Coverage of the 2013 Digital Shootout is now online.
This is the first installment by Chris Parsons from Nauticam USA.
If I try to put myself in the position of a person looking to advance as an underwater stills photographer, a person who wants to consider an SLR for the sake of performance, image quality, lens selection and all of the other goodness that an SLR brings to the table, what SLR would I want? If this person didn't have lenses already, what SLR would I recommend? No question - the Nikon D7100 would be very high on the list. The D7100 is Nikon's best ever DX camera, and is an ideal imager for the underwater world.
I'd hoped to spend some quality time with the D7100 at the shootout, and I did manage to get two dives in with it, but it was our most popular demo rig this year, and it stayed busy the entire week with Shootout guests.
On of the strengths of the D7100 is the choice of lenses. There is a whole range of revered Nikon glass, of course, and some other really key 3rd party lenses, like the Tokina 10-17mm. We paired the D7100 with two interesting lens choices on this trip... the Nikon 85mm macro lens, and the new Sigma 17-70mm Contemporary lens.
One thing I really do like about the Nikon D7100 is how easy it is to move focus points, especially given the Nauticam Multi Controller Pad. Trying to shoot a tiny creature like the pistol shrimp in a corkscrew anemone is much easier when you can quickly slide the focus point where you want it.
The Nauticam D7100 handles really well, is well balanced and the controls are exactly where they need to be. I thought the 85mm on the APS-C sensor is an ideal focal length for many macro shots, and can get even tighter with the addition of a closeup (diopter) lens. The new Sigma 17-70mm is a very easy lens to shoot, and I teamed it up with the Zen Underwater DP-170 which resulted in a much smaller DSLR setup than you usually see.