The Nikon D7100 and Canon 70D are popular among beginner to intermediate level photographers for being powerful crop sensor cameras at a very affordable price. These are both excellent options for people who are looking to get their feet wet in DSLR photography or those who want to upgrade their first rig. Picking between these two cameras can be a challenge—but we’re here to help.
The Nikon D7100 was released in February 2013 as a follow-up to the popular D7000. The D7100 features a 24 MP crop sensor, a maximum burst rate of 6 frames per second (FPS), and the ability to shoot 1080p video at 60 FPS. While this camera is primarily used for photography it is also a good choice for those who also want to take video. It has a robust autofocus (AF) system featuring 51 autofocus points, with 15 being cross-type. The best news may be that this excellent camera costs only $700, making it an affordable choice for budget-minded photographers.
Canon introduced the 70D in July 2013 as an upgrade to the 60D. This camera has become a favorite for both photographers and videographers due to its robust autofocus system, fast burst rate, good low light capabilities, and flip screen. The images and video it produces are super sharp and it performs well in low light. The downside is that the 70D costs a little more ($1,000) than it’s Nikon competitor. Is the 70D worth the extra money? Let’s find out.
|Camera||Nikon D7100||Canon 70D|
|Date Announced||February 21, 2013||July 2, 2013|
|Price||$700 (body only)||$1000 (body only)|
|Resolution||24.1 MP||20.2 MP|
|Max Resolution||6000 x 4000||5472 x 3648|
|DxOMark Sensor Score||83||68|
|Shutter Speeds||1/8000 to 30 seconds||1/8000 to 30 seconds|
|Storage||2 SD cards||1 SD card|
|LCD||3.2″ rear screen||3″ flip touchscreen|
|Extended ISO Range||100-25600||100-25600|
|Battery||1x EN-EL15 Lithium-ion||1x LP-E6 Lithium-ion|
|Shots Per Charge||950||920|
|Burst Rate||6 FPS||7 FPS|
|Flash Sync Speed||1/250 second||1/250 second|
|Autofocus Points||51, 15 cross-type||19, all cross-type|
|AF Modes||Continuous-servo AF (C)
Focus Lock AF Area Mode
Manual Focus (M)
Single-servo AF (S)
Continuous-servo AF (C)
Manual Focus (M)
Single-servo AF (S)
|Built-In WiFi for both image transfer and remote control||No||Yes|
|Size||5.3 x 4.2 x 3.0″||5.5 x 4.1 x 3.1″|
|Weight||1.5 lbs.||1.7 lbs|
|Video Resolution||1080p at 60 FPS||1080p at 30 FPS|
|7 Day Rental||$50||$75|
Resolution: D7100 Wins With A 24 MP Sensor
Both the Canon 70D and Nikon D7100 have enough megapixels for just about anything but in terms of total megapixel count, the D7100 is the winner. This camera’s 24.1 MP sensor allows you to take photos at a high resolution and leaves you with plenty of pixels to play with if you need to crop. The 70D’s 20.2 MP sensor is still very good but if total megapixels are of the utmost importance, the D7100 is the choice for you.
DxOMark Sensor Score: D7100 Wins With a Score of 83
The website DxOMark analyzes camera sensors in an attempt to quantitatively rank them based on performance. DxOMark scores are given on a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 being the best. The Nikon D7100 ranks 15 points higher than the D70 indicating that, in the eyes of DxOMark, the D7100 has a sensor which will produce better quality images.
Storage: D7100 Wins With Dual Card Slots
Most enthusiast level cameras only have one slot for SD cards but the D7100 ups the ante with dual card slots. The D7100 is capable of writing to two SD cards, allowing you to take more pictures without swapping cards or letting you write to two cards at the same time so that you always have a backup. Dual card slots are often a feature of professional level cameras and a nice surprise in the D7100.
Viewfinder: 70D Wins With a 3” Flip Screen
Many photographers don’t care if their camera has a flip screen but for those who do, an articulating screen is a must. The D7100 has a traditional 3.2” screen mounted to the back of the camera but the 70D features a 3” articulating touchscreen. The flip screen is one of the reasons why the 70D is loved by videographers, vloggers, and selfie enthusiasts.
Burst Rate: 70D Wins With Burst Rate of 7 FPS
Burst rate is the amount of shots a camera can take in a second and it is an area where the 70D comes out on top. While the D7100 is able to take 6 FPS (which is more than respectable), the 70D goes one step further with a burst rate of 7 FPS. This is especially handy if you are the type of photographer who typically shoots objects in motion.
Autofocus: 70D Wins With 19 Cross-Type AF Points
Let’s get one thing straight: both of these cameras have very good autofocus systems and you will probably be more than happy with either one. The race between them really is pretty close. While the D7100 has 51 autofocus points, 15 of which are cross-type, the 70D has 19 points, all of which are cross-type. Cross-type autofocus points are better able to detect the changes in contrast to allow a camera to lock focus. While both of these cameras have very good AF systems, the D7100, with its 51 AF points, is slightly more powerful, especially on the edges of the frame.
WiFi: 70D Wins With Built-in WiFi
Photographers who like to control their camera with their phone and upload photos on the fly will appreciate the 70D’s built in WiFi capabilities. If you are someone who loves sharing your work instantly with friends and family via text, email, or social media, the 70D may be the camera for you.
Build: D7100 Wins With a More Rugged Body
If you are the type of person who is hard on your gear you will want to give build quality some serious thought. While the body of the 70D is mostly plastic, the D7100 is made of magnesium alloy, which is much stronger. Between the two cameras, the D7100 will be able to take a bit more of a beating.
Video Resolution: D7100 Wins With Max Resolution of 1080p
While both of these cameras are very strong in the video department, the D7100 takes the prize. The D7100 has the ability to shoot 1080p video at 60 FPS while the 70D maxes out at 1080p at 30 FPS. The D7100 produces clear video with accurate colors and handles high contrast areas well.
The Canon 70D and Nikon D7100 are both solid enthusiast level crop sensor DSLRs that will make nearly any beginner to intermediate level photographer happy. Both of these cameras are moderately priced, take sharp images, record stunning video, and have autofocus systems that will help you get the shots you need, even if your subject is moving. You really can’t go wrong with either option.
Choosing between these two cameras will largely come down to deciding which extra features are important to you. If you like the idea of WiFi, a flip screen, and a faster burst rate, go with the Canon 70D. If you want a few more megapixels to play with, a more rugged body, and dual card slots, the Nikon D7100 is probably your best bet. If you are loyal to either Canon or Nikon or already own lenses that work with one of the two systems, your decision is easy. This is a situation where you really can’t go wrong.
The 70D and D7100 sit right in the middle of the crop sensor market. They compete with DSLRs like the Canon T6i and Nikon D3300. Like the 70D, the T6i features WiFi, a swiveling touch screen, and a robust autofocus system. The D3300 is a less expensive camera.
With so many great options on the market, choosing a crop sensor DSLR can be tough. If you’re looking for more details and comparison guides for Nikon cameras, you may want to check out our article evaluation of the Nikon D7200 vs D7100 or the Nikon D3300 vs D5300.
If you are having trouble deciding you can always rent a few bodies before making your purchase. Few things will help make the decision-making process easier than taking these cameras for a test drive!