Friday, January 14, 2011

# 9: Nikon D7000 4 .2MP DX-format CMOS Digital SLR CAMERA with 3.0-inch LCD (body only)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

352 of 375 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Great Camera -- A perspective from a D300/700 Owner, October 20, 2010 This review is from: Nikon D7000 16.2MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) (Electronics) This is very simple, if you are a Nikon shooter looking for a new camera then stop reading and buy this camera. It's that good.
This camera is brilliant to hold and use. Nikon has done it again and has made the user interface more usable and streamlined. What to change flash modes. Press the flash pop-up button and rotate the control wheel. Sweet. Want to change create and use a User defined mode? There are two. Set your mode up. Go to the menu and save it. To use it rotate the shooting mode dial to U1 or U2. Presto you are there. In the D300 and D700 you to have to setup things in the menu and switch in the menu. Also, there were 2 sets of things you could change and they were not all inclusive. It was all horribly confusing and I never used it. Speaking of shooting modes. There is now one position on the shooting mode dial for scene mode shooting. You change through the different scene modes with the control wheel and the type scene shows up on the back screen. Sweet. I can go on and on but needless to say Nikon have really improved their interface. One caveat, I don't think it is quite up to par with the GH1 to change exposure compensation (IMO the most important control) but still a huge step in the correct direction in handling. I like the handling of the D7000 better than either the D700/300.
Low Light Shooting
The D300 wasn't that great for Hi ISO. It shoots clean at 400 ISO and usable up to 1600. (The D90 and D300s were better) The D700 was fantastic. Clean at 1600 ISO and usable up to 6400. It opened up new worlds. The D7000 is close to the equal of the D700. Enough said. Just to give you an example. The bouquet toss at a reception is often done in poor light. By using 1600 instead of 400 you get the equivalent of 4 times more light. At ISO400 you flash may need to use 1/4 power and you can get 1 maybe 2 shots of the toss and catch before the flash needs to recharge. At ISO1600 your flash would only need to use 1/16th power and now you can get 5-6 shots. This is huge.
Picture Quality
Like all modern DSLRs it takes great pictures. I don't pixel peep so I can't really say that I notice a difference between the pictures from the D7000 and any of my 12mp cameras. It makes really nice pictures and that is all I care about.
Useful Photography Features (Not Marketing Features)
--100% view finder! Big bright with 100% coverage. No more guessing of your framing. (It is not as bright as the D700. However, it is 100% vice 95%)
--2 SD slots - When your getting paid to shoot a wedding or any gig, my card broke is not an excuse. Very useful feature. For the home user put two smaller cards rather than one big card and save some money.
--Smaller and lighter than D300, D700, D3s, D3x- When you stand on your feet for 9 hours shooting the wedding and reception, you start to feel every ounce you are carrying. Often you will be carrying two bodies with a fast tele zoom and fast wide zoom. That starts to get heavy. Light weight here we come.
--2016-Segment RGB Meter- for spot on exposure and white balance--No one touches Nikon on this and this one is fantastic.
--1/8000th -- Very useful for shooting into the sun wide open with a bright lens
--1/250 -- Could be better (1/500th for D40) but could be much worse. Auto FP helps.
--Magnesium body and better sealing -- Shoot in dusty environments without messing up the inside your camera.
--Uses the ML-L3 infra red remote -- Small and cheap. IR sensor on the front and back of the camera.
--Autofocus focus motor for non-AF-S lenses
Marketing Features that will sometimes be Useful
--16Mp -- Nikon was obviously getting creamed in the marketing wars on this. This is going to lead to bigger files requiring larger hard drives and faster computers. Occasionally it will be useful if you can't frame as close as you would like and you need to crop or you need to print big. Alien Skin Blow Up 2, Image Resizing Plug-in Software for Photoshop, Macintosh & Windows and Genuine Fractals 6 Professional Edition 1-user Full are two very nice programs that can increase the size of your photos for printing large. 16 MP is nice by not necessary.
--39 Point Auto Focus -- To me in some ways this is better than the 51 point of the D300 and D700 as that gets too unwieldy. However, you really don't even need 39. However, still useful on occasion.
--6 frames per second-- I very rarely ever put my camera in 3 frames per second. When I do so it fills the card quickly. If you are shooting the big game then 6 is nice. Or it is nice for some cool special effects shots. Other than that you won't really find yourself using it that much.
The other thing I am not really going to dwell on is the video capabilities. In my opinion all the various video options are mostly marketing hype really targeted at a niche market. Shallow depth of field video is difficult and time consuming to shoot and edit properly. The average family home user has neither the time nor inclination to do this. With that said, it is nice to only have to carry one device to take still pictures and video. So I do enjoy that feature, however 1080 is not really necessary. In fact with up converting DVD players standard def is still very usable and takes up far less space. Suffice it to say that the video capabilities are very good and should do anything a home user would need it to do. Can be used for pro Videos as demonstrated by Chase Jarvis.
This is a very nice camera and it feels very solid in your hands. It feels far more substantial than the D40/D90 without feeling like a brick the way the D300/D700 do. I am sure the D300 has more marketing features than the D7000 but I would have to research them to figure out what they are.
In the end it all comes down to what is important to you. Smaller weight and size is becoming much more important to me and this camera is a very good trade off of features for size and weight. Anything that is missing I don't even use so I am not sure what it may be. My D700 was recently stolen and while I miss it, the D7000 is a worthy replacement for it. I opted to get the D7000 and Panasonic GH2 and save the $300 difference for a lens.
--100% view finder!
--6 fps (7D is 8. However, I think this number is overhyped in most cases. Even shooting at 3 FPS will fill up you card with photos that look remarkably similar) 8+ is needed for professionals shooting professional sports. Not enthusiast shooting High School etc.
--16mp sensor (a marketing increase but still nice to allow some room for cropping)
--14 bit photos
--39 point auto focus sensors (19 cross point) this is a bit of a marketing thing but it is still nice and it does not matter about the 51 on D300s and above. Still very nice.
--2016 scene meter - compares against data base for WB setting and color settings
--Excellent battery life
--MD-11 Optional Battery Grip
--2 SD card slots for back up redundancy or double the card space! Outstanding
--Magnesium used to make camera stronger
--16mp senor (takes up more storage on your hard drive) (12mp JPG 3mb 12 mp RAW = 12 mb 16mp JPEG = 5 mb 16 mp RAW = 16 mb. This is for 12 bit. 14 bit would require more)
--Camera heavier than it used to be
--No swivel screen - after using the GH1 extensively you really miss this when shooting at weird angles. You especially miss it for macro photography.
--No full time live view - Ditto from above. Live view is what you see is what you get. Forgot to change white balance-- you will see that when people are yellow, blue or green. Have it set in manual and blowing everything out-- you'll see that as a white screen.
Decision Matrix
For the Nikon shooter this is a no brainer. If you are in the market for a camera, then skip the D300s. The D700 is getting long in the tooth and many people are buying the D7000 while waiting for D800. If you already own a D700 then this camera is a very good complement to it. Use the money you saved over the more expensive camera to buy a nice lens.
Here is a breakdown vs other Nikon DSLRs
D3100-- Two completely different classes with the D7000 being worth the difference in many. However at the end of the day they will both make nice pictures. Also, the lenses are more important than the camera. You can get the D3100 and 18-200mm for the same price. Something to think about.
D5000-- Good sensor and nice camera. D3100 comments also apply here.
D90--Tough choice. The best DX sensor of its generation and still better than most. If you can't quite stretch to the D7000, this is a very tempting proposition.
D300S-- Irrelevant. The D7000 has a much better sensor, is smaller, lighter, cheaper, and better metering.
Nikon D700-- Would be a good complement to the D7000. Use D7000 when you need the 1.5x crop on the long end and a deeper depth of field due to the smaller chip (about 1 stop deeper) and D700 for when you want to isolate a subject with a shallow depth of field or you want to use the full width of a wide angle such as the 14-24mm. If you don't need the shallower depth of field of a FX sensor and you have the lenses to cover the 1.5x crop then the D7000 should suit just fine. D3s and D3x -- Different leagues altogether. However, the D7000 is 90% of the camera for 1/4 to 1/6th the money.
The 7D is an outstanding camera and while I think the D7000 is a better camera (better sensor, 2 SD card slots, 2016 RGB metering, Price) it is not that much better to warrant switching... Read more ?
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141 of 150 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Cool things you might not know the D7000 can do, October 26, 2010 This review is from: Nikon D7000 16.2MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) (Electronics) Just take it for granted that this takes amazing pictures under all conditions, including low light, and that it contains all the manual controls that you'd ever want.
Instead, here's some things that the camera does that you might not have heard about:
* Built-in EyeFi support
If you've used EyeFi SD cards before, you probably assumed that it would work with the D7000, since the D7000 now uses SD cards instead of CF. But not only do you not have to mess around with SD-to-CF adapters, the camera is actually EyeFi aware-- you can choose to have it upload or not upload on a slot-by-slot basis (so you might have it automatically upload the RAW files you saved to an EyeFi Pro card in slot 1, but not bother to upload the JPEGs you saved to the EyeFi Explorer card in slot 2), and there is also an icon that appears on the Info display to indicate that there are files waiting to upload, that the upload is in progress or disabled, etc.
The Nikon Wifi adapter is going for $400. A 4GB, class 6 EyeFi card goes for $40. If you really want to move RAW files, snag the Pro version for $80. Yes, the Nikon adapter does things that EyeFi can't, but if you just want to get your files onto a PC without pulling the card, why spend 10X the money?
You're stuck with the usual limitations of the EyeFi card, but I fully expect to use this feature a LOT with studio portraits-- yeah, it only takes 10 seconds to pull the card and have Windows recognize that you added it, then another 5 seconds to eject the card and stick it back in the camera. But if you just want a quick check that your exposure or focus is where you want it, wouldn't you rather just hit a single key and see your last shot, then get right back into the flow? You may want to drop your JPEG file sizes to speed up the transfer.
* In-camera RAW file processing
The camera contains a ton of built-in settings-- in addition to the basics like Standard, Normal, Landscape, etc, you also get all the various Scene modes, which are basically variations on those main settings.
RAW processing allows you to see how the shot would have looked had you used one of those other modes. In other words, you shoot in Normal, which basically applies no processing to the image, then select the RAW file, and choose how you'd like to adjust it. You can change the white balance settings, exposure, basic picture setting (landscape, portrait, etc), noise reduction, color space, and dynamic lighting. With the exception of the advanced details on the basic picture settings, you see a preview of how your change will affect the picture.
If you like it, just hit EXEcute and it writes out a JPEG to your card. Don't like it, just back out and nothing's saved.
This means that you don't have to worry that shooting in Vivid is going to result in an oversaturated image, or you can punch something up even more after the fact. The only real drawback here to me is that it is going to kick out a JPEG, so if you're planning on doing further editing in Photoshop, this may not be the best route. But if you're just looking to go right from the camera to the web, or want to get an idea of how playing with custom settings will affect your shots, this is a massive shortcut to taking and then deleting a ton of shots. (And keep in mind that Photoshop will allow you to mess with most of these settings when importing RAW files anyway, and the plugin D7000-compatible RAW plugin had a release candidate posted yesterday, so you can finally open your RAW shots.)
And a related feature that's in most other Nikons, but that you might not know about-- you can define your own basic picture settings. Want something that's super-saturated and super-contrasty? Just hit a few buttons, choose a name, and you're done. On the older Nikons, you had to edit the basic profile itself, now, you can use one as a starting point and adjust from there. Much cleaner.
* User-defined settings on the control knob
Not as hidden as the first two, but I can't emphasize how cool this feature is. Here's the situation I was in last night-- I was shooting a singing contest in a dimly-lit venue. I was allowed to use a flash, but I didn't want to constantly be blasting the singers while they were performing.
I defined one setting as shutter priority, 1/60th, ISO Hi 2, center-weighted metering & focus, no flash. The second setting was automatic, ISO auto, full metering and autofocus, flash enabled. I'd take a couple shots in U2 with the flash, close the flash down and switch to U1 and shoot a half a dozen shots, then switch back to U2 and use the flash for a couple more shots. There was no fumbling for controls, no worrying that I changed the shutter speed without realizing it when changing between Auto and S-- every time I went from U2 to U1, all my settings were reset to where I put them before the event started.
I don't think I ever felt as confident about my camera settings in a rapidly changing situation as I did last night-- with just a simple twist of a knob, I was able to change to a completely different shooting configuration with absolute confidence that it was what I wanted.
To me, the utility of this is almost endless-- I'll probably set up one setting for studio portraits, and the other for landscape stuff. If I was still shooting news, I'd probably be swapping between flash and no-flash configurations. For sports, I'd change between action modes and post-game portraits.
The only thing that would make this even better would be if I could import and export settings for later use-- even if you use the "Save/Load" settings option to back up your current configuration to a memory card, it doesn't appear that this information is stored. However, it may be a bug in the Load settings feature, as a number of my settings were incorrectly reset when I tried to load in settings. Either way, it would work better if I could treat these like custom basic picture settings, saving them by name and loading them at will.
* Built-in interval timer shooting
Want to take time-lapse pictures? Just set up your camera on the tripod, specify when you want it to start, how many pictures to take overall, and how many pictures to take each interval and walk away. When it's time to start taking pictures, the camera will automatically focus and shoot, then go back to waiting for the next shot. No messing around with tethering, 3rd party software, whatever-- it's all in the camera, and it's all super-easy to set up. You'll find yourself taking pictures of your living room just to see what your cat actually does all day while you're at work.
* Zoom in live view
This might just be "new to me," but I found it to be very cool for manually adjusting focus when on a tripod-- frame your basic shot, then change to live view. From there, zoom in with the magnifying glass key, and move around the image with the navigation pad until you find the point you want to focus on, then manually focus. Since you can zoom into a tiny portion of the overall image, you can see that you're getting exactly the focus point you want before you take the shot. One gotcha that I always forget, though-- don't forget to pick your aperture BEFORE going into live view, as you can't change it once live view has started.
* Adjustable shooting rate
Again, might be "new to me," but in addition to blasting away at 6fps, you can manually adjust that from 1 to 5 FPS in order to get a different effect. You obviously need to be using a fast enough shutter speed to support your choice-- if you're at 1/2 a second, you're not going to shoot faster than 2FPS.
As I mentioned in one of my other reviews, I used to be a semi-pro photographer-- I was the photo editor for both a weekly and a daily paper, I've shot tons of sports and news photos, and landscape photography is my hobby. I've recently gotten back into portrait photography as well. While I never owned as many cameras as a true pro would have (that semi- means that I never made enough money at it to be able to really spring for equipment), I have shot with a lot of other people's equipment, and I can honestly say that this is the best camera I've ever used.

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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars Best DX (cropped) Camera To Date; Amazing ISO Performance, October 21, 2010 This review is from: Nikon D7000 16.2MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR with 3.0-Inch LCD (Body Only) (Electronics) My first DSLR was a D80 I purchased four years ago. The shutter went out a few weeks back but I had been planning to upgrade to the D7000 anyway so this just hurried things up. I bought the D7000 kit with the 18-105 lens but quickly sold that on Ebay. I was shooting with a Tamron 17-50 2.8 lens on the D80. For low light, it worked pretty well but greater than half the time I needed to use my SB-600 flash to capture my young kids doing what they do (move). The only downside to the Tamron, or combination of the Tamron with the D80, was that the images tended to be soft, especially when opened up. So I also upgraded my lens to the Nikkor 16-85. While this is a variable lens that maxes out at 3.5, it is amazingly sharp combined with the D7000. And the extra reach is great for getting better shots and also providing relatively shallow depth of field that otherwise would be lost with the slower aperture.
The reason I mention the lens change is that I wouldn't have gone to a variable lens had it not been for the amazing ISO performance on the D7000. I am now shooting flashless at very fast shutter speeds. I usually shoot raw and process with Lightroom and I'm seeing amazing results at 800 ISO even when fully blown up (1:1). At ISO 1600, I can see minor noise but Lightroom 3's noise reduction easily eliminates it. 3200 certainly isn't noiseless but again, Lightroom can clean it up very well in most situations. My old D80 had more noise at 400 than the D7000 has at 1600; I'd say 800 on it was equivalent to 3200 on the D7000. I could see printing 1600 shots at smaller sizes with no need for software cleanup. So while my results are preliminary (3 weeks in), I am astonished at the ISO capabilities of this camera. I no longer have d700 envy and am glad I can get great dx lenses for under $700 as opposed to $1500 for fx. Perfect for enthusiasts like me!
You've seen the stat that the D7000 can shoot 6 shots per second. The 6FPS shutter is in some ways overkill. But if you shoot HDR/Bracket shots in quick succession having such a rapid shutter can allow you to do so handheld. This is really only possible because of the high ISO capabilities enabling very fast shutter times. And for sporting events and the like, it's nice to have the ability to rapidly fire off shots.
I have also noticed considerably improved metering and white balance on the D7000 compared to my old D80. Of the 350 or so shots I've taken, I am spending much less time adjusting lighting and white balance in Lightroom.
As others have mentioned, the ergonomics/design of the camera are quite good and I really enjoy the many direct access shortcuts for adjusting everything from focus to flash to white balance and much more. The two custom settings are very easy to set and perfect for your two most common profiles (e.g. indoor portrait and outdoor landscape). The screen is beautiful and moving in and around even RAW files is very smooth and fast. I went with two 16GB SD class 10 Transcend cards and while I'm currently using the RAW 1 / JPEG 2 option, I plan to use the second as a backup card once I go to RAW only.
I've only toyed with the video function but that was a part of my consideration since I dislike carrying two cameras, plus chargers and media, on family vacations. The tests I've done in 1080P have been very impressive, albeit large as you would expect. Auto-focusing while video recording is okay, as long as the background isn't too noisy or subjects too many. The biggest downside I have experienced is the built-in microphone picks up lots of auto focusing noise. I have not yet invested in an external mic but probably will need to.
All in all I am very pleased with the D7000 and see no major shortcomings. It's not cheap, but you get a lot for your money if you are in the market for a prosumer class DSLR. For users who won't explore and use the MANY options and capabilities of this camera, I would recommend considering the 3100 at less than half the cost. For D70/80/90 users who are ready to step up big time in terms of performance, this is the upgrade you have been waiting for. Some will hold out for a D700 successor (D800 or whatever it ends up being called). I have no doubt it will be an amazing camera but cost wise, you're going to be looking at $2500+ for the body alone and pay roughly double for coverage equivalent lenses. So figure $4K just to get started. Too rich for my non-professional needs but certainly should be considered if your work or wants dictate that level of camera. And there maybe be a D300s replacement in the works too. Still, I'd urge anyone to consider the D7000, which in my opinion is the best cropped sensor DSLR to date.

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