Contax N Digital vs Nikon D7100
The Contax N Digital and the Nikon D7100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in February 2002 and February 2013. Both are DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras that are based on a full frame (N Digital) and an APS-C (D7100) sensor. The Contax has a resolution of 6.1 megapixels, whereas the Nikon provides 24 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D7100? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D7100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three consecutive perspectives from the front, the top, and the back are available. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Nikon D7100 is considerably smaller (31 percent) than the Contax N Digital. Moreover, the D7100 is markedly lighter (23 percent) than the N Digital. It is noteworthy in this context that the D7100 is splash and dust-proof, while the N Digital does not feature any corresponding weather-sealing.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
As can be seen in the images above, the N Digital has a battery grip built in. This facilitates image-taking in portrait orientation and gives it additional battery power. In order to provide similar functionality for the D7100, Nikon provides the MB-D15 vertical grip as an optional accessory (see here on eBay).
The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. In case you want to display and compare another camera duo, you can use the CAM-parator app to select your camera combination among a large number of options.
|1.||Contax N Digital||152 mm||138 mm||80 mm||990 g||100||n||Feb 2002||7,399|
|2.||Nikon D7100||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||950||Y||Feb 2013||1,199|
|3.||Canon 70D||139 mm||104 mm||79 mm||755 g||920||Y||Jul 2013||1,199|
|4.||Canon 10D||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||850 g||500||n||Feb 2003||1,999|
|5.||Canon Rebel||142 mm||99 mm||72 mm||649 g||400||n||Aug 2003||899|
|6.||Canon 1Ds||156 mm||158 mm||80 mm||1265 g||600||Y||Sep 2002||8,999|
|7.||Canon D60||150 mm||107 mm||75 mm||855 g||620||n||Feb 2002||2,999|
|8.||Leica M10-P||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Aug 2018||7,995|
|9.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|10.||Leica SL||147 mm||104 mm||39 mm||847 g||400||Y||Oct 2015||7,450|
|11.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|12.||Nikon D7500||136 mm||104 mm||73 mm||720 g||950||Y||Apr 2017||1,299|
|13.||Nikon D7200||136 mm||107 mm||76 mm||765 g||1110||Y||Mar 2015||1,199|
|14.||Nikon D3300||124 mm||98 mm||76 mm||430 g||700||n||Jan 2014||499|
|15.||Nikon D7000||132 mm||105 mm||77 mm||780 g||1050||Y||Sep 2010||1,499|
|16.||Nikon D100||144 mm||116 mm||81 mm||780 g||370||n||Feb 2002||1,999|
|17.||Nikon D1X||157 mm||153 mm||85 mm||1100 g||1200||Y||Feb 2001||5,999|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
The price is, of course, an important factor in any camera decision. The listed launch prices provide an indication of the market segment that the manufacturer of the cameras have been targeting. The D7100 was launched at a markedly lower price (by 84 percent) than the N Digital, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Moreover, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more control over depth-of-field in the image and, thus, the ability to better isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors tend to be more expensive and lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Contax N Digital features a full frame sensor and the Nikon D7100 an APS-C sensor. The sensor area in the D7100 is 58 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.0 and 1.5. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the D7100 offers a higher resolution of 24 megapixels, compared with 6.1 MP of the N Digital. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 3.91μm versus 11.90μm for the N Digital). However, it should be noted that the D7100 is much more recent (by 10 years and 11 months) than the N Digital, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the D7100 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Nikon D7100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the D7100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 30 x 20 inches or 76.2 x 50.8 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 24 x 16 inches or 61 x 40.6 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 20 x 13.3 inches or 50.8 x 33.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Contax N Digital are 15.2 x 10 inches or 38.6 x 25.5 cm for good quality, 12.2 x 8 inches or 30.9 x 20.4 cm for very good quality, and 10.1 x 6.7 inches or 25.7 x 17 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Contax N Digital has a native sensitivity range from ISO 50 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Nikon D7100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 50-25600.
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). The following table provides an overview of the physical sensor characteristics, as well as the sensor quality measurements for a selection of comparators.
|1.||Contax N Digital||Full Frame||6.1||3040||2008||none||..||..||..||..|
|6.||Canon 1Ds||Full Frame||11.0||4064||2704||none||21.8||11.0||954||63|
|8.||Leica M10-P||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||..||..||..||..|
|9.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|10.||Leica SL||Full Frame||24.0||6000||4000||4K/30p||25.0||13.4||1821||88|
|11.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The D7100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the N Digital does not. The highest resolution format that the D7100 can use is 1080/60p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a variety of features. The N Digital and the D7100 are similar in the sense that both have an optical viewfinder. The latter is useful for getting a clear image for framing even in brightly lit environments. The viewfinder in the D7100 offers a wider field of view (100%) than the one in the N Digital (95%), so that a larger proportion of the captured image is visible in the finder. On the other hand, the viewfinder of the N Digital has a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.63x), so that the size of the image transmitted appears closer to the size seen with the naked human eye. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Contax N Digital and Nikon D7100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.
|1.||Contax N Digital||optical||Y||2.0 / 200||fixed||n||1/8000s||4.0||n||n|
|2.||Nikon D7100||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|3.||Canon 70D||optical||Y||3.0 / 1040||swivel||Y||1/8000s||7.0||Y||n|
|4.||Canon 10D||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|5.||Canon Rebel||optical||n||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.5||Y||n|
|6.||Canon 1Ds||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/8000s||3.0||n||n|
|7.||Canon D60||optical||Y||1.8 / 114||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|8.||Leica M10-P||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||Y||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|9.||Leica M10||optical||n||3.0 / 1037||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||n||n|
|10.||Leica SL||4400||Y||3.0 / 1040||fixed||Y||1/8000s||11.0||n||n|
|11.||Leica M9||optical||n||2.5 / 230||fixed||n||1/4000s||2.0||n||n|
|12.||Nikon D7500||optical||Y||3.2 / 922||tilting||Y||1/8000s||8.0||Y||n|
|13.||Nikon D7200||optical||Y||3.2 / 1229||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|14.||Nikon D3300||optical||n||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/4000s||5.0||Y||n|
|15.||Nikon D7000||optical||Y||3.0 / 921||fixed||n||1/8000s||6.0||Y||n|
|16.||Nikon D100||optical||Y||1.8 / 118||fixed||n||1/4000s||3.0||Y||n|
|17.||Nikon D1X||optical||Y||2.0 / 120||fixed||n||1/16000s||3.0||n||n|
One difference between the cameras concerns the presence of an on-board flash. The D7100 has one, while the N Digital does not. While the built-in flash of the D7100 is not very powerful, it can at times be useful as a fill-in light.
The Nikon D7100 has an intervalometer built-in. This enables the photographer to capture time lapse sequences, such as flower blooming, a sunset or moon rise, without purchasing an external camera trigger and related software.
The N Digital writes its imaging data to Compact Flash cards, while the D7100 uses SDXC cards. The D7100 features dual card slots, which can be very useful in case a memory card fails. In contrast, the N Digital only has one slot.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Contax N Digital and Nikon D7100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
Mic / Speaker
|1.||Contax N Digital||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|2.||Nikon D7100||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|3.||Canon 70D||Y||stereo / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||Y||-||-|
|4.||Canon 10D||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|5.||Canon Rebel||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|6.||Canon 1Ds||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
|7.||Canon D60||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|8.||Leica M10-P||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|9.||Leica M10||Y||- / -||-||-||-||-||Y||-||-|
|10.||Leica SL||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||full||3.0||Y||-||-|
|11.||Leica M9||Y||- / -||-||-||-||2.0||-||-||-|
|12.||Nikon D7500||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||-||Y|
|13.||Nikon D7200||Y||stereo / mono||Y||Y||mini||2.0||Y||Y||-|
|14.||Nikon D3300||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|15.||Nikon D7000||Y||mono / mono||Y||-||mini||2.0||-||-||-|
|16.||Nikon D100||Y||- / -||-||-||-||1.1||-||-||-|
|17.||Nikon D1X||Y||- / -||-||-||-||FW||-||-||-|
Studio photographers will appreciate that the Contax N Digital (unlike the D7100) features a PC Sync socket, so that professional strobe lights can be controlled by the camera.
Both the N Digital and the D7100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The D7100 was replaced by the Nikon D7200, while the N Digital does not have a direct successor. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Contax and Nikon websites.
So what conclusions can be drawn? Is the Contax N Digital better than the Nikon D7100 or vice versa? A synthesis of the relative strong points of each of the models is listed below.
Reasons to prefer the Contax N Digital:
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Larger viewfinder image: Features a viewfinder with a higher magnification (0.73x vs 0.63x).
- More portrait friendly: Features an integrated vertical grip for easier portrait shooting.
- Better studio light control: Has a PC Sync socket to connect to professional strobe lights.
- More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in February 2002).
Advantages of the Nikon D7100:
- More detail: Has more megapixels (24 vs 6.1MP), which boosts linear resolution by 98%.
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
- More complete view: Has a viewfinder with a larger field of view (100% vs 95%).
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.2" vs 2.0") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 200k dots).
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (6 vs 4 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- Easier time-lapse photography: Has an intervalometer built-in for low frequency shooting.
- More compact: Is smaller (136x107mm vs 152x138mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
- Less heavy: Has a lower weight (by 225g or 23 percent) and is thus easier to take along.
- Longer lasting: Gets more shots (950 versus 100) out of a single battery charge.
- Better sealing: Is splash and dust sealed for shooting in inclement weather conditions.
- Easier fill-in: Has a small integrated flash to brighten shadows of backlit subjects.
- Greater peace of mind: Features a second card slot as a backup in case of memory card failure.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (84 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 10 years and 11 months of technical progress since the N Digital launch.
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the D7100 is the clear winner of the contest (16 : 5 points). However, the relevance of individual strengths will vary across photographers, so that you might want to apply your own weighing scheme to the summary points when reflecting and deciding on a new camera. A professional sports photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a street photog, and a person interested in family portraits has distinct needs from a landscape shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Contax N Digital and the Nikon D7100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera listing whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.
In any case, while the specs-based evaluation of cameras can be instructive in revealing their potential as photographic tools, it says little about, for example, the shooting experience and imaging performance of the N Digital and the D7100 in practical situations. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], digitalcameraworld [DCW], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Contax N Digital||..||..||..||..||..||..||Feb 2002||7,399|
|2.||Nikon D7100||5/5||+ +||..||85/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||1,199|
|3.||Canon 70D||5/5||+ +||..||83/100||4.5/5||5/5||Jul 2013||1,199|
|4.||Canon 10D||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2003||1,999|
|5.||Canon Rebel||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Aug 2003||899|
|6.||Canon 1Ds||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2002||8,999|
|7.||Canon D60||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||2,999|
|8.||Leica M10-P||..||..||3/5||..||..||4/5||Aug 2018||7,995|
|9.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|10.||Leica SL||4/5||..||4/5||84/100||4.5/5||4/5||Oct 2015||7,450|
|11.||Leica M9||..||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|12.||Nikon D7500||4.5/5||+ +||4.5/5||86/100||5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2017||1,299|
|13.||Nikon D7200||4/5||+ +||..||84/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2015||1,199|
|14.||Nikon D3300||3/5||+||..||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Jan 2014||499|
|15.||Nikon D7000||4/5||..||..||80/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2010||1,499|
|16.||Nikon D100||..||..||..||+ +||o||..||Feb 2002||1,999|
|17.||Nikon D1X||..||..||..||+ +||..||..||Feb 2001||5,999|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.
Other camera comparisons
Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make a corresponding selection in the search boxes below. There is also a set of direct links to comparison reviews that other users of the CAM-parator app explored.
- Canon 700D vs Nikon D7100
- Canon G5 X Mark II vs Contax N Digital
- Canon M6 Mark II vs Contax N Digital
- Canon SX410 vs Contax N Digital
- Canon XS vs Contax N Digital
- Contax N Digital vs Fujifilm X-M1
- Contax N Digital vs Olympus E-M10 III
- Fujifilm GFX 50R vs Nikon D7100
- Fujifilm X-T20 vs Nikon D7100
- Leica X1 vs Nikon D7100
- Nikon D7100 vs Olympus E-3
- Nikon D7100 vs Olympus E-PL2
Specifications: Contax N Digital vs Nikon D7100
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Contax N Digital||Nikon D7100|
|Camera Type||Digital single lens reflex||Digital single lens reflex|
|Camera Lens||Contax N mount lenses||Nikon F mount lenses|
|Launch Date||February 2002||February 2013|
|Launch Price||USD 7,399||USD 1,199|
|Sensor Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D7100|
|Sensor Format||Full Frame Sensor||APS-C Sensor|
|Sensor Size||36.0 x 24.0 mm||23.5 x 15.6 mm|
|Sensor Area||864 mm2||366.6 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||43.3 mm||28.2 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||6.1 Megapixels||24 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||3040 x 2008 pixels||6000 x 4000 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||11.90 μm||3.91 μm|
|Pixel Density||0.71 MP/cm2||6.55 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||no Video||1080/60p Video|
|ISO Setting||50 - 1,600 ISO||100 - 6,400 ISO|
|ISO Boost||no Enhancement||50 - 25,600 ISO|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||..||83|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||..||24.2|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||..||13.7|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||..||1256|
|Screen Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D7100|
|Viewfinder Type||Optical viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||95%||100%|
|Top-Level Screen||Control Panel||Control Panel|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||2.0inch||3.2inch|
|LCD Resolution||200k dots||1229k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Shooting Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D7100|
|Focus System||Phase-detect AF||Phase-detect AF|
|Continuous Shooting||4 shutter flaps/s||6 shutter flaps/s|
|Time-Lapse Photography||no Intervalometer||Intervalometer built-in|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||Built-in Flash|
|Storage Medium||CF cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Dual card slots|
|Connectivity Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D7100|
|Studio Flash||PC Sync socket||no PC Sync|
|USB Connector||Firewire||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||no HDMI||mini HDMI|
|Microphone Port||no MIC socket||External MIC port|
|Headphone Socket||no Headphone port||Headphone port|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Contax N Digital||Nikon D7100|
|Environmental Sealing||not weather sealed||Weathersealed body|
|Battery Life (CIPA)||100 shots per charge||950 shots per charge|
152 x 138 x 80 mm
(6.0 x 5.4 x 3.1 in)
136 x 107 x 76 mm
(5.4 x 4.2 x 3.0 in)
|Camera Weight||990 g (34.9 oz)||765 g (27.0 oz)|
Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.