When buying a DSLR camera, one should know that not all of them are the same. Different photographers have different needs, which is why cameras have varying characteristics, features, and levels of functionality.
Whether you’re a casual photographer who wants to buy their first digital camera or a professional photographer replacing their old model, it is important to do your research first. This article will compare two specific models: the Nikon D7100 vs D5600. Keep reading for the key features and specs of each, and to learn which model is better in terms of performance, image quality, and accessibility.
Nikon is the world’s leading brand of digital cameras, often used by beginners and industry professionals alike. The company has created a wide array of technology, from its most popular cameras to photography accessories such as scopes, flashes, and tripods. DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex) are its trademark products, thanks to their useful features and wide variety of models.
Nikon’s DSLRs have a variety of features that differ from model to model but often include touchscreen capabilities, swivel screens, a hot shoe to attach accessories like an external flash, and built-in Bluetooth and WiFi connection. Each DSLR camera comes with a viewfinder, ensuring that there’s little to no difference between what you capture and what you see. All of the brand’s DSLRs are built with the same lens mount as well, so there is no need for the use of adapters when using lenses like a DX lens (a 23.5 x 15.6 mm sensor size) or an FX lens (a 36 x 24 mm sensor).
Though all of its DSLR cameras have the same optical viewfinder and lens mount, there are key differences with every Nikon model, whether in features like their sensor resolution or in physical characteristics like sensor size.
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Released in 2016, the Nikon D5600 is one of the more ‘modern cameras’ and is the successor to the D5500. The Nikon D5600 has the right balance of easy user access and image quality, ideal either for amateur or casual photographers. Its touch screen and swivel screen make shooting difficult images easier.
This model is fully Wi-Fi and Bluetooth compatible through SnapBridge, an image transfer application that connects your camera to your phone, tablet, or computer. With SnapBridge, users can also use their phone as a remote control and shoot photos from a distance.
The Nikon D5600 is a DX-format camera, meaning its sensor size measures around 23.5 x 15.6 mm (or 24 x 16 mm if rounded up). Its maximum resolution is 24.2 effective megapixels, with a maximum image area of 6000 x 4000 pixels. It also boasts a continuous shooting feature at 5 frames per second and a maximum ISO at around 25,600. The camera has both a manual focus and an auto-focus feature with at least 39 focus points and 9 cross-type sensors.
Camera sensors are one of the most important features when looking to buy a product, as a bigger camera sensor means it can capture more light and has a better image quality. The sensor resolution is one of the most important parts of a camera, as the better the sensor resolution is, the higher the quality of the image you have captured becomes. The sensor resolution affects not only the quality of the digital photograph, but also the quality of the printed image, the ability to properly resize the photo, and the display size.
For the Nikon D5600, its image sensor format is an APS C sensor (Advanced Photo System type-C), which is the standard sensor format for DSLRs. Having an APS C sensor also means that the camera has a crop factor of 1.53x. With the Nikon D5600, the sensor resolution should be optimal for a wide range of photographers. Another distinct feature of the D5600 is its resolution when shooting video, which can go to full HD. The Nikon D5600 can go as high as 1920p resolution with a smooth frames-per-second rate of 60 fps.
The D5600 has several photo modes for photographers who want to capture certain scenes, including:
The camera also has several white balance modes, which are:
Aside from these modes, the Nikon D5600 also has an ISO sensitivity auto-control in the menu.
This model weighs about 465g with dimensions of 124 x 97 x 70 mm. The Nikon D5600 has a fully articulated LCD touch screen that measures 3.2 inches diagonal. The camera contains one storage slot for an SD or memory card, as well as stereo speakers, a built-in microphone, and a microphone port with adjustable sensitivity.
The Nikon D5600 has a micro-USB connector, both for charging and for transferring photos to a computer. The device lasts about 970 shots per charge, based on CIPA standards (Camera & Imaging Products Association) and provided that the Bluetooth function is disabled.
One of the selling points of this model is its built-in WiFi feature. As previously mentioned, the user is allowed to store their photos on cloud storage. As long as the user has a proper WiFi connection, they can access their photos on any device.
Another benefit to the Nikon D5600 is its ISO range. With a maximum ISO of 25,600, the Nikon D5600 can shoot photos in very low light. The camera is light compared to other models, weighing at around 465g. The Nikon D5600 also comes with a time-lapse feature.
One of the cons to the Nikon D5600 is that it is not weather-sealed, meaning that it is not completely splash-resistant. This could be a deterrent for professional photographers, especially those who are into nature photography.
Another downside to the D5600 is that it only carries one storage slot. While this may not be a problem for some, it may be cumbersome for professional photographers who frequently travel, go to remote places, or constantly switch out SD cards.
Though the camera has an impressive video quality, the Nikon D5600 is not built-in with a port for headphones, so the user cannot properly monitor the audio directly. It is also not built with an AF motor, so it might not work with some of the older lenses.
The Nikon D7100 was announced in 2013 as a replacement for the Nikon D7000. The camera sits between entry and professional level, where it can be used by either casual photographers or industry professionals.
The Nikon D7100 is a good replacement for its predecessor and has a multitude of new features. Its higher shutter speed and multiple focus points are especially helpful for professional photographers, as well as its dual storage slots.
The model has 24.1 effective megapixels and a DX-format image sensor with a sensor size of 23.5 x 15.6 mm. The camera sensor is CMOS (Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor), which is the most common sensor that cameras use today. This is also the first DSLR model to have no optical anti-alias filter, meaning it can produce sharper and higher-quality images.
The D7100 also comes with a focus motor, so it is compatible with auto-focus lenses that have been produced since 1986. Manual focus lenses made from 1977 onward are also compatible.
It comes in with built-in HDR, which gives the user a stunning, high-quality image by combining different shots that were taken at different contrasts. Aside from picture control and white balance options, the Nikon D7100 also has an image effects feature, which allows photographers or videographers to apply filters to either their images or videos.
The D7100 has a shutter speed of 6 fps, which can get you up to 100 shots in a single, continuous press. The auto-focus feature is also a feat, with the Nikon D7100 having 51 focus points as well as 15 cross-type sensors. Another feature of the Nikon D7100 is its ISO sensitivity, which ranges from 100 to 6400 and can go as high as 25,600 with the Hi-boost option.
Lastly, the model has an ISO sensitivity auto-control and a playback function that allows the user to comment on their images or to create a slideshow (both for images and videos).
The model measures 5.3 in. (135.5 mm) x 4.2 in. (106.5 mm) x 3.0 in. (76 mm) and weighs about 765g. The monitor is a wide-angle LCD type with a 3.2 in. diagonal screen. The camera is a magnesium alloy body that is weather-sealed, ensuring that it is both dust and moisture-resistant inside and out.
The Nikon D7100 comes with a built-in microphone, stereo speakers, and headphone port. The model also is built with two storage slots for a memory card and uses a separate wireless mobile adapter for WiFi connectivity.
The main benefit of the Nikon D7100 is its weather-sealed body. Because it is splash and dust-resistant, users can take the device and use it in misty or humid weather. You can rest assured that there would be no damage to the inside of the camera, even if you used it while it’s raining or near a body of water.
The battery life of the D7100 lasts relatively long; one singular charge would last a photographer about 950 shots. Another key benefit of the camera is its dual memory card slots as it increases video and image storage. The headphone port is also useful in connecting headphones to the device for proper audio monitoring.
Weighing almost 800g, this model is relatively heavier than other DSLRs. Its dimensions and size may be a problem for those who wish to have a more compact, lightweight device.
Another major issue of the Nikon D7100 is that it is not built with WiFi connectivity, and requires a separate mobile adapter to be able to connect to an internet source.
The Nikon D7100 isn’t a touch screen either, and its LCD screen isn’t an articulated monitor. This means that the user cannot flip the monitor to face the subject instead of the photographer. In regards to the screen, the D7100 can only shoot videos at an aspect ratio of 16:9, so external video editing software is required if one needs to change the aspect ratio.
Though both of these devices are from different generations, they still share some similar specs and features.
This section will compare the two digital cameras through three categories:
The image quality of the Nikon D5600 and the Nikon D7100 have a few discernible differences.
A similarity these two cameras have is their ISO sensitivity, which can reach as high as 25,600. This allows for better-quality images that are captured in low light. And though both of the cameras have the same sensor sizes as well as the same sensor type, the Nikon D5600 has higher effective megapixels than the D7100 (24.2 vs. 24.1) meaning that the Nikon D5600 has a higher image resolution.
However, the Nikon D7100 has a better color depth and higher screen resolution. Large pixels mean that there is a greater dynamic range, while smaller pixels are higher in resolution.
With both of the models having the same lens mount, compatibility is of no issue – the user can interchange between different lenses, regardless of whether it is a DX lens or an FX lens. Both of the cameras have a hot shoe as well, so there is no problem in attaching a rangefinder or an external flash.
Another way of comparing the Nikon D5600 and the Nikon D7100 on performance is their respective DXOMARK sensor scores; which compares the sensor’s capacity in:
Overall when doing a sensor comparison, the D5600 outshines the D7100 in both dynamic range and in low-light ISO, as the Nikon D5600 sensor has a dynamic range of 14 EVS (vs. the D7100’s EVS of 13.7) and a low-light ISO of 1306 (compared to the 1256 ISO of the Nikon D7100.)
When it comes to shutter speed and focus, however, the Nikon D7100 is significantly better. This model’s shutter speed clocks in at 6 fps (compared to Nikon D5600’s 5 fps). Plus, its auto-focus comes with 51 focus points and 15 cross-type sensors, compared to the 39 focus points and 9 cross-type sensors of the Nikon D5600.
The Nikon D7100 is more functional for outdoor or for nature photography as well, as it is weather-sealed. Weather sealing makes the body both dust and moisture resistant. There is less risk for the Nikon D7100 to malfunction or break when exposed to dust or moisture compared to the Nikon D5600.
While both of the cameras look relatively the same, the Nikon D7100 has the D5600 beat in storage slots (dual card slots vs. 1 card slot). The D7100 has a longer battery life as well; 950 shots in a single charge compared to the D5600, which only lasts about 820 shots.
It is undeniable that both the D5600 and the Nikon D7100 are advanced in their own right, being the upgraded versions of the D5500 and the D7000 respectively. In terms of accessibility, though, the D5600 is much more user-friendly with a touch screen as well as a swivel LCD screen.
Given that the Nikon D5600 has a touch screen, it is much easier to navigate through playback functions, as well as photo, auto-focus, and white balance modes. Its swivel LCD screen offers easier access when taking selfies or recording vlogs – this is especially helpful in taking shots where the user is in the photo as well.
Lastly, the Nikon D5600 has built-in WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, while the D7100 needs to have a separate mobile adapter to connect to WiFi. For users who want to instantly transfer their photos without having to connect their camera to a computer, the D5600 may be more useful than the D7100.
Being a more recent model than the D7100, the Nikon D5600 definitely has more advantages. With its lower weight, compact design, high-resolution sensor, WiFi capabilities, and touch screen function, it is more adept for users who are just starting into photography. The touchscreen and swivel LCD functions are especially useful for vloggers or video makers.
That being said, the D7100 is highly recommended for those who venture into travel and nature photography, due to its high shutter speed, 51 focus points, and weather-sealed body.
It is an important factor to know the specs of the digital cameras you are buying, but it is ultimately up to you what camera is better than the other, based on your specific needs (having full HD images or high-performance lenses, for example) and what type of photography you’re into.