Pros 1. 16.2 MP image sensor
2. weather sealing similar to the D300
3. AMAZING ISO range (100-6400) and lack of noise in low light
4. FAST burst speeds, up to 6 fps
5. 12&14 bit selectable RAW files
6. twin SD card slots
7. ergonomics identical to D90
Cons 1. still unable to shoot 1080p video at 30 fps
2. RAW files not yet recognized by 3rd party software at time of this writing
3. still not weight balanced when using larger telephoto zoom lens
4. difficult to think of any real cons
Summary Being a Nikon D90 user for the last year, I love the combination of ease of use, shooting power and image quality. However over time I quickly grew to learn and appreciate the performance limits (fps shooting, ISO range, 12 bit RAW files only) that are addressed by the more expensive and professional level D300.One caveat, as an early adopter, I've found that the NEF RAW files produced by the D7000 are not recognized by any current non Nikon software like Adobe products or Apeture at the time of this review writing. So for people who shoot RAW exclusively you might want to hold off purchasing this camera until Adobe RAW is released or just used the packaged View NX2 software to do simple RAW to JPG conversions, but with minimal post processing.
Imagine to my shock when Nikon announced several months ago a successor to the D90, initially dubbed the D95 then finalized as the D7000. When the spec sheets were announced, my jaw dropped. Basically what we have is a camera that is priced between the pro-am D90 and pro D300 DX crop sensor cameras. While the D7000 clearly and unsurprisingly outclasses the very competent and capable D90 in nearly every respect, from image quality, shooting performance and video capabilities, whats more shocking is how it seems to match or even exceed the specs of the D300s (if youre taking video shooting capabilities into account).
I was lucky to pick up a preorder of the 18-105mm kit from a local store (body only was not available yet at the time of this writing) and with excitement I set about opening it up. Packaged very similar to the D90, the camera comes with the 18-105mm VR kit lens in a separate box and instruction manuals/software CD. A nice change is the battery charger which comes with the usual long cable, but also has a short outlet plug that allows the charger to mount directly to the wall, much like most compact P&S camera battery chargers.
Onto the camera itself. As I've mentioned before, users of the Nikon D90 should find this new camera very easy to use, as nearly all the buttons, menus and controls are identical. They changed the live view button to a spring loaded switch similar to the D3100 with a button that is used to start/stop video recording. I tested the video at 1080p/24 fps and like the previews state, it does continuous AF during the recording unlike previous Nikon HD video dSLRs, however with the built in mic, the AF is LOUD and you can hear it whirring constantly in the video playback. If you want to shoot some serious video you're better off getting the optional external stereo mic that fits in the hotshoe.
Now onto the camera shooting itself. Having the 100% viewfinder coverage is nice, since the 96% coverage on the D90 made for some errors in composition, allowing objects to creep into the edges of my previous shots that I couldn't see due to the incomplete coverage.
The new 39 point AF with 11 cross type AF points is amazingly fast, and you can set to single AF so it only does it once before you shoot, or continuous AF so it'll continue to seek out AF points while the shutter is half pressed.
Shooting speed is FAST on this camera, at a respectable 6 fps at max speed, although you'll need at least a class 10 SD card to acheive this, and it maybe slightly slowed choosing 14 over 12 bit NEF RAW files. Speaking of which, like the D300, 700 and D3, you can shoot 14 bit RAW files now where the D90 and lower end cameras allowed you to only shoot 12 bit RAW which made for inferior picture quality in the final images.
The dual SD card slots are a great feature and the camera gives you multiple options how you want to use these cards, I chose to set mine up as overflow, altho when I start to shoot video I may set up the 2nd card as video only instead.
Now my favorite aspect of this camera, is not, contrary to some, the increased 16.2 MP over the 12.6 MP of the D90/300 image sensor, but the amazing ISO range and low light sensitivity. The D90 had a range of 200-3200 but images became pretty unusable above 2400 without serious software PP NR. I did some nighttime and indoor low light test shooting of the D7000 with its 100-6400 range and found images that looks better at 4000 than the D90 did at 2000 ISO. At 5000 or above, the noise does start to become noticable, but this new sensor plus a good image stabilized lens makes for a powerful low light shooter in most situations. I've read subject user reviews from people who own the D300 and FX sensor D700 and say this camera gives the D300 serious pause and in fact, can compare image quality to the D700.
Something to think about.
Overall this is a fantastic camera for the price and probably the last DX sensor camera I will need for a long time.
Updated on Oct 25, 2010
Pros + Great Picture Quality
+ HD video is excellent
+ Camera is brilliant to hold and use
+ 100% view finder!
+ Excellent battery life
+ FAST burst speeds, up to 6 fps
+ 12&14 bit selectable RAW files
Cons - Unable to shoot 1080p video at 30 fps
- Still not weight balanced when using larger telephoto zoom lens
Summary Chances are that if you are even considering this camera, it is as an upgrade. There are now countless comparisons in the photo magazines and on the web that you can use to check out how it compares in features, so there's little merit in repeating them here. It's certainly an "enthusiast" spec so for a starter camera it is probably more than you will need to pay. Camera manufacturers don't make it easy as each are backing slightly different technology horses - and at the end of the day (which coincidently is a time when this camera is particularly good due to it's ability to handle low light with remarkably little noise) it's a matter of personal preference which manufacturer you favour.
I find Nikons fit better in the hand than Canon or Pentax cameras - so head to your camera petting zoo to see which one fits best for you. I also find the controls more intuitive with the two wheel system. I also prefer Nikon's colour performance particularly compared with Canon's more saturated colour rendition, but since you will probably use some PC processing, this is not a deal breaker. If you believe the mark of quality is in resolution, you can get more Mps with a Canon EOS Rebel T2i - but at 16.2 Mp this is more than adequate for the amateur and prints at least A3 sized with no problem or loss of clarity. And the quality is down as much to the quality of processor as to the number of pixels per se. If you have a heap of Canon (or other) lenses though, then it's probably not great enough to warrant the cost of changing horses in midstream as Nikon lenses house the autofocus on the lenses rather than in the body as Canon does.
If you are coming at it afresh though, you are really looking at this against the Canon EOS 60D or the Pentax K-5 (although you can argue until the cows come home which the competitors really are. It's an upgrade on the Nikon D90 as well and certainly on any lower Nikons, and price wise, the Canon Rebel T2i might be in the same bracket).
Where the D7000 is arguably weaker is in the fact that the rear screen is fixed while many competitors allow angled versions. If you are planning on life as a Paparazzo, then this may be an issue but for me this tends to be more useful for movie filming. Which brings me to a second slight weakness - while the HD video is excellent on the D7000 my unit had a few dead pixels (only apparent in video) but there is now a Firmware update that has reduced this, not totally, but certainly to more than acceptable levels on my unit. But I don't film video that often so this isn't a concern. I've also tended to prefer the shutter release firmness on Nikons, and here it is OK but a bit mushier (technical term that!) than on the D90 for example.
In almost every other respect, this is a cracking camera. I love the duel card system that lets you save stills and video to different cards, or acts as a simple additional storage or for me, the best option allows you to save as both RAW and jpeg versions (incidentally, Adobe has now added D7000's RAW to it's list - but you will have to download that separately to even the latest Photoshop versions).
The D7000 offers up to 39 AF points - which really is superb in this price bracket and which helps to generate superb image quality. The camera's low light performance is superb; even at ISO 12800 it's just about acceptable. The build quality is fantastic and, while it tends to concentrate on doing the basics well, it has some nice features like low noise shutter options. The burst rate of 6fps is also pretty decent. Battery life is good too.
It's a cracking bit of kit and more similar to Nikon's semi-pro D300S than the lower ranges but at an enthusiast price band (albeit that as a new product the pricing is still a bit toppish - made worse by the VAT increase of course - but will undoubtedly come down in time ...... if you can resist that long though). But for all it's cleverness, you can pretty much operate it out of the box as a very over-priced point an shoot, if that's what you want to do (but why would you?)
It's not faultless (as explained) but it's certainly an excellent choice and you are unlikely to be disappointed. Is it good enough to swop bodies from a competitor? Well, that depends on how much kit you have invested in, but as a Nikon upgrade, it's a no-brainer. It's a joy to use and you'll love it - then when you process your pictures, you will smile smuggly to yourself at your choice all over again. ( but before you will buy the D7000 I suggest you have to check for best deal at: sites.google.com/site/nikond7000bestdeal )
Hope this help!
Pros As an old match-needle 35mm shooter, I value the ergonomics of the full manual (M) mode. The ease with which the ISO, f-stop, shutter speed and depth-of-field preview can be controlled while maintaining vision thru the viewfinder is a delight.
Cons If only the HD video were at 30 fps. Also, I want a 2nd battery but the EN-EL 15 currently is produced only by Nikon and is over-priced, so I'll wait for a quality generic.
Summary Likely this is the SLR last camera I'll need. The resolution is more than sufficient for the size prints I will make, and I am very pleased with the facility for using manual mode. All of my Nikon lenses accumulated in the past 15 years will work with the D7000, so Nikon has succeeded in obviating any need I may have for future still-camera purchases.
Pros Great low light performance for the price! (not tested but reviews seem pretty conclusive on this issue), overall photographic performance is excellent from my testing in store.
Cons I work at large a camera retailer and we have had several of these returned because of the hot pixel problems (only in video mode, however).
Summary Nikon reps acknowledged the issue on the phone and the company is promising a firmware update that may fix the "hot" pixel issue. Therefore, as a still camera I would give this camera a 4/5 (tested in store - fast, solid build, very strong picture quality - great LCD) but for those that want to use it as a video camera that review must drop to 2/5 as the hot pixels are a huge annoyance and not satistactory in a finished product (we have tested 4 or 5 of these cameras in store, they all have the problem). Finally, I give it a 3/5 as an average with so many consumers wanting to use the video functionality in modern DSLRs.
Pros It's all been said already, so I'll add a feature that I noticed when looking at the D7000 in the camera store: the AI ring! (young saleclerk said "what's that?") If you have old manual-focus AI lenses they work beautifully in Aperture-priority or Manua
Cons This camera either over-exposes or under-exposes scenes with a lot of white such as snow--very difficult to get it right no matter how you adjust exposure. Also portraits with dark clothing or background are challenging because it seems white facial highl
Summary I have much more to learn to get the most out of this amazing camera, but I'm mostly awestruck so far.
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