With its 16.2-million-pixel CMOS sensor, Full 1080p HD video capture and a 2,016-point metering system Nikon’s latest enthusiast DSLR hints at what is to come in its professional DSLRs. Richard Sibley tests the Nikon D7000
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.
Nikon D7000 – Key features
This dial will be familiar from Nikon D300 and D3-series cameras. It makes it easy to switch between single and continuous shooting, as well as self-timer and quiet mode
Situated on the front of the camera, the automatic/manual-focus switch now has a new button in the centre that allows the AF mode to be changed. This is a lot faster than having the button situated on the back of the camera
Dual SD card slots
The D700 has two SD cards slots. These can be used so that raw and JPEG images can be saved on different cards, or so that images and video can be kept separate
The D7000 has a dedicated switch to access the Live View mode. In the centre is a video-capture button that starts and stops video recording
Nikon has tested the shutter unit of the D7000 for 150,000 cycles. So, even if you take 15,000 photos every year, the camera shutter should last for at least ten years, by which time it will no doubt be very old technology.
Cross-type AF points
The D7000 has nine cross-type AF points, which can measure the level of focus across two axes. This helps improve speed and accuracy. The nine cross-type points are located in the centre of the imaging frame.
Built into the D7000 is an intervalometer timing system. This allows you to take a series of time-lapse images by specifying the number of images you want shot over a set period of time. The camera can then be left to perform the task automatically. You can even specify a start time.
AF in Live View and video
Continuous AF is available when shooting in both Live View and video-capture modes. As phase-detection AF is unavailable, the camera relies on the contrast-detection AF. It is one of the better contrast-detection focus systems we have seen and although it does seek back and forth, the action is fairly smooth and fast.