Wednesday, June 22, 2011

D7000 review


The Nikon D7000 is a powerhouse camera at an excellent price. It offers a huge range of features that will make shooting quicker and easier for the experienced shooter, with lots of customizable options and quick control access. However, we did find that the images it took were a little soft, and the higher ISO settings were rather noisy.

The D7000 is Nikon's most advanced camera at any price. The facts that it sells for RM4100 make it a no-brainer, which is why it's sold out. The D7000 is Nikon's best DSLR ever.

Among the many things I love about the D7000, in addition to how much better and faster it handles than any other Nikon DSLR (and I also own a professional Nikon D3), is that the pictures I make with the D7000 simply look better than what I've ever gotten with any other digital camera. The effects are subtle, but as a prolific photographer, I see that the colors are simply better, especially under difficult light under which my D3 just doesn't look as good.
The D7000 has the highest linear resolution of any Nikon DSLR, and more overall resolution than any other Nikon under RM5000. The Nikon D7000 has technical performance better than every other Nikon DSLR priced under RM5000, and handles better than any Nikon DSLR, regardless of price.
The D7000 certainly replaces the old D300s, at a lower price for even higher technical and ergonomic performance.

Key Features

v  16.2MP CMOS sensor
v  1080p HD video recording +  mic jack for external microphone
v  ISO 100-6400 (plus H1 and H2 equivalent to ISO 12,800/25,600)
v  39-point AF system with 3D tracking
v  Up to 6fps continuous shooting
v  New 2016 pixel metering sensor
v  Scene Recognition System
v  3.0 inch 921k dot LCD screen
v  New Live View/movie shooting switch
v  Full-time AF in Live View/movie modes
v  Built-in interval meter
v  Twin SD card slots
v  Lockable drive mode dial
v  Electronic virtual horizon
Image Capture
Camera type
dSLR (digital Single Lens Reflex)
16.2 effective megapixels
Available image sizes
2464 x 1632 pixels
Available file formats
JPEG, NEF 12-bit, NEF 14-bit
Image sensor type
DX-format (APS-C type) CMOS: 23.6 x 15.6mm
Image processor type
Nikon EXPEED 2
Color depth
14-bit A/D conversion
Image stabilization technology
Nikon VR stabilization system (requires VR lens)
Included recording media size
0 MB
Expendable recording media type
SD Card, SDHC Card, two card slots, SDXC Card
Startup time
Video Capture
Video file format
MOV (Image: H.264: Audio: Linear PCM Monaural)
Video size
1280 x 720 pixels (30 fps), 1280 x 720 pixels (24 fps), 640 x 424 pixels (24 fps), 1920 x 1080 pixels (24 fps)
Maximum video recording length
Until memory card full
Lens and Focus
Lens type
Not Available
Lens construction
Not Available
Optical zoom
Not Available
Digital zoom
1 x
Lens mount
Nikon F
Compatible lenses
  • Type G or D AF NIKKOR: All functions supported
  • IX Nikkor lenses cannot be used
  • DX AF NIKKOR: All functions possible
  • AF-NIKKOR for F3AF not supported
  • Other AF NIKKOR: All functions supported except autofocus and 3D color matrix metering II
  • AI-P NIKKOR: All functions supported except 3D color matrix metering II
  • PC Micro-NIKKOR does not support some functions
  • Non-CPU: Can be used in modes A and M; color matrix metering and aperture value display supported if user provides lens data (AI lenses only)
  • Electronic rangefinder can be used if maximum aperture is f/5.6 or faster

Filter mounting method
Threads depend on the lens used
Maximum aperture
Not Available
Minimum aperture
Not Available
Focal length
Value set by lens used
Autofocus type
Nikon Multi-CAM 4800DX autofocus sensor module with TTL phase detection
39 focus points (including 9 cross-type sensors)
AF-assist illuminator (range approx. 1 ft. 8in.-9 ft. 10 in.)
Focusing area mode(s)
face priority AF, manual focus, Single-servo AF (AF-S), Continuous-servo AF, Auto AF-S/AF-C selection (AF-A), Predictive focus tracking automatically activated according to subject status, Full-time Servo (AF-A) available in live view only
Focusing distance
Value Set By Lens
Exposure and imaging
Shooting (drive) modes
Self-timer, single frame, delayed remote, quick response remote, Continuous low-speed [CL] mode; 1-5 frames per second, Continuous high-speed [CH] mode; 6 frames per second, Live View [LV] mode, remote mirror up
Exposure (capture) modes
aperture priority, auto, manual, shutter priority, WB bracketing, Program Auto (P) with Flexible Program, exposure bracketing, auto flash off, advanced scene modes, U1 - user setting 1, U2 - user settings 2, d-lighting bracketing, flash bracketing
Scene modes
beach & snow, candlelight, children, close-up, dusk/dawn, food, high key, indoor, landscape, low key, night landscape, night portrait, party, pet, portrait, sport, sunset, blossom automn colors, silhouette
Exposure metering system
TTL exposure metering using 2,016 pixel RGB sensor
0 to 20 EV (Matrix or center-weighted metering at ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens, at 20°C/68°F)
2 to 20 EV (Spot metering at ISO 100 equivalent, f/1.4 lens at 20°C/68°F)
Exposure compensation
±5 EV (1/3 and 1/2 EV steps)
Noise reduction
Long Exposure Noise Reduction
High ISO Noise Reduction Low, Normal, High, Off
Lowest Standard ISO Sensitivity: 100 in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV

Highest Standard ISO Sensitivity: 6400 in steps of 1/3, 1/2, 1 EV

Highest Expanded ISO Sensitivity: I-2 (ISO 25,600 equivalent
Electronically controlled vertical-run focal-plane
Shutter speed
Bulb, 1/8000 sec to 30 sec
Shutter lag
Not rated, 0.052s
Image quality mode
JPEG-baseline-compliant; can be selected from Size Priority and Optimal Quality
RAW 12-bit uncompressed
RAW 14-bit uncompressed
RAW 12-bit compressed lossless
RAW 14-bit compressed lossless
White balance mode
Cloudy, direct sunlight, flash, incandescent, shade, manual preset, fluorescent (7 types), auto (2 types), Fine Tune by Kelvin color temperature setting (2,500 K to 10,000K), Seven manual modes with fine-tuning
Picture adjustment
Image Overlay
Side-by-Side Comparison
Filter Effects
Color Balance
NEF (RAW) Processing
Quick Retouch
Distortion Control
Red-eye Correction
Perspective Control
Color Outline
Edit Movie
Miniature Effect
Picture effects / color modes
Monochrome, miniature effect, image overlay
Flash and lighting
Flash type
Built-in auto: guide number 12/39 (ISO 100)
Flash mode
Front curtain sync, rear-curtain sync, red-eye reduction, slow sync, slow sync + red eye reduction
Flash effective range
Up to 12m - 39' at ISO 100
Maximum flash synchronization speed
Up to 1/250 sec.
Synchronizes with shutter at 1/320s or slower (flash range drops at speeds between 1/250 and 1/320s)
FP High Speed Sync: Up to 1/8000
Flash compensation
-3 to +1 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Recycling time
Not rated
Physical characteristics
Dimensions (W x H x D)
132mm x 103mm x 77mm, 5.2'' x 4.1'' x 3.0''
690 grams
Available color(s)
AV output, 3.5mm stereo mic, HDMI mini - type C, Hi-Speed USB
Microphone and speaker
Both built-in, 3.5mm stereo mic input
Flash connection
Hot shoe with i-TTL flash control, PC Sync terminals for external flashes
Tripod socket
Standard 1/4 inch
Remote control
Optional ML-L3 wireless, optional WT-4a wireless transmitter with Camera Control 2 software, optional MC-DC2 remote cord
Cable release capability
Yes, via MC-DC2 remote
Direct-to-printer printing capability
Not specified
Operating system compatibility
Not specified
Viewing features
LCD monitor type
3.0 inch, 920,000 pixels LCD, LIVE VIEW
Eye-level pentaprism single-lens reflex viewfinder
Viewfinder frame coverage: approx 100%
Viewfinder Magnification: 0.95x approx
Viewfinder eyepoint: 19.5mm
Viewfinder diopter adjustment: -3 to +1m¯¹
Focusing Screen: Type B BriteView Clear Matte Mark II with AF area brackets (grid lines can be displayed)
Interchangeable focusing screens: no
Menu language(s)
Arabic, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Turkish, Indonesian
Playback function
Auto-rotate, calendar display, full frame, highlight point display, histogram, movie, slideshow, sound playback, zoom, contact sheet (4, 9 or 72 thumbnails), shooting data
Compatible power supply
EN-EL15 Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery, EH-5A AC Adapter - Requires EP-5B Power Supply, MB-D11 Battery Grip
Approximate battery life
1050 shots
Camera management
Economy mode
Not specified
Additional features
Water resistant capabilities
Not Available
Included "in the box"
Included accessory
AV cable EG-D2, BS-1 accessory shoe cap, eyepiece cap DK-5, rubber eyecup DK-21, USB cable UC-E4, strap AN-DC1, BF-1B Body Cap, EN-EL15 Battery, MH-25 Quickcharger, LCD Monitor Cover BM-11

The secret inside

Currently the second highest resolution sensor in Nikon's DSLR lineup, the D7000's 16.2MP CMOS offers a standard ISO range of 100-6400 and 1080p HD video recording. NEF (Raw) files can be recorded in either 12-bit or 14-bit quality.

Brand new in the D7000 is a 39-point AF system. This is the Multicam 4800DX sensor...

The D7000's shutter is tested to 150k actuations - the D90's shutter, by contrast, is tested to 100k actuations. 
The focusing array, as seen through the D7000's viewfinder - all 39 points indicated here for clarity. This is 12 points less than the system used in Nikon's D300S, but 28 more than the D90. Of the total 39 points, 9 are cross-type.

A pentaprism distinguishes the D7000 from it's lower-end cousins the D3100 and D5000, which use pentamirror viewfinders. Pentaprisms are heavier, and add to the cost of the camera, but offer a brighter viewfinder image.

Although not a 'new' feature as such, the D7000 is a much more capable video camera than the D90 and D300S. As well as quality and sound options it is also possible to trim movies in-camera (which isn't an option on the D90).

The D7000's Fn button can be assigned to a range of different functions, including a viewfinder virtual horizon display, framing grid and as a shortcut to enable use of one of 9 non-CPU lenses.

New in the D7000 is a fine-tunable 'Auto2' AWB setting, designed to give slightly warmer color rendition.

The D7000 provides a virtual horizon type electronic spirit level - shown here in Live View mode. It can also be displayed in the viewfinder 'on demand' (using the Fn button) at which point it takes over the exposure compensation bar.

In-Body AF Motor

Just like the D90, the D7000 features a built-in lens motor for driving older screw-driven lenses. This feature allows you to drive the AF of older AF-D lenses like the cheap Nikon 50mm f/1.8D, which lack a built-in AF motor that all AF-S lenses have. 


This motor is a great feature to have because it opens up the number of lenses you can use on your on this body, especially in the area of fast prime lenses.

U1 and U2 Instant Recall Modes

The D7000's U1 and U2 positions finally address my biggest beef with Nikon, which is the lack of any fast way to save and recall complete banks of camera settings.

With all my other older Nikons, it takes too long to reset a camera to go from people to landscape photography, so I keep one camera for each kind of shooting. With the D7000, I now have two cameras in one, each recalled in the flick of the dial.

Gone are Nikon's two sets of four stupid settings banks, which took as long to select as not having them at all, and they never locked or could be saved anyway. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

The U1 and U2 modes are easy to set in MENU > SETUP > Save user settings > (select U1 or U2) > Save settings, and the camera's settings are burnt into that spot on the dial.

My white balance and trims, exposure compensations, exposure modes, AUTO ISO minimum speed settings, flash modes and everything else I want in each setting follow along, and instantly recall as I set either on the dial. This is even better than Canon, whose C1, C2 and C3 settings remember everything, but Canon's Auto ISO can't be programmed to higher speeds to optimize it for action as I do on my Nikons.

Better than Canon's C1, C2 and C3 positions on their mode dials, Nikon's U1 and U2 settings save whatever tweaks you make to them, even if you turn off the power, and then reset to your personally preset defaults any time you switch to a different setting and return! Yay! This way if I have to tweak a white balance it stays that way for the duration, and next time I select U1 or U2, I'm back to my personal defaults. I love it!

If you want to make a permanent change to either of these settings, simply make the changes while in the U1 or U2 position, and then MENU > SETUP > Save user settings > (select U1 or U2) and you're done.

Hopefully the D700X and D4 will have at least four or five U settings in place of the AUTO and SCENE positions. (Hey you hackers: feel free to disassemble Nikon's code and fix this. When you buy a D7000, there are no firmware click licenses or stickers to prohibit reverse engineering.)

Two Card Slots

One of the biggest reasons I love shooting my professional D3 is because I get free, live backup of everything I shoot because I record it to two cards simultaneously.

I can download and reformat one card and not worry if I backup my computer that day, because if I drop my MacBook Pro into McGee Creek, it's all still on the second card in my camera. I never worry about backing-up until I return from the field.

I'll say this again: set card two as backup (MENU > SHOOTING > Role played by card in Slot 2 > Backup), and so long as you copy card 1 to your laptop each night, you can reformat and reuse card 1 the next day, and then if your laptop catches fire or your camera falls out of the helicopter, you've still got backup of everything you've shot on card 2 without ever having had to back up!

2,016-Segment RGB Meter       top

The D7000 has the world's first 2,016-segment RGB meter, which is Nikon's first upgrade since the spectacular 1,005 segment RGB meter of the Nikon F5 of 1996.

The number of meter segments isn't relevant; what is relevant is the intelligence programmed behind them, and Nikon's meters have always been decades ahead of anyone else's.

Canon still has no full-color RGB meters in any of its SLRs; most of Canon's cameras, like the 5D Mark II, still only meter in black-and-white!

Overall performance
The D7000 is solid, small and light, and everything just moves fast!
It's quiet, smooth, sweet and effective, even without using its QUIET mode. 

ISO go through review analysis

Handling mode


  • Good detail and dynamic range (even better in RAW)
  • Exceptionally low shadow noise in RAW files
  • Arguably the best high ISO performance of any current APS-C DSLR
  • Good build quality and handling
  • Maximum ISO of 25,600 st full resolution
  • 1080p HD video mode with basic editing built-in
  • Efficient Active D-Lighting
  • Comprehensive customization options
  • Large, bright viewfinder with 100% coverage
  • Fast contrast detect Auto Focus in Live View
  • Useful electronic horizon
  • Comprehensive feature set
  • AE metering support for up to 9 'non-CPU' Ai lenses (in A, M modes)
  • Twin SD-card slots


  • Tendency to overexpose in bright sunshine/high contrast situations
  • ISO button is poorly positioned, and cannot be assigned to any other control point.
  • Ditto white balance: poorly positioned, cannot be re-assigned
  • Exposure mode dial slightly loose, and easily knocked
  • Shooting mode dial can be awkward to manipulate
  • AF can be hesitant in poor light
  • Auto ISO function is confusing and poorly implemented (but no worse than any other Nikon DSLR)
  • Aperture not adjustable in manual mode in live view (and won't stop up/down in any mode until exposure).
  • No live histogram or exposure indicator in live view/movie shooting.

People verdict

Nikon DSLR users have been waiting a long time for the D7000, not so much as an upgrade for the D90 but as a hint at exactly what Nikon is planning to do with its higher end DSLRs. From what I have seen in the D7000, they shouldn’t be disappointed. The improved build and handling make the D7000 feel solid, in much the same way as the D300S, and there is of course the new AF system, too. While the specification of the metering system is also improved on paper, there are still a few minor creases to iron out. Hopefully, this can be done easily and quickly via a firmware upgrade.

If you don’t factor in the 39-point AF system, which has fewer points than the D300S, then to all intents and purposes the D7000 feels more like a replacement for that camera. With this in mind, it should provide an excellent upgrade of the D90 and D5000, and for many D300S users, too. In fact, it should also make a good reasonably priced backup for professional photographers. Although the resolution is two million pixels fewer than on competing Canon models, the D7000’s image quality is comparable – I’m looking forward to a comparison test of the D7000 and EOS 60D. Nikon users should also be looking forward to seeing exactly how the new features of the D7000 are implemented higher up in the range.

 The Final Word

In most respects, the Nikon D7000 is an excellent enthusiast's DSLR. The camera produces great image quality in most shooting situations, and it shines in low light, providing (just about) useable images right up to its ISO ceiling of 25,600 (equivalent). It feels swift and positive in general use, even in live view mode, thanks to greatly improved contrast-detection AF - not a traditional strength of Nikon's DSLRs. The D7000's buffer is decent, especially considering the large size of its files, but not in the same league as the D300S. However, although potentially irritating to a D300S user considering a second body, this shouldn't stand as a serious criticism of a camera aimed essentially at the upper end of the enthusiasts' market. Ultimately, the D7000's specification is hard to argue with. A newly developed, 16.3 MP resolution sensor, 6 frames per second continuous shooting, 1080p full HD video and an abundance of customization options place this camera firmly into the upper regions of the mid-range market segment. In the final analysis, the Nikon D7000 is a very good DSLR which only just falls short of greatness. Nevertheless, the Nikon D7000 earns our second highest award and will make a great addition to the kit bags of current D90 users, D300(S) users and ambitious photographers that are new to the Nikon brand alike.
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