Nikon D7000 review. First impressions.
Damien Demolder gets to test a pre-production model of Nikon?s resolution-breakthrough Nikon D7000.
There is only so long you can tell enthusiast photographers that 12 million pixels is all they need. As the competition strides ahead with 14 million pixels and more, it becomes less a matter of whether 12 million pixels really is enough and more to do with being seen to be keeping up.
Nikon?s adherence to its ?quality, not quantity? message hasn?t done it any harm, and certainly the company has built a reputation on the back of slaying the digital-noise dragon in every DSLR since the D3. Nikon?s attitude has been that it is better to have a broader usable ISO range than an extra four million pixels to add an inch to the length of your prints.
However, to keep the punters happy, and to stop the company looking longingly over the fence at the pixel bonanza in Canon?s garden, Nikon was going to have to introduce greater pixel-count sensors for the high-end amateur.
With the D3100, launched last month, we saw the first steps in this direction, as this entry-level product became the second-highest resolution camera in the company?s line-up with just 14 million pixels. Now, with the Nikon D7000 and its 16.2 million pixels, we can see Nikon is gradually lifting each segment of the range.
Nikon D7000 . Place in the range
Nikon D7000. Place in the range
Despite predictions that Nikon would replace the D90, the company?s first video DSLR, the Nikon D7000 has been introduced to add to the range rather than supersede an outgoing model. In general specification and functionality the D7000 sits just below the D300S, but with the strange contradiction that so often occurs when fresh technology enters a camera range, many features lift the Nikon D7000 above it.
The body design is very much like the D300S, although with less magnesium alloy, but the top-plate dial takes on the style of the D3S and D3X with the drive modes in a ring about its base, while maintaining the dial selector for exposure modes rather than the three buttons of the top-end models. I found this a nice combination. Although not needing to switch between high frame rate modes too often, I enjoyed the free access to the self-timer, the quiet shutter mode and mirror-up function. It took me a while to discover it, but Nikon has shifted the AF button and AF point selection from the rear of the camera body to the usual AF/MF mode selector switch on the front. Now the switch has a button in the centre that gives more comfortable access to point selection and AF modes, in the same way that the flash pop-up button selects flash modes.
A notable point is the new shutter-box design that has really reduced the clatter of the mirror and shutter action. Even with the quiet mode activated the camera makes much less noise.
Nikon D7000. Low noise
Nikon D7000. Low noise
Nikon will maintain its crown for very low digital noise in images taken at high ISO settings if this prototype camera?s processing is anything to go by. Despite more pixels asking the EXPEED 2 processor to work harder, and the fact that those pixels are smaller than those of previous Nikon cameras, I found that image noise right the way to the limit of the standard ISO range is extremely well controlled. Venturing out before dawn I had no problems working handheld at ISO 3200 and 6400. Noise is there, obviously, and there is a quality jump between these last stops of sensitivity, but images taken at ISO 3200 show hardly any pattern at maximum print sizes, while those taken at ISO 6400 are lightly grainy but still completely free of chroma noise.
It is still too soon to draw conclusions about Nikon?s new 2016-pixel metering sensor. In theory, having more pixels will allow the camera to divide each scene into more parts to help the processor form a more detailed impression of what it is looking at. Extraordinarily bright or dark areas will be identified and ignored, which is useful for flash work. Nikon says this extra detail will also help the scene-recognition modes, making it easier for the camera to tell the difference between a landscape and a portrait, for example, and that it will help improve auto white balancing routines.
Nikon D7000. New AF
Nikon D7000. New AF
Autofocus, even in this unfinished model, is very good. I worked in both stills and movie modes and found the camera rarely had trouble finding a place to latch on to. Live View and movie modes share a wandering AF sensor area that can be positioned anywhere on the screen. I used the Live View mode on a tripod in a shaded area before sunrise and still found the camera could focus where I wanted it. In movie mode, focus is quick and decisive enough that moving from one subject to another can be done smoothly, naturally and without hunting.
The new direct access Live View and movie mode switch/button make getting these features up and running much easier than before, and consequently they will probably be used more. I found myself accessing the Live View feature a lot, as I was shooting upright landscapes from a low angle. With Live View on, the virtual horizon can be used, which saved me having to straighten my images post-capture on-screen or in software. Usefully, the horizon level is also available in the viewfinder, using the exposure bar to indicate tilting to the left or the right.
It?s a shame to use Live View, as this means you don?t get to make the most of the 100% viewfinder. With a magnification of 0.94x the screen is big without being overpowering, and it?s good to know that you can see everything that will appear in the picture. Despite the 100% viewfinder, the pentaprism housing has been kept relatively small and low profile.
Twin SD card sockets come into their own in a camera that shoots movie as well as stills, as it means you can keep the two separate and not have to wait for movie previews to load in your still image browser software when reviewing your pictures.
The Nikon D7000 seems a very promising camera, and we look forward to getting our hands on a full working model some time in October. As soon as we have one we?ll bring you a full AP test.
Nikon D7000. Picture gallery
Nikon D7000. Picture gallery
Merging the exposure and shooting mode dial works really well
Live View and movie modes now have a direct access point, as with the D3100
In Live View mode the rear screen can display a virtual horizon to help keep the camera level. Note the absence of an AF button on the body?s right-hand side
Nikon UK announcement
THE NEW NIKON D7000: READY TO FULFIL YOUR PASSION
Body only £1099.99 / ?1303
D7000 + 18-105mm VR £1299.99 / ?1540
Sales start date: 29th October 2010
Nikon UK, 15 September, 2010 ? Nikon launches the D7000, a D-SLR that offers exceptional image quality, reliability and performance packed into a durable and portable body.
Jordi Brinkman, Product Manager for Nikon Europe, says: ?The exciting new D7000 is the ideal next camera for D-SLR owners who want to further indulge their passion for photography with a camera that boasts more advanced features providing creative power. It has a new image sensor, EXPEED 2, AF system and metering sensor to ensure great performance in a highly durable body. In fact, it has everything you need in your next SLR but in a size you wouldn?t expect.?
Exceptional image quality
The D7000 includes a range of new features to ensure superior image quality including 16.2 effective megapixels with the newly developed Nikon DX format CMOS image sensor. The camera boasts a new image-processing engine, EXPEED 2, which delivers higher image quality, higher speed processing and multiple functions with more power. And the D7000?s increased ISO sensitivity (100-6400, extendable up to 25600) ensures exceptional detail with minimal noise when capturing fast moving subjects or in poor light situations, even without the flash.
The D7000?s bright Glass Pentaprism Viewfinder with approximate 100% frame coverage and 0.94x magnification gives you the most precise view and focus of any scene, and it is always ready when you are with a shutter speed of 1/8000s, tested to 150,000 cycles. What is more, the camera is protected by magnesium alloy top and rear covers and has durable sealing against dust and moisture so it is prepared for even the most testing of situations.
When it comes to storage, the D7000 again provides you with maximum reliability. The twin SD memory card slots allow for added storage capacity and give you the freedom to manage your images and video in the way you want to either by saving more of them, keeping different formats separate or always having backup space when you need it.
The D7000?s newly developed AF system featuring 39 focus points, including 9 cross-type sensors in the centre, gives you the sharpest focus, no matter where your subject is in the frame. And with Nikon?s new 2,016 pixel RGB metering sensor to enhance the effectiveness of the Scene Recognition System, plus High Speed Continuous shooting capability at 6FPS, you can be sure to capture incredibly accurate, high-quality images every time.
Full-HD D-Movie with AF-F mode
The D7000 has direct access to a movie record button so you can capture footage in full HD (1080p) with greater ease. The AF-F gives continuous focus during movie recording, which is captured using MPEG4 AVC/H.264 compression, and has a stereo microphone jack for quality sound recording. This means superior image quality and operability when using the D-Movie function.
The D7000s built-in movie editing functions also give you the freedom to chose the start and end points of your footage and switch to selected frames for capturing still images without relying on a computer ? letting you edit and share your films quickly and easily.
Nikon is also launching the new Speedlight SB-700, a feature-packed yet easy-to-use flash unit. The SB-700 offers lighting benefits that greatly surpass the camera?s onboard flash, allowing total control over scene or subject lighting to create beautiful, professional looking results.
To guarantee great performance for longer, the D7000 also has a dedicated Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D11 (optional) that enables seamless switching of power supply with the in-camera battery, vertical shooting and further stabilizes the body when using a long telephoto lens.
The D7000 is compatible with the GP-1 GPS (Global Positioning System) unit which records location information in the image file and of course, the camera supports a wide variety of NIKKOR lenses.
Nikon DX-format, newly developed 16.2MP CMOS sensor: with expanded sensitivity range, this high-pixel sensor offers outstanding colour and detail for both pictures and movie
New EXPEED 2 image processing: achieves higher image quality, higher speed processing and multiple functions, with lower energy consumption
High ISO (100-6400, extendable up to 25600) sensitivity: offers low noise whilst still providing extremely sharp detail
New 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor: the high-pixel RGB sensor will enhance the effectiveness of the Scene Recognition System for high-quality images every time
Newly developed AF system featuring 39 focus points including 9 cross-type sensors in the center: delivers superior subject acquisition and tracking performance, so you can achieve the right focus no matter where your subject is on the screen
Glass Pentaprism Viewfinder with approx 100% frame coverage and 0.94x magnification: for the most precise view and focus of any scene
High durability with magnesium alloy top and rear, sealing against dust and moisture: allowing you to shoot with confidence even in the toughest conditions
Full HD D-Movie with AF-F modes and in-camera editing functions to choose the start and end points of your movies and save individual frames as still images. It also supports an external microphone input for quality stereo sound recording
HDMI connectivity: so you can view your images or watch your HDTV movies on a full HD television
Easy access Live View with new Contrast-detect AF modes: face detection with contrast AF is faster and more powerful than ever. Up to 35 people can be detected within approx. 0.08 seconds, even if subjects are not directly looking at the camera. Subject Tracking keeps moving subjects in focus. Normal area AF is recommended for pinpoint focus and wide-area AF for handheld shooting
Durable shutter unit with shutter speed up to 1/8,000: proved by 150,000 cycles of shutter-release testing
Twin SD memory card slots: offer more capacity for saving images, more options for organising your images and videos or extra backup so you can manage your images exactly as you want them.
High Speed Continuous shooting at 6FPS: With approx. 0.05-second release time lag and 6 frames-per-second shooting, you won?t miss a moment
Extensive playback functions: including 72-thumbnail display, calendar display and image sorting by date. In-camera retouch functions (retouch menu) including movie editing function and new color sketch
Tone and colour control: Picture Controls lets you set the look and mood of your pictures and movies before you shoot
ViewNX 2 free bundled software, will be bundled with the D7000: It inherits the basic operations of ViewNX whilst providing much enhanced operability, including a refined GUI, and a range of easy-to-use features allowing you to edit photos as well as movies
7.5 cm (3-in.) LCD Monitor:, the approximately 920k-dot TFT LCD monitor has a VGA wide-viewing angle (170°) with reinforced glass so you can immediately see your work in detail
Supports a wide variety of NIKKOR lenses
Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL15 : intelligent power management to give maximum performance with minimized power usage
Links to other Nikon news stories
Nikon UK spec
16.2 megapixel CMOS sensor (DX format)
Image Sensor Cleaning
SD (Secure Digital), SDHC and SDXC memory cards
Slot 2 can be used for overflow or backup storage or for separate storage of copies
created using NEF+JPEG; pictures can be copied between cards
Pentaprism; Frame coverage: approx. 100%, Magnification: approx 0.94x
1/8,000 to 30 s in steps of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
Flash sync speed
X = 1/250 s; synchronizes with shutter at 1/320 s or slower
S (single frame), CL (continuous low speed), CH (continuous high speed), Q (quiet shutter release),
(self-timer), (remote control), MUP (mirror up)
Up to 6 fps
TTL exposure metering using 2,016-pixel RGB sensor
-5 to +5 EV in increments of 1/3 or 1/2 EV
ISO 100 to 6400 (ISO 25600 equivalent)
Can be selected from Auto, Extra high, High, Normal, Low or Off
Single-point AF; 9-, 21- or 39-point dynamic-area AF, 3D-tracking, auto-area AF
? Auto flash with auto pop-up ? Manual pop-up with button release ? Guide Number: Approx. 12 m
Live View lens servo
? Autofocus (AF): Single-servo AF (AF-S); full-time-servo AF (AF-F) ? Manual focus (M)
AF-area mode (Live View)
Face-priority AF, wide-area AF, normal-area AF, subject-tracking AF
? 1,920 × 1,080 @ 24 fps, 1,280 × 720 @ 30 fps ? MOV file format (H.264/MPEG-4) ? Built-in monaural or external stereo microphone; sensitivity adjustable
7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 921k-dot (VGA), TFT LCD with 170° viewing angle
Full-frame and thumbnail (up to 72 images or calendar) playback with playback zoom,
movie playback, slide show, highlights, histogram display, auto image rotation and image
Type C mini-pin HDMI connector
Remote Cord MC-DC2 (available separately), GPS Unit GP-1 (available separately)
Stereo mini-pin jack (3.5-mm diameter)
One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL15
Optional Multi-Power Battery Pack MB-D11 with one Rechargeable Li-ion Battery ENEL15
or six R6/AA size alkaline, NiMH or lithium batteries
Dimensions (W x H x D)
Approx. 132 × 105 × 77 mm (5.2 × 4.1 × 3.0 in.)
Approx. 690 g (1 lb. 8.3 oz.) camera body only; approx. 780 g (1 lb. 11.5 oz.) with battery
and memory card but without body cap