"Nikon brings you portable performance to give your photography an adrenaline injection with the release of its new enthusiast-level DX format camera, the 24.1-megapixel Nikon D7100."Nikon US also described it as a camera for the advanced enthusiast in their press release, so it's clearly not a camera for the "Pro". It's actually suitable for many professional photographers, but it does lack some of the features that Nikon would include on what they consider to be a Pro body.
For me, the key feature is the buffer, or in this case, the lack of it. I used the D7000, along with a D700 to shoot a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) event in the Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff. I was there mainly to capture the guys warming up and to document back-stage, where I took the image you see above. I was always impressed with the D7000's low light performance, noise was well controlled (image above was shot at ISO 3200) and the AF wasn't bad, not as good as the D700, but not bad at all. When I got ring side though, what struck me was the how quickly I could fill the buffer. I had to be very careful when, and for how long I pressed the shutter, otherwise I'd hit the buffer limit and the camera would pause for a while whilst it flushed images to the memory card. Not good. I soon bought the fastest SD cards I could find, which improved things a little, but it's obviously short on buffer space.
Now, it isn't clear if the buffer on the D7100 will give you much more than the D7000. The US Nikon site suggests there's nothing in it, whilst other reported stats suggest a decent increase, but nothing huge. Let's see what the reviews say.
So, is this how far Nikon are taking the DX line? I don't thinks so (Thom Hogan agrees). The body isn't big enough, the buffer isn't big enough and there isn't an AF-ON button!!! Sorry, I like my AF-ON button. Whilst DX hasn't had a great deal of love, I still think Nikon have a D400 up their sleeve somewhere. DX, high frame rate, large buffer in a D800 like body.
The other alternative, I guess, is shooting an FX body in DX mode. WIth the grip and D4 battery, the D800 will get to 6fps in DX mode, and has a big buffer. It'll shoot 5fps without the grip/fancy battery. So that's an option - The D800 is like two and a half camera's in one, if you ask me. DX mode on the D600 is no slouch either, giving you about 10MP, decent AF and frame rate. If they can drive FX sensor prices down enough, then maybe that's the way to go.