same D7100 file.

As I've often said I like Nikons because the files respond nicely to a bit of sharpening and these D7100 files are no exception.

So what about noise? Here are three comparisons, from out of camera jpgs. at ISO's 1600, 3200 and 6400.

Again not much doubt about the D800E producing a better looking and sharper file here. I decided however to forego Nikons idea of how much noise reduction to apply and again produced my own file from the D7100 from raw with some processing of my own. This is at IS 3200.

So more luminance noise but sharper.

Now it would be surprising if the APS-C sensor with 24MP matched the 36MP 35mm sensor of the D800E, and it clearly doesn't, but the D7100 performance is certainly not shoddy. The D800E also shows its superiority at ISO 100, but then again it would surprising if it didn't. However by working with the D7100 files I was pleased with what I could achieve using my own settings. This is certainly the best APS-C sensor I've used and shows how things move on.

So there it is. An interesting comparison and one that will be useful for me in deciding what camera to use in various situations. I'm looking forward to getting out for some serious work with the D7100, but the UK weather is as bad as ever and the forecast doesn't hold out much hope. However when I get some sun I'll post some pictures and more thoughts about the camera.