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on October 24, 2010
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.
Handling

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.

Video
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.

Intangibles

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. As for the lens, I am not really that hot on this lens. It will do fine but the Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II Telephoto Zoom Lens for Nikon DX-Format Digital SLR Cameras is far more useful. Also, you can buy the Nikon 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S DX VR Nikkor Zoom Lens and Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED IF AF-S DX VR [Vibration Reduction] Zoom Nikkor Lens for about the same price as the difference between this and the body only.

Conclusion

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.

Pros

--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

Cons
--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

Nikon
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.

Canon

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 if you are already invested in lenses.

Sony

The Sony SLT-A55 is a great camera but not in the league of the D7000. However it is $350 less and does have so unique properties. It is rumored to have the same sensor as the D7000 but Nikon always does their magic and makes it better (D3x vs A900). The translucent mirror allows for fast shooting but loses 1/3 a stop of light. Still a very nice camera.

Non-DSLR Owner or DSLR owner with just the Kit Lens

When you are buying a DSLR, you are really buying into the lens system. So factor that into you decision making matrix. For that reason, if you have not spent a fortune on lenses yet then I recommend the m4/3 as in my opinion that is the future. The sensor of the top m4/3(GH2) is every bit as good if not better than the current crop of DX sensors and almost as good as the D7000. It is getting to the point, the sensor doesn't matter as much. At this point handling, size and weight start to become more important.

With this in mind I would recommend the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 16.05 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens Camera with 3-inch Free-Angle Touch Screen LCD and 14-42mm Hybrid Lens (Black) to anyone not invested in a lens system. It is smaller, lighter, more capable on the video side and in many ways better on the stills side. It needs a faster flash sync speed, faster shutter speed and the construction is not up to Nikon or Canon standards (In all fairness this cuts down on weight and I have not had a failure with my GH1.) It is probably not quite as good at the high ISO. On the positive side it has a multi-aspect sensor as it is actually an 18mp sensor (16:9, 2:3, and 4:3 will all be 16mp not crops of one aspect ratio) It sells for $899 body only, $999 with the 14-42mm and $1499 with the fantastic 14-140mm 10x zoom. The lack of a mirror flipping up is a benefit in all cases. Also, you can use just about any lens ever made on this camera. Nikon, Leica, Canon, Pentax, C Lenses. You lose auto focus on any auto focus lenses and there is no accurate way to adjust your aperture on G series lenses. While the GH1 sensor was by far the best M4/3 sensor and equaled most DX sensors of its generation, it did not quite stand up to the D90 sensor. I expect the D7000 to have a higher Dynamic Range and be an overall better sensor. However, that difference will not be noticeable to the lay users. What you get is a noticeably smaller and lighter camera that out handles any DSLR on the market and has the best video capabilities. In my opinion the GH2 will be the best all-around camera of its generation. The GH1 is the camera I reach for 90% of the time when I shoot for pleasure. When Panasonic puts out a full Pro line of lenses, I will use it more in the Pro situations. I am sure the GH2 will be my new go to camera.
5959 comments470 of 502 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 16, 2010
I won't go in to lots of words, but I will tell you I have used a number of DSLR cameras (Nikon D40, D40x, D60, D50, D70, D70s, D80, D90, and now the D7000 as well as Canon 20D, 30D, 40D, 500D and 550D) and the Nikon D7000 may be one of the finest DX cameras I have ever used. In the past 24 hours I have logged 250 pictures and and I am impressed with the quality of the picture, and the ease of use with the camera. You might be tempted to think it's just a glorified D90, but you would wrong. It's better than the D90, and from what I am reading, better than the D300s which is more money. The camera feels good in the hands, has a solid feel, is weatherproof, and overall speaks professional photographer. For $1,500 in a kit, it is money well spent.

I waited for the D7000 over any other DSLR for one reason: Auto-Focus in video mode. It was worth the wait. I had almost dropped the $1,400 on the Canon 60D but hesitated because the 60D was dumbed down in many ways by Canon so as to not impede on 7D sales. Nikon went all out and demolished the need for the D300s, while making a DSLR worth having. The video mode allows you to run auto-focus while shooting, which no other DSLR has done to this point. Additionally, you can now shoot 1080p in 24 frames (23.97 actually) per second, which is cinema quality. Also, you can shoot up to 20 minutes of video in one shoot, versus only 12 minutes for the Canon 60D, T2i, and T1i. You may think you are buying the D7000 for photography only, but wait until you see what you can do with video. Being able to do DOF shooting makes the DSLR video even more valuable, allowing you to do things you would have to spend thousands on in a professional camera.

The D7000 may very well be Nikon's best DSLR in quite some time. I have used many, but this has quickly become my favorite.
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on October 27, 2010
First, let me say that for the last (almost) two years I have been using the Nikon D700, and occasionally the D300s and D90 as a backup.

When I saw the specs and reviews for the D7000 I knew I had to try it out -- and guess what -- I haven't used my D700 at all since getting my D7000...

It feels great. It's light, but well made, feels secure and not at all "plastic-y" The controls and buttons are all terrific and a huge improvement from the D90.

The camera, while easy to use, has all the bells and whistles, great image quality, and a good user interface. In fact, the shots look better out of the camera than with the D300s. In reality, the image quality is virtually indistinguishable from the D700 up to ISO 3200, and only slightly better on the D700 upto about 6400. There's no comparison higher, the D700 wins hands down. Sure the D700 is better at low-light shooting with its full size sensor -- but the D7000 absolutely has surprised me in this area as well.

It has features you expect in Pro cameras, and I wouldnt be surprised to see the D7000 become the back-up camera of choice for full frame shooters.

That being said -- the 18-105 lens is pretty week. I already have a great selection of DX lenses including the amazing 17-55 2.8 lens (there just isn't anything that looks and feels and works as well as that lens on an FX), and the 18-200. It's a joy to use these lenses again on a regular basis. The 18-105 is average at best, and I have eBayed mine already. You might want to get the body only if you already have DX lenses.

And after a few event shoots with the D7000, it's a joy to use something that weighs half of what the D700 weighs. The reality is, I will most likely also purchase the D700 update when it eventually comes down the pike, but I might very well end up selling mine off for now while waiting for that.

I am simply in love with this little camera -- it's by far Nikon's best current DX lens, and it even competes with their FX D700 for image quality. Who can ask for more. Highly recommended.
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on November 24, 2011
Last Update: February 25, 2012 - Five months and counting. Three times to the shop. Same issue.

I upgraded from a D3000 to a D7000 this year. The capabilities of the camera had sold me and I wasn't quite ready to jump into full frame. But after taking several pictures, I realized that the pictures were soft. So I went looking online and found plenty of posts about backfocus issues with the D7000. I broke out my D3000 and put it on a tripod in my kitchen and took one of my kids homework papers and stuck it on a cabinet. I took pictures, put them up in lightroom and blew them up by the same factor. Sure enough, My D3000 at 10MP had a sharper image than my D7000 at 16MP Checked all of the settings twice.

I created a ticket with Nikon and uploaded some images. They didn't look at them and I had no response for days. I finally called and asked for them to look at it. They said they would look at them within 48 hours of sending the pics. I responded they had been up there for several days. I was then put on hold and the person came back and said it would be 24 hours.

Fine. 2 days later, no call, no email. I call back, I get apologies about them being busy. The person looks at the pictures and asks for me to send more.

3 more days, no response. I finally get frustrated and take a comparison shot between two cameras to make it clear what the difference is. I upload that. Still no response.

I finally call back and am told that they are not sure what the issue is but I can send in the camera if I want to. (Really?)

So I send in the camera. I forget to include the receipt so I call up and ask how I can add the receipt. This person is helpful and courteous and gives me the info. I upload the receipt and wait.

8 days later, no response. Nothing. Bupkis. I call and ask if they have the camera. Why yes they do, and it will be $169 for the repair... No explanation of what is wrong, no question of when I bought it. I said "Wait, the camera is under warranty." This person responds, "well there is no receipt on the ticket". I asked, "did you look at the ticket?" There is a pause, and then she says, "These are all pictures" (Obviously Nikon hires rocket scientists) My response, "take a look at the second to the last file that says D7000.pdf". Her response, "We will need to certify that the repair is under warranty".

So now it is the day before Thanksgiving, at least I have my D3000 but the fact that Nikon has this kind of quality control issue, and then follows up with a crap customer service experience that can only be eclipsed by Hewlett Packard is just unbelievable.

So if you do buy this camera, take some pictures, look at the detail. If the edges look soft and fuzzy, take it back before your time runs out for a refund like mine did.

Update Nov 25:This is service?
Remember where the lady above said that they were going to need to certify that the repair is under warranty? Well I called today to get an idea of when the camera would come back. She didn't update the ticket. The guy asked me for proof of purchase. *sigh* I asked for a supervisor and made it clear that this kind of customer service was unacceptable. We'll see what happens.

At least I know what the repair is, it seems there is something wrong with the focusing motor and they have replaced it.

Update Jan 1:Camera back, still soft pictures.
So I get back from my international travel on Dec 16 and finally get to test out the camera. Result? Same issue is happening sporadically. I can get it to reliably focus manually and take good pictures so it's not mechanical. It could be variability in the motor or a sensor issue or even software. It's difficult to replicate twice in a row. But take a critical shot like my father in law heading back to LA after Christmas vacation and the whole shot is out of focus. The focal point is right, the lighting is fine, no good reason for it.

Tomorrow I raise another call. I hope that I can simply get it exchanged, even for a rebuilt model.

Update Jan 5:Going around in circles
Raised another call. Agent asks me what the aperture and speed settings are at. We discuss camera settings for a bit. Do a reset. I take more pictures. Same issue. He asks me to do an upload. The ticket isn't enabled so I figured he would just open it up later so I can upload images

Update Jan 8:Waiting on the service desk
Call is still not opened up so I can update images. I call in today and the agent is sending me shipping labels so I can send in the camera *again*. I am going to call Visa and see if they can get the camera replaced.

Update Jan 9:Still not working
Visa only comes into the picture once the 1-year warranty ends. I haven't received the shipping labels yet, so I decided to methodically test the focusing issues. I set up a tripod and various items in front of the camera with writing on them to see how it picked something to focus on and if the focal points matched up with the picture. Very often, where the camera says it's focusing isn't what it takes a picture of. I used the 39 point and 11 point AF settings as well as varying steps of AF-A AF-S and AF-C. Out of 20 pictures I had 1 that actually focused properly on the Sonicare toothbrush. The rest either focused on the wrong thing or focused on the toothbrush but something else was in focus. There is something in the logic of the camera that isn't right and replacing the motor won't fix it.

Update Jan 18: Sent the camera back
So sent in the Camera again. Filled out the survey and linked this review. Hopefully they figure out that it isn't the motor.

Update Jan 23: No way to get in touch with Nikon outside of the 'service' desk.
Called the service desk to check up on my camera status. I asked what were the escalation options past talking to the service desk. I didn't get a helpful answer but that's what you would expect from the front line. So I get moved up to a fairly obnoxious supervisor. So I find out that there is no other escalation number. No contact information. Nothing. Short of sending a letter to the corporate address, which will probably get me nothing, there is nothing else I can do but stay on the merry-go-round.

Update Feb 9: Camera is back in the shop
Uploaded more pictures and sent the body back in again. I did find a way to escalate within the service department outside of the number and I am crossing my fingers that it actually gets fixed this time. I took a picture of my son and just like the rest, his face is out of focus but the threads on his T-shirt are crystal clear. It's unbelievable that they have sent this back to me twice now.

Update Feb 25: Was out of town for a couple of weeks and now I have the camera back in hand. First few test shots, the issue is still there. The setting now is on single point (as agreed with the tech) and still the same thing. I have been able to get to Nikon corporate but I am not sure what else to do or can do at this point. I may actually go down to Best Buy and buy a new one to do a side by side comparison and then return that one just to clearly demonstrate the issue.
9494 comments289 of 328 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 29, 2011
The positives of the D7000 vs. D90 after two months of use:
1. I shoot mainly indoor sports primarily high school jazz and high-kick dance routines in low and lousy light typically. This camera is considerably better than the D90 in this area. Very sharp and bright images with little or no noise up to ISO 6400. I generally use a Nikon f/2.8 70-200mm VR lens which yields excellent results.

2. 100% image as shown in viewfinder.

3. New extra dial that lets you store two completely different sets of camera settings. This makes switching between two modes especially fast when needed.

The negatives (only applies if you expect to shoot many shots quickly and in raw)
1. One of the things even the expert reviewers are missing is that this camera at 16MP creates around a 20MB raw file. This isn't a problem for general use but when shooting rapid fire or shooting every second or so the buffer fills up before writing out to the card. You can take up to 10 shots at any speed you wish but once it is full you have to wait several seconds to open space to continue or take fewer shots which is what I do to not miss that all important moment. I never had this issue with the D90 - I could shoot as rapid as I wanted. Granted the image is much better/larger and in 14 or 12 bit raw but be aware of this limitation going in. When shooting JPEG, the buffer size increases considerably so if you normally shoot JPEG it might not be a problem.

2. The dual card slot sounds great. There are several menu options to configure how you want the slots to behave; mirror so that as you take each photo the camera writes out to the other card at the same time. Sounds great for backup? It is great if you shoot slow or general stuff. However, shooting quick, fast shots, it slows the write process down even further to the point where it is not very useable. So I always opt for having the second card to act as overflow so when the first card fills up it automatically switches to the second card. This doesn't seem to slow it down. There are also several different configurations for the dual card slots. I would suggest downloading the user manual from Nikon prior to purchase to see if it will meet your needs.

3. As you push the shutter release it is harder to determine when the shutter will close and slightly delayed on occasion compared to the D90 which was crisp and felt just right. Its not too bad once you get accustomed to it being more sensitive and know how to deal with it but at first you will notice a sharp contrast.

4. I added a battery grip which makes the camera balance and grip much better especially with the larger lens for going into portrait position. Nice features on it and well positioned. However, its a trade off in that you have to take the grip off every time you want to charge the battery that remains in the camera. Only one battery is in this battery grip vs. the design made for the D90 which was two.

In general I highly recommend this camera despite the comments above. The limitations above are something to be aware of for my shooting conditions. If these don't match how you plan to use the camera you will be delighted by it's performance over the D90. You will still be delighted in any case.
I also have used the D700 and D3 and I would say this camera produces images comparable to the D700 in in some cases superior. It's not D3 or D3X class but the images are hard to distinguish until you get into really low light situations.

No difference:
The magnesium body vs plastic body. I didn't really notice the difference between the two cameras. They feel and look about the same and weigh very close.
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on August 8, 2012
Auto Focus (AF). I want to provide my experience with the camera and my take on the AF situation.

1. Back-focus. Some claim their units have back-focus issue. The camera does have AF fine-tune that can be used to correct the focus. But if amount of back-focus extends outside the fine-tune range, then it will require Nikon service. I'm sure there are units that do indeed back-focus and need repair. But I suspect many more users mistakenly and incorrectly attribute any AF issue with back-focus. Anyone who says their unit back-focus sometimes or % of photos, then that is not true back-focus issue. Back-focus means the AF is not calibrated correctly. It will not focus right sometimes and miss focus sometimes. So I suspect the rate of true back-focus (quality control issue) is smaller than people claim.

2. Auto Focus learning curve. There is definitely learning curve on getting the D7000 to focus correctly. D7000 is very sensitive and this learning curve is steeper than expected. It will takes some practice (and possibly changing your shooting method) to get the focus consistently correct.

My experience. When I first got the camera, at least 50% of my images are soft for 1 reason or another. There are out of focus images, camera shakes, subject motion (try taking photo of baby and toddler who are constantly on the move), etc. I thought I had "back-focus" issue. After doing AF test, I confirmed there is no back-focus. But there is still AF reliability. After couple months reading web forums (particularly dpreview), I finally learned the tricks on improving the AF reliability.

First off, why so many people (including me) had problem with AF? My take:
- 16 meg. With 16 meg, you can zoom in to 1:1 and still see quite a bit of details. So any out of focus shots will be very apparent 1:1. This might not be the case with older DSLR with less than 12 meg.
- AF sensor. Web forums stated that the AF sensor size is larger than what users see in the viewfinder. This can cause confusion on exactly where the camera focuses. Sometimes the AF sensor focus on more contrasty region outside the AF box, which is not what the photographer intended.

Here are the suggestion on focus:

- Use 9-point dynamic AF area mode.
- Use the center AF point only, rather than the other 11 or 39 AF points.
The center 9 AF points are cross type, so they can focus on both vertical and horizontal features. The other AF points are either vertical or horizontal, which are not as sensitive. If using the center AF point with 9-point dynamic AF area mode, then all the center 9 cross-type AF sensors are being actively used.

- Use AF-C, not AF-S. With AF-C, the focus is continuously being updated. While focus is activated, move the camera ever so slightly, so the subject (area where you want to focus on) is being moved around the AF box in the viewfinder. As you are doing this, the focus is being updated and improved. When the focus stops changing (you can hear it in the lens) even as camera is being move slightly, then you know you have focus locked. You probably don't have to do this all the time. But for subject that can move (like kids and pets), indoors (lower light), and low contrast subjects, this really helps.

- Use 1/250 sec or faster shutter speeds. I was used to using 1/90 sec and sometimes down to 1/60 or 1/45 sec on P&S. There is no way I can use these low shutter speed without camera shake and blur on D7000. I basically use 1/250 sec or faster, even with VR lens. I sometimes push to 1/180 sec when needed, but I notice more blurry photos. Your mileage can vary depending on how steady your hands are. But expect to use faster shutter speeds than you are used to.

- Use AF-ON. Personal taste. I just find using AF-ON with AF-C together works better.

- If your lens is VR, make sure you hold the shutter button half-press for 1 sec before clicking, because it takes some time for the VR to settle. This is particularly true if you use AF-ON for focusing.

Even with the AF learning curve, I still rate D7000 5 Stars. I have being using D7000 for over 1 year now. The image quality, low light performance, dynamic range, and features are just incredible. Luckily, I'm able to figure out the AF issue (or non-issue) 2-3 months after I got the camera. Now, I don't even think about the AF while shooting. I can keep my attention on the subject and framing; and enjoy the resulting images.

If you don't want to deal with the AF learning curve, then stay away from D7000. Out of focus photos are no fun and there is no way to recover those images.
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on November 25, 2011
I own the Nikon D80 and was looking for an upgrade camera without breaking the bank. Researched the D7000 and was everything i was looking for and then some.

i have owned the D7000 for approximately 3 weeks now. i have taken hundreds of photos since i received it. i went from the D80 10MP to 16MP. At first i thought i was not understanding my camera and these 39 Focus Points compared to the D80's eleven FP.

i took some low light/ evening photos and the camera really captured well. i was not using a tripod and i put the focus problem on them being handheld pics. But still had the focus fuzzy issue. I even tried my D80 and it took grainier but crisper photos in comparison.

i went camping last weekend with the family and couldn't wait to take some nature/ family photos. Nearly 95% of my photos are terrible and unusable, due to the Back Focus problem. On the camera review screen it is not an issue but once i got home and downloaded 250 pictures it is extremely noticeable focus problems. Group photos had all the front row people out of focus and the scenery 20 foot behind crystal clear.

i thought it was user error (new camera/39 FP) But the more i shot and tried different lens, different settings no better.

i even let a pro friend of mine try and and she said it is definitely a back focus issue.

Conclusion:

I LOVED the D7000 compared to my D80 in ergonomics, weight, and screen size.
I cannot comment on the optics and picture quality because none of the photos i took came out correct.

i am sending the camera back to AMAZON. i hope to repurchase another D7000 soon when they are back in stock. I will give it one more try before completely condemning the D7000.

UPDATE 8-13-2012

My D7K was stolen in April 2012. I purchased another one in June. It had a focus problem, i say this because i again sent NIKON some test pictures and they confirmed a problem and told me to send it in for repair. I had already returned the camera to Amazon who gave me a refund instead of shipping me a new camera. As of todays date, i have not purchased a new D7k becasue of the back focus issues.
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on December 6, 2010
There are several well done and detailed reviews here (B. Fuller +). Please just allow me to add a few considerations.

I now have my second D7000. The first one was from the very first batch shipped and several in this batch had focusing problems (many comments on DPReview). With all lenses, and most noticeably at their maximum zoom setting, the focus was terrible. This second camera is perfect. I would guess Nikon fixed a bug in their setup routine (think Hubble :-)

A second problem receiving numerous comments concerns "hot pixels" in live view / video mode at high ISO settings and dark surroundings. All sensors have a few pixels that are defective, are mapped, and are "fixed" to look like their neighboring pixels. This makes it a near zero problem. Unfortunately in live view / video mode the D7000 does not "hide" these pixels. My current D7000 has one annoying red pixel that is easily visible about 1/3 of the time on an HDTV monitor when shooting indoors. According to DPReview, Nikon has announced a new firmware release to solve this problem. It is no longer a concern of mine.

I have also spent a fair bit of time comparing lenses (Koren 203 lens test chart - plus printed text and fabrics). The unexpected result is that the 18 to 105mm kit lens is nearly equal to my 60mm micro Nikkor D lens in the 18 to 35mm range (f-8). My 70 - 300mm lens (F/4.5-5.6 G IF-ED) was better than the 28 - 300mm (f 3.5 -5.6 G ED VR) in the 70 to 200 range but not quite as good at 300. The 70 - 300 produces equal centers and slightly sharper edges than the kit lens at 70mm and up. All my tests were done using jpg files with the camera setting bumped one notch for both sharpness and contrast. The differences are much less obvious and far less important in real world use. Photos of a large blooming orchid plant look almost equal on 13" x 19" prints when I was careful with the f-stop (if in doubt use f-8).

Update: I have tested this camera in various light situations. The dynamic range system works quite well but there are occasions where you can not trust the camera's auto metering. DPReview noted: "Tendency to overexpose in bright sunshine/high contrast situations". A few of my daylight photos confirm that you need to be watchful in bright sun. I would suggest routinely setting the exposure compensation -2/3 rds stop (down) outdoors on a sunny day. There are other suggestions on the internet but this is by far the easiest to remember and undo for me. Nikon did not confirm or deny if they will include an adjustment for this in their firmware release.

A video note:
The focusing during video shooting tends to hunt and be noisy. The noise is more noticeable when reviewing in camera than on an HDTV system. One solution is to think "producer" and edit together a series of shots instead of continuous shooting.

Update: The Sennheiser MKE 400 Shotgun Microphone was a nice addition for video. The focus noise becomes less noticeable and the quality is very good. The mic is quite compact and does not make the set up look too over the top. It seemed better to use a medium mic sensitivity (2) than AGC when shooting.

Within the camera setup there are a number of focus options including changing the delay time before the camera tries to refocus (0 delay and 5 other options). There are many other options including subject tracking and facial recognition. The method I am currently using is to set it to center refocus when I half press the shutter release. I have made the mistake of fully depressing it though, and that terminates recording. If you are primarily interested in video the Panasonic GH1 / 2 is more designed for that. The D7000 is spectacular still camera first, and capable of beautiful video when carefully used second.

A personal bias:
I believe the D7000 is capable of more than many of the Nikon DX lenses are delivering. Great lenses are a strength of Nikon, let's keep the heat on them to design lenses that maximize the images from their DX cameras too.
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on December 10, 2012
I have been shooting with a Nikon D7000 now for about a year. During that year it has been through hell constantly. Its been all over the country, and all over a war zone. I want to start by saying, this is truly a rugged camera. I am a Combat Photographer for the army. I use my own equipment as my command is cheap and worthless. Currently, I am deployed overseas and this camera gets used every day.

I chose the D7K a year ago because of a few things. Things that are unlike mosts.

1: Its rugged and weather sealed. While it does occasionally see a downpour it spends a lot of time dealing with very high levels of dust. I do a full service on it about once a month and each time, There is literally no dust where there shouldn't be. For rain, Make sure you get a lens with a weather seal. Not even the Kit lens has a weather seal. I use mainly a 28, 35 and 50 prime. They all have weather seals and have all been used in heavy rain, no water got passed the lens into the camera. When I say heavy rain, I truly mean the worst rain your mind can imagine. This camera will take it. Though, touching on Rugged, I must say the Kit lens 18-105mm is a good lens IQ wise, not bad for a kit lens, in fact Id say its the best kit lens for a non pro camera. Though, aside from IQ This lens is NOT rugged, in fact, its cheap. The mount is plastic, the barrel is cheap plastic and after so little use (mainly use primes and my 2.8 zooms) part of the outer barrel broke while zooming. I'd say go for the body only and get a good fast prime or a 2.8 zoom. Something that is as rugged as the camera.

2: Its light. The D7000 is really an easy camera to carry around. Slap a 35 or 50mm pancake lens on it and you can pocket it. (army pants... big pockets) It fits easy in pouches/bags and is light enough to cart around all day. I don't use the neck strap, I either use a shoulder harness or a wrist strap. super easy to weald, point and shoot. Buttons are in the right spots and with a battery grip its still not too heavy. Just right.

3: Movies: Normally, Id carry around a Sony video camera and a DSLR. This was troublesome switching back and forth, lots of photos or video footage lost just changing back and forth. The D7000 does not take as good of video as my Sony did, though the Sony costs more than the D7000 and is made for Video. However, The D7K DOES take amazing footage and has full manual video. having my DSLR shoot video and photos has allowed me to carry less and shoot more photos and video. Being able to use my DSLR lenses to shoot video has saved me money from buying different glass for my video camera to do the same thing, Planning on selling the Sony when I get back as I just don't use it, sits in a case now. The D7K lacks a Audio monitor port which is a flaw IMO. However, I use a Zoom audio recorder and I can plug my headphones into it to monitor audio. I also use a RODE video mic pro. The internal mic is useless, too tinny, but for most users not shooting important video's or movies wont care.

4: Battery life: The battery on the D7K lasts a very long time. Even shooting video and images it lasts a whole day. I carry 4 batteries when I go out. 2 in the camera (battery grip) and 2 spare. only had to change once. Quite amazing.

5: large dials/buttons: I wear gloves. Constantly. Currently its freezing cold and often snowing/snow on the ground. Being able to use this camera in the cold with gloves is great. The cold does not stop this camera but it sure stops my hands so using gloves with fingers NOT cut out is a must. Big command dial and spaced out buttons makes it easy. Any fine tuning that needs to be done I just say to U1 or U2.

All in all its a great camera. Mine has had all the paint worn off on the edges, chipping all over the front, the flash is broken after it went down a rocky hill bouncing about, and a small dent in the corner after it fell.... actually.... I dropped it.... from about 5 feet. Thing is, The camera still works perfect. Its nearing its lifespan (148,384 images) but still works great. still kicking. a true trooper.

Its not with out some issues but they are small. Often when I shut off the camera, the top LCD still shows all the standard information and wont turn off (shows everything, not just image count) so I have to turn it off and on until it goes off. The camera is off when that happens, just the top LCD stays on. Wish they would fix that with a Firmware update but it seems Nikon is not really supporting it anymore specially since the D600 and 800 recently came out. Few issues with it dropping memory cards at random. Doesn't matter brand but certainly effects my PNY's the most. Id avoid them with this camera. Class 10 is a must.

5/5 in my book. Any electronic device that can take such a heavy beating non stop for a year in bad weather and bad temps and keep doing what it was made too do is a winner.

If you don't want a FX sensor (award winning images can easily be taken on cheap 100$ cameras, its all about the photographer not the camera) and don't want 60FPS video, This is Nikons best choice for you. Its a truly versatile camera.
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on December 7, 2010
Family man with kids, D70 was getting limited usage (portrait use only) while the point-n-shoot (with HD video, Pana LX3) was getting more usage. D7000 came in as a great upgrade (the cost part was the most painful one, $1500 with lens) option and I pulled the trigger wheh Amazon had it in stock momentarily last week. Have played with it for a brief 3 days and here are some additional info some of you might be interested in.

I debated the kit lens (18-105) vs what I already had from D70 (18-70). The 18-70 is slightly faster, the 18-105 starts at 3.5 max open apperture, and quicks turns to 4.5 at 35mm equivalent. So that was a little bit of an issue I thought. But teh longer zoom range (105mm, which is more like 157mm with 1.5x DX factor) did provide an upgrade option without much weight (18-200 would have been better but is heavier, slightly more $$). But the super silent motor on the lens made it worth the upgrade - as for video taking, the slient motor does play a very useful role. It is just as sharp for a kit lens as you can get. My 18-70 didn't have VR. This one does and I think that is another positive if video shooting is important particularly if you are walking and recording video. So I justified myself with buying the kit lens. I already have the 50mm 1.8 (75mm with DX), for those portrait sessions. Might buy the 35mm 1.8 as my standard lens somepoint in the future.
So my lens list would be:
1. 35mm/1.8 for most indoor people/kid photo/video.
2. 50mm/1.8 for portrait sessions.
3. 18-105 (or 18-200) would be for travel/outdoors.

The video:
With kids around, video shooting is very important. And D7000 delivered that with great results actually - to my surprise. Videos are bright, audio is clear even with the built-in microphone. The kit lens aperture (3.5 max) didn't impact the video quality to be any dark - with ambient light, the quality was great.

Photos with kit lens (18-105):
The indoor photos came our very very colorful and bright - despite what I had thought of. I realized that D7000 was moving to ISO3200 (my max level under Auto config in the menu) to compensate for the low light. I was worried that ISO3200 would render the picture quality low - grainy. But I must admit - my jaws dropped when I saw that even at ISO3200, the quality is GREAT (16MP do help here), for most print situations (letter size or slightly more). I think, this is really where the D7000 shines the most compared to other prosumre DSLRs of today. I went ahead and changed the AUTO ISO setting to max of 1600, and teh results are still great with the kit lens. With my 50mm or 35mm 1.8 lens, I will move ISO to at most 400, and I am sure I will be more than happy.

I will add in more comments as I play with it more.

Just one line on the memory cards I am using:
I bought two 8GB transcend Class10 SD cards and configured 'duplication' of all photos. So the 2nd card is used by D7000 as a backup (automatic copy). This is a great feature. So far, no issues or delays recording video or photos to these cards. These Class10 cards are not as fast as the SanDisk 30MB/s cards, but I don't see issues in my situations. Combined, they were much cheaper than the SanDisk equivalents.

with 8GB at full resolution and FINE JPEG setting, I think the total photos one can take are in the 700-800 range (sorry don't have details in front of me at this time). The default on D7000 was full resolution and 'NORMAL' JPEG, which was yielding higher total photo capacity (1,100 I think).

cheers
PN
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