464 of 494 people found the following review helpful
Great Camera -- A perspective from a D300/700 Owner,
This review is from: Nikon D7000 16.2MP DX-Format CMOS Digital SLR with 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX VR ED Nikkor Lens (Camera)
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.
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. 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.
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.
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 if you are already invested in lenses.
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.
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Showing 1-10 of 59 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 26, 2010 11:57:51 AM PDT
Outstanding review! I'm using a 7 year old Canon Powershot A80 (still acquits itself well) and looking to upgrade. Narrowed it all down to Canon, Nikon or Panasonic. Everything from the new Panasonic FZ100 bridge to the Canon 7D and now the D7000. Your positive take on the Panasonic GH1/GH2 aligns with others who have actually used them on a daily basis as opposed to some of the less than enthusiastic "professional" reviews found on the Internet. Thanks again for the in-depth review. I can now make an even more informed decision, that is, assuming I ever make it.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 26, 2010 12:49:36 PM PDT
Hi P. Polena,
Thank you for your comments. Congratulations on actually going out and shooting with what you have rather than getting caught up in the upgrade fervor. Give Rembrandt a crayon and he could still out paint me with the most professional oil paint set.
I think the GH1 is the best all around camera on the planet. Not necessarily the best at anything but pretty darn good in just about everything. I think the GH2 will replace it. Unfortunately, it is not as good as it could be because Panasonic is wasting resources on 3D and pimping out video to the exclusion of stills. They were working on back illuminated senors and electronic shutters for the G2 which would have yielded a flash sync speed of ~1/2000 instead of the crappy 1/160 it has. The G2 is not really worth wasting time with. When Panasonic comes out with a 12mm f/1.4, 35-100 f/2.8, 300mm f/4, and 2x teleconverter then they will wipe the floor with just about everyone else. I was recently on a trip and only carried a G1, GH1, 5 lenses, flash, and iPad. Weight = 5lbs! That is less than some cameras and less than a D300 with just a 14-24mm. It is not just the small size but the handling of the GH1 that is outstanding also. There really are too many features to cover but it is a good system. The GH1 is also selling right now for $1000 which is down $500 from what I paid for it. When you think about the lens which is a 14-140mm (28-280mm) 10x superzoom that sells for $800 by itself, then that is a pretty good deal.
I personally believe m4/3 and smaller sensors are the future. In the not too distant future (10 years), I think we will be seeing a 1/1.6" interchangeable lens system that shoots as nicely as DSLRs do today.
Anyway, thanks for your comments. If you have any questions about anything I will be more than happy to assist. My expertise goes down to the LX5, Canon S95, Nikon P7000, Canon G12 level. Also, I am a big believer in the fact that I can't advise people in what they should or should not get. All I can do is point out the wheat from the chaff and try to ask meaningful questions which will assist.
Posted on Nov 1, 2010 2:35:40 PM PDT
I really have to question your objectivity when you end up your review with a cheer-leading tirade for a different product from another company. This is supposed to be a review of a Nikon D7000 not a buying guide or a sales pitch for other cameras or Photoshop plugins. Anyways, a few points to your review:
- "The lack of a mirror flipping up is a benefit in all cases". Not if you dislike the shortcomings of EVFs (lag, unusable in low light conditions, additional power consumption)
- "you can use just about any lens ever made on this camera". But only a handful will auto-focus, so that's really bad advice, especially for the "non-DSLR owners looking at this price point", who most likely don't want to tinker with manual focus. Compare that with a tens of Nikkor lenses focusing on Nikon bodies.
- "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 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." Seriously??? What does this have to do with a D7000???
Posted on Nov 1, 2010 10:03:44 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 1, 2010 10:05:38 PM PDT
Tom North says:
Great review, all the comments about the GH1 and GH2 may be miss placed, but absolutely perfect for me. I enjoyed my D200 very much, wanted some video and switched to the GH1 (but kept several Nikon lenses). Now we have the D7000, wow. My first impressions are:
The Nikon seems to conspicuously hunt focus during video shooting - Or have I just not found the right settings?
It seems there is more focus noise during video shooting, if you have the 2 cameras side by side can you confirm this?
The GH1 would occasionally refuse to focus on a small animal dead center on the screen surrounded by brush, had problems?
How would you compare the D7000 focus and shutter speed to the GH2? I think the D7000 could do butterflies in flight, how about the GH2?
Could you compare the Nikon 60mm macro to the Leica DG 45mm Macro-Elmarit (wow $$$)?
Have you tested the Nikon 55 - 300 or the 16 - 85mm lenses? Compared to the Panasonic 14 - 140mm?
Thanks for all your thoughtful efforts, Tom
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2010 1:13:18 PM PDT
Thank you for your comments. I have used them to improve my review. I meant to talk about the manual focus so I appreciate that.
However, why the hostile attitude. The D7000 is a great DSLR one of the best. However, the DSLR will soon be obsolete and all the Nikon lenses I own will be obsolete right along with it. That is a significant chunk of change. If I was just starting today, I would not want to be spending money on lenses that will be mostly obsolete in a few years. As far as a sales pitch for other products, I think Amazon might disagree with you as they include the Insert Product Link. Also, I had several questions about printing large (24x30). 16mp is not really enough to print at that size so I was letting people know about other options.
Tirade is defined as a long, angry speech of criticism or accusation. I don't think my review fits into any of those except for long.
Anyway, I like to give people as much information as possible for them to make an informed decision. I have no dog in any fight. If they buy Canon, Nikon, Panasonic, Sony, or Nothing it doesn't effect me.
Thanks again for your feedback as I believe honest criticism is the best way to improve.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2010 1:39:16 PM PDT
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them. Here are my answers to your questions.
1) No I have not found any settings. The fact is that Panasonic has cracked the Contrast Focus problem and no one else really has. Sony and Olympus are probably number two with Canon and Nikon lagging behind. The Panasonic is fantastic and no one else is close.
2) Focus noise during video is going to be lens specific (much like auto focus speed.) The 14-140 is a specially designed video lens that features silent focus motors and step-less aperture changes. If you look on your 14-140 you will see HD on it. That is to indicate it is a video specialized lens. To my knowledge, Nikon has not designed any special video lenses. So the AFS will be the quietest but even they can be heard.
3) Have you tried the 1-Area focus setting. You can move the box wherever you want and size the box as desired. That should fix that problem. Also, the GH2 has touch focus so with that camera you can just touch what you want to focus and presto.
4) Tough to compare as focus speed is lens dependent and what mode you have set. As far as shutter speed goes the GH2 is only 1/4000 while the D7000 is 1/8000. However 1/4000 is fast enough to stop motion. I think either camera could do butterflies in flight but you are going to have significant misses. Also, if the butterfly is a small part of the frame then single spot (1-Area) focus would work best.
5) I actually don't have either the 60mm or Leica DG 45mm but I have tried the Leica 45mm. It is a nice lens but I don't recommend or own it. I have the Nikon 200mm and it works fantastic. The thing to note on Macro, is that auto focus is almost worthless so it doesn't matter that the Nikon loses auto focus. The 60mm is going to be 120mm on the GH1 which is pretty good. The Nikon 105mm would be 210mm. Any lens that gets 1:1 on FX will get 2:1 on m4/3 with the same depth of field as 1:1 or you can get 2x depth of field by moving out twice the distance.
6) I have not tried either of those lenses. From what I have read though the 70-300mm is a better lens. I don't know anything about the 16-85mm. I have found the 14-140mm to be a gem of a lens and use it often. (It is quite a bit smaller than the 18-200 or 28-300mm).
I recently went on a trip to Egypt and I didn't take a bit of Nikon gear with me. I took a G1 and GH1 with 5 lenses, a flash and iPad (5lbs of stuff. The D700 and 14-24mm is around 7lbs by itself) When Panasonic comes out with the 35-100mm f/2.8 and 300mm f/2.8 (600mm f/2.8 equivalent!!!) and improve their flashes, people will be tired of lugging all that weight around. M4/3 is the wave of the future. Even the DX mirror-less systems are going to be larger and heavier.
Talk with you later and happy shooting.
Posted on Nov 3, 2010 11:29:34 AM PDT
B. Locher says:
I think the review started out pretty good. Obviously everyone is going to have their own opinions about what is important, what they consider to be a "pro" and a "con." For me, 16MP isn't a con when you can turn down the setting, size being small isn't a pro, I need something to hold since my hands are larger. Live view is not really for serious shooters, I've shot football games and professional sets, I've never seen a single person use live view. For me, Nikon getting a new battery, charger and grip all sucked. You did make some great points under "useful photography features," all those are helpful. For me, this camera is great but I'd much rather keep my D300s, and for anyone considering this camera for $1200 might just look into the D90, unless you really want 1080 video over 720 and you really want that bigger photo size. Both are great and I wouldn't see really spending the cash to upgrade from a D90 and I definitely wouldn't leave my D300s for this thing.
Posted on Nov 3, 2010 12:05:00 PM PDT
E. Hung says:
Great review. I am wondering if the SONY NEX would be a better system than the Panasonic micro 4/3 since the size of the CMOS sensor could make a difference in ISO noise performance. The relatively smaller size of the NEX does look a little odd when a 18-200 lens is mounted on it. But at $599, the NEX3 costs a lot less than the GH1 or GH2.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2010 12:10:44 PM PDT
Thank you for your comments and perspective. I think it helps people a lot to hear other perspectives. My point on the 16mp being a con is that it will take up more hard drive space and require greater processing while really not returning anything to the average user. If Nikon had stayed at 12mp then the ISO characteristics might have even bested the D700. For what most people do with their pictures 12mp is more than enough. It is a mixed bag, I like it in some instances and will dislike it in some instances. So for me it is a pro and con. It is helpful for marketing so good for Nikon. As far as live view, no one who shoot DSLRs uses it because it sucks. And no one is shooting GH1s because panasonic is too stupid to realize the 300mm f/2.8 is the killer app for m4/3. Also because the foolishly focused on video and 3D over stills. They are working on an electronic shutter for m4/3. What would you give for a 600mm f/2.8 equivalent that can shoot 16mp at 24+ FPS and is far smaller than your 300mm f/2.8! That combo would rock the sports, paparazzi, wild life, etc world. Throw in a 35-100mm f/2 and now the wedding and event business is yours. If Panasonic had done that with the GH2, DSLR would practically vanish over night. Oh yes Pani flashes suck so that needs to be fixed. Anyway the live view on the GH2 is astounding. Lets go back to the 300mm f/2.8 and football game shooting. While everyone else is getting the same old mono pod picture, the person using live view could have the camera on the ground getting a perspective no one ever gets. Or could be holding the camera over their head and getting a top down perspective. Or could be holding the monopod up with a remote trigger to get an angle no one gets. You are right that no one is doing it but the first that does will lead a revolution. Panasonic is putting out the 100-300mm lens. That might be something to try during the day. It won't have the shallow depth of field of the f/2.8 but if the subject is close enough then one should still get some amazing shots. Also, 3fps is not going to leave anyones heart pounding.
I too am tired or the unnecessary money grab by camera companies. I understand the need to make a profit but you don't have to keep gouging your loyal customers by switching the grips and batteries. Unfortunately, they all do it.
I agree with what you say about the D300s and D90. If I owned those cameras I would skip this round and wait for the next. Same for if I still owned my D700. However, if I didn't have a camera then I would get the D7000 over the D90 because it would mean I can skip the next round. Also, if someone is a little bit patient(4 months) then the D7000 price will drop by $100-$200 and it will be much closer to what the D90 costs now. For me the high ISO that I enjoyed with the D700 is important to me.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2010 12:59:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 3, 2010 1:01:24 PM PDT
Hi E. Hung,
That is a great question. First off the NEX takes some nice pictures and is very small. However, the handling sucks on it and it lacks both a grip and EVF to see in daylight conditions. Second, the price difference is deceiving. The NEX comes with a $150 18-55mm lens while the GH1 and GH2 come with a $750 10-140 superzoom with ultrasilent focus and stepless aperture changes. If you factor that in, then while the GH2 is still overpriced that puts the GH1 at $200-$250 which is a steal for how great that camera is. The size is the next issue. While it is true that the NEX is smaller than the GH1 and GH2, the overall size of these cameras has a ton more to do with the lens that it is wearing rather than the camera itself. With a 1.5x crop vs the 2x crop of the m4/3, the NEX lenses are always going to bigger and heavier than the m4/3. In the near future (5 years) we will see a 1/1.6" replaceable camera system. When that first comes out the sensor will not be as good as the then dominant m4/3 size but it will be close and the lenses much smaller. As far as handling goes the GH1 and GH2 spank the crap out of the NEX. It is no contest. Now I will say that the GH1 and GH2 have the best handling of any DSLR system so one would expect that. However, the NEX is so bad as to be pathetic. With the exception of the sensor on the GH2, the video capabilities of the GH2 are far superior to every other DSLR out there.
I now come to what most people are going to point to as the m4/3 weakness, the sensor. What I am about to say is meaningless in the grand scheme of things but is important for marketing purposes and understanding the limitations of ones camera. First, all m4/3 systems with the exception of the GH1 and GH2 are well below the NEX and DX sized sensors. Here are the DXO Mark Stats for the GH1 and NEX 3 and NEX 5. GH1 - Overall 64, ISO 772 (The next closest m4/3 is the EP-2 at 56 and 505), NEX 3 - Overall 68, ISO 830, NEX 5 - Overall 69 ISO 796. So the GH1 sensor is very close to the NEX cameras. Although it hasn't been tested yet, I can almost guarantee the GH2 sensor is going to stomp the NEX sensors on DXO mark and many other DX sensors. You will be able to shoot clean at ISO 1600 and usable up to ISO 6400! So the sensor is not an issue. And every generation the gap is going to close further. So 5 years down the road the sensor definitely won't matter but your NEX lenses will still be larger and heavier than my m4/3 lenses. Something to remember with replaceable lens systems is that you don't buy for the camera, you buy for the lenses. Cameras come and go but you keep the lenses. The Pani lenses are fantastic and will always be smaller.
Let me also talk about what Panasonic is researching and should have put on the GH2 but unfortunately they wasted their resources on video and 3D so they weren't able to put this on. Hopefully it will be on the GH3. Because the m4/3 is smaller than the DX sized chip, they are close to being able to put an electronic shutter on the camera. Here is what that is going to do for you. First, bye bye crappy 1/160 flash sync, hello 1/4000th. Shutter speeds could easily be 1/16,0000. No more puny 150,000 shutter actuations, hello infinity. And, wait for it, without a mechanical shutter to slow things down, it will be simple to have 24+ fps still shooting as long as the buffer and memory card could handle it. The reason this won't be on a DX anytime soon is because of the heating problem.
So for right now, the NEX is slightly better than the GH1 in terms of its sensor. However, the handling of the GH1 is far far far better than the NEX. Also, when Panasonic is smart enough to come out with a 300mm fast prime and a 35-200mm fast zoom and some better flashes they will kick some butt.
Anyway, about the only people I would recommend the NEX to are people wanting to shoot Leica or other 35mm lenses. They are going to want the closest sensor to FX size they can get. Other than that, if Panasonic markets their product correctly and puts the research into stills they will wipe the competition off the face of the camera market. Nikon and Canon won't have their lens line to save them anymore.
That is my two cents. The GH2 comes with a much better lens(14-140mm), has worlds better handling (external switches, EVF, grip, etc), more lenses, smaller lenses, is the worlds best DSLR style combo cam, and has the best potential in front of it. Stay away from any other m4/3 but the GH line really shine.
Good luck and happy shooting.