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Nikon D7000 Preview

by Shun Cheung, September 2010 (updated February 2011)


Back in 2004, Nikon introduced their first affordable DSLR in the D70 at $1000, along with Canon’s first Digital Rebel, and the popularity of DSLR exploded almost overnight. Since then, Nikon has been updating this class of DSLRs every two years with the D80 (2006) and D90 (2008). The new D7000 is the latest installment, which is a new class of DSLR that sits between the D90 and D300S and priced between the two while the features are greatly improved over the D90; in fact, the D7000 is approaching and in some cases exceeding the higher-end D300S. Unlike its predecessors, the D7000 no longer has the beginner scene modes (e.g. portrait, children, sports …) on a dial; perhaps it is an indication that it is positioned for more sophisticated photographers. The D90 and D300S both remain in production following the introduction of the D7000.

Where to Buy

Photo.net’s partners have the Nikon D7000 available in a couple of different options. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.

D7000 Key Features

  • 16.2MP CMOS Nikon sensor, DX format (16×24mm) with 4.78-micron pixels
  • ISO 100 to 6400, plus Hi1 (12800 equivalent) and Hi2 (25600)
  • 39 total AF points, including 9 cross-type in the center, new Multi-CAM 4800 auto-focus module
  • Built-in AF motor for older AF lenses that are not AF-S
  • Build-in “aperture follower tab” to meter with no-CPU AI/AI-S lenses
  • Dual SD memory cards, SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity) compatible
  • Magnesium alloy top and bottom, weather sealed and dust protected
  • MB-D11 battery pack/vertical grip
  • Can capture 6 frames/second, shutter rated to 150K actuations
  • 2016-pixel RGB metering sensor with scene recognition
  • 100% viewfinder
  • Video: full 1080p, AF or face tracking during video capture, stereo microphone jack, 20-minute video capture time limit
  • New EN-EL15 battery, good for up to 1050 still captures

New 16.2MP Nikon Sensor

Previously, Nikon was mainly using Sony sensors on their consumer and prosumer DX-format DSLRs. The D3100 introduced 3 weeks ago was a major departure from that trend, and the D7000’s new 16.2MP sensor is also a Nikon design. This new sensor has a pixel pitch of 4.78 microns, slightly smaller than those on the D90 and D300S. However, Nikon manages to optimize the usage of the tiny real estate on each pixel to improve the light-gather capability, even though the pixel-count has gone up from the 12MP on the D90 and D300S. As a result, the rated ISO range expands to ISO 6400 on the high end, one-stop faster than the D90 and D300S; the based ISO also goes down to 100 from 200.

Additional Higher-End Features

The D7000 features the debut of the Multi-CAM 4800 AF module that has 39 AF points, including 9 cross type in the center. That is a major improvement from the D90. It looks like Nikon even has sports and action photography in mind with such a strong AF module and the higher 6 fps capture rate.

The 100% viewfinder, magnesium alloy frame, and dual memory cards so that image capture can seamlessly continue from one card to another, have a back up copy on both cards, or use one card for still images and another for video are all features for serious photographers. The D7000’s shutter is rated to 150K actuations, similar to the higher-end D300S and D700.

The battery is changed to a new Li-ion EN-EL15 that is capable of capturing over 1000 images. The down side is that the older EN-EL3 battery family and its charger that have been in use since 2002 are not longer compatible.

Video

Until the D3100 introduced last month, all Nikon DSLR with video capability could only capture at most 5 minutes of 720p video. Now 1080p is standard on new Nikon DSLRs, and the D7000 can capture a total of 20 minutes of video. The D7000 comes with a stereo external microphone jack for improved audio capture.

Conclusion

A few weeks ago when some Nikon Forum members mentioned a rumor that Nikon would replace the D90 with a new camera that exceeds the specifications of the D300S, I quickly dismissed that possibility, although I was certain that Nikon would introduce another $1000 DSLR with updated electronics to occupy that price category. While the D7000 does not quite have the D300S’ AF system and fast frame rate, it has come very close. We expect the new 16.2MP sensor to be a major improvement from the 12MP CMOS sensor on the D90 and D300/D300S. The 100% viewfinder, magnesium frame, weather sealing, and dual memory cards are all indications that the D7000 is meant to be a higher-end, “prosumer” DSLR that stands out against competition in the same price category. In fact, Nikon DX-format users may actually prefer the new D7000 over the D300S that costs a few hundred dollars more.

D7000, D90, and D300S Compared

Feature D7000 D90 D300S
Sensor (all DX format) 4928×3264, 16.2MP CMOS 4288×2848, 12MP CMOS 4288×2848, 12MP CMOS
ISO Sensitivity 100 – 6400 plus Hi 1 & 2 200 – 3200 plus Hi 1 & Lo 1 200 – 3200 plus Hi 1 & Lo 1
AF System 39 AF points, 9 cross type (Multi-CAM 4800) 11 AF points, 1 cross type (Multi-CAM 1000) 51 AF points, 15 cross type (Multi-CAM 3500)
Built-in AF Motor yes yes yes
Metering with AI/AI-S Lenses w/ no CPU yes no yes
Viewfinder Coverage 100% 95% 100%
Vertical Grip/Battery Pack MB-D11 MB-D80 MB-D10
Back LCD 3", 920K pixels 3", 920K pixels 3", 920K pixels
Memory Cards Dual SD Single SD Dual CF + SD
Shutter Speeds 30 – 1/8000 sec 30 – 1/4000 sec 30 – 1/8000 sec
Flash Sync 1/250 sec (1/320 sec iTTL) 1/200 sec 1/250 sec (1/320 sec iTTL)
Frame Rate 6 fps 4.5 fps 7 fps native, 8 w/ MB-D10 and appropriate batteries
HD Video 1080p 720p 720p
Battery EN-EL15 EN-EL3e EN-EL3e
Weight (w/out battery) 690 g/24 oz 620 g/22 oz 840 g/30 oz

The D300 (non S) has only 1 CF memory card slot, no SD, cannot capture video, and has a maximum 6 fps rather w/out the MB-D10.

Official Nikon Press Release

MELVILLE, N.Y. (September 15, 2010)—Nikon Inc. today introduced the new D7000 digital SLR camera designed to fulfill the needs of passionate photographers who demand exceptional performance, reliability, and unprecedented levels of control and versatility in a compact form factor. Engineered as an ideal balance of durability and functionality, the D7000 D-SLR features a multitude of new enhancements and updated Nikon technologies, which results in stunning photos and amazing full HD (High Definition) movies.

Continuing the tradition of innovative technology that began with the revolutionary D90, the first D-SLR to capture HD movie, the D7000 features a new 16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor with low light ability never before seen in a DX-format (APS-C) camera. The new EXPEED 2 TM image-processing engine fuels the enhanced performance of the D7000 along with a new 39-point AF system and groundbreaking new 2,016 pixel RGB 3D Matrix Metering System to deliver amazing image quality in a variety of shooting conditions. Additionally, the D7000 D-SLR provides full 1080p HD movie capability with full time auto focus (AF), enabling users to capture their world with both striking still and moving images.

“The D7000 D-SLR creates a new class of Nikon camera by delivering exceptional quality, control and an innovative feature set; this is a camera that enables D-SLR users to achieve a true expression of their creative vision, while concentrating primarily on image quality above all else,” said Lisa Osorio, general manager of marketing at Nikon Inc. “When you combine the innovation of the agile D7000 with the exceptional and robust line of NIKKOR lenses and accessories, the potential for D-SLR photographers and filmmakers is limitless.”

Unparalleled Performance From Unrivaled Technologies

With its new 16.2-megapixel CMOS image sensor and Nikon’s new EXPEED 2 image processing system, the D7000 D-SLR delivers superior image quality with low noise. The EXPEED 2 image-processing engine combined with a 14-bit Analog / Digital conversion brings a new level of even tonal gradations while managing color, contrast, exposure, and noise resulting in brilliant image quality. EXPEED 2 also manages the D7000’s speedy 50-millisecond shutter response, blazing AF speed and rapid six frame-per-second (fps) burst speed for up to 100 images.

The D7000 D-SLR features an all-new 39-point AF System, which includes nine center cross-type sensors that operate with more than 60 NIKKOR lenses. The 39 points in the new Multi-CAM 4800DX AF module work together to provide superior subject acquisition and fast tracking capabilities, allowing photographers to confidently capture a player stealing third from the sideline to fast-moving wildlife. Additionally, photographers can activate dynamic or single point AF, configurable in combinations of 9, 21 or 39 or a 21-point ring to match a variety of shooting styles and situations. Photographers can activate 3D tracking, which continuously follows moving subjects within the 39 AF points, highlighting the activated AF point in the viewfinder.

Utilizing Nikon’s exclusive Scene Recognition System, the camera analyzes subject information from a database containing more than 30,000 images to optimize focus, exposure and white balance. To assist in creating amazing imagery, the Scene Recognition System reads data from a groundbreaking 2,016-pixel 3D Color Matrix Meter RGB sensor that examines the scene’s brightness and color data then optimizes the camera’s performance prior to the actual exposure. Another revolutionary Nikon first, this system interprets scene data for improved control of light metering and i-TTL flash output. Additionally this new sensor allows for a new “Ambient” white balance setting which can be activated to allow warm rendering in Automatic White Balance.

Nikon Continues the Low-Light Fight

The D7000 D-SLR continues Nikon’s tradition of providing photographers the confidence to shoot in low-light, knowing they will capture high quality low-noise images. The camera’s native ISO range of 100-6400 affords the versatility to photograph in challenging lighting conditions, such as when indoors or in the evening. The ISO range can be expanded to a Hi-2 setting of 25,600, which was previously found only in Nikon FX-format territory. The resolution of the camera renders a pixel size of 4.78 μm, which allows more light to be gathered, resulting in a correctly exposed image that has less noise and finer grain.

Full 1080p HD Movies with Advanced Video Features

Building upon the popular D90 D-SLR, the Nikon D7000 captures breathtaking full 1080p HD movies with full-time autofocus and manual exposure control. To keep critical HD focus, users can choose to engage a variety of AF functions, including face priority to track up to 35 human faces, subject-tracking and normal or wide-area autofocus.

Advanced movie features also allow exposure adjustment on the fly while recording. The D7000 D-SLR offers variable frame rates and resolutions, and can record 1080p at a cinema-like 24 fps, or a web-friendly 720p at either 24 or 30 fps for up to 20 minutes per clip. Once recorded, users are able to edit and trim video clips in the camera to save time in post production. Whether utilizing a wireless or hot shoe mounted microphone, sound can be recorded via the stereo microphone input for professional audio results.

To further simplify movie shooting, Live View is activated by a single dedicated switch, and HD video recording is achieved by pressing a single button. The D7000 D-SLR also incorporates a built-in HDMI output CEC compliant (Consumer Electronic Control) that allows users to connect it to a HDTV and playback with most HDTV remote controls.
By adding versatile NIKKOR lenses to the equation, photographers can create a variety of photo perspectives to video such as isolating subjects with a shallow depth of field, and recording in low-light conditions. Combining the D7000 D-SLR with NIKKOR lenses also delivers the sharpness essential for HD video, and Nikon’s innovative Vibration Reduction (VR) II technology helps to eliminate the effects of camera shake.

No Compromise: Enhanced Build Quality, Durability and Usability

The compact design is lightweight enough for a full days use, but has a reassuring heft that hints at Nikon’s reputation for reliability. The durable camera body consists of a magnesium-alloy top and rear covers and a 150,000 cycle-rated shutter system. Additionally, the D7000 D-SLR is dust and moisture sealed and features Nikon’s dust reduction system to remove image-degrading particles from the image sensor. Among the well laid out ergonomics, users will immediately notice a new Mode Dial that eschews traditional Scene Mode icons for more advanced manual functions and two user-defined settings (U1, U2) to adapt to a users shooting style on the fly. Placed under the control wheel is a Release Mode dial, which allows access the burst modes, timer, or the Quiet Shutter, to soften the cameras operation when shooting in sensitive environments such as a ceremonies or nature.
When framing lush landscapes or tight telephoto shots from afar, users will appreciate the large, bright glass pentaprism optical viewfinder has approximately 100% frame coverage and approximately 0.94x magnification. The three-inch, 921,000-dot super-density LCD monitor with 170-degree viewing delivers bright, crisp image playback and precise Live View and movie shooting.

The D7000 D-SLR features twin SD card slots with SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card compatibility that offers a several recording options including designating separate NEF (RAW) JPEG and movie files. The built-in i-TTL Speedlight flash offers coverage for lenses as wide as 16mm and has Wireless Commander support so users can choose how to light their subjects. The D7000 was designed to provide maximum performance with minimized power usage and also employs a new EN-EL15 battery which enables up to 1050 shots when fully charged.

Nikon Technologies That Empower and Inspire

The D7000 D-SLR contains many features aimed at empowering the user with creative freedom including the ability to process RAW images directly in the camera, and add in special effects using the retouch menu. Among the many editing options are color filters, distortion control for a fisheye effect, perspective control for a miniature effect, or a new color sketch filter that creates a sketch-styled image. As always, manipulated images are saved as copies while the original is retained.

The Picture Control system also allows the choice for Standard, Neutral, Vivid, Monochrome, Portrait, or Landscape settings to apply a personal look and feel to their pictures, and it’s versatile Scene Modes let them choose from Portrait, Landscape, Child, Sports, Close-up or Night Portrait for stunning results even in challenging conditions.

Where to Buy

Photo.net’s partners have the Nikon D7000 available in a couple of different options. Their prices are fair and you help to support photo.net.


Text and photos © 2013 Shun Cheung.

Article revised February 2011.

Readers' Comments


Add a comment



Heider Alward , September 15, 2010; 09:41 P.M.

A great new camera indeed! I am a Canon Boy, but I am not so exited about the 60D any more! The AF system on this one is far more superior. I can almost see this as a great competitor to the 7D - and for almost $600 less. There are days I wish I am a Nikon Boy, this is one of them :) Regards 

Michael Shelton , September 16, 2010; 08:41 P.M.

I am still using the D80, and this looks like the best option available to upgrade to when the D80 no longer works. The D7000 will fit right into the system that I have (DX Lenses/SB600 flash) and with the SB700 Flash I will continue to be a happy photographer.

 

Anura Fernando , October 12, 2010; 07:54 P.M.

Obvious choice after my loving D5000 !

Bill Crabill , October 13, 2010; 02:11 A.M.

When oh when is Nikon going to have a high end DSLR with a swivel live view??

Kent Winrich , November 30, 2010; 01:56 P.M.

I just picked up the D7000.  WOW!  The low light capabilities are incredible!  I am now working with the video end of things.  So far I am very impressed with the video quality as well.  I did get one with the kit lens, but when I put one of primes on, the camera truly shines.  Guess I will be stocking up on primes!

Vu Le Hoang , January 04, 2011; 02:28 A.M.

Anyone know how the D7000 AF and meter with older Lens ?

E. J. , January 05, 2011; 03:51 P.M.

I have now taken about 500 images using the low key setting (no flash) and ISO 3200. I have viewed them in Photoshop CS5 on a 27 inch monitor... No noise -- none. Incredible dynamic range and detail in both the highlights and shadows. All I can say is "INCREDIBLE!"

 

 

Yi Chen , January 12, 2011; 03:58 P.M.

When will we see a new upgrade for Nikon D700? The consumer version has been upgraded from D70 to D7000. -P

Raymond Kenny , January 19, 2011; 07:51 P.M.

I have a d7000, it's a huge improvement from may d80. Very fast auto focus, can track very fast hockey players. White balance can be fine tuned for the poor lighting in hockey arenas.  i can use my old ai lenses, even 500 reflex and very sharp micro. A little heavier than d80, but with a metal body it is probably tougher. Being able to use the live view is nice in many situations where I can't get at the view finder, ie macro. The 16 megs also seems sharper.

Raymond Kenny , March 13, 2011; 06:14 P.M.

I got a d7000  for christmas. What an upgrade from my d80. After about 3000 shots all I can say is Wow ! Auto focus is very fast and accurate and keeps up to high speed hockey. Meters perfectly with old AI and AI'd lenses. Video is super, liveview makes traking and focusing of moving objets easy. Buy this camera.

Brandon Wolter , April 06, 2011; 10:56 P.M.

I just started photography last year in like march, and got the Nikon D3000. It was an ok camera. then i got the Nikon D7000. And wow. its a great camera. But i dont know if its the settings i have it on or what but it isnt taking the kinds of pics i thought it would. i saw some pics taken with the Cannon EOS 550D, and the 60D, and they turn out alot better than the pics i have been able to get out of my D7000.......am i doing something wrong i wonder?

Srikanth Kondeti , April 12, 2011; 02:16 A.M.

I have upgraded to Nikon D7000 from D60. My first impression on this camera is the BEST and still the best among procosumer segment.

Works great and wonderful HD video output as well.

Aron Joustra , August 22, 2011; 01:22 P.M.

What does Kent mean when he says he added  "primes" and the pictures really turned out nice?

Shun Cheung , August 22, 2011; 01:40 P.M.

The term "prime" usually means lenses with a fixed focal length, i.e. not zooms.

sam tik , September 23, 2011; 10:24 P.M.

adorama.com very best price ever seen

lens and body both of very cheap

i think

maybe you think its an expensive

choise is your

 

 

Ed Johnson , October 19, 2011; 12:59 P.M.

Shun,  the term prime lens always refers to fixed focus.

Ed Johnson , October 19, 2011; 12:59 P.M.

Shun,  the term prime lens always refers to fixed focus.

endri ducka , December 03, 2011; 08:13 A.M.

I have it form three months now and my sensor is dirty, they tell me that i have spots on sensor!

Image Attachment: fileLjaNDr.jpg

Paul Kerton , March 31, 2013; 11:13 A.M.

I purchased a new D7000 18 months ago and have been traveling through Asia shooting literally every day (well maybe I missed a couple of days!)

D7000 wonderful camera particularly whilst fitted with quality optic (love my 70-200 f2.8 VR2)

Build wise a couple of negatives which will/have hopefully been improved:

Eye piece - After taking off /putting on hundreds of times it is now loose and I leave it off for fear of losing it. I have found a couple on the ground since.

Card slot door poor, Opens far too easily.

Control nob - biggest gripe - Rotates far too easily. Many times I have taken shots and noticed afterwards that it rotated normally as it has caught on my hip when slung around my body. It has eased off over the past 18 months. 

The control wheels do not like excessive sweat as they become difficult to rotate. Spoke with Nikon Thailand ref this and they said use a cloth to wipe off the sweat. I put it down to continuous use in a hot environment but they should be sealed.

Other than these build points, a wonderful bit of kit. Hopefully Nikon will improve on future models.


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