Thanks, Michael – much of that video was useful and interesting (and, if my decision were based on your review and I were in the market for an APS-C camera, I would have no hesitation choosing the Canon unless there were Nikon APS-C lenses I particularly wanted).
A few thoughts on just one topic, for whatever they’re worth:
The problem with overall image quality comparisons made by taking a JPEG of the same model/scene in the same light etc. with two or more cameras is that while one may look obviously better than the other(s), the differences aren’t necessarily explained by any inherent feature of either camera, even assuming the same lens is attached to each (was it, by the way?).
Take, for instance, that sickly green that the Nikon added even to things that aren’t green at all (such as the model’s skin) in your examples. Presumably that can be fixed by adjusting the color balance in the JPEG settings by using a similar tweak to that provided by Rockwell for fixing the green bias he’s complained consistently about in the D800 and D600 since the day they were released. I suspect each camera’s JPEG settings could be tweaked so that the results look much the same as each other in terms of tone, sharpness, noise, etc.
In other words, all such comparisons show is how two sets of JPEG settings compare; and since each camera provides a wide range of settings to choose from, and allows you to customize each one further, I’m not sure that proves anything useful at all - except perhaps to a novice intimidated by the prospect of changing color, noise reduction, etc. settings and who wants to compare cameras based on their unaltered factory JPEG settings (are they the JPEG settings you used?).
So, I would find it more helpful if such comparisons were made via RAW files run through the same software – LR, DxO etc. - with minimal or no tweaking. While such software can of course be used to make the photos look as different or similar (up to a point) as you like, thereby making comparisons useless, at least if the RAW files are left untweaked or minimally tweaked (e.g. LR’s default import settings), one should get a better idea of what each camera is “really” doing. Do the Nikon’s RAW images have the same green bias? Does that “makeup” look you refer to go away if you look at minimally processed RAW files? Does Canon have a high ISO advantage merely because Canon uses more aggressive noise reduction at the JPEG settings you used? Etc.
Finally, a question: Is that green bias visible in the viewfinder and on the monitor? A while ago I rented a D600 and a D800 and was rather put off to see that the viewfinder in each had an olive green tint, almost as though I was wearing sunglasses (same for the monitors on both). Luckily I noticed little or no green bias in the RAW files I shot. So I’m wondering how similar the D7100 is to the two FF cameras (I think Rockwell’s review of the D7100 said that there was no such bias on the monitor; but I would rather it were there than in the photos!).