I am considering the D7100 as a replacement for my D200 and following other discussion threads on here about the frame rate and buffer size on the new D7100. The specs(EXSPEED 3 processor, larger file size, etc.) on the new D7100 are different but the buffer is similar enough, I hope, for a reasonable comparison to the D7000.
I'd appreciate hearing from any D7000 users who shoot flying birds. Specifically, has the smaller buffer been a problem? Have you felt as though you missed some good shots because of this limitation? I know so much of this depends on anticipating and capturing exact moments (like a diving osprey) and the skills of the photographer. (The same question could apply to anyone else who shoots action, like sports.)
The D7100 has many great features that make it an appealing upgrade for me, but not if the buffer is a source of frustration. I will be following the reviews and reactions of people who are "early adopters" of the D7100 next month to see what their experiences may be. In the mean time, thanks for any comments.
#2. "RE: D7000(D7100) and Birds in Flight" In response to Reply # 1
I use the D7000 exclusively and do a lot of bird photography. I will equivocate somewhat in my answer to your buffer question: most of the time (90-95%) I have had no problem tracking and shooting moving birds, but I can't say the buffer filling faster than I can shoot has never happened.
A bigger problem is that I most often use my old 400mm f5.6 Nikkor for birds, which does not autofocus, so many slightly out-of-focus shots are user error. I don't have that problem with my AF 70-300 VR, but then I don't have the reach or the shots are a bit soft at 300mm. There are always tradeoffs.
Obviously, I have not used the new D7100 yet, but it sounds like it might fit the bill for you.
#3. "RE: D7000(D7100) and Birds in Flight" In response to Reply # 0
The D7100 is pushing a lot more data through the buffer at 1.5 crop than the D7000, so I'm not sure that D7000 experience will be relevant. I suspect you will find it adequate, particularly if you shoot in a 1.3 crop mode. If you set the CL mode rate to 5 fps - same as the D200 high, you'll be fine.
Frame rates aside, both the D7000 and the D7100 are MUCH better birding cameras than the D200 due to their higher pixel counts, much better high ISO performance and huge leap (about 2 EV) in dynamic range across the full ISO range. I've never really run out of buffer in the D7000 - not that would concern me anyway - and it is likely that you can configure the D7100 to give equivalent performance IF you find yourself buffer frustrated.
The improvements are so much better in every other area that any birder with a D200 should consider upgrading. You may actually be able to capture detail in that white plumage instead of blowing it out all the time.
#4. "RE: D7000(D7100) and Birds in Flight" In response to Reply # 3
Fort Walton Beach, FL, US
I shoot birds in flight with my D7000 all the time. I do this at the highest frame rate for continuous shooting. I have never noticed a problem with the buffer filling and ending a sequence of shots for me. But, keep in mind that I don't pull the trigger until the time is right and a quick burst of shots, rarely more than six frames, is all I need. This leads me to believe that many people having buffer problems spot the bird coming over the horizon, quickly put it in the viewfinder, pull the trigger, and then don't let up on the trigger again until the bird has crossed the OTHER horizon. I will take quality over quantity every time.
#6. "RE: D7000(D7100) and Birds in Flight" In response to Reply # 0
You may well be frustrated with the small buffer....I began shooting BIF with my D7000 and became very frustrated in short order. The buffer was part of the problem. The AF system was another. Admittedly the D7100 has the improveed AF system, more or less, of the D4 and D800/e and so I cannot comment here. In my case I picked up a used D300 and while birding is no piece of cake, my success rate went up and over that of the D7000 (which is a very good piece of equipment!) I was very interested in the 7100 until I learned of the very small buffer. This is a deal breaker for me and so I will wait for a D400 while striving to improve my keeper rate with the D300.
#7. "RE: D7000(D7100) and Birds in Flight" In response to Reply # 6
Thanks everyone, for your comments!
Tony and Chris-like you, I am very interested in the features listed for the D7100 and the huge jump in IQ I hope to see switching from the D200. Part of the challenge and enjoyment of capturing flying birds is in timing the shots for peak action. Since I usually shoot larger birds like herons, terns, birds of prey, etc., they're a little less difficult than flying songbirds, ducks, or sea birds like puffins. (Florida is a birders's paradise when it comes to photographing wading birds!) Not sure if I have ever shot more than 5-6 frames at a time with my D200, either, as the bird is usually past me by then. Action on/at a nest is not as fast and a little easier to capture.
Fred-I use an older 300mm with screw focus, not the most up to date lens, so I sometimes miss the birds as it "hunts". As long as I see the bird coming my way. I can lock on and track it with the D200. The bigger birds are much easier with my gear.
Jim-ditto-I rarely shoot more than 5-6 frames in a burst. I wonder how long the D7100 will take to clear the buffer and write the files to the card. I guess card speed and 14 bit or 12 bit settings are other factors.
I'll be looking forward to what new users say once the D7100 is out in their hands.
Lee-A friend and I go out shooting osprey in the spring and always try to get the "plunge shot". He's been very successful with a D300 and even has great shots of leaping sturgeon so I understand your opinion. He's skeptical of the small buffer size on the D7100, although he uses his D7000 regularly albeit with occasional frustration about focus and buffer size.