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Nikon D7000 Digital Camera Review

nikon20110224.jpg Digital Camera Review by: Simon Vrantsis

 

When Nikon launch its D90 some two and a half years ago, it implemented many aspects that have now become expected from the prosumer market. Outstanding low light performance combined with speed and efficiency in auto focusing and metering could only be found in the professional and semi-pro range of DSLR but the D90 made it affordable, sacrificing things that many photographers wouldn’t notice in day-to-day use. It also pioneered the now common trend of HD movies in all DSLRs and has also had an untold influence of the cinematography industry.

With its D7000, Nikon have bridged the gap between the consumer and professional market even further making what would normally be considered a downgrade, from certain models positioned above it, into a possibly head scratching upgrade.

Fitted with a 16.2-megapixel, cropped sensor, the D7000 sits behind only Nikons professional studio shooter, the D3x, in terms of resolution for the company. Along with the recently released D3100, it’s the first time Nikon have stepped up from the 12-megapixel sensors that were considered a yearly staple. The image quality delivered by the D7000 is outstanding with some of the sharpest images, in optimal lighting, Nikon photographers would have seen, bar those who could afford and justify the D3x. Its resolution is sharply maintained through to ISO 1600 and its low light performance is still easily useable through to 6400, providing some of the best high ISO performance from any current APS-C camera. The ISO range can be extended to 25,600 at full resolution though circumstances would need to be dire at this level.

The combination of the 39-point AF system and the 6fps continuous shooting ability means maintaining focus and keeping up with faster moving subjects is a breeze, with the D7000 3D AF tracking being one of the most intelligent seen at any level. Focus points can be seen following the initially focused on subject as it moves around the compositing delivering an action photographers dream. But those with a tendency toward more subtle photography haven’t been forgotten. The usual single-point focusing system is available along with the ability to select any of the 39 points to focus on. Selecting the preferred focus point can be done through the viewfinder on the fly using the directional pad making adlib composing very simple.

Although the speed and efficiency of the D7000 is quite stunning, it must be said it isn’t perfect. The first complain revolves around the Raw buffering during continuous shooting. The speed slows quite dramatically once about ten shots are reached resulting in a frame rate of around a shot or so per second thereafter. This performance improves noticeably when capturing in the highest quality Jpeg instead of in Raw. Here, the buffer range increases to between 20 and just over a 100 frames, without a drop in speed, but this seems to also depend on the shutter speed being used at the time. The other minor qualm is that the D7000 tends to hesitate a little when focusing in low light, although this issue is more pronounced due to the fact that it operates so well while focusing in all other conditions.

The one area in which the saying ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’ seems fitting is design. Nikon have made some nice choices when building the D7000. Dual SD cards slots have been included with the ability to allocate the purpose of each destination. Also following in the footsteps of their semi-pro and pro models, drive selections are now made via a drive mode dial positioned under the traditionally seen mode dial position on the top-left side of the camera. This dial takes care of selections like single shot, continuous shooting, quiet mode, self-timer, remote control and mirror lock-up. This choice has remove the button clutter normally seen around the control panel located on top of the camera, even though the dial and its button release mechanism can be fiddly.

Changes to autofocus modes is achieved via a small button located on the D7000s AF/M switch near the lens mount making these changes easy when your hands are in the ready-to-shoot position. As seen in the D3100, entering Live View in now achieved with the flick of a toggle next to the LCD display. Once here, pressing the button in the centre of the toggle initiates video recording.


Overall, the ergonomics of the D7000 seem more pointed toward the serious enthusiast, semi-professional photographer, allowing for changes to important settings without the need for too much forethought. There are, however, a couple areas that have remained unchanged from Nikons previous efforts at this level. Adjustments to the ISO and White Balance settings still remains all to awkward, and, considering the general improvements made to the design that make the camera so pleasant to adlib settings from the shooting position with, that’s a bit of a head scratcher.

Nikon have implemented a Full HD video recording mode to the D7000, with peak frame rates of 24fps at 1920x1080 and 25fps at 1280x720. As a video shooter, it still lags a touch behind the competition when hardcore videographers are involved. The lack of a 60fps HD recording mode will definitely alienate those wanting the ability to produce creative slow motion recording and the hesitant and loud autofocus system during, video recording, found in all traditional DSLRs means manual focusing still remains the only valid option. The image quality shouldn’t be questioned, however, and for a large majority of the consumers it will, instead, serve its http://www.buy-n-shoot.com/images/medal-platinum-r.jpgpurpose well enough.

Nikon have delivered an outstanding camera with its D7000. With better build quality ever to been seen at this end of the market, some of the best image quality in all lighting conditions delivered from a cropped sensor, plus an auto focusing system that is fast, efficient and quiet, there is very little to truly complain about. It’s an all-rounder in every sense of the word. It may be a slight step behind the best of the sports/action shooters when it comes to Raw continuous shooting, and may not have quite the pure image resolution of the best full-framed studio cameras out there, but, for the money, there is little available to compete with the D7000, pound-for-pound.

*The Nikon D7000 was reviewed with the Nikon 35mm 1.8 DX lens*

Appearance rating 4.5 stars
Functionality rating 4.5 stars
Image quality
4.5 stars
Lens quality
4.5 stars
View finder / LCD screen 4.5 stars
Value for money 4.5 stars
RRP (AUD) $1,999 (Body Only)
SPACER.GIF  
Effective Pixels 16.2 Million mega pixels
Image Sensor
Nikon DX format (23.6 x 15.6 mm) CMOS sensor
Image Sizes 3 Sizes
Lens - zoom wide [mm] 35 mm (35mm equivalent )
Lens -zoom tele [mm] 35 mm (35mm equivalent )
Resolution Settings 4,928 x 3,264 [L], 3,696 × 2,448 [M], 2,464 × 1,632 [S]; D-movie:1920 x 1080 / 24p, 1280 x 720 / 30fps, 1280 x 720 / 25fps, 1280 x 720 / 24fps, 640 x 424 / 24fps
Shooting Modes 1) Single frame shooting [S] mode, 2) Continuous low shooting [CL] mode: 1-5 fps, 3) Continuous high shooting [CH] mode: 6 fps, 4) Quiet shutter-release[Q], 5) Self-timer mode, 6)Remote Control 7) Mirror-up mode
Face Detection  N/A
Manual Focus Yes
Auto Focus Yes
Aperture Range  N/A
Aperture Priority Yes
Exposure Metering System
1) 3D color matrix metering Ⅱ (type G and D lenses), color matrix metering II (other CPU lenses), 2) Center-weighted (weight of 75% given to 8-mm circle in center of frame), 3) Spot metering (meters 3.5-mm circle centered on selected focus point)
Exposure Bracketing
2 to 3 exposures in increments of 0.3, 0.7, 1.0, 1.3, 1.7, or 2.0 steps to (+-) 2.0 EV
Exposure Metering Range 1) 0 to 20 EV (3D-Color Matrix or Center-weighted metering), 2) 2 to 20 EV (Spot metering)
Shutter Speeds Electronically controlled vertical-travel focal plane shutter; 30 to 1/8000sec in steps of 1/3, 1/2 or 1 EV plus bulb time(with ML-L3) and X250
Shutter Priority Yes
ISO ISO 100 to 6400 in steps of 1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV, plus HI-0.3, HI-0.5, HI-0.7, HI-1, HI-2 (ISO 25600
LCD Monitor Yes
LCD Size 3.0", 921,000-dot, low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD, allows up to 170-degree viewing angle, 100% frame coverage, and brightness adjustment
Viewfinder Fixed eye-level pentaprism; built-in diopter adjustment (-3 to +1.0 m-¹)
Flash Control
1) TTL: i-TTL balanced fill-flash and standard i-TTL flash for digital SLR using 2,016-pixel RGB sensor are available with built-in flash and SB-900, SB-800,SB-700, SB-600, or SB-400, 2) Auto aperture: Available with SB-900 or SB-800 and CPU lens, 3) Non-TTL auto: Supported flash units include SB-900, SB-800, SB-28, SB-27, and SB-22S, 4) Distance-priority manual: Available with SB-900, SB-800 and SB-700
Flash Sync Modes
1) Front-curtain sync, 2) Red-eye reduction, 3) Slow sync with red-eye reduction, 4) Slow sync, 5) rear-curtain sync
Hot Shoe Yes
White balance Auto (TTL white-balance with main image sensor and 2016-pixel RGB sensor), Incandescent, Fluorescent, Direct Sunlight, Flash, Cloudy, Shade, preset manua, choose color temperature
Self Timer Electronically controlled timer with duration of 2 s, 5 s, 10 s, 20 s; 1–9 exposures at intervals of 0.5, 1, 2, or 3 s
Movie Options MOV movie (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC compression format with Linear PCM sound; Stero sound with external microphone)
Video Out Yes
Storage Type SD memory card (SDHC and SDXC compliant)
Image / Audio Formats NEF (12 or 14-bit lossless compressed or compressed RAW), JPEG (Baseline-compliant); MOV movie (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC compression format with Linear PCM sound; Stero sound with external microphone)
Connectivity USB 2.0 (High-speed), Video output, HDMI output (Type C mini-pin connector),Accessory terminal, Stereo mini-pin audio input
Power Source Rechargeable EN-EL15 Li-ion battery, EH-5a AC adapter (available separately; requires optional EP-5B power connector )
Battery Options Rechargeable EN-EL15 Li-ion battery
Battery Life
Approx 1,050 shots
Dimensions (W) 132 x (H) 105 x (D) 77mm
Weight Approx. 690g

 

About Nikon

 

The history of Nikon dates back to 1917 when three of Japan's leading optical manufacturers merged to form a fully integrated optical company. By the end of the century Nikon would have accumulated an immense poll of know-how and experience to become a world leader in not only optics and imaging but also industrial equipment and health and medicine sector.

Today Nikon designs, develops, manufactures and markets a gamut of optical, photographic and optoelectronic products globally. You will find them at work in virtually every corner of the earth. If it has something to do with light, Nikon has something to do with it.

The driving force behind Nikon is technology. Not only in manufacturing and assembling the finest lenses or most comprehensive photography system in the world, but also in making the glass itself. That is why Nikon products have gained worldwide customer satisfaction, and even professional recognition worldwide.

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