I have been doing photography for almost 12 years now but I got my first camera 15 years ago.   My first camera was a Canon 35mm and I had no clue how to use it!  So I got frustrated and just locked it away.  A few years later my intrigue in wanting to learn photography and capture nature through my eye made me decide to pick the camera back up.  This time though I was using a different 35mm camera.  (I sold the other one online. :/ )
When I started I was then using a 35mm Minolta SRT 202 that was given to me by my father.   Over the years I have slowly upgraded my gear to fit the needs of my growing photography.
I recently upgrade from my Nikon D5100 to the Nikon D7100.   My photo studio is growing and I needed a more stable and upgraded camera.  I have read reviews and looked into several different camera’s including going all the way up to the Nikon D800E.  I was saving money for the D800E but my dog got sick and I had to choose where the money should go and I chose my dog. 🙂
I then had to wait sometime to purchase a camera.   After looking at my options again I decided on the D7100 for a few reasons.

  1. It is a DX camera.  This will allow me to use the already growing lens collection I have since the D5100 is a DX body as well.
  2. It is a great price for a great piece of kit.  I could use some of the left over money to purchase a new lens.  I did not get the D7100 kit I just purchased the body.
  3. The ISO range.  I have always had some problems with the ISO in the D5100.  Though it is a great camera I would see a lot of noise at ISO 650 or 800.  I try not to go any higher then that unless I need to but that is very rare.  I saw the results of the ISO tests for the D7100 at the 800 and even 1250 range and the pictures looked great.
  4. 24 megapixel.  This will help me in printing larger and more detailed photo prints for my clients.  Yes I am aware 16 megapixel does a great job as well but the 24 will also give me some breathing room when cropping an image if need be.
  5. The weather proofing.  The camera is said to have the same weather proofing as the D800 and from the test video’s I have seen this looks to be the case.  I take a lot of nature photography and sometimes I am out in some mild (not severe) rainy weather.  This allows me to have a little more confidence in the fact that my camera won’t fall apart from a little water.  I always had that fear with my Nikon D5100.   Hence the picture below of me out photographing the Blue Heron with mild rain.  (Before anyone say’s it… yes I would still use some kind of protection if needed for my D7100… I know it is not full proof 🙂

I am still keeping my D5100 because I love that camera.  It has been so good to me and I know the in’s and outs of it.  There are some learning curves with upgrading to the D7100.  The layout is completely different in the button sense and controls.  The look of the software is pretty much the same besides some minor different options.  I have to get use to using the small screen display on top of the camera.  I have never had that before.  I also have to get use to using the two rotating dials.  The one near the shutter button and the one behind the shutter button.  They each control different options in the camera depending on what mode you have it in.  This was a big learning curve for me.  When using the Nikon D5100 I only had one rotating dial and that was behind the shutter button.   Example Picture is below of what I am talking about.

The camera is heavier then the D5100.  With the weather proofing and better build quality you are going to feel a difference.   If you add your 70-200mm Nikon or Tamaron lens you will definitely feel the weight difference.   This camera is one that I am very excited to photograph with and learn all the great new features it has.  I will also be purchasing the battery grip and some new battery’s just as a back up.    One of the things I found a lot better in the ergonomics of the dials and buttons was the navigation button.   I also found the “I” button to be very useful.  I had to get used to the new “LV” (Live view) option on this camera.  I did get used to it and actually now prefer it over the Nikon D5100 “LV” option.

I am very happy with my choice of upgrade and will be using this camera a lot in my photography.  I will be using my D5100 also as my back up but also for HD video recording.  I have not tested the video recorded capibility of the D7100 yet but I am looking forward to trying that.

Again this is not a review blog post this is just why I upgraded my camera gear from the D5100.  It has taken me a long time to upgrade my gear because it does take money and I don’t have a lot of that but because I also want to get what I feel is right for my needs in my photography.

Here are some pictures of the Nikon D7100.




Thank you for reading I hope you found this helpful in any way.
If any questions, you can leave them down in the comment section below or on my YouTube channel.



11 thoughts on “MY UPGRADE: D5100 TO THE NIKON D7100 & WHY

  1. Ur reviews are really helpful was in a dilemma tat shud i gt 7100 or not bt u gve me the best n honest idea….thanks alot fr sharing such grt view…..

  2. Hello, thank you for your helpful post.
    I’m in the same shoes as you, i have a Nikon D5100 and i am thinking about upgrading to the D7100, my main reason to upgrade is the autofocus system in low light environments, my D5100 struggles while focusing in low light, i want to ask you if the D7100 performs a-way better in this area or not?
    Thank you

    1. Hi, Thanks for your comment and kind words. I have been using it as my main camera (D7100) for weddings, portraits and so on. I have had no issues with low light focusing or performance. I love the ISO because it has a better range then the D5100 and still low noise. The focusing is great (depending on the lens sometimes and how dark it is). It does have the focus light assist which the D5100 has. For my purposes with wedding and low light situations it works great. I also have way more focusing points so I can adjust the AFS, AFC or AFA to whatever suits my needs. I also use F1.4 – F2.8 lens’s which allow more light into the camera in those low light situations. As far as I am concerned I think it out performs the D5100. That’s just my opinion though. I think it is great and love using it. I hope that answers your question. 🙂 Thanks!

  3. Hello. Thank you for your post. I am thinking about changing my d5100 to d7100 but I haven´t made my mind yet because sometimes I think the difference between the two cameras is not that worthwhile. It is funny what happens to my d5100. When I shoot using iso 800 I see more noise than iso 1000. But I don´t dare using iso higher than 1200. How much iso can you shoot without noise being a problem for a wedding picture, for example?

    1. Hi Jiral,
      I normally shoot at 100 if at all possible but I have had to shoot up to a 1000 iso in very dark wedding photography situations. I see very usable images. I will add some gradient post production fixes do to slight grain in the darkest of shadows. I have had no issues with it at all. My wedding clients love the photographs so that is what is important to me. I am happy with the performance of the D7100. 🙂

  4. Hi Chris, this blog is still useful! I am considering the D5100 -> D7100 upgrade and really appreciated all your comments. I’m looking forward to easy access to controlling ISO, Quality etc, the second wheel and using the OK button to immediately zoom in when reviewing a photo (I had those on my previous camera – a Nikon D200). One thing that bugs me on the D5100 is the “tinny” nature of the Rear Multi-Selector. Also looking forward to better auto focus! I don’t, however expect better image quality. I expect it will be roughly the same. We’ll see.

  5. Thank you so much for your post! I have been debating for months on upgrading from the D5100 to the D7100 as I can not afford the D810 that I would love!!! Appreciate your insight on the subject!

    1. it’s interesting how even today, after 3 years, D7100 is an amazing camera. I am also looking to upgrade to D7100 and not any of the other D7XXs that have extra feature that I don’t need.

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