Customer Review

158 of 165 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars D7000 vs. the D90, February 15, 2011
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This review is from: Nikon D7000 DSLR (Body Only) (Camera)
Hundreds of general reviews of the D7000 have already been written, so instead of trying to reinvent that wheel I will address specific issues that people who are thinking of upgrading may find helpful. If you currently own a D80 the upgrade is a no-brainer. Just do it, you won't regret it. If you're using a D90, as I was before, you may be considering the upgrade to a D7000 a bit more skeptically.

I am a serious amateur/hobbyist with more than 50 years of experience in photography, and have progressed from a D50 to a D80 to a D90 (each owned for two years), to the D7000 purchased two months ago.

Initially I wondered if the upgrade from a D90 would really be worth it. Well, it definitely is. The D7000 isn't an upgrade to the D90 in the traditional sense that we tend to think of upgrades, it's a whole NEW CAMERA. The improvements I'm most impressed with that matter most to me personally for my kind of photography?

1. New sensor with greater dynamic range and superior high-ISO performance. The first DX body to come close to approximating FX cameras in these areas.

2. New 39-point AF module that puts the D80 and D90's 11-point AF to shame in AF-C and makes easy work of any kind of action photography. Not only faster and more precise autofocusing, but also a significantly improved method for quickly choosing different AF modes.

3. Improved layout of buttons and controls on the body, but with a nearly identical menu structure to the D90 that makes it easy to learn and implement everything, including the D7000's new features. The learning curve should be minimal coming from a D80 or D90. And there are enough similarities to the D300 to make it an easy transition.

4. Metering, especially matrix metering, is more accurate in a wider variety of lighting conditions -- definitely improved over the D90 and a major improvement over the D80. A camera's meter readings are always suggestions, not commandments, and EV compensation is often necessary. But the D7000's matrix metering gets the exposure very close to right the vast majority of the time.

5. The D7000's light touch (hair trigger) shutter release takes a little getting used to, but it definitely minimizes the chance of camera motion blur when taking a picture. I understand that D300 and D700 users won't notice much difference in the touch, but it's a major improvement if you're coming from any of Nikon's consumer DSLRs.

6. The 6 fps continuous mode is plenty fast enough to capture very fast action like birds in flight. And the new dial configuration makes it easier than ever to change shooting modes quickly.

7. Programmable U1 and U2 modes eliminate time-consuming menu diving and button pushing when you want to switch instantaneously between settings for different situations (landscape or scenic shots vs. action photography, for example).

8. The introduction of several "pro body features" in a consumer camera like AF fine tuning, which is not something you need all the time or want to use indiscriminately, but it's wonderful to have when you need it.

9. Better construction gives the D7000 a "pro feel" not present in other consumer grade Nikon bodies. A subjective opinion, I know, but just picking up a D7000 tells you that you're handling a very solid, serious piece of equipment.

10. Yes, we all bemoaned the introduction of a new D7000 battery. But this new EN-EL15 is a powerhouse that will give the Energizer Bunny a run for his money. A very positive new enhancement.

11. Last but not least (lest we forget the real purpose of a camera), I am taking better pictures (technically, at least) with my D7000 than I did with my D90 -- and doing so much more easily and efficiently. Compared to the 2-3 months it took me to adapt to the D80 and D90 when I upgraded to those bodies before I began getting really satisfactory results, there hasn't been any such prolonged learning curve with my D7000.

I have not commented on the D7000's video capabilities because I don't shoot video with it. I have noted that autofocusing with any lens in Live View is rather slow, even in good light, and many lenses may have difficulty achieving an accurate focus lock in low light. And a few lenses may fail to autofocus in Live View at all. This is not really important to me because I very rarely use this feature, but it is something to be aware of.

A word about lenses: Achieving the best results with the higher resolution of the 16MP D7000 does require good lenses. The 18-105 VR kit lens is adequate and will yield perfectly satisfactory results. However, obtaining the superior image quality that the camera is capable of calls for better quality glass. For an excellent general purpose "walkaround" lens that is also a Best Buy at $449, I personally recommend the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM Lens for Nikon Mount Digital SLR Cameras. I prefer this Sigma to the somewhat overpriced Nikon 16-85 VR. To cover the telephoto range, I would suggest adding the excellent Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED IF AF-S VR Nikkor Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras to your arsenal.

I hope Amazon shoppers for the D7000 body only who thinking of upgrading from a previous DSLR find my observations helpful.

UPDATE ON 03/16/11 --

Here is a link to my Flickr photostream if you would like view some of the photos I have taken with the D7000. They include the EXIF info and were taken with the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM and Nikon 70-300 VR.


One feature I didn't mention in my original review is in-camera editing. This is not something new, but it's much more robust in the D7000 and I use it quite a bit. For example, JPEG shooters will appreciate the in-camera WB adjustment that lets you correct color balance that's way off right in the camera and then make subtle adjustments in post processing. Likewise, in-camera B&W and sepia conversions produce images with a full tonal gradient for later creative manipulation on the computer. Both of these are handy time-savers, and your original image always remains intact. The in-camera cropping options have also been expanded to include virtually all of the popular formats and provide excellent flexibility for basic cropping.

The more I use my D7000, the more I appreciate what a significant upgrade it is to the D90.
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Tracked by 5 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 28, 2011 11:01:09 PM PST
J. Wolfson says:
Just wondering why you prefer the Sigma 17-70 over the Nikon 16-85 (a lens I often use) Are you getting better results?

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 1, 2011 7:59:58 PM PST
R. Willard says:
Both are excellent consumer lenses, but I do prefer the Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM over the Nikon 16-85 VR. Overall image quality is virtually a tossup with the Sigma being a bit sharper at the long end when stopped down to f/5.6 or f/8. The Sigma is faster, nice for low light and controlling DOF. The near-macro capability of the Sigma is the best in class with a magnification ratio of 1:2.7. OS works as well as, if not a little better than, Nikon's VR. Autofocusing is quick, quiet and precise with both lenses, effectively a tie. Build quality is also a tie -- both are solid and nicely finished. In my buying decision, the above advantages outweighed the additional 15mm on the long end of the zoom range (which would be nice to have in many cases). I also feel that the Nikon is somewhat overpriced at $620, while the Sigma is a "Best Buy" at $449.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 2, 2011 9:58:12 PM PST
J. Wolfson says:
Thanks. Great info.

Posted on Mar 16, 2011 8:21:34 PM PDT
Amberlyn says:
Thank you so much for your review. I've come back to it several times, just double-checking my decision to upgrade from the D90. I'm taking the plunge! Thanks for your specific review for folks like me who are upgrading and wondering if it's worth it. I'm excited for it to come in the mail!!

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 16, 2011 10:37:07 PM PDT
R. Willard says:
Thank you for your kind comments, Amberlyn. All I can add is that the more I use my D7000, the more impressed I am with it. I know you're going to love what is really a significant step up from a D90.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2011 10:53:59 AM PDT
Hello! Your review was EXTREMELY helpful for me. I am getting ready to upgrade to a DSLR from a 20-year old Nikon N8008s. I have AF lenses, including a Nikkor Micro 105mm 1:2.8. I was looking at the d5100 but realized I'd need all new glass to auto focus. Which led me to either the d7000 or d90.

Now I'm wondering if all the glass I have warrants the direction I'm going, however. Was going to contact you thru Flickr but your Flickr address/account doesn't show in your review. Thanks much! -- Sundquist

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2011 9:04:35 PM PDT
R. Willard says:
Glad to hear that you found my review helpful. Moving from your good, but old Nikon P&S to a DSLR will open you up to a whole new world of photography. The D7000 is also the camera I would recommend. The D90 is now old technology and -- as I said in my review -- the D7000 is not just an upgrade, but a whole new generation of camera. I would only get a D90 if I couldn't possibly afford a D7000, or perhaps as a backup body.

With such a dramatic upgrade it's expected that you will probably want to adjust your inventory of lenses with an eye toward those that will autofocus on the D7000 (which includes the vast majority of Nikon lenses, including many of the fine older ones). Your Micro Nikkor 105mm f/2.8 is a truly superb lens, and a perfect match for the D7000. This follow-on reply to my review of the camera here isn't really an appropriate place to discuss the relative merits of lenses in detail. However, if you would like to exchange thoughts on the subject of lenses, feel free to contact me via Flickrmail through my home page there at

I would add one caveat if you're going to be shopping for a D7000. The tragedy in Japan has resulted in a nearly complete interruption in the production of D7000 cameras and countless other products that are either made in Japan, or rely on components that are made there. Demand remains extremely high, but the supply has virtually dried up for the foreseeable future. I would urge to to exercise patience and vigilance when shopping, and restrain yourself from paying the premium prices that numerous retailers are now charging ($1199.99 is the correct price for a D7000 body only). Retailers including Amazon (but not their third party sellers) that charge this fair price are still receiving small numbers of D7000's sporadically. is a good website to monitor to keep track of current inventory.

In reply to an earlier post on May 7, 2011 1:30:33 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 7, 2011 7:34:31 PM PDT
Roland Wei says:
Thanks for a great post in comparing D90 and D7000, in regarding the price of D7000 now as of May 2011, I just want to bring up my own experience that I have just ordered my D7000 through Continental Airline Mile for Merchandise program last week (find it in OnePass Frequent Flyer "Use miles" not "Earn miles"). It took 8 days for the camera to arrive even though the website said take up to 30 days. I did have some worry that the seller, a fairly unknown company Brainstorm Logistics LLC., is selling genuine Nikon USA product or not, and the merchandise information on the website is terrible, no model number is mentioned. It turn out that they supply merchandise for Continental and United AL, they are not listed as Nikon authorized dealer but they do buy directly from Nikon and Canon USA, and their products are with USA warranty, I did confirmed the serial number with Nikon USA reps and compare the camera box with Ken Rockwell website's description that this is USA product (UPC bar code number 018208254682 with a (U) after D7000). I paid $1,068.50 plus $12 S/H and 100 continental fly miles. Price has gone up $60 1 day after I ordered from them, it is still below the $1,199 list price.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2011 12:19:30 PM PDT
Jim says:
Thank you, a helpful review

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2011 10:30:10 PM PDT
R. Willard says:
Glad you found it helpful, Jim. After five months and about 2000 shots, my enthusiasm for the D7000 hasn't diminished -- it's by far the best DSLR I've ever owned.
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