Nikon D7000

The Nikon D7000 is the latest enthusiast-level DSLR from Nikon. Several notable features include a magnesium alloy body shell, 16.2 megapixels new Nikon DX CMOS sensor, 39 point AF system, and 1080p HD movie recoding with AF.

This new model is being heralded as the successor to the D90. It sits between the D90 and the D300S in the Nikon DSLR line-up. However, contrary to what one might think, the D7000 is not merely a D90 upgraded with additional features. It is a class-leading product that outperforms the D90 and even the more expensive D300S in many cases.

Latest Update: The Nikon D7000 is now on sale at Amazon.com

Nikon D7000 DSLR

Nikon D7000 DSLR

Design

Externally, the D7000 is similar to the D90, with both cameras sharing the same dimensions. However, the similarities end once you pick up the D7000. It feels solid and professional thanks to its magnesium alloy chassis that is normally reserved for higher-end Nikon cameras. The D7000 also has a fully-rubberized hand grip that enables better handling and ergonomics. With the ruggedness of the magnesium alloy chassis and the compact dimensions, the D7000 feels robust without the extra bulkiness that comes with professional grade cameras.

Nikon has put in much thought into the ergonomic functions of the D7000. The button layout retains many of the D90’s easy-on-the-hands characteristics. One noticeable difference is a new dedicated Live View switch that surrounds the ‘video record’ button. The strategic placement of these two buttons enables split-second transitions to video recording mode. Another feature is a double dial system which has two dials stacked atop one another. The dial on top controls the exposure mode while the bottom dial gives access to functions such as quiet mode, timer, remote, and etc.

Taking a closer look at the D7000, you will see a larger-than-normal memory card slot cover. Opening it will reveal double SD card slots. They open many data management options. With two memory cards, users have the ability to make live backups or have separate cards for different formats (i.e. RAWs / JPEGs or videos / photos). Or you can make the camera save images on both so that you can, say, pass one to your friend or client immediately after the shoot.

Located on the lens mount is an Ai indexing tab which for manual focus Ai lenses. Additionally, the D7000 has autofocus support for older AF and AF-D lenses through a mechanical AF drive coupling. Another thoughtful addition is a little raised dial which can be used to align the lens easily. Its white color makes it visible in low lighting conditions.

The connectivity ports of the D7000 lie on the side of the camera. They have relatively large hinged covers which gives a comfortable space to work with. There are ports for USB, HDMI, A/V out, GPS/remote release, and microphone.

Features

Right at the heart of the D7000 is Nikon’s new 16.2 megapixel DX CMOS sensor. This new sensor gives the camera an ISO sensitivity range of 100-6400 at normal settings, which is expandable to 25600 ISO using special modes. The sensor works together with the new EXPEED 2 image-processing engine to deliver high quality and vibrant looking photos and video. EXPEED 2 delivers improvements in noise reduction, color reproduction, image/movie processing and energy savings. This new processing power ensures that the D7000 does not falter in speed and functionality.

With its new video-capturing features, dubbed D-Movie by Nikon,  the D7000 doubles as a formidable video camera. It is capable of capturing 1920×1080 full-HD videos at 24fps. Maximum video shooting duration in this mode is 20 minutes. The D7000 has an autofocus mode for video recording. It is called the AF-F mode and provides continuous focus while shooting videos. Additionally, the inclusion of a 3.5mm stereo microphone jack for quality sound recording will delight the video enthusiasts. Videos are captured in MPEG4 AVC/H.264 compression and saved in mov files. In-camera editing options are available. The D7000 also offers the flexibility of shooting in lower resolution modes (1280×720 or 640×424).

The D7000 offers a 39 AF point array, with 9 cross-type AF points. It is powered by the Multi-CAM 4800DX autofocus sensor module. Users can choose between single-point, dynamic-area (9, 21, and 39 points), and auto-area AF modes. 3D AF tracking is possible too with the new 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor.

Actual user review:
“I currently have a D5000 but I wanted a full body DX and the D7000 was well worth the wait. It is aimed as an in-between D90 and D300s; however, it outshines them both.
Pros:
1) Saves and Recalls full sets of camera settings with new U1 and U2 positions on the dial.
2) It has 2 card slots, so you can save your pictures on both cards at the same time, creating an automatic backup.
3) New 2,016 segment RGB meter (yes, a full color RGB meter unlike Canon’s black and white)
4) Magnesium alloy body makes it tough
5) It has an autofocus meter so it works and autofocuses all lenses (unlike my D500 which only autofocuses with AS lenses)
6) The built-in flash can be used as a remote commander for external flash units
7) Great processor; well placed, intuitive controls; amazing range of shutter speeds (from 30 secs to 1/8000 sec)”
– ADJ (Washington,DC)

Performance

Snapping photos with the D7000 feels great. The weight and sturdiness of the magnesium alloy body infuses a sense of professionalism into the shooting experience. Coupled with the optional multi-power battery pack (MB-D11), the D7000 feels like a full frame model such as the Nikon D3. The shutter button is responsive and shutter speed ranges from 1/8000 to 30s, with a top flash synchronization speed of 1/250s. Nikon claims that the shutter unit is tested for 150,000 cycles, which is same as that of the D300s. Continuous shooting speed is at 6 frames per second.

The D7000 uses a glass pentaprism viewfinder. Coverage is 100% with 9.4x magnification which means you get a larger view to focus and frame your shots.

The D7000 inherits Nikon’s traditional reliability in the Photo quality department. Image quality is boosted by the inclusion of Nikon’s Active D-Lighting feature. High contrast images benefit from this as it keeps details in both highlights and shadows. A new image processing engine keeps color phase shift to a minimum even with Active D-Lighting set on high. In low lighting conditions, photos taken with the D7000 are good enough for print and retain their quality up to 3200 ISO. Low lighting photo quality is comparable to that of a Nikon D3, the only difference being the D3’s images will look a little smoother due to its larger pixel sensor. There are traces of color noise on photos taken at high ISO levels (>3200). These can be corrected by creative use of flash guns and strobes.

The inclusion of many user-friendly modes makes the D7000 suitable for both the seasoned enthusiast and the novice alike. The casual photographer would feel at home with the 19 types of selectable scene modes, which range from “portrait” to “low key”. For those who like to tweak around with the settings, Nikon offers customizable user setting modes labeled “U1” and “U2” on the mode dial.

Frequently used settings can be saved and easily accessed from the dial.

Using the display monitor (Live View) is a pleasant experience. It is a 3-inch 921k-dot TFT LCD monitor with a 170° viewing angle. Colors display accurately. As mentioned above, switching to Live View mode is quick and hassle-free. One helpful feature that helps you align the perfect shot is the Virtual Horizon. It is a digital spirit level that shows the cameras position in relation to the horizon. It appears on the screen during Live View. A horizon indicator is also available of display in the viewfinder.

Taking videos with a DLSR may not be the thing for many photographers but make no mistake, this is going to be the in-thing and will be the rage going forward. The D-movie function, while not the epitome of perfection, is getting better with each new model. Controls for video and handling of the D7000 as a video camera is still not as natural as shooting with a camcorder. During video shooting you can’t adjust aperture, hence there’s no control over exposure. The most convenient way is to use auto exposure (A mode) and let the camera do the adjustments. But with some ingenuity and creativity you can get pretty decent videos. Here is a good example. This is short video entitled “Benevolent Mischief” by the highly creative Chase Jarvis, an internationally regarded photographer, shot entirely using the D7000:

 

Conclusion

The Nikon D7000 is a feature-rich DSLR capable of meeting the demands of seasoned photography enthusiasts. Its wide range of functions and extras which are normally reserved for higher-end models give it great value. With new technology that matches or even exceeds those of more expensive models, the D7000 is poised to be a steal for its price. For those who are looking to upgrade from an entry-level DSLR (or even the D90), the D7000 is the ideal choice with features such as the new 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor, EXCEED 2 image processing engine, 16.2 MP CMOS with standard ISO range of 100-6400, 39AF point array, 1080p HD video recording, and magnesium alloy chassis. All in all, the D7000 is an impressive offering from Nikon with a plethora of features that are top of its class.

Average User Rating:
You are going to love the D7000 if you are a trigger-happy person. I usually keep my camera on continuous shooting mode since I am a nature photographer. But I had to force myself to change the setting to single shooting because this gun is so fast I was clicking 3 pictures when I intended for one. And this takes 6 frames a sec if you hold it any longer! Watch out! Pros: Amazing clarity, Sharpness, Smooth focus, Dual card slots, Customization settings.Cons: Customization levels are pretty deep and unless you know what you really need, it can be overwhelming.Overall, I love this camera. I am yet to fully customize it, as I am yet to fully go through all its features.” – Shuttersight (USA)

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When Nikon announced the D7000, I immediately placed my pre-order into Amazon as soon as they would take my credit card information. Boy am I glad I did, this camera is amazing. The image quality is outstanding.High ISO performance is very good – I shoot RAW, so I can’t comment on JPEG, but I’m sure all the Facebook people who shoot small JPEG will also be impressed. I’m not sure why they think everyone cares about them sharing every facet of their life through photos, but whatever. Weather Sealing – This stuff WORKS and thank goodness, because the tears the Canon guys cried once they heard the 60D compared to the D7000 would have completely ruined any lesser camera.Autofocus performance – It autofocuses so good I don’t even really have to lift the camera myself – it just seems to have a life of its own. Frankly I’d be surprised if one day it just doesn’t go out by itself and get some good photos, making me all but obsolete. Meters with AIS lenses – Finally Nikon got awesome and brought this feature downward.

In all, this camera is amazing. It has enhanced my endurance and satisfaction, made me last longer, and has overall improved my confidence. I’m now firmly committed to Nikon, and I’m sure with this caliber of camera they’re going to achieve maximum penetration into the market.” – J.Smith (USA)

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