I have been thinking for a long time about extending my gear with a smaller and lighter body, on which a telephoto lens with a variable focal length would be practically permanently attached. Why this set, what are its advantages and how do I plan to use it? The D7100 has a new sensor not from Sony, as is the case with most Nikon cameras, but from Toshiba. After the first tests, the quality seems to be excellent. The sensor has 24 Mpx and is not equipped with an AA filter. On the other hand, I have not yet been able to reach the Nyquist frequency and evoke moiré patterns with any of the sharpest Nikkor today, the AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105 mm f/2.8G IF-ED. Either the D7100 has an AA filter working in the reverse configuration as with the D800E (the effect of AA is weaker, but it still is), or I really don't have a lens for such a high resolution. I plan to try out the new Zeiss Otus 1.4 / 55 on the D3x, so I'll probably take the D7100 with me, because that's exactly what the Otus is built for, at least according to the main designer. The resolution of the D7100 sensor corresponds to a 56.6 Mpx sensor with the size of a 36 mm film frame (FX).
Sometimes I see images on the road, that require a telephoto lens. I care a lot about the quality of the photographs, but I can't still carry a five-kilogram half-meter monster with me, because I wouldn't go anywhere and in our country we can't go to the woods by car (which is good). I was thinking of a new one AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/4G ED VR, but 200 (na DX 300) mm focal distance is relatively short. AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, which I already had, was very attracted me for its beautiful drawing and perfect quality of workmanship, but again, by weight and dimensions, it begins to fall into the above-mentioned category of poorly portable monsters. So I decided on the AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED, with the proviso that I try it and if so, at worst, I will sell. But that doesn't seem to happen. The first photographs were very pleasantly surprised. The lens draws very well, focal lengths of 70 - 200 mm can withstand (with aperture narrowed a bit) comparisons with monofocal lenses. 300 mm can be used for photographs where perfect drawing of details is not critical, the image is a little softer. Microcontrast is also decent for a variable focal length lens. In addition, on a small DX sensor, the focal length is "extended" to 105 - 450 mm, which are pleasant values. The D7100 has a new 1.3 mode, which is nothing more, than cropping an image right in the camera. With it, the resolution is reduced to 15.6 Mpx and the crop factor increases to equal x2, which brings us to a sympathic focal length of 140 - 600 mm. All this without reducing the speed or loss of sharpness when using the teleconverter.
Both the lens and the camera are sealed against water and dust, and the D7100 promises the same degree of durability as the D4 and D800. I'm curious about that and testing will certainly not take long.
So I'm trying everything so far, I'm getting used to the new control of the camera and I'm slowly finding out, if the set can meet my demands and expectations. If so, I will probably write separate articles on experience and practical use.
Prague, March 9, 2014.
Photograph: © Martin Mojzis, 2014.
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